Making landscape art in 2020
Updated: 3 July 2020
Knowing when, eating flies, a good view, and knuckling down in my artist's garret.
Time to put the canvas down
I've decided to shelve my Wolds series painting project (sad face). It's now filed under 'Projects for 2021'.
Can't say I'm happy about it, but I was getting nowhere. The lack of productivity was getting too much for me, so I've faced it and decided.
The list of this year's onslaught is a long one now, isn't it? First the storms Dennis, Ciara, and Jorge. Then fast on the heels of the first hints of Spring, came the virus.
Sketching outside in the hills became a criminal activity! A landscape artist without any landscape… is as forlorn as a cowboy without any cows.
Now that lockdown is easing, the weather is dreadful. Ho-hum. Knowing when to let go of something is healthy, allegedly.
An artist who can't eat flies
There's something else to understand too. I love the Wolds, but we're rapidly heading into fly season.
Settling down in the valleys to sketch, or paint, is quite an experience at this time of year.
I'm not sure why it's so bad in this particular area, but there are plagues of flies to pick off your art. And when I say a plague, I'm not joking – I have the painting to prove it.
Though I think of myself as reasonably hardy, clouds of insects battering my face get to me, and I beat a retreat. Should I ever be asked, I know the answer to the question: 'how many flies can you eat?'.
It's not so bad if you're on the move, or higher up the slopes in a breeze. Of course, I'd decided my series had to concentrate on viewpoints down in the valley bottom. I would, wouldn't I.
A fine landscape view
Choice of viewpoint in landscape art is critical. It's something I spend a lot of time on before deciding.
Sometimes the view sorts itself out. You rock‑up and stubble about, and then suddenly you're stood where everything falls into place.
More often, there's a tree that sits wrong, or the line of a track cuts the canvas in half too uniformly… and umpteen other things that don't sit right.
It's why I use a lot of what's called artistic license; why I move things, like trees, tracks, shrubs, and even hills! It's called 'composing' the picture.
I'm also always seeking the iconic view – the view. The one that captures the scene in a way no other does. And it's often the view no one else paints, strangely. I know!
So what's a landscape artist to do?
Well, the answer is obvious, of course: make some flamin' art.
I'm not someone who sits around 'doing arty'. I tend to work, all the time.
So I have started some paintings, and some are nearly finished. They're artworks I've wanted to paint before but didn't get round to them. Then I forgot about them.
As well as that, I've been working away on this website (though I've not launched anything yet). I'm adding a 'buy' option, so you won't have to email me.
It's so complicated doing it properly! A discount system, especially. But if someone buys more than one, then it's only fair they get a little something off the second.
I've got lots of cards and a couple of small books to photograph and upload too. It's work I've not got round to before.
Lockdown hasn't been all bad (for me, luckily). My garden looks better than it's ever done. That's helped me be trimmer too!
And I'm as busy as ever. An artist's work is never done. There's the paintings above, this website and new prints to design.
I've also some more linocuts to get framed, because the lovely flowers at one of my galleries sold a few prints during lockdown.
Hope you've avoided cabin fever, and all those you care about are OK.
Why do I make this kind of art?
Growing up in the countryside meant I spent every dry day outside in the landscape, preoccupied with its wonder and magic.
From the single blade of grass and the magical, mysterious thing we call a cloud, to the epic and breathtaking vista, it all still fascinates this kid.
It's why I make British landscape paintings and art prints now.
Britain is an artist's scenery paradise
I'm based in Yorkshire. Yorkshire is not alone in its distinctiveness or diversity of scenery. I can say this since visiting Devon, Northumberland, Cumbria, Lancashire, Pembrokeshire and The Shire of Inverness, to name a few. Variety, in fact, is a characteristic of the UK terrain from the tip of Scotland to the foot of Cornwall. It's not surprising British landscape art spans more than 250 years.
Naturally, Yorkshire subjects dominate my collection at this time. I'm ever hopeful of being able to paint further afield, though. I've already got many sketches of 'foreign' parts elsewhere in the UK waiting for paint or lino.
More art by kind:
What kind of art do I make?
I primarily paint landscape oil paintings and print limited edition linocut original prints. All my art, so far, is of the British countryside, seaside/coastline and its surrounding seas. My collection of original, unique art, currently includes Northumberland, Yorkshire, and The South Hams in Devon.
I work in my studio from reference and outside in front of the scene. My Plein‑air paintings often form part of the reference for my studio paintings and prints. I'm always adding to my gallery of contemporary landscape paintings and prints, covering the North of England and the much painted Southern Counties.
Buying my paintings and linocuts for sale
Updated: 17 December 2019
My contemporary British landscape art prints are available from these galleries in Yorkshire. Some have my lino prints in stock, both framed and unframed. Check the gallery pages to see what they have. They're all welcoming, knowledgable, helpful people, and they won't pressurize you to buy.
If you've read my latest update above, you'll know I'm spending 2020 making art. I won't be releasing much during the year. The art displayed on this website is available to buy, however, unless stated.
I've been trying to make it possible to buy from this website without the need to email me. Unfortunately, it's proved a bit of a mission. So it's still not possible at this time, I'm sorry to say.
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