lionel playford

Most of my paintings and drawingsd of the last 30 years has been about my relationship with landscape particularly those I am most familiar with. For me landscape is home so my paintings explore the feel of landscape as a kind of home or where I feel at home- like an animal would. I feel at home in the North Pennines, in The Lake District, in North Wales, in Cornwall, in Tyneside, Northumberland and County Durham, in Cleveland Ohio and in Yorkshire where I was born and brought up. Venice is no doubt beautiful but I don’t feel at home there. In this way I identify with the works of Paul and John Nash and with John Piper.

Much recent work has been an attempt to evoke my emotional experience of being in the landscape, of living on the skin of the earth and in the atmosphere and the light and realising both the toughness of this planet and its vulnerability and the briefness of my time here. Some moments of experience have a heightened feel, often to do with the flux of weather and light, so capturing the feel of sky, even at night, is critical to both my outdoor responses in drawing and watercolour and my studio works in acrylic and oils. A recent family ceremony in North Wales where light and space, land and sea came together at a significant moment of ‘burial’ led directly to a series of studio evocations of a brief but timeless moment in this event.

My works are mainly oils or acrylics on canvas, usually unframed but I have a significant body of outdoor drawings and colour works. I recently made 100 large drawings in the North Pennines and northern Lakes as part of my Leverhulme Trust sponsored residency with Northumbria University. This ongoing project involved working with climate change scientists, observing their work and using their facilities and materials to create new and ambitious works of art. One of the unexpected outcomes was a series of paper clouds made out of moorland grass and moss pulps as well as some sculptures of pollen grains found under the microscope in peat core samples. These have been exhibited in Baltic 39 in Newcastle and in other venues in the north east of England.

Recent gallery exhibitions have featured large and small paintings in acrylics and oils as well as drawings in mixed media including watercolour, oil pastel and found natural materials. The style ranges from naturalistic to semi-abstract depending on the ideas and feelings I’m trying to work through, though I’m not interested in being pigeon-holed by critics .