I have recently seen many contemporary artist that work in series with regards to the landscape, but I have to say I struggle to find historic artists that have done the same, particularly ones that interest me. Rather then listing artists that used to do this, I have focused again mainly on ones I have discovered that inspire and interest me and which I feel have a direct correlation with my work (or hope at least).
Firstly, the exercise mentions two artists that I had not yet discovered and whose work I do admire.
Firstly Nicholas Herbert. I have never heard of this artist before, but I absolutely adore his work. At first glance, I thought the drawings were too subtle, but on looking more on his website I have found such beautiful variations in depth and palette that I am extremely drawn to these. I love the abstraction of these drawings, and the palette and softness of them – their blues and pinks with dark blue and blacks/browns. This is inspiring me to try again with pastel or at least add some subtle pastel tones to my idea with inks. I think a good idea also would be to prime my paper in a burnt umber, in the same way I do for oil paintings, before going out and drawing on the paper. This will give a warmth to my drawings which plain white paper just doesn’t give. I also realise I need to be braver with my abstraction and slightly go with the flow/feeling of a place rather then any detail at all. Perhaps if I start with that in my head initially, and then pull out a few details here and there, rather then going in with detail and then subsequently trying to rub out and ‘abstract’ the drawing.
A few examples of Nicholas Herberts’ work that I particularly like – possibly the ones I have picked out have a bit more variation in tone and colour.
Fig 1. Herbert, Nicholas. L924 Lake Garda Series, The Western Shoreline. Mixed media. www.nicholasherbert-drawings.co.uk.
Fig 2. Herbert, Nicholas. Landscape L966, Sharpenhoe Series, Towards Sharpenhoe, Autumn, The Chiltern Hills. Mixed media. http://www.nicholasherbert-drawings.co.uk
Fig 3. Herbert, Nicholas. Landscape L947, Sharpenhoe Series, View across fields, The Chiltern Hills. Mixed media. http://www.nicholasherbert-drawings.co.uk
Fig 4. Herbert, Nicholas. Landscape L950, Clearing Below Sharpenhoe, The Chiltern Hills. Mixed Media. http://www.nicholasherbert-drawings.co.uk
Next I’ll briefly take a look at John Virtue’s work as suggested. Whilst I am quite drawn to these, in comparison to Nicholas Herbert’s work I do find them quite brash and bold – perhaps more then I would like.
Fig 5. Virtue, John. Landscape No.673, 2003. Acrylic, black ink and shellac on canvas. 152cm x 152cm. http://www.gillianjason.com
His drawings use black ink and white paint, and I wonder what white paint he uses to get the thickness/depth, as the gesso I frequently use is not thick enough to cover marks. Virtue also works on a very large scale – I have read that he works on canvas, and I imagine the canvas is primed – does the work adhere to the canvas? I have not tried ink on canvas as a material, and need to see if it will stick. I wonder how hard it would be to draw onto canvas with anything other then a paintbrush, as a pen would get stuck on the grain. I have noted the size of the above drawing as I think it is significant in this instance. What does the actual drawing look like up close? Can you see its a scene or does it look abstract?
Next I have looked at Janette Kerr, PRWA in order to mention her regarding her series of works. However, as I am going to do an exhibition write up on her work from a recent trip to the RWA Bristol, I am going to be brief in this instance.
Janette Kerr frequently works in series of works, and worked on a collaborative research and development project called ‘Extreme Wave Theory’, which aims to join art with science. She frequently used beautiful script in her drawings and paintings, as below.
Fig 6. Kerr, Janette. PPRWA RSA (Hon). Northerly. Oil on board with photographic element on gampi tissue. http://land2.leeds.ac.uk
However it was her recent series of drawing from her trip to the Arctic that interested me and which I have written about in a different research section. Apologies for my reflection in the glass taking the photo!
Fig 7 Kerr, Janette. PPRWA RSA (Hon). Virgohamna to Longyearbyen, Svalbard V, 2017. Watercolour and graphite.
And finally an artist who I have admired for a while, who frequently draws series – Emma Stibbon RA. Stibbon works from sketches and photographic records in large scale monochrome on paper. I particularly like her ‘Terra Infirm’ series which are drawings of Iceland in ink, carbon and volcanic ash on paper. I wonder how these artists don’t damage the paper or how they stop it from crinkling – mine always looks like a car crash after I’ve worked on it for a while!
Stibbon also uses ink and Mica on paper – apparently mica powder is used to give a shimmery and metallic like appearance to your paper which can give extra depth, and might be one to try for the future. Stibbon’s work is similar to others that I have mentioned in the fact that it is black and white again, often with large areas of black or white within her drawings. Again, her drawings are enormous – real wall fillers, and I’m starting to realise that I should be more ambitious with the scale of my drawings.
Fig 8. Stibbon, Emma. RA. Hverir, Iceland. Ink and volcanic dust. 130cm x 183cm. www.royalacademy.org.uk
I am starting to get the impression that I’m on vaguely the right track, and I just need to keep drawing in my way and develop my ideas of mixed media, mainly black and white, perhaps with adding a few very subtle clever tones here and there. Hopefully my landscape work will get stronger the more I do of it.