Before you get too worried that I’m about to bombard you with loads of pictures and ask you to buy them, I’m not. I’m just going to pick out a few instances where the outdoors and art overlapped this year.
Increasingly my hikes are geared around the search for subject matter to paint. Of course I enjoy being out there and I don’t need the prompt to do it, but the choice of where to go now often has art-driven factors. Take for instance my trip to the Lakes in late October this year, when I walked from Silecroft, over Black Combe etc to Eskdale and then Langstrath and Rosthwaite. The choice of route was based on two things: (1) a wish to revisit the Black Combe area where I had a great series of walks in 2010, and (2) the artistic potential of two of Lakeland’s best valleys. It will be no surprise that a whole series of paintings based on these (and other) valleys is now in the pipeline for 2019, and is likely to form the core of the body of work I’ll be taking to art fairs during the year.
In a similar vein, I resurrected a work that had languished in a corner of the studio: this painting was inspired by the walk through the Lairig Ghru on my first TGO Challenge in 2017.
This year’s TGO Challenge also yielded some work. Not epic mountains or views of glens, but trees. And dead ones at that. There was some personal significance behind the choice, though. I found these on the shores of Loch Ericht where I camped at the end of 4 days of slog which had really punished the feet (a lot of people dropped out of the Challenge this year with foot problems). The photos I took of the dead wood reminded me about the struggle this year’s Challenge was, as well as fitting my style quite well. The persistence of the trees in clinging to the edge of the loch provided another angle.
The best day of the Challenge, walking from Glen Etive to Rannoch Moor, also provided a painting of a classic Glencoe view.
Finally in respect of inspiration taken from this year’s Challenge, the following piece was painted for the “Celebration of Difference” exhibition. This piece explores ulterior motives, and proved popular at the show.
Local walks also yielded a good amount of material. First the walk home from a camp out on Orsett Fen brought me to a series of frozen puddles on a rutted farm track. The shapes and contours in these puddles yielded no less than 7 paintings.
A stretch of the Saffron Trail near Battlesbridge where the ground was baked hard and cracked by the sun, in our hot dry summer this year, gave rise to one of the hits from my solo exhibition this year:
And then there’s Dartmoor. One notable Sunday afternoon stroll with Paul and Cath yielded an incredible amount of inspiration. And we didn’t even penetrate that far onto the moor. Indeed, 4 paintings came from a photo I took of Cleave Tor:
One from a fallen tree:
…and even a bit of river bed:
If you’re a texture / abstract artist, the patterns and texture on the rocks of Dartmoor provide an almost limitless source of material for painting. I took so many photos of rocks on my last Dartmoor trip, that I’m well supplied for some time to come. Not that this will stop me from going to Dartmoor!
All but 2 of the above (which were painted after) made it into my debut solo exhibition (“Residue”) at Nolia’s Gallery in London in October. With 3 group exhibitions (“Blended”, “Tiled” and “Celebration of Difference”) I also took part in, and two more that I helped invigilate, it’s been a busy year. 2019 looks set to be a less intensive year, but I am expecting to pop up at a selection of art fairs in the South East to peddle my wares. I will, of course, also be generating some new work which I’ll be sharing as I go.
More information on the artworks featured here can be found on my art site at matthewkingarts.com , on twitter as @matthewkingarts, on instagram as @matthewkingarts, and on my Facebook page. I also have a gallery on ArtQuid.com which has the widest range of my work of any of the 3rd party sites.