“Traveller, there is no path, the path is made by walking.”
– Antonio Machado
Encounters: Landscape, Emotion & Memory
The paintings in this new collection of my work are the direct result of my process of encountering the emotional content of nature in the landscape. For me, it is all about my personal process of becoming open, receptive and immersed in the place before even considering drawing or painting. I just let the landscape shape my painting as opposed to me shaping the landscape to a fixed “style”. I start by slow walking, quieting my mind, and becoming acutely aware of the moment, the place, the weather, mood and atmosphere.
These things determine my visual language. Once, I begin to sense that the moment is alive, significant and real, I begin by making a series of automatic, rapid drawings without conscious thinking to get in touch with the landscape. The drawings merge into tonal studies to understand the relationships of the spaces that I see and feel. After a period of gestation (which may be weeks or months), I begin to remember my feelings and emotions from the original encounter and only then do I start painting in what appears to be a “spontaneous” impulse.
I am not interested in a slavish depiction of what I see, but only to show what it feels like to be in a particular place at a moment in time. These paintings are the result of thinking what I feel and feeling what I think.
– James Tatum, March 2022