My tutor is keen fr me to loosen up in my approach and she suggested I look at the work of Peter Doig. I found a good Telegraph article about him- The telegraph -Peter Doig. in more than one article I found about him, it was commented that his works often fall somewhere between the figurative and the abstract.
I looked at the painting “Swamped”, which he painted in 1990, see christies.com and the canvas exhibits all the hallmarks of his style over the next decade. It features a canoe, afloat on a sluggish bog, thick with reflected sulphurous yellows, russets and reds. A maelstrom of brushstrokes creates a bewildering sense of visual confusion, so that the painting teeters between the figurative and the abstract. The surface is extraordinarily complex and dense, in places mottled and stippled like a piece of corroded metal with sensuous, textured, questing application of paint. Doig was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1994.
One of the most successful examples of this earlier work is the Concrete Cabin series, (see link to research point here) several large paintings of a modernist building by Le Corbusier at Briey-en-Forêt in north-eastern France, glimpsed through a tangle of trunks and foliage in a nearby wood. The paintings enact the tension between representation and abstraction that is at the heart of Doig’s work. The building’s clean geometric lines, often fleshed out with panels of primary colours so that the structure resembles a painting by Mondrian seen from a distance, are obscured by looser, darker, more furiously energetic marks representing the forest. Flashes of thick, white pigment signifying bursts of sunlight cling to the dark trunks like luminous lichen. Bolts and blobs of bright paint stud the canvases. Drifts of speckled, deliquescent colour float across our view, like surrealistic clouds. The more you look at these scenes, the stranger they become.
In Cobourg 3 + 1 More, in which an alpine forest and four figures in the foreground are almost hidden by a hazy blizzard, Doig captures the texture of plump snowflakes cascading from the skies, at the same time as alluding to and reworking Abstract Expressionism.
“Painting is about working your way across the surface, getting lost in it,” Doig once said. It’s worth following his advice.
Research some historic and contemporary artists who work in series with the landscape. You may already be familiar with works by Monet, Cézanne and David Hockney. Look also at work by Peter Doig, John Virtue and other younger artists working today. For example, see Nicholas Herbert’s series of drawings of the Chiltern Hills at: http://nicholasherbert.wordpress.com/tag/contemporary-landscape-drawing/
Monet (1840–1926) produced a number of series of paintings, focusing on his interest in variations in light and feel of a single view. His approach to these studies were the result of careful thought and analysis. His Water Lilies Series depict a scene from a French pond in his garden in Giverney, with light reflecting on the water. Monet actually planted the lilies himself, and later erected a bridge to complete the scene. I visited Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris a few months ago, where some of his water lilies oil paintings are exhibited (spanning a total of 5.5ft x 298.5ft.) Four huge canvases in one room show the scene at dusk and 4 canvases in another depict sunrise. This series consists of about 250 paintings exhibited in major museums worldwide.
Another series of works by Monet includes the Haystacks/ Wheatstacks. I visited the Art Institute in Chicago a while ago where I was struck by the beauty of the six pictures exhibited there. The series consists of 25 canvases painted in a period from the end summer to the following spring, showing variations in light at differing times of day, season and weather.
Monet, Wheatstacks (Sunset, Snow Effect), 1890-91. Oil on canvas. Art Institute of Chicago.
Monet, Wheatstacks (end of summer)1890-91.Oil on canvas. Art Institute of Chicago.
Paul Cezanne painted over 60 views of Mont Sainte- Victoire (Near Aix-en-Provence) in 1880s-1906. He was to greatly influence the development of modern art, and as he moved into post- impressionism. He wrote:
“Treat nature by means of the cylinder, the sphere, the cone, everything brought into proper perspective”.
He sought tor reveal the inner geometry of nature. He was capable of moving beyond the complexity of a view into geometrical simplicity.
Cezanne- Mont Sainte-Victoire with Large Pine (c. 1887), Courtauld Institute of Art
In a similar vein the Japanese artist Hokusai (1760-1849) is know for his thirty-six views of Mount Fuji. He created this woodblock series of landscapes as part of his personal obsession with Mount Fuji. see Thirty-six_Views_of_Mount_Fuji (Apologies for Wikipedia link).
David Hockney did a series of paintings of Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Wolds provided the inspiration for a series of artworks spanning 50 years of Hockney’s fascination with the area.
Peter Doig is best known for a series of paintings of le Corbusier’s modern and communal living apartments. These modern urban structures are partially revealed and partially hidden by surrounding forest.
Peter Doig Concrete Cabin 1994 Oil on Canvas198 x 275cm
John Virtue was inspired by walks along the Exeter Canal near the River Exe. His work oscillates between abstraction and representation. During his walks he does numerous sketches and he is strongly influenced by Turner, Constable and flemish landscapes by painters such as Rubens. He works solely in Black and White and lets the work be informed by the landscape being painted. I find this picture highly evocative- the mood and feel of the towpath is strongly captured with a sense of reflections in water below.
Nicholas Herbert produces mainly small drawings in a limited colour palette and textural monochromes. His work is informed by the visual experience of the landscape of the Chiltern Hills. His atmospheric approach, capturing qualities of light, gives the viewer a sense of the feeling of “being there”. His work is abstract and brooding as in the example below from the link suggested by the course notes http://nicholasherbert.wordpress.com/tag/contemporary-landscape-drawing/
Landscape Drawing L806, The Chiltern Hills, (2014) 17.8 x 12.9cm. Mixed media: graphite, soluble crayon and acrylic on white paper. Signed and dated on reverse
"Drawing is putting a line round an idea." Henri Matisse (1869-1954)