RHIAN'S PAINTING STYLE, SUBJECT & TECHNIQUE
Rhian's work has been described as bold, energetic and with a spirit all of it's own. She was taught to draw and observe the natural world around her at an early age by her father and has won credibility throughout her life and career by thinking for herself, questioning convention and yet conforming where it made sense to her. Rhian's life-philosophy is "never say never" and she applies this to her decisions along her artistic journey.
"My approach to oil painting is mostly intuitive and experimental. I am constantly looking to refresh my view, and so my work needs to take shape early-on in the process and retain its essence through to the end. I am terrified of ‘overworking’ it, and for this reason, I find that 'alla prima' suits me best when it comes to painting methods.
A Painterly or Expressive style would best describe my work as I use a roller, brush marks, knife, fingers and the like, as necessary, for desired effect. In this way, the impact and emotion can be enhanced. It also helps distinguish ‘picture’ from ‘painting’. Ultimately, the finished work could involve a multitude of different styles in order to achieve the desired effect and make the most of colours, textures and tonal contrasts. I don't see any harm in this, as long as I achieve depth and movement within the painting.
Colours might not be strictly realistic, although I am not always aware of it of how far I have strayed from 'reality'. There is often an exaggeration of colour which relates to emotion that might not be expressed otherwise. Panic, longing, fear, passion…along with characteristics such as impatience, competitiveness and arrogance which are built purposefully within the structure of the painting from the start of the process. I suppose there is both instinct and intellect at play."
Subject matter is influenced by energy, whether this is within the natural environment or human behaviour. Having been brought up on the coast, the seas and coastal geology have an impact too. However, it is the view we take which is important and that needs to be from a position of equal vulnerability and with humble presence, within nature.
Even where there might be an undercurrent of contention or underlying threat, the painting is created in such a way as to remind us of beauty and harmony. For example, in relation to the subject of the ‘Deepwater’ collection there is a reality of stark inequality and disharmony in the ocean environment that we so humbly depend upon. Where marine animals compete with one another, they can no longer compete with Man. Are we too fit for our own good, given the technology available to us, and are fish 'fair game' any more? I hope these paintings serve as a reminder of our dependency as well as our power.
Take a look at "Survival of the Fittest". Here there is natural competition and balance. Another example, "Ebb and Flow" suggests the tidal influences coming and going, undercurrents, and swimming against the tide. It might describe public opinion on climate change and the role of human factors. The result is a situation of "Fire Down Below", where jellyfish grow in abundance due to reduced numbers of predators and over-fishing by man.
The scene is set by taking time over creating a background which has ‘depth’ and where there is (in most cases) an obvious highlight or light source as well as a rich and deep area, luxurious in colour, typical of our natural environment. Most of this stage will be done using a small roller.
From here, the focal point of the subject is planned and executed, leaving additional compositional detail to follow or be worked alongside, depending upon required tones. The order in which detail is painted will often be influenced by tone – light to dark.
A large mirror is strategically placed within the art studio so that a ‘fresh view’ can be had of the work in progress at any time. This serves as a check on my progress of a desired effect by refreshing my eye and brain with the reverse image. My use of the mirror is not a contrived one, but one that has evolved organically. It takes me back to the days as a child when I would stand close-up to a mirror on the wall and survey the strange room on the other side, which always looked more interesting and new. In truth, you might catch me doing it nowadays, in a day-dream!".
Collections are now available for purchase and current projects can be seen on her EVENTS & Exhibitions page. Follow Rhian on Facebook.