We mountain-lovers appreciate a bit of scenery: we might take a photo or two on our phones before skiing or hiking back down the hill, but not many of us would be willing to lug a load of full-size canvases, easel and oils up the mountain to paint the view. Skier, mountain biker, but most importantly, artist, Daniel Yeomans (recently re-located from Montgomeryshire, Wales to Fribourg, Switzerland) does exactly that.
Daniel studied at the renowned Charles Cecil Studios in Florence which specialises in painting from life like the old masters. To put it simply, Daniel is happiest painting in a natural light with his subject in front of him. If his subject happens to be a landscape then you’ll find him standing in a field, in a forest, on a hillside or on top of a mountain with his easel and canvas in front of him, palette and brush in hand.
Daniel is an expert portrait painter but it is his love of the outdoors that takes him to some really extraordinary places. Recently, he climbed up to the Dents du Midi in the Swiss Alps, with Jules Guarneri and Julien Roserens who are making a film about Daniel’s landscape painting process. They slept a few nights in the very rustic Réfuge-bivouac de Chalin, making the most of the ever-shortening daylight hours to paint, film and drink lots of tea.
Daniel is not new to Switzerland, he felt the pull of the mountains in his twenties and spent three years in Champéry, then a few in Engelberg, working as a ski instructor, driver, ski technician and all those other seasonal roles we’re all familiar with, before heading off to Florence for his art studies.
As someone who cannot be out in the snow for five minutes without gloves there is one question I have been itching to ask Daniel since I learned of his painting practices, ‘Don’t your hands get cold?’
‘Everything gets cold,’ he tells me. ‘Hands, feet. Once I got frostbite on my nose.’
He keeps his feet warm with good quality boots but has to wear thin gloves to paint so can only work for an hour at a time before needing to warm up. This he does by doing star jumps in front of his easel. ‘Anyway,’ he says, ‘the light changes after about an hour so that’s about all I can do in one session.’
Daniel’s landscapes are stunning and I cannot wait to seeing the paintings and film resulting from his latest expedition. In the meantime, I have had a sneaky peek of one of the paintings that Daniel is currently putting the finishing touches to in his studio and it lives up to the scenery you can see below. The film of the trip will be released with Daniel’s upcoming exhibition at the Galérie d’Art Espace Raiffesen in Champéry from January 16, 2021.
In keeping with his studies, Daniel continues to paint large portraits and recently completed a notable commission for a member of the House of Lords, William Hague. His self-portraits are also proving quite collectable, with two of the existing four sold to private collectors and one to The National Library of Wales for their public collection.
Daniel also produces a great newsletter funnily enough, ‘The Easel Editorial’ in which he aims to inspire and share creativity and discover and support living artists. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
You can follow Daniel on Instagram @danieljamesyeomans or his Facebook page.