Making changes and re-evaluating my why?
En plein air painiting in Zennor, Cornwall
Having a quiet period of making work due to various reasons has given me the opportunity to re-evaluate my practice and think more about my ‘why’. Why am I painting the landscape? I feel at some point on my journey I have lost my ‘why’. Having taken on a studio to further my practice I did feel some pressure to be in there working, which had its pros and cons; It was a useful time for me to develop my skills in painting on a larger scale as I finally had the space to do so, I could experiment and take risks in my messy space (rather than in my living room!) and I felt I could approach my work with fresher eyes by not living and working in the same space. However, working out in the open air is where my true passion lies. The financial commitment to the space combined with the awful weather this summer led me to hardly working outside and it really affected my love for painting. As an artist I love creating for the sake of creating without doubt, however that isn’t enough to drive a lifelong practice. We need something that motivates us to continue to explore and develop, a subject that inspires to the extent that it feels limitless. For me, this starts with painting en plein air. I want to document my immediate, true response to the landscape and embrace all the elements nature has to offer. Painting in the landscape is my way of connecting to the natural world and reminding myself that we are part of something bigger. If our internet/ vehicles / phone signal / electricity fell apart the land, sky, sea and the seasons would continue on. So, I’ve moved out of the studio space and will refocus onto what’s important to me.
I’m reminded of the comfort of the cycles and rhythms of nature while I’m exploring the landscape. The process is such a grounding experience. The change of light through the day and change of seasons throughout the year is something that can always be relied on. Although sometimes challenging working out in all seasons, I find it a comfort to acknowledge my existence is intertwined with the natural world. The weather and resulting effects on the land (and my paints!) is uncontrollable and can be unpredictable, by painting out in the open I feel I am acknowledging being a part of nature in my practice and the joy of embracing this.
I’ve written before in my 'why landscape?' blog in more detail about how painting the landscape has changed the way I take in the world around me. I see so much more than I used to, as if I’ve gained a new lens on life. As well has appreciating so many more details in my surroundings, painting out in the landscape continues to develop my skills as a painter. The opportunity to experience the land in all its light and weather also builds on my ‘artist toolbox’; I find I have so many more ideas to explore and more so a better understanding of how the light and weather works with the land and sea. I want to capture my immediate and true response, while painting ‘en plein air’ I can get to know the landscape as a place not only as an image.
My process is important to me but of course as is the visual outcome. I want to do the landscape justice and hope to bring it to life in with paints. I work quickly and decisively to embrace the energy of the day. I hope people familiar with the locations feel a sense of familiarity but also a sense of discovery. We can all experience the same place so differently and notice different details in our surroundings. I love how a painting can draw attention to this. We could all walk down the same path yet have a completely different experience, visual or otherwise. My painting is a documentation of my own experience of a moment in time in the landscape. I don’t tend to paint big moments or landmarks; something I like to acknowledge in my work is how every moment I’m out appreciating the world is worthy of being stored in a painting.
Although I’m refocusing my energy into en plein air painting for my landscape work my ‘studio work’ will still exist; I’m excited to explore my limited palette sheep paintings more and I’ll always love painting horses so other work will continue to develop in a studio somewhere! However, I am mostly excited to get outside and paint again. I feel rejuvenated after painting in the landscape. The colours and life in the landscape take hold of me and I can't help but feel uplifted by the beauty and intrigue there is to discover everywhere.
embracing all the elements
An en plein air trip in Brecon
A wonderful day in Perranporth
Sunshine eyes in St Agnes
Work / Play
Limited palette sheep paintings will still be produced in studio time