Nature's endless beauty captured in a new edition of Richard Rowan's Infinite collection

Nature's endless beauty is captured in a new edition of Richard Rowan's Infinite collection with two new monochrome limited editions.

Our Magical Land

Richard Rowan

Richard Rowan, master of painting on glass, brings more stunning works from his Infinite collection depicting the Milky Way to Castle Fine Art. This edition uses a black and white palette, which truly illustrates Richard’s superlative technique, due to the subtlety of shading required. The new monochromatic limited-edition prints are inspired by the Icelandic Valleys and the beauty of the Scottish Highlands, working to capture the essence of his experience taking in the awe of the Milky Way amongst their stunning landscapes.

“It's always the things that I can't paint, or it seems impossible to paint, that I've wanted to paint the most,” laughs Richard, “which is why I’ve painted the Milky Way. It’s a way of testing myself and developing my technique. With all the new styles of work I do, it’s a matter of experimenting with new ways of working. With the Milky Way, it's a whole different bag of tricks, so I've had to work out how to take paint away, and add it in.”

Richard is the very forefront of the technique of painting on glass, one of the reasons being that he’s always pushing his delicate and precise skills more and more and pioneering new ways of working. He applies and manipulates the paint using fine brushes and special tools of his own invention, leading to the creation of stunning, atmospheric landscapes. The new pieces have been even more labour-intensive than usual – and that’s saying something.

“Shading colour is one of the finer things to do, and black and white is even harder. It takes so much time and what people don't see is how many times I'm cleaning the brush. When I work across the painting, I need to constantly change the colour on the brush and then clean it and then start again. So, each brush stroke is cleaned whereas normally you'd have a brush stroke and just keep painting and blending.

“I'm a bit shocked that people do think my paintings are photographs, but it's great. It's hard to understand how a painting has been painted backwards, because you're only seeing the front, but when people see the window in the back of the painting, they get to see just what’s on the back! A photograph can never really capture the Milky Way as you see it, and you nearly always come away a little disappointed with the photograph you’ve got. I’m not painting a photograph, but the view of the Milky Way in my mind’s eye which gives the viewer that feeling of awe you get from being in the actual surroundings."

'Dark Days, Bright Nights'

"‘Dark Days, Bright Nights’ features a waterfall, and it’s reminiscent of our time in Iceland, where we saw this amazing place. It’s the first time I’ve done a waterfall in a piece and painted water at night so I’m really trying to put the most extreme things into a piece and make it more difficult for myself! It’s full of a lot of memories for me and my family, plus it has a kind of vintage look. It’s a special piece technically for me, too, as it's trying to combine the night sky with water and the Milky Way all in one piece with a really minimal colour palette.”

'Our Magical Land'

“This is another piece that I've always wanted to do in black and white. it was based on a part of Scotland that we've visited; the kids are obsessed with night photography, so I wanted to bring that into it as well. Trying to get the Milky Way reflecting off the off the water was great and it worked out really well.

“Scotland is an important place for us; we have family there and we took a trip this summer to show the kids the Isle of Skye. It’s probably one of the darker points of Scotland, so we can really see everything and to be by the loch and see the beautiful Milky Way was a bit of a moment for us and the kids especially. For my son to be flying his drone and my daughter to be stuck to the telescope was just amazing.

“She is very into photography and I think the thing for her was getting the telescope set up so we would be able to see the Milky Way off the lake and off the loch. My daughter was getting very technical about the telescope and wanting to get it set up, and thinking about how we would film it and where we would film it, what shots we could get, and the main thing was to be able to get the Milky Way reflecting in the water's edge. I think that was one of the things she really wanted to do. She's a real fan of big stars.”

Richard's art is a family affair

Observing the skies is something Richard is passionate about, and it’s a passion he shares with his family. “My son and daughter have become very interested in the Milky Way and how it works, and the more places we've been in the world where you can see it, the more they've been obsessed by it.

“It's a family business that I'm in - it's not just me painting, it's what the whole family are doing; where we go on holiday, what we're looking at, and how interested I can make the kids in my work. We have a telescope and we're looking at stars and seeing what the universe is all about. It's great to bring their excitement as well as mine into the work.

“They’re starting to want to design my pictures themselves and to be a part of it; they see me doing it every day in my studio and they just wanted more Milky Way and I looked for ways to paint it, and how to put them into the works. Sometimes I’ve put four birds in or four stars close together and I've done lightning strikes, which have four parts to them as well. Putting the family first is what we're all about but putting the family into the picture is even nicer as well because they feel part of it all.”

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