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Objects in a Row

I have seen some lovely painting from members of the group in relation to our ‘objects in a row theme’ which was inspired by the West Coast of America ‘ Bay’ painters. Their use of colour and the vitality of their brushwork and the use of dynamic compositions is a source of inspiration. I will set a new project next week.

Last weeks connection was about the role of female artists in WW1. I have used one painting by Flora Lion to illustrate the way that the artists used their skills and ideas to represent particular aspects of the war. The Lion painting that I have chosen is ‘Women’s Canteen at Phoenix Works Bradford.’

‘..... the Ministry of Information was recognising that the power of art to act as propaganda could be extended beyond posters. In a bid to attract more working-class women into industrial production, it commissioned Flora Lion, a society portrait painter, to visit munitions factories in Leeds and Bradford and to produce paintings of working class women at work.

The painting conveys a range of messages. By setting it in a women only environment, Lion is suggesting safety. The sergeant’s and lance-corporal’s stripes, visible on the sleeves of a woman seated on the left and the woman on the far-right, hint at a disciplined and orderly working atmosphere. The two central figures are arms-linked in companionship, and there is a youthful, elegant attractiveness about the woman holding the gaze of the artist, always useful for the selling of an idea or product. There is also an appeal to supporters of the Suffrage movement in the togetherness of the two central figures and the assertive stance of the woman on the far right. The purple and greens of the palette are those of the Suffragette movement.’ (

I think that it is easy to see that Lion was a portrait painter - the sensitively painted figures in this painting are fabulous and for me very reminiscent of Renoir. Note particularly the figure to the right of the two central women - her expression has been captured wonderfully. I also like the composition that she has used within the extended rectangle.


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