Pan the Horizon

the watercolour palette inherited from my father
my old friend

Sometimes, in order to move forward, you need to take a look backwards.  So, as I am preparing to take my next leap forward, I have been feeling the urge to touch base and revisit my ‘landscape’ roots for a while.  Having just sold a few paintings, my materials fund is looking quite healthy just now.   With this in mind and in anticipation of some sketch action, I have got my watercolour palettes out of the drawer for a bit of an overhaul.  I’ve cleaned out the hard-baked or empty pans and made a note of what colours I need to replace.

Next, I venture forth for inspiration.  For me, there are three main ways of experiencing my environment – three quite separate ways of travelling through the landscape that I often do together or in isolation to one another depending on what is appropriate at the time.  Experiencing it physically / taking photos of it / making rapid drawings for studio work or more fully formed representations in front of the subject.  Firstly, I have to spend time in nature to make any sense of it at all.


By walking through it – which I do a lot – I am also experiencing the landscape physically, and just looking.  I mean really looking, with intensity.  I know it sounds obvious but you have to be there to experience it, and it takes a lot of looking to be able to see!   It also gets everything going….legs pumping, vital oxygen flowing through your veins as well as those ‘happy’ neurons firing in the brain as this is the best ever mode for thinking.  I have a special ‘thinking’ hat and walking is a fantastic drugs-free remedy for anyone who has any sort of dilemma in their life that needs sorting out.   But I am also feeling my physicality in the space….feeling the wind tug my lapels as I squelch across boggy moors, or smell the damp, salty air as it whips my hair into strands about my face, or feel my ribs ache as my lungs gasp for air on reaching the summit of a steep climb.  Being prepared for anything the weather might throw at you is the key to ultimate enjoyment.  Absolutely nothing beats a blast in the elements for dispersing any sort of lethargy.