Dog walkers and pond swimmers in paintings of mindful leisure time

Winter Swimmers, Highgate

Winter Swimmers, Highgate - Credit: Nick Botting

A north London artist's new exhibition features scenes of people "valuing the moment more perhaps than they used to".

Nick Botting has lived near Angel for the past two decades, and before that he was in Belsize Park and Kentish Town.

His exhibition, Soho to Scilly, at central London's Portland Gallery, features 65 paintings of people's leisure time – from England fans outside Wembley stadium to visitors to the British Museum.

Many feature north west London scenes including dog walkers in Primrose Hill, pond swimmers and Hampstead Heath walkers.

Spring at Kenwood House, Hampstead

Spring at Kenwood House, Hampstead - Credit: Nick Botting

From wild swimming to digital detoxes, they evoke the rise in people seeking "slower lives" since the pandemic says Botting.

"I notice people enjoying taking their time and valuing the moment more perhaps than they used to," he said.

A warm spring day Hampstead Heath

A warm spring day Hampstead Heath - Credit: Nick Botting

"The paintings show London at its best and as we move into spring they chart the opening of our city after the two bleak years of isolation that we have all experienced."

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Botting has always painted directly from life to capture "moments that matter", giving a sense of spontaneity and direct experience.

The Dog Walker Primrose Hill

The Dog Walker Primrose Hill - Credit: Nick Botting

Soho to Scilly runs at Portland Gallery in Bennet Street, March 24 until April 8. Go to 

 portlandgallery.com/exhibitions/nick-botting-5/about/

Hampstead Heath autumn

Hampstead Heath autumn - Credit: Nick Botting