By Chris Rivers
I believe every artist, in one way or another, is influenced by the environment that surrounds them. For me, born and raised in Manchester, but which is also surrounded by areas of natural beauty and nature, has always held a particular fascination. I’ve come to realise that not only the seasons are sometimes directly represented in my work, but they also influence my mindset which has a direct impact on my process.
Making the time to be outside has become a ritual of mine, both as a direct source of energy, but also from a creative aspect where there’s no distractions. I often find it a time where I come up with a lot of ideas for my paintings, and visualise them in my head.
The immediate theme or subject of my paintings doesn’t always echo the current season. Even amidst the full bloom of summer, I might be working my canvas with darker colours, or subjects. This is also driven by whatever particular show or body of work I’ll be preparing . While the thematic might not directly nod to the season, the underlying emotion of how I approach a painting is influenced by it.
I’ve often found the seasons guiding my choice of colours. Autumn’s reds and oranges, winter’s whites and blues, spring’s greens and pinks, and the full colour spectrum in summer- they’ve all been on my palette. Nature, with its infinite nuances, plays a significant role in my work, presenting itself in the most unexpected ways.
Every season offers a different lens through which I view the world. I’m also attracted to how the seasons relate to life and decay, light and shade, innocence contrasted with something darker, these are all concepts I’ve spoke about before which are reflected in my works, weather it be a tiny falling Cherub against the backdrop of a dark sky or my dystopian esq representation of Adam and Eve as fallen Astronauts set in an otherworldly spring landscape.
To think about the seasons beyond our Earth is an idea that fascinates me, during creating my works for ‘Celestial Gardens’ in 2021, I was particular drawn to the fact that Neptune is currently in spring time, seasons on Neptune last for decades, this proved direct inspiration for painting the Neptune piece in that series, imagining the planet currently in bloom. Another piece that holds a special place in my heart is a painting that was a convergence of two worlds – our Earth’s spring with the beauty of Venus in the night sky. I remember capturing photos of flowers set against the backdrop of the starry expanse with Venus shining brightly. That very sight, that merging of earthly beauty with celestial wonder, translated into my works for Celestial Gardens.
The Human connection with nature is of course engrained in us, from our earliest ancestors. Everything starts and ends with the cycle of these seasons. It’s these seasons, both external and internal, that add colour, depth, and character to my creations, they’re an ever-evolving source of inspiration.
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