6 September 2016
Landslides in Art part 27: Louise Collis
This is part 27 of my occasional Landslides in Art series – see the links at the bottom of the page for some earlier editions, including Part 26, Robyn Collier. This time I am featuring a painting by the artist Louise Collis entitled Blaina Landslide.
Louise is a landscape artist based in South Wales. She describes herself as follows:
Based in the South Wales with the beautiful mountains, industrial villages and a fantastic coastline on my door step, I am inspired by the changing colours, light and history of the landscape. I take my painting kit everywhere and can often be found sat on a hillside or cliff painting on a sunny day or inside my car/studio on a rainy day.
Louise has a studio in Abergavenny in South Wales. Starting in July 2014, Louise focused on a project to create one Plein Air landscape painting per day:
In May 2014 I had the idea to create one landscape painting, outdoors, everyday for a year. It was a very exciting idea that would see me painting the changing seasons and my travels around the country. To help get the project started and cement my commitment to it I posted it on Kickstarter – a crowd funding website, and invited people to support the project by buying the paintings in advance. By June 2014 I was thrilled to get the support of over 50 backers and was able to order all the painting boards required and schedule some painting trips. I started painting in July 2014 and have been sending my backers monthly updates. It has been an incredibly enjoyable and informative process. The changes in my painting style has been documented as well as the seasons, and I’ve now produced a large body of work that I’m very proud of and are proving to be great inspiration for other work.
The Paintings are all 8” x 6” Oil on Board
The painting I am featuring is number 232, painted in the Spring of 2015:
Painted on 4 March looking at the old landslip above house at Blaina in the Bleanau Gwent Valley.
Blaina is a small town situated in the Valleys of South Wales with a population of about 5,000 people. This an area that was once dominated by coal mining, but the Beynon’s Colliery was closed in April 1975 after an underground fire. The valleys have a long history of landslides, exacerbated by the mining. The Google Earth image below shows the slopes above Blaina, with a number of landslides:
Note the obvious rockslide in the foreground and the much larger, probably older landslide that has taken a bite our of the ridge for example. On the opposite valley wall there is another series of large landslides, and it is these that Louise Collis has painted:
These landslides required considerable work in the 1980s.
Blaina has a long history of landslides – a report by R.H. Pullen of Gwent County Council identified four significant landslides in the area for example. The painting by Louise Collis captures the drama of the landslides, with the presence of the houses providing a distinctly human context. The painting is still on sale.