Annie Robinson’s response to “Welsh Landscape” by Augustus John
I chose Augustus John’s ‘Welsh Landscape’ initially because it just felt right for me. I felt it would be a personal journey not only to ‘look again’ at an artist that I had always thought so much of, but now the landscapes of this period (c1911-1914). And to visit and paint from another Welsh landscape I knew very well (where I was born) the Preseli mountains in Pembrokeshire. As it turned out I was only able to visit once and make references from a distance so all my painting studies were done in the studio. Not ideal.
It was great to take time out to do further research, and painting studies from his landscapes to take a closer look at his work, watching old interviews and programmes, and I was also delighted to get an excellent catalogue from the ‘Drawn from Life’ exhibition at the Poole and Salisbury Museums (2018/2019) which had several examples of his landscapes.
My painting studies confirmed more and more what a great draughtsman he was, and his painting style looks so spontaneous – the quick brush strokes – so decisive and confident look like they are completed in one thin layer with no changes! I kept thinking they look almost Impressionistic, But he also painted over a light sienna ground that sometimes seems to work as part of the painting.
My own subject and painting studies took a rather different direction as I soon realised that this was not a way of working that suited me now as I usually work in layers and make lots of ongoing changes as the work progresses, so I knew I had to go my own way – trusting that my studies would indirectly feed into the piece. So I’m not sure if it reflects all of my initial intentions or expectations, but it has been a journey of discovery, and a bit more insight into the work of this remarkable artist Augustus John.