My work is inspired by an emotional response to the natural world, in particular to the quality of light, which is a vital part of the mood of the paintings. I draw in the landscape and then paint intuitively in the studio, so that the work both has a sense of place, and yet can also evoke memories and personal interpretations in the viewer. There is a sense of intimacy and intensity, and the idea of a glimpse into a remembered reality. My paintings relate to the English landscape tradition – Constable’s oil sketches are an important influence.
I like the sensuality and depth of colour of oil paint, used in direct and gestural brushstrokes, which assert the materiality of the oil paint and of the painting’s surface. I often work in oil on panel, which allows me to scratch into the wet surface. The meaning of the work emerges from the language of paint, which is allowed to be itself before it is a description of something. I am fascinated by the capacity of paint to express things which cannot be put into words: a mysterious process takes place whereby the marks of the brush work on a subtle level, setting up an emotional and poetic resonance.
I paint intuitively, so the painting becomes an entity in its own right which starts to make its own demands – in a sense, it begins to answer back.
© Louise Balaam