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Robert Dutton: Dramatic Landscapes and New Horizons




There is no doubt, we live in a busy world with everyday life and its pressures on us greater than ever before.

For most, there is little time to take in the beauty and majesty of the word around us. Precious leisure time is used by many to rush through the landscape, to see and grab as much as they can as a release from the pressures of the world. However, to sit for a while in one location, absorb, take it all in and relax, is equally beneficial in so many ways.

Robert on location at Honister Pass, Borrowdale in The Lake District
Robert on location at Honister Pass, Borrowdale in The Lake District.

When painting and drawing outdoors, more often than not I remain in one spot. In doing so I absorb my surroundings – sights, sounds, smell and feelings. All the senses are alive and tuned in. Even in areas I know well I will often just sit, watch and listen before unpacking anything. I get far more easily and readily connected to my subject in this way, and it is important to do so, as the benefits in my drawings and paintings which reflect this inward connection are then shown outwardly in the finished work, creating a piece with a greater emotional content.

Robert en plein air drawing directly in front of the landscape at Honister Pass, Borrowdale in The Lake District Robert assessing progress of his mixed media drawing along the shores of Buttermere, Borrowdale in The Lake District.
(Left) Robert en plein air drawing directly in front of the landscape at Honister Pass, Borrowdale in The Lake District. (Right) Robert assessing progress of his mixed media drawing along the shores of Buttermere, Borrowdale in The Lake District.

As a contemporary artist, I have created a very personal response to the UK landscape in my own holistic sort of way through the drawings and paintings I create, which are regularly exhibited in major national open competitions and in gallery collections. This personal creative vision is also shared with others through tuition, but the editors at Search Press believed there was a greater market for this unique work in the form of a solo book and so, in 2018 we began a dialogue and began work soon after on creating the book Drawing Dramatic Landscapes which is due to be published in February 2021.

The Innovative Artist: Drawing Dramatic Landscapes
The Innovative Artist: Drawing Dramatic Landscapes

Throughout the book readers will be aware that there is a deep-felt personal connection, appreciation and understanding of my subject matter – the sublime British landscape, as well as a wider appreciation of the natural world that surrounds us all – in each and every drawing featured within the book.

The finished expressive mixed media drawing created along the shores of Buttermere, Borrowdale in The Lake District
The finished expressive mixed media drawing created along the shores of Buttermere, Borrowdale in The Lake District.

There is a great deal of planning and effort that is often hidden ‘behind the scenes’ to each and every drawing or painting created. Timing and choice of seasons, gaining permission to access my painting locations and so on is high on the list of priorities for my works to be at their best, and the weather has to be considered of course which cannot be predicted these days. So, even when booking ahead to a chosen location at a fair distance from my studio, flexibility, adaptability and patience is key.

Robert on location at St Michael and All Angels’ Parish Church (Church of England) drawing the Bronte Parsonage Museum, Haworth, in West Yorkshire
Robert on location at St Michael and All Angels’ Parish Church (Church of England) drawing the Bronte Parsonage Museum, Haworth, in West Yorkshire.

I delve into this a lot more throughout the book, and draw attention (excuse the pun) to the importance of the selection of materials and approach to their use. There are many step-by-step examples of my unique style of drawing, but rather than a ‘how to’ guide, I nudge, explain, cajole and encourage the reader to pick up some different drawing materials and get involved, give it a go for their own personal fulfilment.

All in a day’s work – the essence of the scene and spirit of the place interpreted. A return to the studio now for the all final important final layer and details. The finished drawing is featured in the book!
All in a day’s work – the essence of the scene and spirit of the place interpreted. A return to the studio now for the all final important final layer and details. The finished drawing is featured in the book!

It is a real honour that Search Press has been completely supportive of the project, and together we have created a really compelling book that not only presents my expressive landscape drawings using all sorts of different media from graphite, charcoal, ink and more in a beautiful way, but it is a wonderful book that everyone can appreciate and enjoy.

With over 166 pages it is a substantial volume filled with exciting layouts, content and text on every page. The locations are dramatic and the drawings speak for themselves – they are all my very best (several award winners in there too!) because the landscape itself encourages that from within me.

One of the exciting layouts in the book full of hints, tips, and exciting sketches, studies and  finished expressive mixed media expressive drawings
One of the exciting layouts in the book full of hints, tips, and exciting sketches, studies and finished expressive mixed media expressive drawings.

The references I use to paint from in the book are highly original and always gathered from first-hand experiences of being directly in the landscape. The drawings in the book are enriched as a result – you will see for yourself when you have your own copy!

Robert on location at Whitby, North Yorkshire, drawing with charcoal mixed media – complexity simplified with focus and a keen eye for detail
Robert on location at Whitby, North Yorkshire, drawing with charcoal mixed media – complexity simplified with focus and a keen eye for detail.

On a personal note, when I draw while immersed within the landscape, I am able to see the world around me in three dimensions and relate more readily to it – the textures under my feet and in front of me, the weather around me – the sun and wind on my face, the fauna that occasionally pays me a visit and uplifts my soul are all part of each and every place and drawing in the book.

Building the drawing step-by-step – a place for everything and everything in its place – a concentrated focus on line and tone
Building the drawing step-by-step – a place for everything and everything in its place – a concentrated focus on line and tone.

Towards the end of the book, I present my ethos and the way that I work for studio drawings and painting. This is where it gets more exciting! Using sketches, drawing and photographic reference, together with my memory, the studio affords a very different way of working. With all my materials to hand, the studio is used as a ‘think tank’ as I push my own creative boundaries, and you can see examples of more abstract and semi-abstract work in stages that you can easily follow. 

Drawing with painting.  The importance of good sound drawing skills to improve and add to your exciting mixed media paintings.
Drawing with painting. The importance of good sound drawing skills to improve and add to your exciting mixed media paintings.

In the studio, the depth of layering mixed-media drawings allows me to explore the use of colour, collage, texture and more as well as be creatively inspired!


Search Press's new author - Robert DuttonThe first of its kind in Search Press's new Innovative Artist series, we will be publishing this exciting book in February 2021.Together we have created a really special book for you all that has evolved during its creation to become a real landmark in terms of both content, drawing practice and ethos, approach to subject and use of media in a contemporary but easy-to-follow way; it is a book for art or landscape lovers for sure!

The Innovative Artist: Drawing Dramatic Landscapes will be available from the Search Press website, RRP £17.99.

For more information about Robert (left) and his unique award-winning work see his website 
www.rdcreative.co.uk.

Photography by Richard Littlewood
email@richard-littlewood.com
www.richard-littlewood.com

Independent, family-owned, specialist art and craft publishers since 1970

Awards 2020

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