I usually say it’s because I love the landscape and having been a keen walker/climber for many years I want to share the experiences I have had & the places I have been with people who may not have the same opportunities. That is indeed true but I recently got to thinking about this a little more and realised something else……. The main reason I paint landscapes or seascapes is quite simply – escapism!! Bearing in mind that a great many of the subjects in my paintings are completely made up I realised that when I am painting I have the opportunity to invent a landscape and exist within that landscape for the duration of time it takes me to paint the picture – I am there in other words and this may sound a little hippyish (but bear with me )you have all heard of the technique of going to your happy place when you get stressed. Well painting to me is my way of doing that. I just decide where I want to go then paint it. So of I want a day at the beach I will paint a seascape and if I want to go for a walk in the hills then I just paint a mountain scene and hey presto I am exactly where I want to be.
This approach also means that I can paint an experience without actually having to be there. I have been in the mountains when the weather has taken a turn for the worse and believe me it’s not fun but it can be awe inspiring, so much so that you kind of forget that you can’t feel your fingers anymore and that you have 5litres of water sloshing about in your boots because for that one moment when the sun breaks through the clouds and selectively lights the landscape in that amazing way you wouldn’t be anywhere else on the planet. Then of course the sun goes in and you remember that you really would rather be in the nice warm pub that you can see down in the valley but won’t reach for another four miserable, sodden hours. However here is the cool bit through painting I can relive those special moments whenever I like but from the comfort of my studio.
As I said escapism in it’s purest form and that my friends is why I paint landscapes rather than anything else. Why on earth would I want to paint someone’s every wrinkle or next doors new labrador when I can choose to spend that time exploring an imaginary landscape? There’s just no contest! My point here although convoluted is one to help those that like my work understand why I paint what I do and secondly to encourage those who also paint to find a subject that speaks to their heart and not to just pick something that will provide an income. I am talking to you graphic designers out there who really wanted to paint pictures and to those portrait painters who would rather paint the flowers in the garden than the person sitting in front of them. Be true to yourself and paint what you want to paint and the rest will come!