Kerr practises her art in all weather conditions – the rougher the better – from the shore, rocks or from a boat – in fact she is known as the “foul weather painter. Kerr admires the scumbled paint surfaces and scratched lines of Turner’s work contributing to the representation of the movement and fury of the sea. Through a mass of moving paint, swirling water, land, sea and sky are merged together.
Kerr is described as contemporary and experimental and she does not aim to create meticulous studies of the landscape rather wishing to respond to what is sensed rather than seen. Her paintings explore the boundaries between representation and abstraction.
“My paintings’, writes Janette Kerr, ‘represent immediate responses to sound and silences within the landscape around me; they are about movement and the rhythms of sea and wind, swelling and breaking waves, the merging of spray with air, advancing rain and mist, glancing sunlight – elements that seem to be about something intangible.” (Kerr 2019).
In an interview with Katy Cowan in Creative Boom, Kerr describes her preference, like Turner, to experience nature:
“Drawing on a boat in the midst of a heaving sea and surrounded by a living mass of water, the world tips, the horizon disappearing and reappearing, fear and exhilaration experienced simultaneously.
I look at what’s below me, stare out across the water, think about stuff completely unrelated to my environment, feel spray hitting me, waves pushing the boat around; there’s this physical immersion in the landscape, a resonance between an internalised world and an external one.” (Kerr in Cowan 2019).
Her words, images and her exploration of the boundary between representation and abstraction resonate with me. I feel like we occupy a similar place in exploring the landscape and internalising our experience in order to produce our art. Her images have inspired me to continue on my journey of photographing Loch Cill Chriosd.
COWAN, Katy. 2019. Janette Kerr on being a foul-weather artist, her passion for the sea and painting outside. Creative Boom. Available at: https://www.creativeboom.com/features/janette-kerr/ Accessed on 6 December 2019.
KERR, Janette. 2019. Available at: https://www.janettekerr.co.uk/ Accessed on 6 December 2019.