PORTFOLIO SPOTLIGHT: DAVID HARRISON
In the artist’s own words:
I was born in Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk in the U.K. After studying at art school, I have been painting and drawing for approximately 40 years.
Paintings are made on canvas or board in oils or acrylics. In the case of gouache, I use a heavyweight watercolour paper. In recent years I have been experimenting with mixed media. This process is quite lengthy because the finished painting is based on drawings that can take a month or more to produce. I enjoy painting landscapes plein air. My method is to visit the same location over two or three days at the same time each day, usually early morning or late afternoon.
“Paragliders over Sousse” is painted in oils on board and was made following a visit to Tunisia in April 2016.The scene is early morning and paragliders were in the air all day to late afternoon. Two weeks later, this tranquil beach scene was the setting for a terrorist attack that killed dozens of tourists.
“Bathers” is a mixed media painting on canvas using a combination of textured and fine tissue paper, acrylic and acrylic ink. The painting took approximately a month to finish and was based on a charcoal drawing I produced which also took a month to finish. The scene is a high viewpoint looking down on a pebble beach with cast shadows indicating a late afternoon in summer. I have tried to capture the atmosphere, mood and texture with a group of people interacting and enjoying a late afternoon dip in the Atlantic.
I love drawing, especially with charcoal; for there is such a wide range of mark-making that can be produced. I live and work in one of the largest forests in the UK. My work is in response to the forest, parks, rivers and farmland surrounding my home in Brandon, Suffolk.
The cycle of the seasons is something that continually interests me, so the landscape plays a major part in my work.I am still amazed how nature adapts to harsh weather yet recovers to bring fresh growth in spring, yet my work is as much about the process of mark making as it is about representing a neglected landscape. The Riverbank series I am working on draws a strong inspiration from such local subject matter.
A river runs for miles behind my home, and during March there were strong gales and many well-established trees were blown down across the river and the riverbank.
.A drawing I completed after the gales is “Riverbank And Fallen Tree.” I use a sized, heavyweight watercolor paper; and with the combination of plastic erasers, I am able to continually work and rework my drawings by adding further subtle mark making.
My drawings are often conceived in a fleeting moment but then take time to unfold, such as “Forest: March 2018.” I visit a site often and at the same time each morning, and I supplement the open-air research with many photographs and sketches of the site. I aim to create a sense of light, atmosphere and texture in my work, and apart from charcoal, I quite often use graphite, too.