An artist inspired by mythology and the natural world has transformed sheep skulls with a burst of colour into vibrant pieces of art.

Stephen Rae, from Ulverston, is a contemporary artist whose vivid and colourful pieces are inspired by his travels across Africa and Asia.

Mr Rae, who is also the Bard of Cumberland and a co-founder of Bardsea-Green Films, has a particular interest in folklore and history, deriving from his childhood growing up in south Ayrshire where his grandfather would recount tales of the sea people, witches and cannibals.

A self-taught artist until his early 30s, Mr Rae had previously worked in botanical and agricultural science before studying fine art at Cumbria Institute of the Arts in Carlisle and later became ordained as a Buddhist monk for a few years studying Buddhist philosophy.

Before that, he worked in developing countries on sustainable food production and teaching AIDS awareness in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr Rae has a formal art practice but in the winter months he always like to turn his hand to other projects.

He said: "My main practice is contemporary abstract art, gouache on paper

"I actually just finished my latest painting, The Path of Return is Already Clear on the Horizon.

"In the winter I make walking sticks, and make props for filmmaking projects with Bardsea-Green Films which is based in Ulverston."

Mr Rae was given two sheep skulls by a friend who discovered them up Torver Fell.

The artist decided to upcycle the skulls in a steampunk-inspired fashion – a culture movement inspired by the industrial revolution.

"One of my friends found these two skulls on Torver Fell.

"They are great, as generally the horns are broken or missing," he said.

"Can't say I'm a 'fan' of steampunk, but I like the idea behind it.

"Steampunk inspired the upcycling of the skulls.

"The use of strong colour in my paintings inspired the colour choice."