Vague, hazy distances or intricate, closeup details; a hillside habitation or the veins on a leaf; clouds, blades of grass, tree bark and shadows; if we can take it all in in a single glance, then why can’t we work it all up into one glorious masterpiece? Just how do we sum up everything that strikes us when we hop over a style and take our first step into a sunlit, flower-strewn meadow?
“Nature can afford to be lavish in all things; the artist must be thrifty in every detail.”
Paul Klee (1879-1940)
I’m always quoting Klee because he wasn’t just a great artist, he was a great teacher, too. His notebooks and writings on art are indispensable to anyone who is interested in teasing apart the mysterious business of picture-making.
You can download a copiously illustrated facsimile edition of ‘The Thinking Eye,’ his volume 1 Bauhaus notebook here. I treated myself to a hardback copy when I was nineteen and as it cost a hefty £12.50, I decided that volume two would have to wait (I had after all, just travelled around Europe for a month on a £30 rail ticket). Alas, I never bought Klee’s second opus and now, both volumes would set me back £400!
On the difficulty of painting from nature, Klee went on to say:
“Nature is locquacious to the point of confusion; let the artist be silent and orderly. Never work towards a ready-made pictorial impression. Give yourself entirely to the development of the part you are painting. Reduce the whole to a very few steps, let the general impression rest on this principle of economy.”
On my short, residential course at Moorbath Creative this March, we’ll explore Klee’s words in our own sketches and paintings of the beautiful Dorset countryside and enjoy the focus and tranquility that this new and very special venue has to offer
Imagining The Landscape
at Moorbath Creative
four nights and three days devoted to the art of the landscape
20 March to 24 March 2017 at Moorbath Creative, Bridport DT6 6HN
prices from £500 per person sharing (includes full board, tuition and accommodation)
For more details see the dedicated Art Holidays page.