Before pressing into the rest of Andrews' book ('Landscape and Western Art': see previous posts) I'll briefly consider how the themes of chapters 2 and 3 connect with anything I've ever made.
In every case, in marked contrast to chapter 2's Renaissance examples, the things that I've painted present the views that they depict emphatically as 'subject'. Individually each sketch is the setting for nothing. No-one appears and ostensibly nothing is going on. The images appear to have the character of unpeopled snapshots.
However, a moment's consideration reveals that my pictures might be seen to contain subtle narrative features. Firstly, each painting takes at least a couple of hours to produce, during which time things hardly remain static. The view alters with shifting light and changing weather so the finished paintings necessarily hint at the story of their creation, pointing to the choices and selections required for their production. Secondly, when seen as a series, a story of change over time is appparent, principally the story of seasonal change. This feature is reinforced by the knowledge that almost all the images are of the same small patch of countryside. Finally, the collection of paintings as a whole could be understood to contain the story of my involvement with this bit of the world, the bit where I happen to live. The choice to focus on this unexceptional stretch of river, and latterly the estate I walk through to reach it, is not arbitrary. I depict it precisely because it's where my life goes on. I don't think I'm particularly interested in recording attractive views per se, more in trapping the fugitive experience of being here and of making myself look with more than a passing glance at where I happen to be. That intention, I think, has some narrative content, even if the paintings themselves show it only obliquely.
Of course, I have no need to encounter this landscape at all. Involvement with it is a choice. I visit it voluntarily and for a reason, namely - surely the reason why anyone wanders into the countryside from the town - because it is a 'pleasant place'. The theme of Andrews' chapter 3, of seeking refreshment in landscapes, helps explain my presence in, and subsequent depiction of, fields and trees and skies. This motivation less obviously accords with my attempts to record the houses and streets close to home, but even then I believe I'm trying to hold on to the generative experience of being out and not in, of having time to walk and not work.