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Our new project is titled ‘Embrace’ and it is informed by the work of the artist Antonia Showering, whose work we looked at towards the end of last term. My intention around the project is to bring more figurative painting into our thinking and our approach to painting. So the project can be interpreted as broadly as you wish from a handshake to a kiss and any form of embrace can be used as a starting point for the picture. The background can be an imaginative invention of a place or simply an arrangement of colours. I have added three pictures to aid our thoughts firstly by Showering, then Klimt and finally a painting by Egon Schiele.

I’ve been looking at a painting by David Gauld ‘Two Figures in a Landscape’ that I have used as part of my presentation for the ‘Embrace’ projects for both the Painting Challenge and Painting Techniques and Ideas.

David Gauld (7 November 1865 – 18 June 1936) was an important Scottish artist who worked in both oils and stained glass and was regarded as being one of the innovators within the Glasgow Boys group. Some of his works, such as St Agnes and Music are seen as precursors of the Art Nouveau movement. His works were seen as having both a Japanese and Pre-Raphaelite influence upon them.(Wikipedia)

The painting dates from 1889 and it looks impressively ambitious and innovative for that date - a precursor of the Art Nouveau movement and clearly it has elements that are similar to the paintings of Gustav Klimt. The colour and pattern are pre-eminent components of the painting in an abstract sense. The darker patterns of shadow are contrasted with sunlit forms that merge to become abstracted shapes to fit in with the composition as a whole.

I include two more works by Gauld. Firstly a painting stained glass window ‘The Procession of St Agnes.’ , and the second about St Agnes.

The colour in the St Agnes painting works so well - the ochres and oranges set against soft greens so too the the way that pattern is again prominent across a figure and then to landscape. Scottish artists from this period seem obsessed by colour and use it so effectively.


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