Tag Archives: landscape

some landscapes (plus one studio painting)

I spent last week on holiday in Ullapool, in north west of Scotland, where I found time to paint a number of landscapes, all acrylic on paper and all approximately 22×26 inches, apart from one which is approx 22×74. It seems the natural thing to today, when surrounded by the drama of the Scottish highlands and the ever changing weather, to try and capture it, however ineffectively, in paint.

During the week I was reading Painter as Critic, a selection of criticism by Patrick Heron. Written mostly during the 1950’s and 60’s, Heron was obsessed with the creation of a space within the picture plane that doesn’t rely on Renaissance drawing or perspective but instead uses colour, texture and new forms.

Heron seemed to reject the notion of purely abstract painting and Clement Greenberg’s obsession with the flatness of the picture plane, arguing instead that the painter or sculptor always draws their ideas, however tentatively, from the natural world.

In the Ullapool paintings I’ve used (as I’ve being doing in some recent still life’s) a fairly heavy black outline as a way to reduce and flatten the space in the picture, and isolate areas of worked colour. However as the week went on, influenced perhaps by Heron’s writing, some of that harsh delineation lifted, leaving the colours to react to each other directly.

When I got back to the studio in Newcastle, I spent a few hours working on a painting (again on paper) which I’d begun a few weeks previously. The painting was essentially figurative but using abstract forms and rhythms and vertical in shape. At the end of the morning however I looked at it sideways on and could see an (unconscious?) influence of the landscape painting in Ullapool.




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Plein air

For the first time in about two years I packed up my paints and brushes, easel and a canvas and went out into the open air to paint.

During a morning of generally pleasant if changeable weather, I painted in a field not far from Morpeth, in Northumberland. Here is the result

And here’s a photo of the easel and painting standing in the field.

It wasn’t a particularly compelling view and I didn’t stick too closely to what was in front of me. Instead, using the paint to capture the rhythm and physicality of the sky and landscape.
What did catch my eye though was the two chimneys. An interesting contrast with what’s otherwise a fairly plain rural scene. And it reminded of certain late Cezanne’s, always an inspiration.


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Today’s Galatae study

Along with a couple of sketchbook studies drawn earlier today whilst out for a short walk. What I was trying to do was find a way of schematically rendering the landscape in pen.


And finally a couple of hipstamatic shots of pylons because I quite like pylons.



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