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The Landscape paintings of Euan Macleod

Injecting a unique vision into your artwork is a compelling reason for any artist to keep painting. The drama of landscape can be a seductive subject but how often does this revert to standard horizontal compositions of foreground, mid- ground and distance with atmospheric perspective? While this formula can itself take a while taking to master, it can all too easily leave the viewer feeling lackluster. Learning to translate and refine our vision of landscape, and also master the medium of oil painting, means taking risks, exploring the medium and thrashing out concepts to find compositions that most effectively communicate our ideas.

Euan Macleod has developed his relationship with paint and painting for over 40 years. To those that know his work, Macleod’s landscapes are instantly recognisable by their drama and encrusted paint and transforming rivulets. His work has explored the human condition relentlessly in connection to the landscape: landscape motifs become vehicles for the human beings relationships to our selves and each other.

In many of Macleod’s works, strong vertical and diagonal accents create spatial divisions within the pictures. Bodies are liberated from their usual intact positions familiar in common perception to appear at multiple scales and disparate divisions. Tenuous relationships between body and landscape often exist in Macleod's work leading to increased tensions and visual interest. Chroma’s Jim Cobb has known Macleod for the last over 20 years and enjoyed responding to challenges he posed to oil paints in his working methods.

Macleod uses mostly Archival oil paint because it’s inbuilt flexibility allows great expressive freedom and control the over drying times. Usually his paintings are started with under painting in Jo Sonja Artist Acrylic. Macleod works fast and like his paint very runny, sometimes cut in 50:50. However this is also contrasted with impasto sections built up with Archival Texture Gel or Smooth Gel mediums worked in with the oil paint. Where there is not as much textured surface, Macleod is more often using Archival Odourless Classic for the finishing layers in his paintings.

Euan Macleod has maintained a close connection with his homeland over the Tasman since the early 1980s. His latest body of work derives from a trip to New Zealand last February. Much of this work is planned for exhibition at his Sydney dealer, Watters Gallery in Riley Street, Sydney from 8th August to 25th August. Euan Macleod invited me to his studio to collect the images of his latest paintings that you see here. This is just a small sample of what will be on exhibition.

To see more of Macleod’s paintings and for further information click this link

Acknowledgements for assistance in writing of this article: Euan Macleod; The Painter in the Painting by Gregory O’brien, Piper press, 2010 and to Euan Macleod for the time spent with him in his studio.