A glimpse into the life of resident artist Samuel Earp. Born in Guernsey, Sam now calls Queenstown home. With stunning vistas right at his back door, it makes life easy for this landscape artist who is drawn to the mountains and prefers to paint outdoors, a technique referred to as painting plein air.
Landscape Artist Samuel Earp
My name is Samuel Earp, a traditional realism artist who loves to paint landscapes in oils, especially scenes of New Zealand, Australia and Guernsey among others. I was born on the island of Guernsey in 1979 but grew up in the South West of England where I did a lot of drawing and painting from an early age, I always loved landscape art even as a child. I moved to the beautiful country of New Zealand in 2009 and have been there ever since. I think the universe brought me here to New Zealand to paint, it's one of the best countries in the world to be a landscape artist as there is an infinite amount of subjects to paint.
What’s your background?
I was born on the island of Guernsey and I grew up in Devon in the south west of England. I moved to New Zealand 8 years ago. I’ve been drawing and painting from an early age and I always loved realism landscape art.
What brought you to Queenstown New Zealand?
I’m mostly known in New Zealand for being a seascape artist but I wanted to spend time painting mountain landscapes as well. I moved to Queenstown to be amongst my subject and to paint mountains.
What work do you most enjoying doing? Do you experiment with other styles?
I love traditional realism landscape art especially the art works produced by the 19th Century landscape painters, those guys knew how to paint. I want to emulate that painting style and therefore I’m very particular about what I want to paint. My plein air paintings, however, are much looser in terms of brushwork.
What’s your favourite piece you’ve created?
Probably the seascape of Piha I painted last year, I felt that it was one of my best paintings.
Tell us where your art is created?
Most of my art is created in my studio at the Queenstown Arts Centre. I also paint outdoors on location, also known as painting ‘en plein air’.
Tell us about your process…
My process begins with getting photo reference from landscapes that inspire me. From there I will select the photos containing images/elements I will use in my painting. My cloud reference, for example, may be from a completely different location or day than say for example the mountain I am going to paint. Once I have selected my photos I go to my sketchbook and will sketch out many two-minute thumbnail pencil sketches as I plan my composition. Once I am settled on an idea for a composition I will begin to develop it further, arranging all the elements to create an engaging painting. Once I am happy I will sketch out a final pencil rendering which will depict the scene. Using my final pencil sketch I begin to paint a small 8” x 10” colour study which depicts the palette I will use in my final painting. When it comes to painting large artworks I like to know the road ahead, so I paint a colour study first to get an idea of what the final painting will look like. The colour studies are also little paintings in their own right. Once I am happy with the colour study I will paint the final artwork.
I often get ideas for paintings by painting outdoors, this helps me massively with my studio work as well as it being thoroughly enjoyable. It’s nice to get out of the studio and in the fresh air.
Who inspires you?
Most of my influences are 19th Century landscape painters, my favourite artists include the following:
Peder Mork Monsted, August Wilhelm Leu, Ivan Shishkin, Edward Theodore Compton, Edward Harrison Compton, Even Ulving, Hans Gude, Albert Bierstadt, Frederick Judd Waugh and Edgar Payne.My favourite modern day painters include Andrew Tischler and John Crump.
I am very inspired by nature, mountains and the wild sea.
How do you get into the creative zone?
I like listening to music and/or podcasts when I paint.
What are some of your favourite Queenstown locations to paint plein air ?
I like painting on the lake front of Lake Wakatipu and Lake Hayes. Whilst not in Queenstown, I mostly paint en plein air in the Glenorchy area, it’s a plein air painters paradise. I love painting Mt Talbot which is on the way to Milford Sound.
To be able to paint every day and travel
What would your dream day in Queenstown entail?
A full day's painting followed by a curry and a pint!
What are some of your favourite NZ art Galleries?
Advice for artists who wish to travel to New Zealand to paint?
New Zealand is one of the best countries in the world to be a landscape artist as there is a never-ending amount of things to paint. I’d recommend any plein air painters to check out Glenorchy as there are loads of great spots to paint.