John Russell’s Contemporary Take on the Lakeland Landscape
Looking at John Russell’s rugged scenes evokes feelings of familiarity, but these are not your typical Lake District landscapes.
The Scottish artist, who now lives on a farm in northern England, combines a mix of the traditional with contemporary finishes for his British landscapes. Barren scenes of Yorkshire farms, Lake District vistas and Highland crofts are the subjects of John’s work, however, while they feel like recognisable beauty spots you have admired yourself once upon a time, he doesn’t paint with a particular view in mind. Rather, John is inspired by a style or feeling or possibly a memory of what he has once seen.
As Ben Heslop of Edwin Talbot gallery explained: “Even though he doesn’t do specific views, it’s obvious that he has spent a lot of time here. I feel like I’ve been to the a lot of the places depicted in his paintings, which is great. It’s good for the viewer to feel like they have an affinity with the piece, especially being from the Lakes.”
John’s paintings are certainly evocative of the Lake District, with small cottages, crofts of trees and boats racing on the water all featuring in his work. But their unique style lends a very different meaning to what we tend to think of as Lakeland paintings.
Ben continued: “While there’s nothing wrong with traditional Lakeland paintings, I think nowadays people are really interested in having something a little bit different like john’s work or that of Alan Stones or Martin Evans. It allows people to have something bold, a real statement piece that fits in with the modern contemporary art that would go in their house, while still being very true to the area that we live in.”
Painted in oil, directly onto board, one-tone backdrops are a major feature of John’s work and provide a real strength of depth albeit from their one dimensional style. However, when contrasted with the dramatically lit detail of the foreground, the solid blocks of blue and taupe give an almost three dimensional effect.
At the Edwin Talbot gallery, this is highlighted by the use of the highest quality, solid wood picture frames, Ben explained: “The way they are framed really does create a quality finish and increases that sense of depth and perspective to the picture.”
But in fact, it’s not just in the gallery that John’s pieces have pride of place. Ben liked one so much he made it the centrepiece in his bedroom, matching the colour of the feature wall to the smooth blue hues of the sky. “They are of a great size, where they can be used as a centrepiece or similarly fit into a hall or smaller area,” he commented.
“We also sell a lot of the very popular, more imposing 28″ square studies, there’s something to fit every space.”
John’s work makes an impact whatever size it comes in. But not only are they a bold, contemporary statement, they can easily fill a room with heart-warming memories and inklings of home.
Ben added: “His scenes can be anything to anyone. I can look at his paintings and swear I know where he’s painted them of, which is a really clever thing to do.”
John Russell’s, as well as Alan Stones’ and Martin Evans’ Lake District paintings are all available from the Edwin Talbot gallery on the Own Art scheme, with 0% finance and no deposit.
For more information visit www.edwintalbot.co.uk or contact 01228 525231