I am an artist living and working in Sussex and I paint large semi-abstract landscapes in oil on canvas. Very much part of my painting process is to walk and absorb the sounds and sights of a landscape before returning home and trying to capture an ‘essence’ of it in a painting. They often reflect the season when I took the walk as the four paintings I have included here will illustrate.
The first one is called Bluebell Symphony and was painted last Spring after a walk I took in my own area in East Sussex. The landscape here consists of low hills and fields and thousands of small and large patches of Forest (which apparently used to be one massive forest across the whole of the South East of England). This painting reflects a blissful half hour I spent in one of these patches of an ancient forest when the bluebells were out and the scent and colours and feeling of it was stunning. The deer was not there but that is what artistic licence is for because he really should have been.
The next painting is called Timeless Meadow and was painted in Summer after a walk near Wadhurst in East Sussex. I went through many meadows with foxgloves and wildflowers and the green just looked perfect with the pinky mauve of the foxgloves. I wanted to catch that sultry, insect buzzy, pollen-rich atmosphere of this field with a river towards the back and a marsh around it. It makes me happy as I can re-experience that summer whenever I look at it.
The third painting is called The Watchers in the Forest and it reflects Summer going into Autumn. It was painted after several walks I took around the Ashdown Forest near Hartfield in East Sussex (Winne the Pooh country). Although the trees dominate, you can see small deer watching you through the gaps between then – very much as they do in real life. This painting also hints at my fear of forests as well as my love of them. They scare me as I get lost in them but I love them as every one of them has a different atmosphere – sometimes scary, sometimes pure magic – always fascinating.
The final painting is a winter one and is called Spirit Guides. It was painted after a walk in the Friston Forest near Cuckmere Haven on the South coast. It was a frosty day and had that magical quality winter always has if you are wearing warm enough clothes to appreciate it. The deer were not this close to me but this is what they may have looked like if they were!
I call this way of working ‘memory impressionism’ as I literally paint what has been impressed on my memory as I was walking. It is therefore not very traditional and I cannot name any of the trees or plants in them as they are simply that – impressions. I leave botanical accuracy to artists who have a better attention span than I do but am happy that I am able to encapsulate my happy walking experiences into paintings as I do and look forward to seeing what I come up with this year! Gill 🙂