These images are of the River Tees and surrounding area, a place I grew up and a place I have a deep connection with.
Completed before the closure of the Steel Industry, they’re an exploration and discovery of the landscape with an emphasis on the spirit and feeling of the area.
Braving the elements
By creating the drawings outdoors, you get a sense of being part of the environment and it becomes more of a response than a record of what you see around you. It’s an observation and celebration of what is powerful and moving about the landscape.
I now live in Nottingham, only going back to visit family these days. It’s hard to say what impact the closures has had on the area without being melodramatic and I don’t want to come over as disingenuous but I don’t feel properly informed enough to make any comment of any worth.
One interesting outcome will be to see what happens to the deserted structures and whether the land will be regenerated or left to nature. What kind of landscape will emerge?
Whatever happens, the landscape will change once again and with it a new response from artists.
Recently I’ve recorded my time around Middlesbrough and Redcar with my iPhone and posted my results on Instagram.
There’s quite a contrast between the immediacy of whipping your phone out and taking a shot against absorbing yourself for days making something tactile with your hands where the outcome seems more honest and fresh.
I’m painting landscapes in Yorkshire because you can’t photograph them. The camera can’t get the beauty of this, it just can’t get the space, the thrilling space I’m in. We’ve got to a point were we think the camera can photograph anything at all. Well it can’t. No, it can’t compete with painting at all.
David Hockney working in Yorkshire and discussing his visual recording process. Warning – the sound track is quite bad and distracting.
The above video isn’t available anymore so here is another…