Part 3: Project 2.3: Research Point: Historic & Contemporary Artists Working with Landscape in Series

Many artists throughout history have been drawn to certain landscapes and have created several works in the same location. Below is a brief selection of a few of these artists and my comments regarding their work.

Herbert, Nicholas (1955 to Present)

Nicholas Herbert is an English artist who creates artwork of landscapes using a wide range of media, including such things as acrylics, soft pastels, pencils and chalk; all of which are rather reserved in their colour intensity and provide a rather muted result. Herbert admits he likes the fact his pieces aren’t too ‘pretty’ and even embraces when the pages scuff from his energies in creating certain parts of the piece, allowing them to form part of the texture he creates.

In these pieces, Herbert has created a group of landscape paintings representing the Chiltern Hills, a place Herbert knows very well and which holds a significant pull over him. Looking at the pieces, the colours and hues used are rather traditional in appearance but, otherwise, the pieces are timeless; one could not place the location at any specific date in history. All three pieces, whilst differing slightly, all hold the artist’s ‘fingerprint’ and are easily recognisable as Herbert’s.

I really enjoy Herbert’s works and the moody, almost depressive atmospheres held within each piece. I also like how they are not instantly recognisable as landscapes, but more blurs of colour. This creates for me the sense of a cold, autumnal / winter scene. I imagine darkness within the piece, such as darker clothing as is worn in the winter months, as opposed to bright, summery clothing which would look rather out of place in this setting. I really enjoy how expressive Herbert is and can really see a lot of my own style within his pieces. He is definitely an artist I will continue to bear in mind as I progress through the course as I really do appreciate the energy within his work, yet the calm he manages to portray within them as well.

Doig, Peter (1959 to Present)

Peter Doig is a Scottish artist who works in traditional ways in a Post-Impressionist style. Having lived in Trinidad for some years and at different stages of his life, Doig always felt a very strong connection with the place and so created several works recreating the beauty, tranquility and nature of the surrounding environment, but also the dangers the wild can hold.

It is clear from these works that Doig really enjoys the sense of fear and foreboding which can surround areas where nature and man-made material intermingle. These pieces show a real-life abandoned building development which has been overtaken by nature due to the lack of human interaction.

These pieces take me to a post-apocalyptic world where nature has won the battle over man-made structure and architecture. The buildings hold echos of life and happiness which is emphasised by the lack of figures within the pieces. Doig has worked both the background and foreground to be equally intense and both vie for your attention, again, showing the battle between man-made and natural dominance.

I really appreciate this type of work and can see how creating the balance between a battle for attention and the lack of success in this is very much a fine line. At present, I think I will try to continue separating the grounds to assist in my development, but this method is something I would like to revisit potentially further down the line of my studies.

Naismith, Scott (1978 to Present)

Scott Naismith is a Scottish painter who focuses on his local landscapes but, unlike the other two artists considered, he is focussed on portraying the happiness and positivity found within them, as opposed to ‘doom and gloom’ or disturbing beauty. There is a strong focus on the effects of clouds, lighting and the colours felt emotionally as opposed to physically. To achieve these works, Naismith will look for inspiration by flying a drone over the Scottish Landscape.

Considering my appreciation for other artists researched for this area, I was rather surprised to find that these works, with their intensely happy and bright colours, really do catch my eye. I am really drawn in by the colours used and how well they work together to represent the landscapes portrayed.

Naismith’s works, whilst not wholly realistic in colouring, are instantly recognisable as landscapes and are stunning to behold.

Whilst the other artists use deeper, darker colours to create drama within their pieces, Naismith’s use of the lighter, brighter colours creates a similar sense of intensity, which I think is why they appeal to me so. I have come to the realisation from looking at these works that perhaps it is not the ‘darkness’ of pieces I am drawn to, but more the intensity of the pieces.

Going forward, I think I will try to bear Naismith’s work in mind and attempt to invoke his level of intensity where that of the others is less suitable due to the demands of the subject matter in question.

List of Illustrations

Fig. 1. Herbert, N Landscape L1033, View Northwards from Rising Ground, The Chiltern Hills (2017) [Mixed media: graphite, soluble crayon, acrylic, conte crayon and pastel on white paper] At: http://www.nicholasherbert-drawings.co.uk/portfolio/2017-33.html (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 2. Herbert, N (2017) Landscape L1019, Field Sloping Down to a Line of Trees, The Chiltern Hills [Mixed media: graphite, colour pencil, soluble crayon, acrylic, conte crayon and pastel on white paper] At: http://www.nicholasherbert-drawings.co.uk/portfolio/2017-23.html (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 3. Herbert, N Landscape L890, Near Bison Hill, The Chiltern Hills (2015) [Mixed media on white paper] At: http://www.nicholasherbert-drawings.co.uk/about.html (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 4. Doig, P Concrete Cabin II (1992) [Oil on canvas] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/peter-doig/peter-doig-explore-exhibition-room-1/peter-doig-0 (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 5. Doig, P Concrete Cabin (c. 1991-2) [Oil on canvas] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/peter-doig/peter-doig-explore-exhibition-room-1/peter-doig-0 (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 6. Doig, P Cabin Essence (c. 1993-4) [Oil on canvas] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/peter-doig/peter-doig-explore-exhibition-room-1/peter-doig-0 (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 7. Doig, P Boiler House (1994) [Oil on canvas] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/peter-doig/peter-doig-explore-exhibition-room-1/peter-doig-0 (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 8. Naismith, S (2013) Harris Light [Oil on canvas] At: https://mymodernmet.com/scott-naismith-landscape-paintings/ (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 9. Naismith, S (Unknown) [Unknown] At: https://mymodernmet.com/scott-naismith-landscape-paintings/ (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Fig. 10. Naismith, S (Unknown) Uist Light II [Unknown] At: https://www.icanvas.com/canvas-print/uist-light-ii-snh53#1PC6-26×26 (Accessed on 19 June 2019)

Bibliography

Freeland, L of The Culture Trip (2017) ‘Peter Doig: Revolutionising Landscape Painting’ [Online] At: https://theculturetrip.com/caribbean/trinidad-tobago/articles/peter-doig-revolutionising-landscape-painting/ (Accessed on 24 June 2019)

Nicholas Herbert (Unknown) ‘Nicholas Herbert – Mixed Media Landscapes’ [Online] At: http://www.nicholasherbert-drawings.co.uk/about.html (Accessed on 24 June 2019)

Scott Naismith (Unknown) ” [Online] At: https://scottnaismith.com/abou/ (Accessed on 24 June 2019)

Tate (Unknown) ‘Room 3’ [Online] At: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/peter-doig/peter-doig-explore-exhibition-room-1/peter-doig-0 (Accessed on 24 June 2019)

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