May 17th, 2018
From what I have seen in all my years exhibiting in museums and fine art galleries, Landscape Painting is by far, the most popular genre in painting. Museums are filled with landscape art, if not pure landscape then as backgrounds for figurative art. I for one love the varied landscapes that I have explored, hiked and photographed. There is something with which we connect deeply with landscape painting, perhaps a certain scene reminds of a trip we made with family or friends. A fond memory can be triggered by viewing a landscape painting.
Landscapes present the painter with unique challenges as the composition of the scene can be simple or very complex. Lighting changes rapidly throughout the day and those painting in the great outdoors know that they have to capture the essentials of the landscape quickly before the light changes too much and alters the scene. For studio painters like myself, the composition and lighting scheme must be carefully laid out before painting begins.
The decades that I have spent cross-country skiing in the wilderness, hiking and mountaineering has given me a wealth of inspiration that could be the basis for many thousands more works yet to be painted. My mind is a personal treasure trove of mental images that have been stored and filed, much like any picture files that an artist my use for reference. What triggers a desire to paint a certain scene? Often times it is the total experience that I recall, the temperature, the wind, the aromas and fragrances associated with the place. Of course, I cannot paint those things but I can recall how the light reveals the form of the landscape, the colors, textures and perspectives, both linear and atmospheric. Oftentimes the memory is so strong as to trigger my other senses into actually smelling the air that was present when I saw the scene.
Sometimes I paint a scene because it has a strong emotional significance to me. Perhaps I was hiking with my son or a friend when I came upon the scene. It has not been rare for me to be overwhelmed and moved to tears when gazing upon a spectacular, beautiful scene. These strong emotions and memories have burned themselves into my mind and serve as the inspiration for many of my best paintings. They compel me to share my vision and experience with others. My work falls into two categories, my "landscape portraits" that are exact representations of a place and time and my "dream scapes" …. landscapes that have taken form in my dreams, often from recent trips. These composite images capture the pure essence of a particular place and time without painting an accurate image of what I actually saw. Because I dream of painting landscapes, and then paint my dreams, my trademark is Frank Wilson ~your "Painter Of Dreams". This ability to dream landscapes first came to me in my early twenties and has grown stronger with each passing decade. I'd be interested in hearing from other artists that have had similar experiences.