It was interesting for me to research John Virtue’s work as it is not a style of work I am drawn to. He clearly now has a distinct style with the use of black and white, however, it was his earlier paintings of the moor that resonated with me most and gave me ideas and inspiration for my own work.
Landscape No 44 – it’s the mark making in this piece that interests me – the delicacy of mark which reminds me of etching – I want to know how he achieved it and make a mental note to incorporate repetition into my work. Somehow the repetition adds an unknown element because as a group they create an overall piece that is a mystery until the work is complete. It’s making a choice to use the random element as part of the intention for the piece.
The Sea – Great sense of light and energy, however, I find the intense white and black hard to like. They put me off rather than draw me in. I can see intellectually what great pieces they are, full of life, light and energy. However, they are too cold and I lose interest in them pretty quickly.
Landscape No. 739 – This is reminiscent for me of Monet’s London in fog paintings and again, because of the nature of the colour combination I am not drawn to engage with the piece. I question what it is that puts me off – perhaps it is simply because I think of Monet when I look at this and therefore have no wish to engage further.
Landscape 715 – I have included this one because of the intense area of white light in the bottom right of the image. It is a reminder to me to make sure I have included a strong light source – as I find it one of my challenges – and this is a great example of the strength of an image, whether abstract or not, when the light has been given appropriate consideration.
I prefer the following three images from John Virtue’s work. I struggle with the black and white – it feels too oppressive for me so the colours and light in these works are far more in alignment with what I might aspire to do with a landscape.
Seagulls on Oswaldwistle Moor – amazing texture and intensity to the sky. The limited palette also adds strength to this piece. really atmospheric.
View of Green Haworth from the North – great energy to the sky – the movement of the clouds almost leaps off the page. There feels such strength in this piece – that nature is dominant over man with the small houses and enormous sky. Also lovely sense of light.
View of Oswaldtwistle – again, a wonderful muted palette – this is the sort of colour range I want to try working with. I am struggling with colour combining so this use of colour is something I could try out. The sense of scale is intriguing – the smallness of the houses draws me into the picture and the immensity of the sky (again) keeps my attention.
Landscape No. 82 – It’s the grid, the structure and the repetitive nature of the style of images that create something beyond the collective. They gather a momentum because they are individual and yet part of a greater whole. This is a lovely example of the process of drawing, the investigation of an idea or of a setting.