Soaring on the Thermals
Acrylic and Ink on cradled birch panel
79cm x 63.5cm
What Drives My Art by Andy Sumner
In my landscape painting, my first thought is to light and its companion, shadow, as these can transform even the most ordinary of scenes into a world of unexpected beauty and secrets.
Hence, I look for light that is unusual or dramatic. The golden horizontal rays of late afternoon, setting things ablaze with intense colour and casting long deep shadows. The subtle filtered glow of moonlight, the half-imagined phosphorescence of night, the short-range flare of a fire or a lamp post, the burst of sunlight through a dense forest canopy or as it peeks over the horizon to start a new day.
I sometimes look for a sense of meaning or message in my work, usually driven by my passion for environmental issues, but my focus is always on conveying the beauty and wonder in what I see or imagine. My choice of colours is often driven by what I feel, or what I sense belongs in a scene, and I often stray towards a degree of abstraction in order to convey drama and emotion.
Mostly I paint with acrylic and acrylic inks on birch panel, canvas or paper, and sometimes I use oils for impasto highlights of important features. My technique involves countless translucent glazes, steadily building up texture, depth and richness in colour – a method that acrylics are perfect for due to their fast drying time. I often begin a work with only the vaguest idea of what I want to achieve, allowing the painting to tell me what it needs.
The exploration of light, colour and expression of emotion through art is compelling to me, I cannot go a week without working on a new creation, each a continuation and a development of the one before.
When I first started painting, I thought it was about capturing what I saw and relating that to the viewer but have found it’s much more profound than that. My painting is intensely personal, revealing my inner hidden self in the form of visible colours, saying what I could never express in words. Every time I paint, I create something within me, developing as a person and enriching my soul.
Andy is a self-taught modern impressionist artist based in Canberra, Australia, and a member of the Artists Society of Canberra.
A lifelong lover of art and photography, Andy originally learned to paint at high school where his teachers encouraged him to explore impressionist techniques. After leaving school the demands of his career, managing a semi-rural property and raising a family took him away from creative arts, however on moving to Canberra in 2020 and going into the first Covid lockdowns, Andy took up painting, first as a hobby then a passion.
His early paintings in this period used the impressionist techniques he had learned many years before, featuring wide airy spaces, visual depth, distant marching rows of hills & mountains, dramatic skies, the play of light and shadow.
Not content with merely capturing landscapes, he soon became captivated by the idea of expressing emotions and ideas through his painting. He incorporates semi-abstract elements and unusually evocative and emotive colour choices, conveying a sense of mystery and wonder to the viewer.
Andy often introduces elements showing the impact of humanity on nature, and as such he often expresses a gentle sadness as he sees so much of the environment in decline due to deforestation, exploitation and neglect. Environmental themes run close to his heart and will continue to be a topic for further exploration in future paintings.
Andy has taken part in numerous workshops with the Artist Society of Canberra, has entered numerous art prizes over the course of 2022, and is planning a group exhibition with several talented local artists for the second half of 2023. He is thrilled to have joined Nationwide Curating and looking forward to partnering with them for an upcoming exhibition in April 2023.
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