Louise works in varied media from watercolour to mixed-media, collage and textiles. Based in Argyll, Louise finds inspiration in collections of pebbles, seaweed and other objects which catch her attention because of their beautiful shapes, colour or texture. Shapes are arranged and combined to create compositions which explore layering, translucency and negative/positive space.
“I enjoy the element of chance that exists when shapes, mark-making and colour overlap. I also enjoy creating work in which certain elements are revealed whilst parts remain hidden or can only be discovered on taking.” LOUISE DAY
I first met Louise not long after she had moved to the area and we made an instant connection. I fell in love with her delicate work precisely because I also love combing the tideline for treasure, whether it be a perfect pebble, a shard of pottery or a crystal clear rockpool full of colourful life. I, however, lack the ability and creativity, to transform these finds into works of art. I marvel at Louise’s expert skill in manipulating watercolour paint, lines, marks and cut paper. Each piece is a masterclass in composition and colour, delicate, translucent washes, layer upon layer of detail, combining to create intricate and subtle portraits of the shoreline.
During lockdown I invited many of the artists who exhibit in the Gallery to select work which they admire. Mark Ward chose Louise and his comments resonated with me:
“I could have chosen virtually anything by Louise. In ‘Beach Finds 1’ I love the soft transparent greys (so many greys) of the pebbles contrasted with the brown organic curls of the weed, big and small. She has allowed the watercolour to bleed, relying on a degree of chance, but then has controlled the tone of the weed to give depth. She’s also used hatching around the edges of the stones, presenting another layer of detail. Everything looks like happy chance but there is a high degree of deliberation in this composition. Here is an artist at the top of her game, that moment we all aim for. A lesson and an inspiration” MARK WARD
From an early stage in our relationship, Louise and I started discussing a solo exhibition. I knew that curating a body of her exquisite work would allow it space to breathe , and as a consequence, to shine. To be immersed and surrounded by her work is a wonderful thing. I was also keen for Louise to share an insight into her process and we were both excited at the prospect of recreating her studio in some form within the Gallery. ‘Shoreline’ will resonate with any person who delights in exploring our coastline, listening to the water wash over the pebbles, breathing in the salty tang in the air, searching for treasure.
“It was in 2017 that I came to live in a village at the head of Loch Fyne, having spent the previous 26 years living in Rochdale in the north west of England. It has proved to be a wonderful place for me to work as an artist and to explore the natural world which inspires me.
Many years ago, I gained my BA(Hons) in Textiles from Birmingham Polytechnic and later went on to gain a teaching qualification, enabling me to teach art and design in secondary schools. I have worked on numerous arts projects in schools, galleries and community settings and enjoy enabling others to explore their own creativity.
I have always dreamed of living by the coast and have become fascinated by the natural forms scattered along the shore, with their organic shapes, intricate patterns, textures and colours. I enjoy nothing more than walking along the beach, picking up interesting objects to add to my ever-expanding collection of beach finds. I also take photos of small details that catch my eye, formations of rocks and arrangements of pebbles. When the weather allows, I will be out with my sketchbook and pen. All these elements combine to provide ideas for the artwork I create from my studio, looking out onto the loch.
Most of the work in the Shoreline exhibition has been developed over the last 18 months, since moving into my studio. This new workspace has enabled me to explore working on a larger scale. I have experimented with giant-sized inky bladderwrack drawings and created some bigger watercolours inspired by the flow of seaweed and pebbles, washed up on the shore. I love the freedom and the challenges presented by working large, which contrasts with the intricacy and precision in many of my smaller pieces.
I have chosen to focus largely on watercolours for this exhibition, but I also love working with mixed media and collage and have included some pieces which use layering of cut paper, which I have prepared by adding colour, pattern and texture. These are sometimes combined with further layers of ink, pen, or watercolour.
My works are linked by their subject matter and by the way that they are built up using multiple layers. My watercolour paintings explore translucency and the way that overlapping layers of colour, shapes, marks and patterns. Working on several works at a time allows me to move between them as the layers are left to dry. With mixed media works I add colour and marks to papers which I then cut up and layer to create images which may then be developed with further mark-making. Working in this way enables me to create works which can be viewed from a distance but draw the viewer in to seek out the details. This reflects the way that when on the shore you get drawn in from the bigger view, to focus on a single pebble.” LOUISE DAY