Heart and soul of landscape art

Peter Hicks was instrumental in co-ordinating the Reflections of a Great War exhibition. “I invited artists who were professionals and made a living out of their practice.”

Peter chose to concern himself as a painter with landscape as a means through which to communicate ideas, feelings and aspirations – bout of a need and towards some kind of fulfilment.

His perception is caught between figuration and abstraction, paing away specific things and work with the basic forces of my subject – its moods, light, rhythmic ‘lie-of-the-land’ and atmosphere.

The turbulence of the Rohilla is a subject which is all about atmosphere and drama. Living by the sea at various stages of his life Peter was able to reference the North Sea and the force of its danger.

Submitting six paintings to the exhibition, he captures the essence of the tragedy and the same time imbuing it with resonance.

When looking at his paintings it is possible to see the craft and elegance that Peter has honed into his craft and lifes work as an artist.

“As you get to know your media better an awareness signals that which informs your painting. Working towards reigniting something that occurred is what makes art. It is an art form to recreate things. Which was important for all artists to channel in this exhibition.

“I have etched and chosen a way of life, every moment is involved in understanding the world in which you live. Creative discipline consumes you and never leaves you. It’s all about learning and now, more than ever that is apparent that I feel like I’m learning more than when I did as a nineteen year old.”

Being an artist is always a challenge to Peter, and each day as he goes into a studio that challenge continues.

I am looking to see the relationship that corresponds to what I experience and how I can invoke it.

In retrospect after finishing a painting he experiences a sense of something else being involved which is hard to define – “something guided me- how did I do that.”

Art and the marks you create is, just as much about what you leave out.

Peter may have mastered the skill of knowing when is enough and when would be too much. His expressionism is tempered with a legacy of respect to great artists.

For him, as for John Constable, “painting is but another word for feeling”.

He owes his artistic allegiance to the great English landscape artists, especially Turner, and is quick to defend the continuing relevance of landscape painting as a vehicle for expressing ideas and feeling that can find a universal appeal.

It is extremeley important that his work resonates with the viewer. His fulfilment comes in the way people connect with his paintings and when they can identify with his experience, which makes it part of their own. It is all about this need for space and time to flow into a painting which then acheives the recognition of a shared experience.

The way that the waves whiteness consumes the wreck, the hint of mast and deck of the sinking Rohilla is a subtle nuanced lesson in art of painting.

There is enough to recognise the event, the seascape is beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. The sky is musical in its drama and feels like it is tinged with gold.

There is heart and soul here, which makes you feel Peter was there when it happened. If something guided him it may have the lost souls he remembered.

Peter said:“In Britain in the early years of the 20th century a rich seam of landscape painting sprang into being - largely informed by the new Modernist Movements in mainland Europe. Paul and John Nash, Graham Sutherland, David Jones, John Piper and Ivan Hitchins amongst many others showed that landscape painting could still be made relevant. My work in a small way is a continuance of that line of development.”

‘In Yorkshire the name of Peter Hicks is almost synonymous with paintings of the North Yorkshire moors. His sweeping landscapes of the moors in all seasons and weathers describe and explore the fall of light and cloud-shadow over immense rolling distances. Although his paintings are usually specific to particular places on the moor, they are abstracted in the making until their poetic, visionary qualities become uppermost. The layered depths in these landscapes correspond to the layers of memory and association connected with the familiar places. Hicks knows the land so well that the moors, in all their guises, have become a metaphor for intimations of hope and harmony that are only to be found in nature. His paintings incorporate both an experienced reality and an exploration of his feelings. For him, as for John Constable, ‘painting is but another word for feeling’.

He owes his artistic allegiance to the great English landscape artists, especially Turner, and is quick to defend the continuing relevance of landscape painting as a vehicle for expressing ideas and feeling that can find a universal appeal’