For a while now I’ve really felt like I’m going round in circles with my landscape painting (I may have said this already, in which case I’m turning into my mother).
I wonder if my lack of formal art education and limited experience (I’ve only been painting for around 2 years) is really beginning to show when it comes to moving through blocks and getting to the next level in my work.
One of my problems is I still feel very much in the exploratory stage of landscape painting – I don’t want to put my stake in the ground just yet and fix on a style. I know I’m not a realist painter. Detail overwhelms me and I quickly lose interest, so painting every hair on a cat isn’t ever going to happen. On the other hand I also struggle to really distill the essence of a landscape, to simplify it so it just hints at what it might actually be.
So I’m somewhere in the middle – painterly, impressionistic, expressive, veering in and out of these styles to varying degrees depending on how I feel about what I’m painting that day.
The other thing that’s tripping me up lately is colour. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s true. It’s not often I use local colour in my work, but I had sort of forgotten that what I used to do was start with a more localised colour palette, and then add some bling to it. I’ve been in this phase lately of starting with the bling and getting in all sorts of muddles.
The other thing I’m always looking to improve on is composition. My landscapes tend to be large scenes in the distance, with a lot of sky. For the most part that’s what I like, but I also feel a need to explore life through my brushes from a smaller vista, closer up.
So, it’s back to basics for me: