Caroline Appleyard, Artist

Busy%20Buxton%20300dpiEn plein air artists who traipse up mountains in all weathers in search of the perfect picture have got nothing on scuba diving Caroline Appleyard.

She trumps them all by heading off below the horizon to paint the underwater world.

I wasn’t quite sure if I had misheard her at first, but no I hadn’t, she actually paints while surrounded by jellyfish, crabs and the many other creatures from Neptune’s kingdom.

If you don’t believe me scan the QR code on the right and watch her in action.

However Caroline, who lives at Old Whittington, near Chesterfield, points out that her ‘sous marin’ painting is very much a hobby and what she enjoys doing when she is relaxing.

“I am in my own little world down there combining the two things I love best diving and painting. It is so peaceful and I am happy just painting for me and not having to wonder if anyone will like it.”

It is for her other work (pictured here) which is naïve, bright and fun, that she is best known and for which she has a growing legion of fans.

The obvious link to her underwater adventures is that many of the paintings are of seaside towns and are often places she visits while on the diving trips.

“As a child I was always drawn to the ocean. I loved the water and you couldn’t keep me out of it. Even though I was brought up in Derbyshire my parents always took me on holiday to the sea and I was in my element.

“When I started painting, just a few years ago, I was already travelling around the coast in my campervan on diving trips with my husband and somehow it just seemed natural to recreate those places on canvas,” she explained.

Caroline, 49, is a self-taught artist and she didn’t start painting seriously until her father died.

“When he died, my mother was also ill. I was spending a lot of time at her home and I needed something to do while I was sitting with her. I had always liked the idea of painting and one day I decided to paint a picture of my husband diving as a present for him.

“He loved it but after I did the second one he said there were only so many pictures we could have of him around the house,” she joked. “So he encouraged me to paint places like Revolution House and the Crooked Spire.

“I hadn’t been taught how to draw so I just painted everything as I saw it and these, what you might call childlike, paintings became my style.

“I plucked up the courage to give one to an art gallery in town and it sold so then I painted some more and had a stall at an art fair and they all got snapped up. It all just sort of happened and I haven’t really looked back since.”

One person who has helped Caroline along the way is Norman Tomlinson at Church Farm Gallery in Baslow and she can’t praise him enough for his support and help in building her confidence. She is staging an exhibition there from November 20-December 5.

“I am so lucky that I have been able to turn what was a hobby into a living and I just can’t wait to get up in the morning and start painting.”

Caroline is happy to paint commissions and has had many requests to re-create family occasions on canvas in her fun style. For more details go to