THE Mersey Gateway has inspired a teacher to paint.

Artist Shaun Smyth has used his creative skills to reflect the development of the new bridge.

He has selected seven expressionist oil paintings and three sketches from his project which captures the changing geographical landscape of Halton for an exhibition entitled Crossings.

“I define my experience of the subject through a visual language of paint, marks and gestures,” said Shaun, 40, who grew up in Runcorn and teaches art and photography at Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy in Runcorn.

“I create a surface quality that explores light and the integral relationship between sky, the natural landscape and its industrial features.

“I use drawing and photography as a starting point due to the immediacy of these medium which allow me to explore ideas around composition.”

The River Mersey has played a significant role in his life and he has chosen the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes to display his work because of its proximity to the bridge.

The former Grange Comprehensive School pupil said: ”This exhibition has allowed me to create paintings which explore the interplay of structures observed in ever changing light conditions.

“My aim is always to offer the viewer an experience with a distinctive and personal sense of place.”

Professor Mike Knowles, who taught Shaun fine art at Liverpool John Moores University, said: “I was impressed by his enthusiasm and sense of purpose.

“His eagerness to forge a career as an artist was apparent. I wish him every success, the success his commitment and ability deserve.”

His former Halton College art lecturer Alun Evans said: “Shaun’s work gives us a moving record of the changes occurring over the last three years whereas bridge users and residents will adjust to the polish of the finished Gateway project as the disruption fades with time.

“His project emphatically registers the activity, the industry and the radical changes which have been experienced on both banks of the Mersey and the paintings will endure.

“That is the value and legacy of powerful art.”

Catalyst marketing manager Meryl Jameson said: “We are really pleased to be hosting this exhibition for Shaun.

"He is an incredibly talented artist and his paintings are attracting a lot of local attention both from Catalyst visitors and visitors to the Mersey Gateway Visitor Centre.”

David Traves, a personal friend of Shaun’s, has composed a poem to accompany each of the paintings which will be on display at Catalyst until December.