So Simon Parkin is clearly something of a novelty these days as he prefers to start his landscapes in situ and develop them back in the studio.
This entails him lugging his kit to his favourite spots in the Peak District and maybe even having to pull out an angler’s umbrella to protect his work.
“It’s the way I like to work. I like the physical connection to the landscape and the effect this has on my senses.
“Once I have made a good start on the paintings I then work on them in my studio. The paintings then develop a depth not only in the physical painting process but also in the way I feel, think and connect to them.”
Of course if you’re wandering in the Peak and you see an artist and easel among the heather and rocks you are likely to wander over to find out more, so Simon says his days are not without interruption.
“Sometimes you see absolutely no-one but another time you could be sitting chatting for a while. It is something I have grown to accept and sometimes I just have to stop painting and talk but it is all part of the environment out there.”
Simon, 49, was born and brought up in Glossop and some of his earliest memories are of his father taking him and his sister on treks across the hills.
“I used to enjoy going out walking with my family and I think that has greatly influenced me and given me a love and respect for the environment.”
As well as walking he has also always enjoyed painting but in his youth Simon drifted around for a few years before deciding what he wanted to do with his life.
He had a few jobs and travelled extensively so it wasn’t until he was 27 that he went to Manchester Metropolitan University to study painting and art history on a course he had a hand in designing.
“Once I graduated, I was determined to be a professional artist and after spending a short time based at an artists’ collective in Clitheroe I decided to return to Glossop and set up my studio here.
“I am drawn to the hills that surround me in the High Peak. While I am familiar with the landscape I try to see it with fresh eyes and it still surprises me with fresh views every time I go out. I try to capture the essence and character of the place in a new and interesting painterly manner whilst also continually looking at how I can capture the ever-changing colours and texture as well as the sense of light and space.”
To give his paintings and even greater sense of place Simon embeds physical parts of the landscape into the paintings; maybe a bit of bracken, a snip of heather, a little shred of grass, or even pieces of stone.
“I like to think they are almost sculptural in some ways. These days we are so detached from the environment because of our lifestyles and I want to get the message across that this landscape is out there on our doorstep waiting to be explored. I hope that my paintings transmit a quality of awareness that can be resting, stimulating and revelationary rather than explanatory. I want the viewer to participate in an intimate way – and step inside – what I have created.”
Simon lives and works in a house brimming with art on High Street East in the town. He enjoys opening it up to the public for community events so next time he does so, go along and see his work.
You can also see his paintings at the Wendy J Levy Gallery in Didsbury, Jarva Gallery at Whaley Bridge, Derwent Gallery, Grindleford and Gallery 23 in Stalybridge.
Go to http://www.simonparkin.co.uk to find out more details about his work and visits to his studio.