Nick Schlee
Compton Walk Handscroll

15th - 25th January 2014, Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street, London SW1Y 6BN

A Scroll in the Country

I imagine that Chinese landscape scrolls were unrolled after a good meal and much wine to entertain special guests. Moving from right to left a portion of the scroll was unrolled bit by bit and examined and appreciated closely. As more was revealed to the left the right hand picture was rolled back and hidden from view. This forcibly introduced an element of time into looking at the picture and made your eye follow a journey of its choosing as the landscape moved by.

The journey of my scroll records what could be seen between the trees on the short walk from the outskirts of Compton alongside a racehorse training gallop up to the Ridgeway in Berkshire.

It has been made by joining up a sequence of seven separately composed pictures that struck me as being capable of standing on their own. In fact the idea of joining them up came to me after I reviewed the output of two different sketching outings along the same stretch of the walk. I put back the trees that masked the edges of my views and improved the feeling of the whole landscape by revising the perspectives and rhythms in the background to give a proper feeling of a flowing whole.

The large oils in the exhibition do not record slavishly the on-the-spot sketches. I drew large black and white versions of the smaller coloured drawings in an effort to try to create pictures that were as exciting to me as the original colour pastels but using no colour.

This has to be done by emphasising rhythms and tonal contrasts which together create excitement to the eye. Using these as a basis of the drawing and composition and combining with this the exciting colour combinations of the original sketches I hope to achieve pictures of greater power and energy.

Nick Schlee 2013

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