© Stephen Eastaugh, 2018. All Rights Reserved.
I look out the window of my studio at the clouds above the Andes mountain range on a sunny January evening. This range is the longest on the planet stretching from Patagonia to Panama, over 7,000 km in distance. Not so far away is the snow-capped peak of Aconquija at 6959 metres high. This would be a pretty fine stroll to do one week. This is landscape and cloudscape that I should wander deep into but it also operates as the majestic backdrop for life in La Consulta. For want of a better description I am a landscape abstractionist. I have been busy with landscape and geography for 25 years now. My biography is constructed from huge chunks of geography and the journeys between one place and the next. Travel and geography I find hard to separate from other elements of my life. Art maps my life.
Mapping is a tool to control the landscape. Landscape painting is also busy trying to understand and control the environment but there is more to it. An element of homage or love creeps into some pictures along with this desire to know the place and express it and to communicate various flavours of knowing or different perspectives. Landscape painting oscillates between the desire to master space and the desire to pay homage to a space. Control and romance are two extreme forms of relationship that an artist can have with the environment. Depending on the artist the relationship could take innumerable views. From respect to academic dissection or inspiration to just make marks on canvas or paper.
To make sense of or to put order to a thing that is complex and fluid is a human activity. Everything changes. Landscape does as well and humans are often busy trying to work it out or at least to stay comfortable in their surroundings. Stability and constants are easier to live with than constant change and chaos. Which worldview do we want, information and control or beauty and romance? The answer of course is both.
Cloudscapes are a good example, their shapes and colours inform us about climate but just how wonderful is it to watch a sunset or massive cumulus nimbus clouds building up for a storm?
Speaking of chaos. New years party consisted of a crucified pig on an open pit fire and many bottles of red wine. Dancing was also on the menu and of course the hammock was utilized for medicinal purposes for some days after the festivities. 2008 arrived with a rainstorm, some hail and a double rainbow that refreshed the dusty town of La Consulta. The Chinese Lunar year arrives soon so we may celebrate the year of the Rat in some rustic Argentinean dumpling manner.