Landscapes — Working Method

My landscape-inspired work includes pieces made outside and in the studio. The works made in situ hold an immediacy of sensory experience, both felt and seen. Studio works emerge out of the sketches, visual impressions, and memories of place.

Sketch: Dead Sea

Dead Sea Sketch (2011)
Pencil and Gouache on Paper
17cm x 18cm

The Dead Sea picture was made sheltering from the heat under an umbrella on the salty beach, finding a way to explore the heat haze of the lowest place on earth. The moorland pool and Loe Bar paintings were created in the studio, using sketches made on the spot. As I worked my sketches brought back atmospheric memories of cool damp places and watery reflections.

Painting: Looe Bar, Cornwall

Looe Bar, Cornwall
Acrylic on Paper
135cm x 95cm

painting: Moorland pool

Moorland Pool (1994)
North Yorkshire series
Oil on canvas
50cm x 60cm

Sitting, working outside in all weathers, the drawing process embeds the experience into memory.  Back in the studio, as well as visual information, the drawings also trigger memories of heat, light and atmosphere. Feelings and recollections of wind, rain and sun find their way into the studio work. At best, something more of the experiential response to place comes through: an interface where outer experience meets the inner landscapes of the mind.

Paul Klee said "we reveal the reality that is behind visible things...there are many more latent realities". He puts it well, I think.  I find it quite something to aim for: to draw out and communicate the transition from "visible" to "latent" realities.

Painting: Facing the Unknown

Facing the Unknown (1994)
North Yorkshire series
Collagraph Print

Landscape subjects suit this process. There is potential here for wholehearted engagement with the elements. I like to work outside on a large sheet of paper pinned to the earth with stones and rocks: in sun or breeze or drifting mist.  Something very interesting happens when rain washes away the image, allowing fresh possibilities to emerge into awareness. Once, staying with the process, not giving up (although I was feeling overwhelmed by heat and flies) an image pf moorland came forth with all the richness of a magic Persian carpet.