Paul Critchley

of "Alanica"

canvas, acrylic

Landscape is not heritage it is a phenomenon. Land does not belong to anyone, it belongs to itself, we are only living on it and heritage is the history of how, when and what we did on it over generations.

I first saw the landscape and towers around Vladikavkaz and Fiagdon in 2007. Fiagdon is situated in a valley in the foothills of Mt Kazbek, 5.053m, some 20 kms to the south east, the seventh highest mountain in the Great Caucasus Mountain Range. There are few places in western Europe where one can feel isolated, lost in the surrounding wilds of nature with huge snow capped mountains, uninhabited valleys, abandoned villages with ruins showing the hardship of survival. A land empty of human habitation yet filled with mood. The landscape a hour outside of Vladikavkaz is monumental, magnificent, it is inspiring – and it needs to be shared, protected and honoured. Standing on a rock overlooking the vast vista of the world before me makes me feel so small and insignificant, a trivial flea. Nature can be both inspiring and also frightening, romantic yet disturbing. It is romantic to behold the drama of the wind playing with the trees, the water flowing rapidly down the gorge, the clouds stroking the mountain peaks, the setting sun kissing them with its final rays before it goes to sleep. As night descends there are no comforting street lights, a cloudy sky smothers the stars and moon, and the darkness, the blackness, is disturbing.

The feel of natures’ moods is what I want to paint and I want to do it in a way which encompasses it all. I want to paint a panorama, a panoramic view of that magnificence a mere stones throw outside of Vladikavkaz.

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