Leeds artist who fills canvases with strolling sheep marks

CREATIVE ARTISTS: Tim Boardman with two of his canvases.
CREATIVE ARTISTS: Tim Boardman with two of his canvases.
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You might think Tim Boardman is trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

But the Leeds artist insists he’s not out to fleece anyone with his latest work.

The painter, 50, has produced eight canvases covered in hoof prints – and even animal waste – with the help of 30 sheep at Meanwood Urban Valley Farm.

Tim claims there’s a genuine artistic justification for it all.

“I wanted to begin – with the help of the sheep – a new, more honest, form of art,” he said.

“I no longer was trying to copy art or paint something that has been painted before, or even paint nature. I wanted nature to paint itself.”

Mr Boardman, 50, works as a teacher with students who have emotional and physical problems at Grafton Learning Centre in Woodhouse. He regularly takes students to the farm.

Last year he covered a field in windmills for an unusual piece of art. For the latest project he laid down canvases in a field in the hope the animals would trample mud over them to make their mark.

Like lots of artists, however, the sheep proved temperamental.

“It took forever because the sheep didn’t like the white canvas,” he said.

“They’re so used to walking on grass and dirt, they would literally jump to avoid it.”

In the end he used food to tempt them and produce the desired effect. But the project still took about six months to complete.

Nevertheless, he insisted the flock was a pleasure to work with.

“They make brilliant artists,” he said. “You can manipulate sheep and I chose them because they are a bit lighter on their feet than cows.”

The works, which include marks left by sheep urine and excrement as well as hoof prints, are now on view in the farm’s Epicentre building.

Education manager Robert Paige said: “I think they’re great. I like art that’s different, I like using other things to create art rather than painting. The sheep did a great job.”


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