Elphaba Swims by Fiona Wilson
Mixed media panel
Image size 24.5 x 31 cm
Framed size 27.8 x 33.4 cm
Signed and dated 2021
"This series of women wearing vintage swimming caps began as a simple exploration into new painting techniques and ways of representing the human face. Part of my work is as a portrait artist, where accuracy of skin colour and placement of features is key to the success of the work. After studying the principles of abstract art making in 2019, I wanted to explore more experimental methods of portraying a character or a mood: I wanted to see how far I could push the paint.
This means that many of the paintings in this series are different with the only constant being their size and orientation. They are not designed to be the same – each head has it's own personality expressed through varying colour palettes, mark making and texture. They stand as a group of individuals but are also strong enough to stand alone as an individual artwork.
My work always has one foot in the past. My burlesque performer portraits gave a nostalgic nod to the glamorous fashions of the 50s and 60s and even my paintings of Venice celebrate the faded beauty of faded paint in candy colours. For me, as a child, being by the sea was a happy time. I remember all the women in my family sporting these rubber caps, sometimes plain, sometimes with fowers, but always joyful and full of colour. During the dreariness of lockdown during a Scottish winter, it has been uplifting to revisit these memories and feelings through making these artworks that simply celebrate everything that I love." Fiona Wilson