OIL paintings inspired by the West Country can be seen in the Town Mill's Courtyard Gallery in Lyme Regis in an exhibition beginning tomorrow (11).

From May 11 to 16, the gallery will be welcoming Nigel Sharman’s latest collection of semi-figurative oil paintings.

Although he studied textile design at the University of Brighton and worked in several design fields in the UK, New York and Southern Africa, Nigel credits his real education in art to, as he explains it: ''being dragged round the galleries of West Penwith in Cornwall as a small boy by my father and introduced to work by Alfred Wallis and Ben Nicholson.''

Currently London-based, Nigel's roots remain firmly in the South West, which he regularly visits and paints, its distinct landscape and culture becoming an increasing and notable influence on his work.

His paintings are figurative, but they also possess a distinct abstract sophistication, with the figurative elements being a convenient way to create a basic sense of space and scale, as well as providing a means for the viewer to enter the picture. By removing details, Nigel distils the essence of a complex composition with a particular interest in subtle nuances of colour that evoke a sense of calm.

As Nigel sees it, ''Maybe in ten years’ time I will be abstract. But I want to continue to evolve with each painting I make, both according to my own intuition and perhaps by understanding the thought processes and practices of those artists of the mid-twentieth century who inspire me.''

Nigel Sharman: Recent Work is open daily from 10.30-4.30, admission is free and more details can be found at townmillarts.couk