Exhibit: Wild landscapes and big sky country

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One of life’s luxuries is to be able to do what you love most in life.

Colin Cook responds to epic grandeur, big skies and wild seascapes and loves painting them.

The inspiration for my paintings is taken from the north eastern coast and moors

Colin Cook

First, he has to like the place, have gone fell running on the tops of hills or along the beach.

This connection them compels him to paint it.

His emotional response is guaged by the light and how he translates this.

He began exhibiting in 1991 when he took part in the 10th Cleveland International Drawing Biennale at the Cleveland Gallery in Middlesbrough and the following year in the BP Young European Artists Collection at the Barbican Concourse Gallery, London.

Colin said: “The subject matter and inspiration for my paintings are taken is taken from the north eastern coast and moors.

“Mostly, I work directly from the landscape and the paintings are representational based on observation of the constantly changing and intriguing light. It is the beautiful nature of the light that creates the atmosphere that varies from image to image.”

His paintings are reliant on careful under-drawing, a technique to create the structure for the looser brush marks to sit upon.

The strongest shapes are worked in with large brushes and the smaller areas of specific focus are developed later.

The gestural marks are a big part of capturing the scale and containing it on canvas.

There is something expansive and grand about his work.

“The landscape artists whose work I enjoy looking at the most, such as Alfred Sisley, Frits Thaulow, Edward Hopper all have similar characteristics in their work.

“First there is a strong reliance of drawing in the work, the draughtsmanship regarding elements such as proportions, space, perspective and control of light is very evident.

“Secondly, the composition or design of the paintings is simple and clear bringing together two or three main aspects, perhaps contrasting areas of light, texture or colour.”

When asked about inspiration, Colin said:“There are a lot of painters whose work I find inspiring.

“George Braque, is a good example, his compositional arrangements are beautiful. I like the way used simple shapes of the same colour and created rhythms to move the eye around the canvas.

“Cezanne’s paintings, which helped inspire Picasso’s move into cubism, are curiously both flat, with a network of marks on the surface and with the illusion of depth created by careful drawing and perspective.”

Colin’s approach to colour, tone and expressing a sense of season and mood comes from his search for dramatic light.

“The paintings are usually early morning or late in the day when the sun is low and creates strong contrasts of light and shadow. It is this light that creates the forms in cliffs and rocks and also the depth in the paintings. It gives you strong shapes to work with and arrange.

It is important to be careful when mixing colours for painting, there is a lot of skill in making the colours accurate and it’s significant for me not to unnecessarily exaggerate them.

“It is these colours that will produce the mood. In bright lighting conditions some parts of the paintings will have rich strong colours so I prefer to balance this with areas that are quieter and more subtle.

“I like to spend some time drawing out the subject carefully at the start because a tight structure allows you to work quickly over it with fairly loose marks without the painting becoming disorganised.

“You can suggest an object or form without it becoming tired and laboured.

“I prefer to paint landscapes without figures, just concentrating on the stillness of the place.

Winter morning at Sandsend perfectly captures this ethos and approach.

The colours are familiar of winter light on the beach.

Your eye is drawn to the symphony of blue tones. The shadow from the breakers contrasts against the sand.

The brush strokes add depth and interest to the composition. A slide of highlighted beach yellow and the touch of softened ultramarine blue on the sand pulls the whole composition together in a really confident way.

A still winter morning on the beach perfectly captured.

Colin’s work is available to buy at The Reading Room Gallery, Flowergate.

Email readingrooms@me.com or visit their Facebook page.