2020 Emerging Artist: Jason Pritchard
Those who grew up on Cape Cod, whether year after year or summer after summer, know what it’s like to live in a place that paintings and photographs sometimes struggle to capture the beauty of. For artist Jason Pritchard, whether it’s the English countryside or New England seascapes, the desire to capture that beauty has always been strong. “I had an interest in painting from an early age. I had a few inspirations; I grew up in East Anglia, and the countryside there has been popularized in British landscape paintings. The region includes Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire, which have been featured in a lot of historical British art. The region is also recognized as an area of outstanding natural beauty, which has been designated for conservation due to its significant landscape value,” says Pritchard of his childhood in England. “My dad was a printer, so he had a lot of spare paper around that I would use it to make sketchbooks, and I would draw and sketch to my hearts content.” He went on to study physics, math, and biology, and while working in finance, the desire to create took hold once more. “It was in London when I started taking life drawing classes again, and I took a trip to South Africa, where I was very into photography. I then started practicing watercolors and I got some good feedback from friends,” he says.
Since then, his focus has shifted to oil paintings.“I like the process of it drying and thinking about the painting and being able to modify things after a couple days if it’s not how you want it. I like that flexibility to go in and redesign, which you don’t get with watercolor,” he explains. “I like the texture of it as well. A lot of my paintings recently are becoming more textured as a kind of art form in itself, which I like working with on the canvas.”
It was in the States, Connecticut to be exact, that Pritchard was inspired to start a new project. After visiting and painting a beach in his home of Fairfield County, Pritchard decided to explore the area with his paint brush. This led to a series of paintings of each beach in Fairfield County, resulting in around 50 paintings. “I’ve exhibited those in the last couple of years, did some shows with them and it was pretty successful. And it got me thinking of doing a similar project with the beaches of Cape Cod, since I’m there a lot. So I’m painting all the way through from Bourne to Provincetown. I’m up to about Falmouth now, and I think I’ve done about 14 or so at the moment. But, I think there about 130 beaches in total, including private beaches which I wouldn’t go to, so the target number is about there,” he explains of his time getting to know the Cape while visiting in-laws. “It takes you to places you wouldn’t normally go. When I’m on the Cape, I usually just go to Old Silver beach with my family, but this makes me explore areas I wouldn’t normally consider.”
“The light is what really inspires me on the Cape; it’s a painters delight. I also like exploring the names of towns and understanding the history, like how towns came about on Cape Cod. It’s almost a little research project when I go to a beach or other area that’s got an old Native American name to understand. So, it’s got an aspect of learning that I like, and it’s also the inspiration of finding new places to go. The area is perfect for my genre of painting seascapes, and with all the beaches to visit, it’s perfect for me.” – Elizabeth Shaw