It has been a while since our last small talk with an artist. So today I would like to bring it back along with some beautiful abstract landscapes from the US based artist and illustrator Greg Hargreaves.
What first got me engaged with the artist’s creations was the composition of his paintings, accompanied by subtle colour palettes, beautiful brush strokes and the peaceful feeling it gave me. These abstract landscapes have the sense of emptiness and soothing tranquillity. It would be just perfect to have one of these painting at home spreading the good energy around.
And now get inspired by Greg’s creative process and devotion to painting. Here is the story:
What do we need to know about you?
I graduated in 1969 from the Layton School of Art at Milwaukee. My major was Illustration. At the time they stressed a traditional course of study… 4 years of figure drawing…composition…color theory…nature analysis…etc.
I enjoyed a long and profitable career as a commercial illustrator, working with and for some of the most creative people imaginable. A great deal of my commercial work can be seen by entering my name on Google Images. But as digital imagery gained ascendance…traditionally painted commercial work declined. That prompted me to enter the gallery arena and ultimately join Etsy.
Whenever I had spare time during my commercial career, I turned my attention to landscape painting. And as I had more and more free time as commissions declined I began painting landscapes in earnest. This has turned into the most rewarding and fulfilling period in my creative journey. I now paint purely for my own pleasure. A sale every now and then makes it more meaningful…not due to the money but the satisfaction I receive from an admirer.
Describe your creative process. What is your favourite part of it?
I paint with acrylic, as I always have. It is a medium that suits my style and me. It dries super fast…allows me to rework areas immediately…holds a sharp edge…affords me brilliant colors…and is extremely malleable. Often I begin painting with nothing more than a vague idea of the outcome. I sometimes allow the paint to dictate the direction of the painting. I know this sounds a little strange but that’s how I work. As I work, I am receptive to what the paint is doing…a single stoke can alter my predetermined path, into a fresh new direction. At times I turn the painting upside down…and a sky becomes a pond…or river. I entertain myself and hopefully my audience with these unplanned departures from my original idea. It helps me stay on my toes…makes it much more interesting.
What are your daily inspirations? What motivates you?
A constant in my work is the co-mingling of man’s presence with natures “wildness”. This is reflected in my many farm field paintings. Man’s desire to harness his environment at the expense of the “wild”. For me there is a deep comfort in mans “footprint” in the “wild”. The patchwork quilt of fields and fence lines and random patches of woods provides an easy format for compositional experimentation. I play with not only composition but texture, edges, hard and soft, and through it all is my attraction to and love of the horizontal.
I have some sort of love affair with horizontals. Don’t exactly know why…I just do. So I surrender to it. It is a sweet surrender.
How does your work space look like?
My studio is in my cellar. Artificial light. I have had studio space with an immense 30 foot wide sky light…north light. I’ve worked in a big city and out in the country, and places in between. I find that I’m more focused on my work when I’m not distracted by what’s going on outside. And I’m easily distracted. I spend a lot of time outdoors and I always have. That would explain my attraction to landscapes. I hunt and fish…canoe and camp…and generally hang out…outside. So when I work…I work…no distractions.
Describe your typical day.
I work when I want to…no specific timetable. Sometimes the muse strikes…sometimes not. I can go for weeks and not pick up a brush. Then again I may work around the clock…working till 4 in the morning. I learned early in my commercial career that when you are in a “groove” stay there…it pays dividends. Those “groove” times are when it seems that an angel is moving my hand…when I am mixing colors…or applying a stroke…whatever…and it’s not me doing it but some outside influence guiding me. Unbridled intuition. I look back after I’ve finished and wonder how I did that. Those are special times…miraculous times…that’s why I paint. I’m addicted to those times.
All the images used in this post belong to the artist.