ACCLAIMED Yorkshire artist Robert Fuller is to reveal a new collection of paintings, inspired by his love of stoats and weasels.

Small, swift and deeply secretive, these small creatures are hard to spot in the wild, but the artist has made it his mission over the past five years to research them for a new exhibition, opening on Saturday, June 15.

Works that will go on display at Robert’s Yorkshire Wolds gallery, in Thixendale, include paintings and photographs of a stoat family the artist got to know by sight, as well as films made inside the secret nests of these little known mammals.

The exhibition precedes the release of a new television documentary filmed in the artist’s garden, which forms part of the next BBC Natural World series.

Robert, who is also a columnist in the Gazette & Herald, said: “I paint in a realistic style to capture the individual characters of my wild subjects and for this I need to understand them thoroughly.

“When I discovered a family of stoats in my garden, it was the ideal opportunity to watch and learn about them.”

For his research, the artist built bespoke habitats to keep both stoats and weasels in his two-acre grounds before deploying more than 60 surveillance cameras to follow them as they move through the garden shrubbery.

In spite of his surveillance methods, the animals were extremely difficult to follow and the artist had to rely on his extensive field skills to keep pace with their movements.

As long and thin as a cucumber, stoats are masters of disguise, turning white in winter snows, while weasels are so small they can slip through a wedding ring.

Fuller said: “At times, they were so elusive it took all my skill to keep track of them and record their intimate worlds.”

His unique observations include examples of the tender, playful way weasels care for their kits, the brutal mating behaviour of stoats and the famed stoat ‘war dance’, in which the animals are said to mesmerise their prey by turning somersaults before delivering a deadly bite.

Wild About Stoats & Weasels: An Artist’s Perspective is at the Robert Fuller Gallery in Thixendale from June 15 to July 7.