Gwen Adair

Gwen Adair

GWEN ADAIR is a graduate of Glasgow School of Art where she studied Graphics and Illustration. She worked as an Art & Design teacher for many years and is now a full time artist.    

My recent work has explored various themes but the human figure always predominates. I am fascinated by the way the disposition of figures can create a story in the mind of the viewer, which possibly comes from my training as an illustrator.

The arrangement of several figures creates challenges in how to balance positive and negative shapes and the spaces between them. Images have sometimes been chosen to appeal to memories we share from childhood, or to explore stereotypes and contradictions.

In my most recent work I have been looking at performers; I am drawn to their enigmatic lifestyles as much as to their costumes. Clowns and dancers with make-up masking their expressions are figures full of intrigue, sinister and exciting, drawing you into their world like the faeries in ancient folk-lore.  

Birds began to appear alongside the performers, and have now become a subject in themselves, as their colours, shapes and textures are lovely to paint. There is also something knowing about birds.

Still life painting demands a balance of pattern and shape, and gives scope for exploring colour. My themes are quite traditional, and I tend to work quickly in an “alla prima” fashion. Hopefully this gives a certain spontaneity to the work.

I strongly believe that the paint should be part of the painting, and that the marks themselves should add to the image, so I use square brushes and knives to build texture.

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