“Mustard Field Study was never intended to be a painting in its own right,” says self-taught Portfolio Plus artist Angie Wright. “For me it was a sketch of a moment that had struck me while driving in rural France. A vivid blue sky making way to cloud, bright yellow mustard flowers swaying in a breeze and dark green shadows. It was the colours.”
For Angie, it’s the emotive power of colour that unites her acrylic abstract artworks. Inspired by LeRoy Neiman’s vibrant paintings – immortalised in popular culture at the end of the 1980s film Rocky III – Angie began to look to her palette for emotional impact. Initially she painted portraits, later moving to landscapes. Not entirely abstract, Mustard Field Study combines traditional landscape with her striking style.
Based in France, having lived in Spain and the Canary Islands as well as the UK, Angie has made the journey to full-time artist through her travels, distancing herself from her training in pure and applied biology and nursing. Her paintings start life in her bright home studio. Each piece is worked on from a range of positions – the large canvases can be laid on the floor, placed on a large fold-down bench and hung vertically on the wall. To create the splashes of yellow in Mustard Seed Study, Angie mixed paint – her favourites range from Liquitex and Fevicryl to Sennelier’s abstract acrylic – with medium and then poured, dripped and flicked from various heights. In contrast, the calm lines that make up the sky are applied in layers using a palette knife. This is a technique that spans her work, juxtaposing contrasting shades to create dynamism, and complementary colours for subtle effects.
Although she makes quick biro sketches of light sources and line at the scene, she also reflects on how she feels at the time of impact. These annotations influence her choice of colour, the way she applies line, the thickness of the paint and the intensity of the drip. Emotion becomes colour, and vice versa, bringing the viewer as close to her ‘moment’ as possible.