It’s getting to that time of year when everything seems to bask in a glorious glow, reveling in warmer weather, long light evenings and the promise of all good things that the summer brings.
When it get’s like this, there’s not much that can stop me picking up my sketchbook and materials and heading out into the great outdoors. Emboldened by the lack of rain and inspired by the kind of luminous quality the light takes on, spring and summer definitely brings out my more creative side.
And it’s not just me! This time of year, many people seem filled with a fresh appreciation for creativity and are motivated to take up painting. When everything is so lovely and airy, it’s not hard to see why lighting it so important to artists.
Turner definitely springs to mind. Whether focusing on sun-soaked seascapes or stormy skylines, the delicate interplay of light and shadow has always drawn me to his work. Indeed, I’ve spent countless hours laboriously trying to recreate the effect of sunshine cutting through stormy clouds or mimic the gentle pink-hued tinges of a Turner sunset. Why not head down to the Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate where you can see some of his stunning work and experience first hand the north sea light and coastline that inspired him time and time again.
Or perhaps Maggi Hambling, whose ‘Walls of Water’ exhibition at the National Gallery is, quite literally, making waves at the moment. Her beautiful and wildly expressive paintings evoke sprwaling Hiroshige-style tides, awash with exuberant colour and a fascinating sense of kinetic energy that can only be achieved through use of light. Catch her at Charleston Festival this May as she gives a talk about her new book, War Requiem and Aftermath, the vital importance of controversy, her art and life with critic and journalist, Nicolette Jones.
But if it’s light on water that catches your imagination and stirs the shifting pool of creativity within you, there’s Monet’s inevitable ‘Waterlilies’ or the dappled reflections of Renoir’s B la Grenouillère. Bringing with them the soft warmth of implied summer, their work cannot help but mirror the shift from spring into golden summer.
In contrast to airy land and seascapes, Edward Hopper focuses on light in confined spaces, constructing claustrophobic structures around his subjects; lonely rooms and urban buildings that are only brought respite through hopeful beams of sunlight. Tearing through each painting, they break up the spaces with long-limbed shadows and fractured, sun-strewn compositions.
Who are your favorite light-obsessed painters? Or, if you’re getting in the spirit of the season and making most of the beautiful weather, why not send us some of your work. Don’t be shy, we always love to hear what you’re up to.