A PAINTING by a student at Craven College in Skipton has appeared in the film Ghost Stories starring Martin Freeman.

Taking inspiration from American artist Paul Rothko, Michael Crompton, a Fine Art BA (Hons) student, created the painting entitled ‘Four Rectangles at the Lion Gate’ which is now featured in Martin Freeman's latest film Ghost Stories. Anyone wanting to spot Michael's painting should be aware that as its title suggests, there are terror filled goings on as arch skeptic Professor Phillip Goodman embarks upon a terror-filled quest when he stumbles across a long-lost file containing details of three cases of inexplicable hauntings.

The work was commission by the Ghost Stories film design team, who commissioned ‘a giant Rothko painting’ to be completed in two days.

Michael said: “I evaluated the risks. It seemed impossible to replicate Rothko's 20-layer oil painting technique adequately in emulsion paints over 48 hours.”

Other constraints included a limited four colour palette and a request to give the painting “straight edges” in order to fit in with the aesthetics of the film set. Another factor was the lack of elasticity in emulsion paints compared to oils.

“Although it was a risk, I decided to re-interpret the brief. I mixed glazing mediums into the paint layers in order to achieve the veneer effect.

“As the paints began to dry, I sprayed the surface with jets of water in order to break down the cohesion.

“In truth the finished work owes more to Barnett Newman's painting ‘Vir Heroicus Sublimis’ (1950) than to Rothko or Mondrian.

“I want to be clear and state that the painting was not produced to please a gallery audience,” he added. “It was intended as a mood piece specifically to fit within the disquieting plot of Ghost Stories.

“The central idea was to create a work that has a muted sense of turbulence at a defined point in time within the script.”

Over a five day period of 12-hour painting sessions the work was completed. The painting was well received by the design team, as meeting their original brief in a way that could not be articulated before it was produced.

The title of the painting was inspired by chapter four of Leonard Cottrell's book ‘The Bull of Minos’ .

Ghost Stories, directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, featured Martin Freeman, George Mackay and Alex Lawther in the lead roles.

The film was released at the Toronto Film Festival in September.