Abstracting the Landscape

Two approaches to ‘abstraction’ were experienced with James Tatum and Nicci Wannacott, although James would describe himself as an expressionist and not an abstract painter. James relies on the emotional impact of a scene, the light and colour, the sensations of wind, rain, sounds and smells, to inspire his plein aire sketches and subsequent paintings, which he builds up in layers of loosely applied acrylics.

This is a sketch that I made on Dartmoor in the rain!


I painted this acrylic painting (see below) whilst contemplating the Devon coastline with its red cliffs and fishing industry.


Nicci Wannacoot  (Exeter Phoenix) encourages us to sketch a scene rapidly in multiple different media including charcoal and ink applied with a long stick, to highlight tonal and textural variations and dissect what is the essence of the scene. Selected areas of the work are then developed to form further abstracted works. I used the scene that I have sketched previously from Orcombe Point:


Ink and long stick (very Messy) on paper – rotated


Pastel : I struggled with the colour and textures on this one…


Collage:  bringing in torn card and paper created a new feeling to the work. The portrait format also helps as the space is enclosed by the cliffs creating a greater sense of height.


Paint and pastel over the collage; this worked well, produce  areas of intriguing texture and colour contrasts.


Selecting areas for further development:


This was a brilliant exercise and I loved the results.

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