I have a recurring dream, or daydream perhaps, of wading into the cool, clear waters of a lake or river, surrounded by trees. It’s a moment of calm that I can draw in supermarket queues, crowded commuter trains, and while waiting to speak on stage about my writing.
I have no idea where this tranquil scene comes from – perhaps its an amalgamation of places visited and glimpsed – who knows? But then one day at the Affordable Art Fair in Bristol, I discovered Daniel Ablitt’s paintings and realised his artwork reflects the mood in that dream with uncanny familiarity.
His pieces often show a single figure, or a pair, allowing you to imagine yourself stepping directly into the setting, meandering amid the trees or slipping into the water. There’s a sense of contentment, and self-containment, exuded by his work that I find wonderfully enticing.
Somehow I find it unsurprising that he comes from a family of artists.
“Both my parents are potters so art and creativity has been a constant through my life. As a consequence it seemed perfectly natural for me to follow an artistic path,” he says.
Daniel studied for a degree in fine art at Cheltenham and Edinburgh, but feels his education “really started as a child with family travels through Europe in a camper van, stopping at any church with a fresco and museum or gallery on the way.”
Sounds heavenly to me.
“I think the first piece of art I was proud of creating was a drawing of a deer that I did when I was about 10,” Daniel says. “It was the first drawing that wasn’t of superheroes! It is also my first piece of work that was framed. I think as an artist you create pieces throughout your working life that for some reason are seminal to you, that mark a turning point or break through of some kind.”
Daniel says he draws inspiration from “places that I find hold a sense of peace and contemplation. These can be places I have recently visited or part remembered places from my childhood.”
That makes perfect sense to me, given my personal response to Daniel’s artwork. More recently Daniel travelled to Patagonia and has embarked on a series of paintings inspired by his time there. “The landscapes I encountered there were truly breathtaking.”
I asked Daniel what influences his work, and while he listed Peter Doig, Toulouse-Lautrec, and landscape painter Casper David Friedrich, he was keen to point out that he sources inspiration from many different sources “not only other painters. It can come from music, film, literature or something as simple as a quality of light at different times of the day.”
He adds: “I honestly try and empty my head at the beginning of a piece. Being surrounded by trees or moorland or mountains, gives me a greater sense of self. In these places I feel more physically, mentally and emotionally aware.”
You can see Daniel’s work at various art fairs in September and Octobe, and at the following galleries on an ongoing basis.
Know an artist you’d like to see showcased on SkyLightRain.com? Give me a shout at judy(at)socketcreative.com.