Does an artist need to set himself a task I asked myself? Should´nt an artist have absolute freedom to do what he wants to do?
I decided that I needed a guideline. A subject matter that would keep me focused so that I would not turn out to be a Jack of all trades and master of none.
I am glad I went down that road as I have noticed now that with every painting I learn something new. It is very gratifying to see the progress I have made over recent years.
Forty years ago I used to concentrate on painting famous architecture until I started on landscapes in 2006. The world around us offers such a wonderful variety of subjects to choose from. Of course you can capture a scene in a photograph and I agree it is much quicker than painting. However, although I mostly paint from photos I or my family have taken I think a painting adds something personal and heart-warming to the scenery.
I love to paint en plein air but more often than not there is not enough time to sit down with my easel. Also the weather can be very unstable. So I take photos and videos to work from back in my studio.
A painting gives you the freedom to leave out parts of the landscape you consider to be less important to what you want your painting to say. You can also change or underline the mood by altering the light. Most of all I want my paintings to tell how beautiful this planet still is. This meant that I had to learn how to portray a landscape realistically as I wanted everyone to be able to understand my paintings without having to attend a three-day seminar first.
So I have gone out looking for the beauty in my neighbourhood which used to be a region of heavy industry. It was not at all difficult to find attractive subjects. You just have to keep an open mind and open your eyes to the small wonders around us be it a group of trees, a lake, a creek, the hills, and when on holiday the mountains, or the seaside.
Quoting from an old American Indian saying I want to remind people of what we need to preserve:
When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.