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  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BB Hardback
  • Publication: 18 May 2017
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782214236
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 216x280 mm
  • Illustrations: 600
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: £25.00
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David Bellamy's Arctic Light

Sale Price: £21.25

An artist's journey in a frozen wilderness by David Bellamy

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Book Description

This book is the culmination of various expeditions made by well-known artist and bestselling author David Bellamy to his beloved Arctic. His descriptions of his travels, written from an artist’s point of view, vividly bring to life the challenges he faced when painting outdoors in one of the harshest environments on the planet, and make for an exhilarating and captivating read. Filled with David’s watercolour paintings and sketches, made during his various expeditions, the book provides a fascinating insight into the wildlife and people that live within the Arctic Circle and captures perfectly the majesty and breathtaking beauty of the world’s final wilderness. 

About the Author

About David Bellamy

David Bellamy has always been fascinated by the world's wild places. Highly regarded as a teacher of art, he has a tremendous following among leisure painters, many of whom have attended his extremely popular courses and workshops both in the UK and overseas. He gives demonstrations and talks, produces successful DVDs, has written many books on watercolour painting and is a regular contributor to art magazines. David lives in Builth Wells, Wales.


Adventure Travel

Artist David Bellamy transports us into the wild and wonderful lands of the Artic with his photographs, beautifully illustrated sketches and watercolour paintings. David has alweays loved exploring the world's incredible landscapes, wildlife and people, and loves caputing his discoveries through the means of art. During the making of this book he found himself doing his sketches on moving dog sledges, keeping a wary eye out for hungry polar bears, and sometimes it was so cold his paint would freeze up! The perfect combination of storytelling, entertaining anecdotes and imagery, this book is a delightful insigh into David's icy adventures.

Roly Smith - president of the Outdoor Writers' and Photographers' Guild

Like JMW Turner, the artist whom he admits to being his greatest influence, David Bellamy prefers to his paintings outdoors and in all weathers. That's why you can alsmost feel the biting wind and vicious spindrift squalls in the watercolours in his latest sumptuos offering, in which describes his experiences in the Scandinavian Arctic.

The author who provides our Golden Eagle award winning painting every year, explains his interest in the Arctic came late in life, following a trip to Iceland with his daughter Catherine. He soon found as he explains, that was his favoured medium of watercolour worked superbly well in rendering the subtle nuances and infinite variation of tone and colour in ice subjected to changing light and atmospheric conditions.

As anyone who has been to iceland or the arctic can attest, weather conditions at those lattitudes are every bit as changeable as the Government's plan for Brexit. As the Icelanders are fond of telling you 'If you don't like our weather hang on five minutes and it'll change.'

Bellamy's top Arctic watercolour painting tip? Use gin or vodka, with their low freezing points, instead of water. And why the often uncomfortable and long winded method of sketching the first scene, instead of just taking a photograph? The author's response? '...you see and learn so much more when spending even a few minutes sketching a subject.'

The result is without a doubt the finest collection of paintings of the Arctic I have ever seen. Bellamy's senstive brush-work captures every nuance of mountain, glacier and fjord and leaves the reader with the intense desire to return to these magnificent unspoilt wildernesses.

Singapore Airlines

David Bellamy often finds himself in all sorts of predicaments when seeking an elusive sketch. Despite tripping over a crodile in Kenya and tumbling down a cliff, nothing seems to stop this 74-year-old from being in the great outdoors. Growing up in the West Wales countryside, he cultivated a love for nature, with a keen fascination for its moods and wild places. Seeing the raw landscapes of Iceland motivated him to venture further north, into the Arctic. After a dog-sledging trip to East Greenland his hunger to explore more paint worthy landscapes drew him back another seven times- backpacking across mountains on foot, sailing up the Svalbard coast in a 49-foot boat and cruising a Zodiac up and 81km fjord. Each visit exposed him to more facets of the Arctics natural charm, such as the moulins at Greenland's ice cap.

His book David Bellamy's Arctic Light includes his most fearful moments, such as when the glacier beneath him broke up while he was sketching a natural ice bridge. While he revels in the atmopshere of the moment when sketching outdoors, the Arctic's subzero temperatures also means that brushes freeze when dipped in water- an artist's worst nightmare. Bellamy's witty solution Add gin to lower the freezing point. In exceptional circumstances he was even rubbed snow over dry watercolour pencil sketches.

To Bellamy, 'the High Arctic can be a hostile and unforgiving place, but it will well reward lovers of truly wild places' Besides preparing for potential severe weather conditions, he encourages travellers to hire a local hunter-guide for any Arctic expedition. 'And take along a little luxury with you to relieve difficult moments, even if it's just a bar of your favourite chocolate'

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John Muir Trust Journal

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Yorkshire Gazette & Herald

18 October 2017

In depicting the nature, atmosphere and attraction of the Arctic, the artist takes us on a most interesting visit to a land of snow, ice, storms and waste.

But it is much more than this and has its own beauty which impels itself on the mind forever of those lucky enough to experience it.

This is not just an artist's impressions, for behind those, are hints and explanations for any artist or would-be artist, of how he worked for and reached this wonderful display of the land in all its moods.

His delight in experiencing and depicting this land that has so much to offer us comes through in all his work.

This is a delightful book into which, because of a life-long interest in the Arctic I will dip into time and time again.

OWPG Awards for Excellence

The judges commented: In a market-place seemingly full of 'personal accounts' of some journey or another, this book is singularly different, bringing a fascinating insight into the creative artistic process, and providing a readable, informative account of exploring one of the world's wildest places.

Mid Wales Review Journal

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Adele Long - Alpine Club

Having had the privilege to venture within the Arctic Circle a few times, I was delighted to read David Bellamys book Arctic Light. In truth, the pleasure was more in looking at the pictures - some stunning and evocative images of those icy climes. I have always struggled to explain how a landscape of white can be so compelling and utterly beautiful. Bellamys paintings show us how; the subtle mix of blues, greys and purples that make up the arctic landscape, full of contrast. It is this clarity of light that we no longer see in most of the world
that meets the eye in a stark and startling way. I can remember sitting outside a wooden cabin in Liverpool Land where Bellamy has done some of his paintings, gazing for hours at the mountains on each side and the glacier valley winding away into the distance. There was no plant or animal life to attract my attention, no bird nor arctic hare, no fox nor polar bear, nothing. Even our Greenland dog was curled up on his favourite stone, sunning himself. Yet it
captivated. In the summer months the splashes of colour of the flowers and musk ox show a very different place, the green land that gave the sub continent its name.
The book is principally a book for artists; Bellamy describes how the sketches and paintings were produced and narrates how they were obtained. He tells of the trials and tribulations, not to mention the fear, that artists sometimes encounter to create their own unique representation of a remote landscape. Bellamy vividly recounts being belayed into moulin, whereupon he commenced sketching. In all weathers he sketches and paints - when the paint doesn't freeze - and even then, he does. Apparently dipping brushes in gin helps!
For the mountaineer, ski mountaineer and climber, this book is a journey of exploration from a different perspective. It tempts the reader to places such as Greenland, Iceland Norway and Svaalbard. For those who have already been, it is a memento of the landscapes, peoples and animals of the Arctic, all wonderfully captured in paintings.

The Lady - 18th August

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Woman's Weekly

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I first encountered David Bellamy almost by accident. The husband of a friend of my wifes was a freelance designer and happened to remark that I ought to see the book he was working on, which was The Wild Places of Britain. It was amazing. I followed it up with the publisher, struck a deal and sold an awful lot of copies. I said of it then that David visits hidden and out-of-the-way places and brings back their atmosphere, people and stories.

Since then, there have been many more books, mostly instructional, and the work he does for exhibition has only occasionally been seen in print.

The Arctic is one of the worlds last great wildernesses and getting to it imposes a huge number of difficulties. Simply existing there is also a challenge and carries very real dangers. Imagine, then, trying to paint in freezing winds, snow and ice when your body and materials are as unwilling to co-operate as they can be. David has a reputation for painting on the edge and has been shown hanging off ropes on desolate crags before. This, however, is a whole different ballgame.

If this was just a tale of endurance, it would have little to recommend it. Sure, learning that gin is a great antifreeze (for your painting water) is all part of the fun that David manages to make this seem, but if the art wasnt up to scratch, the book would be meaningless.

Its therefore a pleasure to report that David is at the peak of his powers. The conditions that make the Arctic a challenge to visit also make photography difficult and painting captures the landscapes better than the camera ever can. Few of us will ever make it this far north, and thats as it should be. Wildernesses like this can only be preserved by their remoteness and lack of visitors. The Antarctic is already being endangered by tourism.

The value of the book, therefore, is the tale it tells, in both words and pictures, of a beautiful region that is filled with mystery, unfamiliar creatures, and inhabitants who live on the edge and have strange legends. This is both a travellers tale and a love story and David is perhaps the only person alive who can tell it so effectively. His paintings, all exquisitely reproduced, are breath-taking and the words he weaves round them create the nearest impression of actually being there that most of us will, or should, ever achieve.

This is a major contribution to science as well as to art and a magnificent production of which all involved should be proud.

Kreative Review

The British artist David Bellamy is known for his multiple teaching books of watercolor painting.

But his great passion lies in the discovery of untouched landscapes, getting to know foreign cultures and their customs.

Arctic light takes the reader in the rough and icy world of the Arctic with describable beautiful landscape images accompanied by photographs, drawings and anecdotes of his multiple adventurous expeditions into the eternal ice.

In his early years David Bellamy thought like many people that the Arctic was a featureless landscape of snow and ice with no mountains. But on several travels to Iceland, Greenland and the High Arctic he was convinced of the contrary.

David Bellamy understands like no other painter to capture the release of colour and atmosphere of this unreal landscape. He displays the variety of white and grey/black hues that contrasts with vibrant colours of details which catch the viewers eye.

Snapshots of the Inuits hard life, menacing ice bear scenes as well as breathtaking sky colouring make every aquarelle worth seeing.

Accompanying the drawings are humorous stories and exciting experiences. Aggressive ice bear and sudden treacherous weather made his travels often a dangerous adventure. Extreme temperatures demanded unusual painting techniques and improvisation. Quickly drawn sketches show impressions of the extreme painting positions and adverse weather conditions.


The symbiosis of expressive aquarelle and exciting accompanying texts make Arctic light an extraordinary book which combines the art of painting and travel guide.



Watercolorist David Bellamy recounts his recent trips to the Arctic in this beautiful book of words and pictures.  Search Press dont publish many hardback books so when they do you can be sure it will be a visual feast to make any coffee table proud to house it.  Greenland, Norway, Iceland and Svalbard reveal their stunning landscapes, seascapes, wildlife and people in this talented artists work and although this is not a primer there is plenty here to inspire.  He captures the chilly light perfectly, illuminating icy vistas, mountains, floe laded seas and skies full of snow.  There are sketches of polar bears, walruses, musk oxen and other creatures in different poses and a few of the people he met but it is the landscapes that dominate and are this artists forte.  His accounts of the trips are lively and amusing, filled with anecdotes and local color.  Discover some of the traditional foods, unique history and the trials of travelling and painting in the freezing cold.  Some instruction on how to achieve some of the beautiful effects in his work would have made a great book even better, but this is not the purpose of this handsomely illustrated travelogue.  Perfect for dipping into as there is something to gaze at or read on every page.  An ideal present if you can bear to part with it.

Samantha Packer

David Bellamy is a watercolour artist, author of several books, teacher and, as it turns out, quite an adventurer.  Having travelled previously to the Himalayas, Andes and Africa, chillier climes are sought out here.

David recounts this expedition where he travelled to the Scandinavian Arctic in Greenland and Svalbard into Norway and Iceland. For those that read his account of what he saw, did and painted, this book is a perfect way of living life vicariously through the artist.

Davids experiences are hilarious, breathtaking and terrifying in equal measure. He balances each out perfectly, taking you from humour to the grim reality of the cold, the danger and physical injuries. His descriptions of the environs are rich with imagery such as the lava-black Icelandic moonscape, surrounded by blackened and distorted lava-demons, statuesque and eerie in the mist and poetic: I peeredinto light that transformed them into many-coloured jewels, sparkling where sunlight caught sharp edges, incandescent with breathtaking purity. With descriptions like these, you also travel on a journey lit up by his words.

It is a book of many different experiences of people, places and animals and all are reflected in the beautiful artwork that David Bellamy produces. Many sketches were produced under freezing conditions and it is fascinating to see pictures that were sketched whilst he was hanging from an icy crevasse or paintings where the colour froze as it was applied. Just flicking through to look at each of the pictures in turn, you can only guess the sense of wonder at seeing these places first hand when their interpretations are things of beauty.

This is a book of many things and each sitting brings something new to the reader. An insight into the way of life for the people that live and work in the places David Bellamy has visited, the harshness of life but also a travelogue of one mans experiences seeing polar bears, walruses, glaciers, volcanos and icebergs. Entertaining, informative and a thing of beauty. What more could we ask for?

Paint & Draw

Issue 10 - Jul 17

Usually reserved for nature documentaries, the incredible beauty of the Arctic is unlikely to be something you'll be painting on location anytime soon. But thanks to renowned teacher and artist David Bellamy, you can get a little closer to that breathtaking experience.

In this book the intrepid David ventures into greenland and the Norwegian island and Svalbard. He mixes tales of biting winds, sub-zero temperatures and whiteout conditions with life studies of polar bears, seals and other fauna, as well as mountainous frozen landscapes, churning ice cold seas and wild skies.

If you love embarking on sketching expeditions yourself, this is an exhilarating journey into the extremes that will put gripes such as erecting a tent in the drizzle, or getting a blister on a hike, firmly into perspective.

David's elaborative writing style leads you through the trials and tribulations of his journey, with hand drawn maps and behind-the-scenes photos helping you feel part of the action. But the real star is the artwork itself, displayed proudly across whole spreads in places.


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The Leisure Painter

Summer 2017

David Bellamy has written numerous books on watercolour painting, but this latest David Bellamy's Arctic Light is something different. The culmination of various expeditions he's made over the years, David brings the life of the arctic vividly to life, not only through some amazing paintings, but with descriptions of his travels and annotated sketches that capture the maginificence of the harsh enviroment and the people and wildlife that inhabit it. The British Mountaineer Chris Bonnigton writes in the introduction 'This book is an absolute delight, to browse through, to absorb the superb and evocative images, sketches and watercolours that took me straight back to my own Arctic wanderings, to adorn your coffee table or to read for inspiration or a good laugh.'

The Artist

August 2017

Be under no illusion this is a major publication. The Arctic is one of the world's largest great wildernesses and one of the hardest to get to. Despite this, David has made several visits and this book is the story of the place, the adventure, the people and the wildlife. As his first book, The Wild Places of Britain, showed, David is an excellent storyteller, both in pictures and words, and this is an enthralling account of a region few of us will ever see. To have illustrated it with paintings adds further personality to the tale, showing David's interpretation rather than photographic recordings. Although it is not an instructional book, David does record some of the perils of painting in sub-zero conditions and you marvel at his persistence and ingenuity. Such a book needs the very best production and Search Press have rightly given it the treatment it deserves.


I have always liked David Bellamys paintings, so when this came I was so excited. It exceeds my expectations, this is a book I love. Subtitled An artists journey in a frozen wilderness, the book is just that. Davids palette suits this subject perfectly. He makes full use of all his incredible skills to portray the glaciers, people and animals of the region. The text is Davids reactions to the landscape, the eeriness, the natural dangers you almost feel as if you are standing beside him. It is an artists journal of a remarkable journey, with insight into this incredible world and its natural landscape with nesting villages or vast glaciers. Sketches, paintings, observations and travels all rolled into one. This book captures the essence of the Arctic perfectly. Illustrated throughout with fabulous watercolour paintings. Beautifully put together in a book that captivates the eye and and entertains the mind. Highly recommended.

The Great Outdoors

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The People's Friend

This book is an absolute delight, a culmination of various expeditions made by well-known artist and author David Bellamy to his beloved Arctic. Filled with Davids watercolour paintings and sketches, it provides a fascinating insight into the wildlife and people that live within the Arctic Circle.

Ranulph Fiennes

This is a magnificent book. David Bellamys art beautifully captures the sheer splendour and majesty of this great wilderness, its wildlife and people. And his narrative is at the same time informative and funny he goes to great lengths to paint in this unforgiving landscape, watching out for polar bears, sketching while sledging at speed across rock-hard pack ice, or hanging precariously off inch-wide ice ledges, paintbrush (often frozen) in hand. David is an inspiration and this book is inspirational I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Sir Chris Bonington, renowned British mountaineer.

This book is an absolute delight, to browse through, to absorb the superb and evocative images, sketches and watercolours that took me straight back to my own Arctic wanderings, to adorn your coffee table or to read for inspiration or a good laugh.

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