Greg Howard’s watercolor landscapes are majestic portrayals of the UK countryside he has lived in all his life; capturing the color, beauty and mood of the land and sky. To see more of Greg’s paintings, please visit his website.
I can’t ever imagine not being able to paint, as it is now an integral part of who I am as a person and as a professional artist. I feel very privileged to be able to make a living doing something I love so much. This makes me one of those very few people that can actually say truthfully that I love my job! I am completely self-taught and as such I feel more open to experimentation than someone with formal training. After all, that is what makes your art unique. Although I know the supposed rules in my chosen mediums, I choose to break them (frequently!) in order to achieve a final result I am happy with.
For example, in the two watercolour paintings (directly above and below), the cottages in the foreground are painted with opaque white scratched on with a razor blade over a wax resist – don’t know why but it felt right and the resulting textures give these paintings that extra special something!
I have also recently started experimenting with the idea of monochromatic paintings that concentrate on tonal contrasts. These are complimented with focal points using bright, iridescent and metallic paints as in the painting below.
When I paint, I am more concerned with filling my painting with mood and atmosphere rather than the realistic portrayal of the elements of a scene. One thing I constantly emphasize during demonstrations and workshops is that you must learn to paint from your heart and not your head—something I fear artists with formal training can sometimes struggle with.
I have been criticized in the past for not producing many paintings with “pretty blue skies” (chocolate box pictures as I like to call them). I was brought up in Scotland and spent a great deal of my childhood hill walking and climbing and like to think I have a more realistic view of the weather in the U.K. Unfortunately, we don’t get that many blue sky days; however, there is a little bit of blue sky in the painting below!
Admittedly, I also find painting blue skies very boring and would much rather portray the majesty and atmosphere of a good storm. Can you imagine how boring the two paintings above and below would have been with nice boring blue skies?
As well as using texture in my work, I also like to push the colours sometimes. I have found that as long as your tones are correct, it doesn’t really matter what colours you use – strangely enough it will still look right!
There is, as far as I am concerned, nothing that inspires me more than the landscape. Contrary to what a lot of people believe, the landscape is not a static entity; instead it is fluid, and with our ever-changing weather a scene can look completely different from one hour to the next. It is the desire to capture this quality that has and always will inspire landscape painters like myself.