Exhibit: Swirling forms of Staithes to ‘provoke the senses’

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With their swirling forms and sculptural application of fresh and startling colour, Susan Isaac’s paintings appear deceptively loose and free.

In fact, careful composition forms the basis of each picture in a series of new works currently on show at Staithes Gallery.

The Slipway at Beckside, Staithes by Susan Isaac

The Slipway at Beckside, Staithes by Susan Isaac

“The shape of a harbour,” says Susan, “creates a firm foundation for composition.

“It’s a circular form that sends the viewer into the painting. Lines come towards and then bend beyond and around you.”

The three dimensional perspective is heightened by Susan’s distinctive manner of applying paint with varying degrees of thickness, sculpting the impasto layers to create texture and differentiate between closer elements and those in the distance.

The use of colour is playful and lively, weaving complimentary orange hues with soft blues of sea and sky.

An even ground colour of rosy coral is applied to the canvas and allowed to glow through the layers of paint like geological strata on a cliff face. Susan can’t remember a time when she wasn’t painting and drawing.

She showed talent and technical ability from a young age and her love of painting developed alongside a profound passion for natural history and the landscape.

After training in Fine Art and the History of Art and Design, she worked for several years as an archaeological illustrator before returning in the late 1990s to concentrate on painting and sculpture.

Her work is an attempt to evoke the spirit of places she has known personally, and to cast light on aspects of those places that have captured her imagination.

She is particularly drawn to the sea and both the North Yorkshire and Cornish coastlines feature strongly in her work.

Unintentionally at first, but now quite consciously, she seeks out places with powerful land and seascapes and where dwellings are squeezed into the spaces available … “like marks made by people on the landscape – a compromise between human need and what the landscape will provide”.

A selection of Susan’s paintings is on view at Staithes Gallery. Click here for more.