With this new body of work I wanted to try and focus on the sense of place and atmosphere Norfolk has to offer. The large skies of East Anglia play a dominant role in influencing the landscape and that relationship intrigues me. It is this influence that affects everything we see - a dense atmosphere pushes back the distance and subdues colour and contrast whereas a clear light helps colours pop and definition increases.
The paintings were developed using a mixture of references including plein air paintings, sketches and photographs. Many of the skies are influenced by the sky above my studio, especially when it was more difficult to travel around during the lockdown. Working in the studio, referencing ideas from past experiences has allowed me to consider an added dimension of balance to the work. Time away from the subject gives an opportunity for greater focus on elements such as colour harmony, tonal balance and colour temperature - three aspects of nature which excite me as a painter. I prefer to work with a subtle palette and enjoy these minor key changes seeing them as a great source of inspiration and interest.
The landscapes of East Anglia offer something new every time and it is the unique atmosphere that we seem to have that makes every day different. For a landscape painter it is a chance to study the effects of weather and the seasons against a familiar backdrop. It is why I am drawn to return and paint places like Brancaster Staithe and Burnham Overy Staithe time and again. There is always something new to learn and another side to portray.
The thrill of plein air painting includes not only capturing the immediate subject but the wider experience, sights, sounds and activity which all contribute to the final work. Enlarging or developing these experiences and ideas away from the subject gives an opportunity to tap into those memories and offers a new take on the painting. It interests me how a painting can change depending on which of the infinite elements you choose to focus on. No two artists will interpret a subject in the same way and for me, aiming to express my core passion for the outdoors, landscape, weather and atmosphere remains my motivation.
I’m very proud of these paintings which map my journey through parts of Norfolk over the last year or so. Many of these places I have painted before and some are new but all have inspired me to pick up the brush and try to communicate an idea and continue to be inspired by atmosphere.
View the exhibition online here