We showcase a range of contemporary landscape painters. Paul Bennett is a British artist who paints expressive abstract seascapes and landscapes from memory. In contrast, Lisa Carney creates more textured canvases in which the landscape emerges from drips, splatters and evocative mark-making.
Philip Tyler focuses his imagery on the sky, which dominates the canvas, creating the illusion of space. Painting in watercolours, Max Naylor creates dreamlike landscape paintings in mixed media. They are colourful and filled with semi-surreal imagery, inspired by his memory and imagination.
Landscape paintings depict natural scenery, including mountains, beaches, trees, rivers, forests, gardens and flowers. Landscape paintings have always been a dominant subject of Chinese art, with the earliest paintings dating from the sixth century. Imagined through traditional black ink brush paintings, idealised landscapes emphasise harmony within the natural world. However, it was only at the end of the 15th century that it has been valued as a genre in Western art history. Since then, artists have portrayed the landscape in a range of media, from oil and acrylics to watercolour and gouache.
The 17th century ushered in the classical, or ideal, landscape, which set scenes in the mythic and idyllic arcadia of ancient Greece. Leading oil painters of the classical landscape were the French-born, Italy-based artists Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain.The Romantic Movement swept in during the 19th century. Of the Romantic landscape painters, J.M.W is the most famous, for his swirling, light-filled paintings of land and seascapes.
Towards the end of the 19th century, Claude Monet and the Impressionists revolutionised landscape art. Painting en plein air, they captured the effects of light and changing weather on nature. They adopted a more painterly style with rapid brushstrokes and bright colours.
Following Impressionism, Post-Impressionist landscape painters like Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin depicted landscapes of the mind. Using vivid colours, their images of the landscape were filled with symbolism, reflecting personal feelings and a state of mind. During the 20th century, artists further abstracted landscape paintings. American artist Georgia O'Keeffe is known for her close-up flower paintings and spectacular desert landscapes. Her unique way of painting nature simplified shapes and forms. German Expressionist Emil Nolde also painted flowers during the 20th century. His vibrant watercolour art depicts flowers from his garden in expressive, almost mystical terms.
Today, landscapes continue to inspire contemporary artists. Some artists continue to paint local scenery in a traditional manner. For example, Fred Cuming RA has devoted his career to painting the South Coast of England. Working in oil paints, he captures the changing landscape, from moody skies to violent storms in layers of paint.
Some contemporary artists paint landscapes as a marker of identity. Peter Doig creates contemporary landscape paintings defined by their sense of space, light and unusual colours. His tropical and enchanting garden paintings reflect a childhood spent between Trinidad and Canada, telling the story of his personal histories.
British artist David Hockney is known for his expressive, large-scale landscape paintings. During the 1960s, when he moved to Los Angeles, he painted the sunshine state of California. He has also painted the changing seasons of his homeland, Yorkshire, which appears in patterns of abstract shapes, textured curves and horizontal stripes.
Other artists evoke the more mystical elements of the landscape. Tacita Dean RA has a strong interest in the landscape, which has taken her around the world, from unspoilt moors in England to the American West. In 2005 she became known for large-scale paintings of trees with tangled roots, with their backgrounds painted eerily white.
Maggi Hambling prefers to paint walls of water in dramatic, sweeping style. Often created using a palette of black and white, her nature paintings are inspired by sea storms in Southwold, near her Suffolk home. They are a more emotive configuration of the landscape.