West Haddon artist shares amazing journey of combining his two passions
When it comes to golf and art, West Haddon man Matt Landers is in a field of his own.
Matt enjoyed all sports as a child, but his passion steered towards golf.
He told the Daventry Express: "I played golf, football and rugby up until the age of 15, but it was golf that I found most rewarding.
"Having some success on the course such as captaining the county juniors side and going on to represent the men’s teams meant that the sport gained my full attention, while football and rugby fell by the wayside. I always had an interest in drawing and painting, but that was way down the pecking order until much later."
Matt, who attended Northampton School for Boys, was influenced by his art teacher, the late Terry Raybould.
He said: "The painting seeds were being planted after my Nan took it up as a hobby and encouraged me to draw, which really got me started.
"Mr Raybould's influence and passion for art definitely rubbed off on me and that set me on the path to appreciating the traditional techniques and falling in love with the old masters of art, two of my favourites being Cezanne and Rembrandt."
When he left university, he travelled to Arizona to undertake a golf management degree with a view that a career in golf would bring him the most satisfaction.
"I spent all my energies either working in golf clubs or playing and practising golf," added Matt.
But the urge to pick up a paint brush became too strong.
"I was about 25 at the time and straight away, realised what I had been missing," he added.
"I then threw myself back into it. I tapped back into my influences from school and started studying the old masters again. I started going down to London to take a close look at some of the most famous paintings in the world and try and work out how they were created.
"I would stand there for hours trying to get as close as possible without attracting the attention of the museum staff and just stare and study them. It wasn’t so much the subject matter that interested me but it was the texture and the brushwork. That’s what interested me the most. Imagining and trying to figure out how these artists went from a blank canvas to creating something believable. Since then I have been pursuing and trying to teach myself to do the same."
He said some people may find art and golf an unusual mix.
"I know the similarities that run through both practices to be far closer than many would think," Matt said.
"It's all about patience and routine. I have completed commissions in the past but I find it a lot easier to stick with and enjoy the process of creating something for myself. So at the moment that’s what I’m doing. Whenever I paint I’m painting golfing subject matter. Whether it’s a still life using the golfers everyday bits and pieces, golf balls, tees etc or big canvases of my favourite winners of the masters golf tournament painted in the style of my favourite old master painters. I feel I’ve tapped into something. Whether it’s commercially rewarding or not I’m enjoying having fun with it."
Matt is currently working at Cold Ashby Golf Centre, splitting his time between green-keeping and the pro shop.
He added: "The guys there have been exceptionally supportive, not just with offering me work back in a golfing environment but with my art also. They have let me display a collection of my prints in the main bar.
"I love to work on quite a big scale and I’m committed to going through the traditional practices which require the paintings to be completed bit by bit. My paintings can take anywhere between four months and a year to be completed. My ‘masters' collection’ of five large paintings were under construction for around three years."
Now Matt would love nothing more than to have his own studio space to paint full-time.
He said: "I have a lot of ideas bubbling away and would love to get it all turning around quicker and get the paintings out of my head and on to canvas! I’m currently looking for a space and I’ll keep plugging away and hopefully soon I’ll have a base where I can not only create more works but display them also. That’s the goal anyway."
All Matt's work is available to purchase as signed limited edition prints on his website. mattlandersart.co.uk mattlandersart (Instagram) @LandersArt (Twitter)