Sunday, 12 June 2011

So, Why "Walk Paint Walk" Then?

Gleann Garbh Rainbow
For a long time my art consisted of paintings of still life and the odd portrait/life painting, mostly in watercolour, but occasionally oils.  I found still life to be a suitable subject for my busy life.  A  set-up didn't really change all that much and was always there ready to be painted when I had the time to paint it.  I also had (and still have) many ideas and themes I wanted to explore, using objects to symbolise other meanings. 

But for a long time I yearned to paint some of the beautiful countryside around me, Scotland is a glorious place, with awe-inspiring mountains, lush colours, oh and a lot of "atmosphere" (ie, weather)!  I had felt intimidated by the vastness of the vistas before me and preferred paintings that were more unusual, avoiding the cliche and tourist images that are too often seen.  I wanted to explore Scotland to a greater depth than a mere photo taken a few steps from the car and there really is only one way to do it properly.  You have to get your boots muddy!

Two years ago, I decided on a fitness programme and worked up my ability to hike longer distances, greater inclines and rougher terrain.  It took a while, but the rewards of at last being able to see Scotland from greater heights and in more remote places was well worth the bruises, aching joints and blisters.

So now I hike whenever I get the opportunity, which isn't as much as I would like, but is a treat.  I go armed with tons of camera gear and take a lot of photos.  Soon I will go armed with paints and pochade box instead, but that will have to wait until I get to grips with actually painting the landscape.

View from Top of Beinn Alligin

I have heard it said that landscape is the easiest subject to paint, followed by still life then portraits. I am finding landscape a big change from my previous subject matter and am still intimidated by all the green, the rocks, aerial perspective, composition, skies, trees and water, but determination and practice will get me there and I won't give up.  I never do.

So far this year I have painted over 30 landscape studies, most of which have ended up in the bin, I still have a long way to go, but it is beginning to fall into place and I am finally making progress.  Of course, it doesn't help that I have also switched medium, from being a resonably adept watercolourist, I am now using almost exclusively, oils.  

So two major changes at once - subject matter and medium have given me a big learning curve.  Heh, I never choose to take the easy route.

1 comment:

Julie Arbuckle said...

Hi Rolina,

Pretty much all you've written here sounds like me. And I'm totally with you on the 'grading' of how 'easy' landscape painting is...I like a challenge and that's partly why I'm a landscape artist :) Still lives I think, are the training grounds for learning shape, colour, composition, brushwork etc. How can painting nature ever be totally 'realised'?

I don't think it can be, and that's the challenge in landscape painting.