Monday, August 30, 2010

And inspiration found him...: Mick Canning, an artist's journey.

I'm not sure what words to use to describe the artist I'm to introduce to you today. He is a man of many, varied, talents and I'm hesitant to label him solely as an artist. I chanced upon Mick Canning's work when I was searching for art covering Indian doorways. One look and I was hooked! I read on, and finally mustered up the courage to request an artist profile, because I simply had to share!!! Mick was kind enough to respond immediately and here's what I found out about him...

Not only is Mick a photographer and an artist, his day-job is that of an outdoor instructor --"work" involves climbing, canoeing, navigating, and he's hoping to set something up in Ladakh one day!!!  I also suspect that there's a writer lurking somewhere underneath as well. I'm sure you've all read "Seven Years in Tibet" and "Three cups of Tea", now just imagine what happens when you send an artist (he didn't know he was one till he got there!) to the roof of the world. Here's how the forces shaped him and how his art emerged.....

"Ladakhi Door".

Mick, on inspiration: " I developed my artistic style as a response to my first visit to India over 20 years ago. I was so knocked out by the place that I was trying to find some way of expressing my feelings, which neither poetry or prose managed to do.

I have had a little formal training since then, but am largely self-taught. The semi-abstract style that I use was developed to attempt to depict my impressions of first India and then Nepal. I now use photography more and more, as I learn more about it."

That's pretty amazing for a self-taught artist don't you think?

"The Mists of Time".

"Monsoon". This has to be one of my favorites..I love how he's captured the downpour here....beautiful!!


"Gaya Street".
 I love how he turns the ordinary into something so beautiful!

He is also a professional photographer...his photographs are a work of art in themselves; This is how he views the world, probably the reason his paintings are so evocative....

Gompa, just below Leh palace, in Leh.

and this breathtaking view.......

"Roof of the World".

His description of the plane ride to Ladakh had me in splits (it sounds very much like the ride described to me by my dad...he had served in Leh when he was younger.)

"Prayer Flags". Darjeeling.

Monastery at Darjeeling.

For all you art aficionados and travel buffs, his website covers travel and art from all over India, Nepal and Oman; I just chose to focus on his Indian paintings. When you have the time, I would strongly recommend that you grab your favorite cuppa and head on over to his website and really read the entries in his online'll see what I'm talking about!! I'm going to leave you with an excerpt from his website, describing how Ladakh moved him (I'm sure this will have you clicking on over faster than I can say "interwebs"...:) )

"Later, I’m walking around the market. How strange to go around market stalls and shops in India, not getting pressured and hassled at all. Even by the Kashmiris! At times it seems almost unreal. You wonder whether suddenly it’s all going to crash around you and normal India will be resumed as soon as possible. The longer that you spend here, the more laid back you become. I don’t think you can help it! Everyone strolls around smiling and Julay-ing you and each other. I know that Ladakhis consider it the height of bad manners ever to lose one’s temper, but it really does seem unreal. I think it would be easy to just sink into the ambiance of it all and find you’d suddenly missed your flight out and had overstayed by weeks, or months…

Andrew Harvey said, and I’ll have to paraphrase because I can’t remember the exact quote, ‘The wonder of Leh is that there is absolutely nothing to do. Nothing to do except slow down, switch off and just observe. Just be.’ I understand that, now. I realise that that is what I have been doing the last few days without realising it. It was only three mornings ago that I was feeling jaded, by golly!"
All pictures courtesy of, and copyrighted to, Mick Canning. Mick is based out of Tunbridge Wells in the UK. Several of the paintings featured above have already been sold, but a few are still up for grabs; at his website, you will also find links to a series of greeting cards featuring his art.

Mick, Thank You for sharing your world with us!!


  1. You do have an eye to spot artists and those paintings are just fabulous!!!

    I am book marking this post to assimilate all of Mike's works.

  2. @Sanghamitra: Thank you! :)
    @Geeta: wise decision! come back and let me know what you think! :)

  3. Lovely post ...My dad too servedin Leh and I studied there for two years ...later My husband too served there...and Ladakh happens to be one of my favourite places .....the Paintings are really beautiful espcoming from a self taught artist.Thanks for sharing.

  4. Fascinating..I am hooked :-) Geat post Gagan.

  5. beautiful work! lots of luck to Mick! Great post GB!

  6. You are right, G. I love his work! :)

    He made me want to go to India right now. Ladakh here I come :).

    I just read about the wonderful craft workshop in Jaipur from Once Upon A Tea Time. I am seriously thinking of going to one of those. This post just makes me want to do it more !

  7. Those are all so beautiful! I love the impressionist-like quality....

  8. Thanks for telling us about Mick! I love the way he uses color. My favs are the Ladaki door and the monsoon images:) Heading over to his site to see if they are available (and if i can afford them!)

  9. Nice find...thanks for the website link...checking it out now!

  10. The Swayambunath - I have been there, and it was such a fascinating place to visit. beautiful paintings.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this. It's funny because we are looking for a piece of art to hang on our mantle above the fireplace. I would love a piece inspired by India and something really bright and colorful. Off to check out the website. Thanks again,

  12. This was a fantastic post and mick is a fantasticker (know that it's not a real work) person.His account of Leh is so apt.Going to check out his blog.

  13. @snehal: I had no idea- army brat and an army wife as well???? :)
    --Truly great work for a self-taught arist!!
    @Anu, Prachi, thanks! :)
    @Sans! I knew it!! waiting to see how this affects your art! :) Isn't it amazing--every nook and cranny of india is brim-full and unique!
    @Joyti: I loved those too...I think there's a certain kind of art that I'm drawn to and blogging is helping me hone my eye! :)
    @Sharon: I hope he comes out with a line of prints soon! :)I have my eye on a couple!
    @Sundeep: You're very welcome! :)
    @Kamana: hope you clicked over to the site...there's loads more!
    @Naina: you have to share pictures if you do--These would look stunning on a mantle!
    @Sumi: I loved the way he shares his thoughts--at times you have to see your world through an outsider's eyes to really appreciate it! :)

  14. Loved all the photographs and the paintings are just amazing! Great post, Gagan.

  15. beautiful! most places are very very familiar;)


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