Wiltshire Artist Jonathan Mansfield. A few words lifted from his blog...
Jonathan Mansfield is a man who has wanted to paint all his life. Last year he took the plunge, gave up his day job, and went for it. He has a deep love and connection with the Wiltshire landscape - perhaps not surprising as he was born and bred here. I find his work warm, alive, often colourful and always captivating. But rather than give my amateur thoughts on his paintings I would prefer to share a blog post that Jonathan put on his website not long ago.
His writing is as beautiful as his painting. And I found his description of feeling and emotion as he paints outdoors (he always paints in the actual landscape) very special. I find walking in the local countyside gives me constant consolation, aesthetic inspiration, and a kind of spiritual lift, come rain or shine (though to be honest shine is preferable...) I found his description of the act of painting in all weathers fascinating:
"When I am painting I am connected to all things. I feel the ground beneath me; the sky above me and the land spreading out around me on all sides. I hear the birds and insects. I feel the air moving around my body and the warmth of the sun, or the cooling of spots of rain.
When I am painting I listen to my body, and more specifically, I listen to my heart. How does my heart sense this space at this precise moment in time? How is my body moved, or challenged, by this place?
Sometimes, the earth itself seems to want to join in. Wet soil, or claggy chalk, invites itself to be rubbed onto my paper. Dry grass and twigs scratch the surface of wet paint. Tiny stones. Rain.
It’s my hand that carries the brush and the water over the paper. My eyes that travel over the distant horizon and interpret that voyage into subtle movements with my arm and fingers. I think it is me who chooses colours and mixes them. I think it’s me who decides where to start and when to stop. But, you know, I’m not actually sure.
People are often surprised when I tell them that I do all my painting outdoors. I’ll walk up or down hills with my materials (occasionally without essentials, like paint brushes) and with each step, I’ll look and listen, and feel the landscape. Sometimes the sense of a painting will come to me before I’ve even stopped to unpack: like a premonition of the creative process. Each painting is a journey: both inside and outside of myself. In and out, like the breath.
Living and working in such a landscape inspires me daily and I am enormously grateful for these experiences."
We will have more work from Jonathan in the gallery in the gallery in a month or so. I will end with a portrait of Jonathan by yours truly, who doesn't have the courage to give up his day job and just take photos...