A FORMER teacher has now published a very personal guide to Dorset - through the retro-style paintings he creates of his favourite landscapes here.

Wimborne-based Richard Watkin studied art at the Cambridge Institute and taught ceramics, painting, drawing and sculpture in schools in Essex, Hertfordshire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Poole. Retiring from teaching in 2011 he achieved his ambition of painting full time and has now published 'An Artist's View of Jurassic Dorset'.

"One of my earliest memories was helping my dad in his toy shop in Taunton in the 1960s," he said. "I was surrounded by enticing imagery on Airfix, Revell and Frog kits with the promise of what was inside. This has influenced my painting style, along with travel posters from the 30s, 40s and 50s, Art Deco typography and distinct lines. The mix of text and image adds a further dimension to the painting.”

Richard says he has happy memories of all of Dorset, but his five favourite scenes are the following:

1."The Short Sunderland taking off from Poole Harbour climbing over Brownsea Island. I have met many people with links to this aircraft since I painted it, children whose fathers were pilots, stewards, customs officers and those who were children playing in the rotting fuselage hulks embedded in the mud at Salterns. I discovered a picture of the Sunderland a few days after this was completed in my late father's belongings, sending his love to my mother from Cape Town during WWII."

2."The Sandbanks Ferry. It has provided a secure gateway (despite the occasional shortcoming) to the Jurassic Coast. I never tire of catching the breeze on the top deck on the short trip across the harbour mouth."

3."Durdle Door. It's only been a mere 140 million years in the making! Usually I only visit in off-season and wanted to catch the arch in a softer tone with plenty of movement in the top grasses overlooking the limestone and chalk."

4. "Tyneham. This was captured in the winter months and hopefully conveys a feeling of loss and emptiness. I was quite taken with the history of the village ever since my first visit over 20 years ago. Recently I met a person whose grandparents were forced to move from the village and still remembers stories told about her grandfather's adventures. I always love it when I have a human link to the place."

5."Weymouth Harbour. It's been around since Roman times, clearly having changed considerably. I enjoyed the busyness of the painting with the range of colours and shapes the harbour has to offer from its buildings to its boats. With this painting in particular, people have approached me to say that they lived in one of the buildings, which always puts a smile on my face!"

n Buy Richard's book from watkinart.co.uk