|Through a process of walking,drawing
and painting directly in the highland landscape and working repeatedly
in different places chosen and revisited many times Jonathan Shearer has developed an
intimate connection with the wild places of Scotland.
paintings are concerned with trying to convey the sensation of being
immersed in the landscape, the wind in your face, the soft bogginess of
the moor beneath your feet, the clouds enveloping the mountain. The sheer
exhilaration of wild places.
In the landscape I work on small oil paintings on board. Back in the
studio I use them to develop larger paintings. Working quickly on several
paintings at a time allows the changing light, ebb and flow of the tide
and the elusive mood of the landscape to set the pace.
I hope to convey the changing seasons in the highlands. The hue of the
earth through wet and dry days, the gathering and fleeting clouds working
their dramatic transformation on the mountains, the play of the elements
in the wild places. "
Speed is essential when working outside –if you spend too much time on a
sketch or painting, you lose the sense of what is happening. I like each
painting to be readily identifiable to the particular location, yet
equally it must be true to my feelings and response, which I think gives
it an integrity. Consequently the result won’t necessarily be an exact
representation of what I saw. And although my aim is to capture the moment,
conversely I also think there is a timeless quality about such scenes.
Generally my subjects are wild places, away from the obvious tourist
spots. Ideally, I look for landscapes unaffected by man, although with
forestry and other activities that sort of primeval landscape is
increasingly difficult to find .Occasionally I do include man-made
elements–perhaps the remains of a stone wall, a croft or some farm buildings–and these create a telling sense of scale within the
vastness of the landscape. But what I prefer is that feeling of
isolation; of being submerged in a landscape that has a resonance of
history, although perhaps no visual evidence of mankind.
I need to get to know a place before I can paint it and initially I
spend a lot of time walking, looking and contemplating. Also, I like to
revisit locations at different times of the year and in different
weather conditions. The weather is a major influence in my work and
usually I am looking for something dramatic. If it is a calm, sunny day
I tend to find it a bit bland!
I have also painted in other remote areas of the country, including the
Yorkshire Moors, as well as in Andalucía, Spain."