One of the most frequently found terms in contemporary painting is “abstracted landscape “. Its one of those terms which could mean almost anything, but this is an illustration of what it means for me.
This is a painting I made a few years ago after a moving visit to Wasdale Head. Wasdale is a small valley in the Lake District in North West England. It holds the remarkable lake of Wastwater - its surface two hundred feet above sea level and its bottom 50 feet below. The painting is of Wasdale Head, home to the Wasdale Inn and the starting point for many climbers of England’s highest mountain.
In the valley bottom is St Olaf’s church. Its roof trusses are reputed to come from Viking ships. Inside are small memorials to climbers who have died on mountains all over the world and many are buried in the graveyard. The inscriptions of their untimely deaths make very hard reading.
We came here because we have an old Turner print which was found in Masham and we were looking for the place where Turner made his picture. We found it. Afterwards we had quiet, reflective beer in front of the fire in the slate-floored inn.
Some places have so much personality a realistic painting of surface appearances would simply be not enough. So this became a landscape painting abstracted by experiences and emotions and, to help me find some of those things, I wrote a poem at accompany my sketches. The rest came from colour and movement and my thoughts as the painting came into being. I don't ask what the elements of the painting represent - they just came out that way. But I know it means to me the time we spent at Wasdale Head.
Deep into shadows under the hill
To the heart of the rain
And scumble of the falling water
To the bright-fired and slate-floored bar.
Wood smoke and fresh coffee
In the first chill of autumn
And then the path drawn upwards
Into the painting
Until the contour lines
And engraver’s furrows
If you'd like to see Peter Hicks - one the greatest of landscape abstractionists - in action, CLICK HERE
Racehorses are a subject I return to again and again. I find the combination of beauty and power just wonderful and always have since first going to the races at Kempton Park in my late teens. The first image I put into print was a picture called Winning in about 2005. It was by no means my first horse picture but I felt I had finally captured the feeling I was after.
The only other horse image I have put into print is Racing Green which now coming to the end of its edition - just a few left. Both pictures include the rails which, along with other formal elements of the course – starting gates, stands and furlong markers – act as a foil to the primal power of the horses.
Following a commission for a new racehorse painting, I’ve recently begun looking for new ideas for racing pictures. Here’s recent study.
If you're interested in seeing, or commissioning any racing pictures contact The Gallery, Masham by CLICKING HERE.
If you’re very quick you can still hear my interview on BBC Radio Yorks from last week. Its on iplayer till Sunday.
CLICK HERE to listen.
Art courses I'm teaching at Artison in the near future:
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I've been going through a few acrylic ink paintings recently because I'm teaching a one-day course on this medium at the studios of Artison, just outside Masham, in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire.
The course is on February 24th and what I hope to do is show a whole range of techniques which exploit the potential of this terrific medium.
Acrylic inks are a perfect crossover medium. They create inpervious surfaces in rich colour, like acylic paint, but can diluted and applied like watercolour. They can create intricate textures and will happily combine with other watersoluble media, like gouache.
Here are a few of the pictures I've created with acrylic inks over the last few years.
As you can see the colours are amazing and the textures varying from the subtle to the visually dissonnant.
If you'd like to book a place on the course click HERE
If you'd like to see more of my work featuring acrylic ink go to The Gallery, Masham, North Yorkshire, or visit their website by clicking HERE
And if you can't make the course but would like to try acrylic inks my recommendation would be for the wonderful range made by Rorher & Klinger of Leipzig. You can visit their site by clicking HERE