Colin Slater


Based in East Northamptonshire close by the River Nene, the subject of Colin's work is the experience of being beneath an open sky, of walking the landscape and responding to its ever changing moods, scents, sounds, temperature and colour.  However he works a triangular format, each causing a chain reaction with the other two; he works directly from the landscape on his doorstep, develops imagery associated with travel, and makes personal translations of drawings made from paintings of the Masters.

He is directly influenced by the great tradition of Dutch and English landscape painting, in particular the work of Ruisdael and Turner.  There is also a strong and close affinity with oriental imagery and he acknowledges a great debt to the Japanese Masters Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai.

As a foot traveller he records reactions to a place as an emotional sensation, drawing copiously with many notations and images made on the spot before the motif.  Canvas paintings however are studio based where the moment is relived and explored anew, the accumulation of notebook drawings and writings transporting him back in time and place as can a scent or a piece of music.  In the studio the editing process can continue unhindered by the view, the abstract manipulation of paint takes priority and contact with landscape becomes a spiritual rather than a physical association.  He is more concerned with how it felt, than how it looked.

Topographical information is important and so is the place that inspired the composition, but there is a human condition inherent too.  Although the compositions can be appreciated for what they are, as paintings of landscape, there is another level.  Much has happened in his life with regard to health and state of mind.  The work therefore, both visually and through written word, can also be seen metaphorically.  It is as much a
reflection of himself and of his place in the world, as it is about the place itself.

However, there’s another side to his working output too.  Opportunities to satisfy this passion have been rare but more recently it has become a more regular activity.  It was finding illustrations of Cave Painting in books while at school that first triggered this interest, which was then pursued further during his time at Art School.  He has been intrigued by the subject of wall painting ever since, whether it was for the decoration of a grand country house, a religious building or for a general public space, and been fortunate to have painted on a monumental scale on several occasions.

A painting which has been specifically designed for a particular location and which cannot be removed from its intended position Colin feels is the most personal and valuable one can produce.  Having witnessed its creation from start to finish, all those who live with it, adopt it, feeling it has been personally painted for them.  And this of course is true – and it can never be owned by anyone else.