Ask the artist: Beatrice Hasell-McCosh on landscapes

Abbey Art asked Beatrice Hasell-McCosh, who's co-tutoring the Landscape Course - Drawing and Painting (6th-12th May 2018), about all things landscape.  Read below for a fascinating insight into her artistic processes and techniques.

Abbey Art: What's your favourite season to paint landscapes in, and why?

Beatrice: Obviously summer means the weather is much nicer to paint because it's lovely and warm. 

But it's great to get a good, dry, frosty day, usually in January or February, to paint as it's brighter.  I'm not sure how long my toes are able to survive though.   In the winter I paint from drawings and videos a lot.

Abbey Art: How do you choose a landscape to paint - is it an organic process or a more conscious decision?

Beatrice: I spend a considerable amount of time wandering around.  Exploration is rarely a waste of time though and sometimes a walk of an hour means that you can paint something very useful in only 20 minutes. 

I tend to draw a lot of quick things first, so that even if I don't like the painting I do, I can use the colours to paint from the drawing of elsewhere.

Abbey Art: What's been your favourite/best landscape drawing/painting experience?

Beatrice: Painting with other artists is always fun.

I went to Scotland to paint with a friend and we got into a good routine of painting in the morning and then going to explore or go for a walk and then painting in the afternoon. 

I love painting abroad, somehow it seems easier.

Abbey Art: What are your aims when drawing or painting landscapes?

Beatrice: To find a good balance of actual representation and expressive mark making.  I never really aim for much, why is why I think some end up being OK - there is no expectation of the perfect painting.

Abbey Art:  What's your favourite medium to use?

Beatrice: Always oil on board, although I took pre-primed linen to Cuba with me and held it onto board with clips.  What I like is that it doesn't give in the way a stretched canvas does.  

Pencil on paper is so quick and easy, probably that over oils in fact.  If I had all the money in the world I would collect drawings.  The Gagosian stand at Frieze this year only had drawings and it was easily the most interesting.

Abbey Art: Who is your favourite landscape artist, and what is it about their work that speaks to you?

Beatrice: I don't really have a favourite, I have people whose technique I admire very much. Sheila Fell's snowscapes are wonderful, Emily Patrick is someone whose work I've admired since I was young.  

Sickert uses wonderfully tonal in his landscapes.  I am an avid and eternal fan of Martin Yeoman whose paintings and drawings in India are completely brilliant in terms of composition and understanding of colour.

William Russell Flint's watercolours are wonderful and Renoir's "Gust of Wind" is so inspiring. I could go on and on!  

Painting landscape is so varied and specific to you, so nothing is wrong, which I love.

Abbey Art: What one tip would you give other artists for composing a successful landscape image?

Beatrice: Paint what you want to paint rather than what you think will sell.  Your enthusiasm for your subject will always show.

Abbey Art: Beatrice, this is such a powerful landscape - the light, the composition, the sense of enclosure which contradicts the freedom of the landscape beyond the fencing and barbed wire.  Can you tell us a bit more about what was behind this painting?


Beatrice: I painted this very quickly and got completely soaked while doing it.  It is from a farm just along from where I live above Ullswater in Cumbria.  I usually paint while sitting down - for some reason I find it easier to just spread my materials round me rather than having to deal with an easel being blown over by the wind.  I scratched the fence in right at the last moment as I had been looking through it and suddenly realised it was part of the reason I liked the view so much.

Abbey Art: Thank you so much Beatrice.

To find out more about the Abbey Art Landscape Course - Painting and Drawing that Beatrice and Tyga Helme are co-teaching, click below