Arts·Landscape Art

Landscape art isn't just painting your surroundings — in a way, it's a kind of self-portrait

Art historian Ian Dejardin on how artists put something of themselves into the frame for Landscape Artist of the Year Canada.

Art historian Ian Dejardin on how artists put something of themselves into the frame

Art historian Ian Dejardin on how artists put something of themselves into the frame for Landscape Artist of the Year Canada. 1:30

Hosted by Sook-Yin Lee, Landscape Artist of the Year Canada brings together the country's top professional and amateur artists in a battle of the brushes to see who can best capture the country's most iconic landscapes. Stream Landscape Artist of the Year Canada now on CBC Gem.

Everyone has an relationship to the landscape around them, and for landscape artists, this relationship becomes infused in the essence of their work. "A really great landscape artist is more often putting something of themselves into that image," art historian and executive director of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection Ian Dejardin tells Landscape Artist of the Year Canada

"In many ways, this picture of hills, trees, lakes is a self-portrait. Because it's really recording how the individual artist is seeing something special to them in what is in front of them. It will be different for every artist. That is why you very rarely, if ever, get artists renditions of landscapes that are identical."

Denise Antaya sizing up the landscape in front of her in Landscape Artist of the Year Canada (CBC Arts)

"It's an individual language, more than almost anything else."

Dejardin sees Landscape Artist of the Year Canada, where each week six artists paint the same scene in front of them, as a perfect illustration of the individuality that's put into landscape art. "The perfect illustration of this is this program, where you have six artists lined up. They're all in front of the same view, experiencing the same weather, experiencing everything identically — and yet you couldn't have six more different renditions of that landscape."

"They're all seeing something different and it's always to do with themselves."

Andrew Cheddie Sookrah painting as part of Landscape Artist of the Year Canada. (CBC Arts)

Stream Landscape Artist of the Year Canada now on CBC Gem.

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