In the practitioners of landscape as an art form and especially in watercolour media, there are two types of painters. No, I am not talking here of other classifications, we have discussed before. Like, amateur and a professional . But those who are at home with landscape and watercolour; those who paint in this genre all the time. And those who paint this as a thing to paint, as a study; to continue what they learnt and enjoyed once.
The first type of painters of landscape are usually clear about their aims and needs. They may be utterly confused about techniques and materials, like all painters are in some way. But there is clarity and sense of purpose in their painting, They may be painting to sell, but they are clear about it!
The other type is one which I am curious about. Why they go and paint on locale landscapes. Yes. This kind of painter usually insists on on locale work. The full time landscape painter has usually no qualms about traditions. Many are quite at home while painting from photos and memories. But the painters of other representational/ contemporary art forms, when they 'return' to landscape, I personally find them confused. First mostly they still think of landscape as a 'study',which was submission topic in early years of art school. They still like it, but now 'maturity' has taken them to more serious stuff. So they paint landscape , totally split inside. Some feel like a grown up playing a kindergarten play. And they are not to be blamed. The whole conditioning they get towards landscape, the buck stops there!
Still some come 'back' to landscape painting . Insisting on location tradition and age old watercolour techniques as sacrosanct. Their 'maturity' does not make them see the truth that those 'traditions' were okay while really 'studying' the landscape. So I have seen what they paint is completely out of sync not only current trends in landscape, which full timers have brought about with their efforts, but also out of sync with their own mature level of painting achieved in their full time genre.
And it also brings in another level of guilt. Apart from doing 'study' work , they also find themselves inept in comparison to others. And blame is put on lack of practice! And in rare 'thinking' types, blame goes to the art form he practices full time. And his usual media of choice, which is not watercolour anymore. All that creates clouds in thinking and reasoning.
But all that is wrong blame game. It is the 'going back to study' feeling that is the culprit. When a person matures in real life, she matures all round. Not just in walk and talk and eating habits but in dressing, behaviour and most importantly thinking. A mature artist, who is a abstract painter now, should not 'go back' while painting lad]landscape. If she goes back, her landscapes are also doing that with her. In some measure, he dragging himself back to his student level!
So, whats the solution?. As far as I can see, while observing them; it is simple. Stop the 'study'! Rather bring the understanding you have come to, in your 'major subject', into your landscape. Bring in the sense of composition you have gained, an abstract artist, into the landscape. Bring in the feeling you try to capture, in portraiture, into the landscape. Bring in the experimental streak of a contemporary artist, to your landscapes.
All will benefit. He will as an artist, with his 'major subject ' also getting a bit of help with these experiments. Other full time landscape painters will be helped, while observing a non representational artist, tackling an art form like landscape. And finally my dear landscape, as an art form will also be better off!