Page last updated at 10:34 GMT, Saturday, 6 February 2010

Artist's month at threatened pole

Rowan Huntley painting from Half Moon Island, South Shetlands Islands (Leading Photographer Williams, Royal Navy)
Rowan Huntley concentrates on recording wild environments under threat

An artist who paints wild natural environments endangered by climate change is spending a month on a Royal Navy ship in survey ship in Antarctica.

This is the second polar region visit in six months for Cardiff-based Rowan Huntley, 44.

She is aboard HMS Scott in what she calls the "chance of a lifetime" to record the South Pole's endangered landscape.

Last June she travelled to the opposite end of the earth to Greenland.

The artist, who has lived in Cardiff since 1992, is the first winner of the artist's residency on board a Royal Navy ship awarded the Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI).

Rowan Huntley painting on board Royal Navy survey ship HMS Scott(Photo: Leading Photographer Williams, Royal Navy)
Rowan Huntley painting on board Royal Navy survey ship HMS Scott

A long-time chronicler of cold environments under threat, Ms Huntley said before she left for Antarctica that she was "thrilled" to have won.

She said she was "greatly looking forward to the challenges of painting the beautiful but inhospitable, endangered landscape of Antarctica."

Ms Huntley added: "This is a chance of a lifetime and, to do it justice, I intend to gather as much material as possible - paintings, sketches, photographs and, if I can, even sound recordings of the 'life' of Antarctica.

The artist said the trip will provide educational material for her exhibitions and will also, she hoped, contribute to raising better awareness of "these fragile landscapes that are so under threat from climate change".

In Greenland last summer

She is recording her Antarctica painting adventure blog on her website and, according to her husband, finding the region's harsh weather - even in its summer - her biggest challenge.

The fruits of her polar expeditions is to be exhibited from June, including at an exhibition close to home in the Welsh assembly Senedd in Cardiff Bay during the celebrations to celebrate the Scott Centenary.

It was from the Welsh capital that Captain Scott departed on his fateful expedition on the Terra Nova to the South Pole on 15 June, 1910.

This will be followed by a show at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge.

She is also talking to other venues, including the National Museum Wales, London Business School and Discovery Point, Dundee about exhibiting her polar art.

Rown Huntley painting Jabet Peak, Port Lockroy, Antarctica  from HMS Scott (Rowan Huntley painting on board Royal Navy survey ship HMS Scott(Photo: Leading Photographer Williams, Royal Navy)
Painting Jabet Peak, Port Lockroy, Antarctica from HMS Scott

Interested venues further afield include Denmark's European Environment Agency and Messner Mountain Museums in Italy.

Ms Huntley is originally from Berwick-upon-Tweed and her connection to Wales began when studied art in Carmarthen. She has been living in Cardiff since 1992.

She has specialised in mountain, snow and glacier painting for the past 14 years.

Her desire to find out the impact of glaciation on the dramatic features of Snowdonia led her onto a voyage of discovery to Norway and the Alps. Her work resulted in her being established as an Alpine Club associate in 2004.

Robin Back, chairman of the Friends of SPRI said: "Rowan brings with her an incredible portfolio of landscapes, specialising in scenery of mountains and ice."

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