A Mid Summers Walk
Chris Prout visits Derbyshire frequently, seeking inspiration for his superbly observed and dynamically rendered paintings. In a previous exhibition of his paintings at gallerytop, Chris wrote:
“I’m taken with landlocked Derbyshire. I love its rich and diverse topography, searing hills, edges and vistas that stretch far and wide. The short and winding roads that connect and lead you to pretty villages, market towns, farmland, mills, rivers and reservoirs. The weather too plays a significant part. It can be harsh and unforgiving, yet offer stunning light and rain shows. The elements play an important part of fuelling the rivers and tributaries that energised the industry and historic mills and put this landmass on the world map. The landscape is rich in natural minerals which have been mined and quarried ceaselessly. Farming, along with the growth of housing, have carved beautiful gestures in the rise and fall of the land.’
However, during his recent visit to the Peak District it was during the recent summer heatwave when the weather was uncharacteristicly dry. There were no fleeting rain storms, showers or the relentless deluge Derbyshire is used to. Instead, we experienced day after day of beautiful Mediterranean sun and blue skies. The weather was so hot and dry that ‘Parched’ would have been a good title for the group of paintings which Chris produced after his visit. The ten paintings, ranging in size from 20cms to almost 100cms, are based upon a walk he did within a few miles of the gallery, taking in Rowsley itself, up the hill to Stanton and out to the magnificent Chatsworth Park.
Chris’ method of painting always start with the drawings he made on the spot. He is an avid sketchbook user, having developed a visual language in his drawings which inform his studio paintings. Twenty years as a commercial artist honed Chris ability to quickly capture the essence of his subject. His subsequent paintings are vibrant and dynamic, very physical works, which lend more to impressionism than realism. However the apparent looseness of his painting belies a carefully constructed composition and a rigour of formal elements, particularly tone and texture, The gestural strokes and spattering of paint indicate a process of speed and vigour, but every block of colour, every flick and stipple of paint falls exactly where it should, building up an often tumultuous final work. An understanding of the structure of Chris’ paintings can be gained by looking at his drawings, where skilled draughtsmanship and more responsive gestural marks work together to convey a wealth of visual information.
You can see the res paintings produced in response to Chris Prout’s Mid Summers Walk here or click the image below
‘Runner Beans, Stanton’ 60cm x 60cm