Leave the Camera or Phone at Home!

Describing the landscape

My art process has always begun by spending time outside. In particular, exploring the shapes, sounds, colours and textures of the natural landscape according to the season.

After 5 years of developing semi-abstract and abstract artwork, I’ve invariably been happy to record short videos and click the shutter button on my camera when I’m out walking. So I select the bits of the landscape which inspire me. Then back at the studio I download the material to my computer and Bingo! its in front of me if I need a reference point for developing work. I can look back on this information over the days, weeks and months ahead if I need to. It also enables me to alternate between topics on a daily basis.

However, I’m equally happy just painting in my studio without any prior gathering of any visual material. There’s a lot to be said in just ‘free styling’ with a paintbrush or palette knife.

My philosophy on this is that a new approach is always a positive thing. Never limit yourself by falling back on old habits developed over time. ‘nothing ventured ,nothing gained’ so they say.

Describing the landscape

Lately I took up a suggestion to make a rather different approach as a starting point for creativity. That is, walking out with just a small notebook, and a plan to describe in words what strikes me visually as I walk along. I had never done this before now. It seemed quite a novel idea. Something different. Engaging the brain is required rather than the more passive approach I was accustomed to. Looking back on this now It served to crystallize the very essence of what it was out there that really inspired my creative juices.

Get organised with media and materials

I often make collages of my artwork if I feel it could be improve the composition or add a new creative perspective on the piece. If not I trim them up and glue them into a sketchbook and they may be useful references in larger artworks later.

So all said and done, DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF MEMORY. You don’t have to fall back on technology. Rely on your memory rather than feel the need to be assisted with digital images or video footage to prompt your creative developments. Also this will help with those detoxing from digital life in 2023!