Artist Sam Douglas has completed his 10 months as artist in residence at Highgreen. Sadly due to Covid 19, Sam’s Open Studio event was postponed. However you can download a PDF of his end of residency booklet that includes an essay by Alexander Marr here: Sam Douglas Booklet (PDF)

Statement

Over the years I have travelled widely to gather material for paintings, often on foot or bicycle as a way of experiencing the landscape more closely and as a counterpoint to the static nature of my studio practice.

Often using classical landscape motifs as a starting point, I aim to disrupt and transform them through painting processes that push the subject of the painting elsewhere; sanding down and scratching into the painting to create a sense of erosive forces and pouring layers of paint and varnish to build up the surface, evoking sedimentation and silting up of the land.

The burial and uncovering of elements within this surface can be suggestive of archaeological activity, with ambiguous forms half sunk in the strata of the paint- cryptic architecture, unnatural outcrops of rock and the remnants of industry.
The built up surfaces also enhance and distort the image and generate an altered light and atmosphere- attempting to catch something of the visionary if not psychedelic in the chance combinations.

ENTWINED: Rural. Land. Lives. Art.

Sam Douglas has spent ten months living and working at Highgreen, Tarset. He has been exploring the area and the wider Northumberland and Borders remote locations; much of this on foot or by bike. Sam has been fascinated by the ancient and more recent man-made structures that scatter the remote parts of the area and county – erected stones, cup and ring marks and remnants of industrial workings. The artist has worked up drawings and photographs into paintings that focus on these remarkable features and prompt reflection on the nature and culture of our long relationship with the land.

I really like the rural location and being able to walk or cycle straight out into a very interesting moorland landscape on my doorstep. The daily cumulative effect of this is important for me and my paintings and sketches have benefitted from the ease with which I can find inspiration and a sense of immersion in my work. The remnants of mining, archaeological sites and various other old structures that can be readily found or stumbled upon in the landscape also have also provided me with much material to work with. As I have followed various threads and interests, I have found local people (especially farmers) to be a good source of first-hand information on the history and remains within the area. There is also a quite distinct feel to the landscape in Northumberland which has been a welcome contrast from my last years of living in the South East – the low intensity land use of sheep farming, sparse population, dark skies and expansive views provide a quite distinct range of reference material to draw on as a landscape painter. Sam Douglas 2020

 

Engagement

A landscape drawing workshop session was led by Sam for Otterburn Youth Group over the summer of 2019 (news post here). Then November saw six Newcastle Uni Fine Art students staying at Highgreen on a mini-placement as part of the University’s LifeWorkArt programme (news post here). Also in November, Sam spent a day at Bellingham Middle School working with the whole school (85 pupils across KS2 and KS3) on large scale landscape drawings (news post here).  In February, two evening drop-in Painting Sessions led by Sam for local people were held at Tarset Village Hall , and one at Falstone WI where people brought along their own paintings for tips and advice.(news post here).  In March, Sam led an Arts Award session with 16 Year 5 and Year 6 students from Bellingham Middle School to support them to achieve their Discover Arts Award (news post here).

Biography

Sam Douglas has exhibited widely since graduating from the Royal college of art in 2007, showing in Russia, Norway, China, Canada, Portugal, Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland and England.

Recent exhibitions include The Turning World at Charlie Smith Gallery, London, Vanishing point at James Freeman Gallery, London, @PaintBritain at Ipswich museum, UK, Transpositions at St. Petersburg Museum of Nonconformist art, Contemporary British Painting, at Huddersfield Art Gallery, and Restless Nature at The Newlyn Gallery, Cornwall.

Solo exhibitions include Wayfarer at Carslaw St. Lukes, London, Remnants at the Royal Hibernian Gallery, Dublin, New paintings at The Cross Gallery, Dublin, and the Corn exchange gallery, Edinburgh.