MARIANNE Birkby is flying the flag for the natural world.

Well-known for her wildlife paintings and vigorous campaigning against nuclear energy, her latest exhibition runs at Peter Blaskett’s Signature Gallery in Kendal’s cultural quarter - Kirkland.

The paintings in The Green Man and The Natural World focus on different aspects of the natural world from otters at Leighton Moss to the waterfalls at Rydal Hall, which provide electricity for the Estate. Woven through the wildlife paintings are images of the mythical Green Man.

Explained Marianne: "I've always been fascinated with the green man myth. And the big truth behind the mythical green man is the contract between man and nature. The contract is always up for renewal - and shouldn't be taken for granted.”

Marianne said that the Green Man was more than a relic of our pagan past. She mused: “He is an iconic reminder that our remote ancestors looked at Mother Earth and Nature and said ‘we are yours’ while modern humanity has said to Nature ‘you are mine.’ “People have said that my Green Man is scary. That’s true. His mouth has foliage streaming out instead of words. While painting him I was thinking about his words depicted as leaves and the leaves of the forest transpiring life-giving oxygen. This looks like a promise kept as long as there are trees to transpire oxygen. It sounds really corny but it is a promise based on mutual respect. A once life-giving forest in the area of a ‘geological disposal facility’ will transpire radioactive carbon. This is happening now in low level nuclear dumps as reported by the specialist magazine Applied Geochemistry.

Marianne founded Radiation Free Lakeland in 2008, and recently handed a 1,530 signature petition into Cumbria County Council and Copeland and Allerdale borough councils opposing a high level nuclear dump.

Marianne’s exhibition finishes on Saturday, October 1.

Meanwhile, Page Paper Stitch follows on - an exhibition by textiles artists Annwyn Dean, Joan Newall and Elizabeth Shorrock, who all have a love of bookmaking.

Signature Gallery is open Monday-Friday, from 9.30am-5pm, closing at 3.30pm on Thursday.