A triumphant painting inspired by the mountains and lakes of Japan
Though I may be an abstract artist it’s almost impossible to not be inspired by the world around me.
This painting is a new style, using new techniques and a new version of my enamel paint.
Where the ideas came from
This original large-sized green, blue and yellow painting is a departure for me in terms of technique and materials. The reason for that is probably down to the subject matter. For a long time I’ve been fascinated with the landscapes of Japan. How their lush green forests are set against the drama of their mountain ranges and the role that water plays within that ecosystem. It’s a complex but breathtaking mix. I’m also a huge fan of the art of Katsushika Hokusai and Hiroshige (and in particular his landscapes). I’m not that well versed in their story but their work is instantly recognisable and was present in my head when I came up with the idea for the painting.
That combination is too good not to put down on to canvas, so the first abstract landscape I think I’ve ever properly done is born.
On the outside this is a relatively simple sequence of water, mountains and sky. It’s only as you delve a little deeper that you realise how the painting carries a lot more depth than at first appears. And one of those interesting, up-close details that gives this artwork an edge is those long striations that radiate in the blue and silver paint applications. I’ve experimented with this for a while as I wanted to find a way to get paint to move within other layers of paint but still hold their integrity when drying (they have a tendency to fall apart and not keep their shape). Crucially this has helped me form reflections in the water and structure for the trees (I use these descriptive words in a very loose sense though!).
So let’s look at main part of the painting which is that huge expanse of black that runs through the centre. It’s actually mixed with green and blue as this helps break up the monolithic nature of it. Through the rise and fall it carves its path along the entirety of the canvas. I chose to represent mountains but you could see it as something entirely different. One of my key considerations was to make the whole thing feel alive so there are no sharp edges or straight lines in this part. Everything takes on an organic and evolving form – much in the same way as the geography of the area does. So I’ve kept the underlying principles constant too. I think that makes for a better painting.
I’m trialing a new exterior frame on some of my paintings at the moment. These are 100% handmade and are bespoke to each canvas. The frame is made from an MDF backing with a tulip wood front. Each component is hand sawn and mitred, primed and sprayed with a version of my silver metallic enamel paint. I went for the option of doing it this way as I wanted to keep the whole ‘made-in-house’ thing going, rather than ship it out to a framing company to have them put some stock moulding on it. This way I can be exact about what will work best with each painting. It is included in the price.
The best of both worlds
The piece is all about bringing that connection between inside and out a little closer. It’s beautiful organic colours are a celebration of the natural world, its forms are dramatic and full of movement and it’s structure is one of effortless appreciation. Perhaps if you’re looking to go down the abstract route but aren’t really that confident in picking something you don’t have a connection with then this kind of thing could be exactly what you’re looking for. I think there’s just enough of a hold on the real world to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground whilst there’s just enough abstraction to fulfill that desire to own something different.
Between the world of earth and sky, there’s a place where eagles fly
There you’ll find my heart and soul carried on the wind
‘Where Eagles Fly’ by Sarah Brightman and Eric Adams