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Artist Jonathan Shearer currently has an exhibition including many familiar landscapes to those who walk the mountains of Lochaber, writes Nic Goddard.
Armed with a ‘travel kit’ of fold-up paintbox and mini canvases, Shearer retraces his steps to favourite peaks, ridges and glens at different times of day, month and year to capture the many faces of the geology in different light and weather conditions – often within the space of just an hour or two.
The small canvases are the prompt cards for the larger works he completes in his studio
He explained: ‘I have tried painting full-size pieces on mountain sides – but they tend to blow away.
‘Holding on to a full-sized canvas up a mountain is like grabbing a sail. And I have enough kit to carry with my camping gear.’
He also showed me his ingenious concertina sketchbooks which fold out to allow a full mountain range worth of visual note taking complete with outlines, colour palettes
and scribbled words.
The transition from these small pieces to the awe-inspiring larger works, beautifully mounted, lit and displayed in Resipole studios in Acharacle until October 15 is due to what Jonathan terms ‘the alchemy of paint’ along with what I could consider an immense talent for seeing these magnificent landscapes and somehow capturing their essence into two dimensions.
Just as in real life the further back you stand from the subject the more breath-taking the view can become and Jonathan’s work is just the same.
Close up you can see the texture of the oils and the bold strokes of colour, as you walk backwards away from the art so it begins to take shape into mountains, skies, lochs and glens.
I asked Jonathan which came first, the art or the mountain climbing?
It would seem that it’s not possible to separate one from the other as it is his artistic eye which motivates him to seek out these landscapes and the majesty of the mountains which inspires the art.
He told me that he is planting trees on his land so that he has new subject matter for when the day finally arrives that the mountains are no longer scalable.
Looking at the piece of art showing a woodland in autumn which is part of the collection, I suspect he will still be finding inspiration in nature for many years
Gallery manager Kerrie Robinson said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Jonathan Shearer back to the gallery for his fourth solo exhibition here at Resipole Studios.
‘The body of work which he has produced for this show is phenomenal and exudes the sheer passion that Jonathan feels for these remote locations.’
Land of Mountain and Flood by Jonathan Shearer is on display at Resipole Studios and online until October 15.