Project 2 Research Point: Landscape Series

All websites accessed 10th/11th  Jan. 2016

I looked at the landscape series created by David Hockney and George Shaw in my earlier landscape research post so I won’t repeat those artists here. I spent a little time exploring the work of Nicholas Herbert as suggested. I absolutely love his series entitled ‘Silent Spaces’ These drawings/ paintings have been done in a limited palette with muted, earthy tones that particularly appeal to me. Whilst I don’t really know the Chilterns very well I do get a sense of British weather when I look at them. They are atmospheric – partly I think due to the muted palette used. Herbert uses layering techniques a lot. This seems to add a sense of depth to his work as well as atmosphere. This contrasted beautifully with the next artist I looked up: Peter Doig. I ended up looking at paintings for his 2013 No Foreign Lands exhibition ( Here we have an artist using a much brighter palette depicting landscapes in a tropical climate. In particular I like his ‘Red boat (Imaginary Boys)’ painting. Here his depiction of tropical vegetation is a mixture of positive and negative shapes with areas of diffuse painting. The effect is to present a tangle of jungle. Such undergrowth is hard to capture as there is so much going on but Doig uses tones to convey this rather than concentrating on individual plants. This he leaves to the higher, more defined tree tops. Doig also uses layering, but in a more etherial way than Herbert. For instance in ‘Cricket Painting (Paragrand)’ there is a figure layered on in the distance with the background clearly showing through in a kind of ghostly way. This perhaps adds to the sense of depth to the painting

John Virtue is famed for his monochrome landscapes (such as his London paintings: and Seascapes: (such as those inspired by the North Norfolk Coast In both sets there is a dramatic play between light and dark across the canvas. For his London landscapes he uses perspective to draw your eye into the painting. In ‘Landscape 707’ this is enhanced by the curve of the road with light reflecting of it and the distance buildings in outline only as if the sun is shining on them (in contrast to most other London landscapes which has building depicted as black shapes). I am really drawn to these dramatic landscape paintings, but less so to his equally dramatic seascapes. They have very powerful projections of the sea  but are more abstract in the sense that where sea ends and sky begins is open to interpretation. I suspect these paintings are very impressive seen in life rather than on a small screen.

An artist working closer to home for me is David Prentice who produced a stunning series of landscapes based on the Malvern Hills. What I like about these images is that they are painted from an unusual perspective – elevated above the hills themselves (apparently he flew camera’s on kites to take images). He had several different styles. Earlier paintings of the Malverns were quite realist in his approach (such as this one which I can not find a name for but saw personally few years back ). His use of colour depicts a beautiful light over the hills which makes me smile. In this painting the path following the ridge of the hills leads the view off into the distance where Prentice used aerial perspective to paint the distant landscape in cooler more indistinct shades. Later he produced a series of more abstract paintings (such as ‘Primal Measure’ The light is still beautifully rendered and although more abstract in the foreground, the background still is cooler and less distinct again giving a tremendous sense of distance. Looking at this body of work puts me in the body of a bird soaring high above the landscape, a feeling I find most fascinating and draws me back to the work.

Project 2 Research Point: Landscape Series

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