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FEATURED ARTIST OF THE MONTH : JILL MIRZA

“Punch and Judy”

What inspires you to paint and how do you develop your ideas?

        My paintings are figurative explorations of the world around me. Having trained at Art College in a traditional ethos I came to appreciate the process of looking intently and recording accurately. I am inspired by making drawings to inform my paintings and recording photographic images as supportive reference. The paintings are created back in the studio.

          Responding to the excitement of the visual world, the play of light on buildings, the intensity of shadows, the brashness of man-made objects and the way people integrate with their surroundings, my paintings are colour narratives of human presence.

          I am particularly inspired by the countries around the Mediterranean where the light is sharp, the shadows richly hued and the architecture relaxed and organic. That quality of light can also often be found on the Dorset coast where I live.

          I usually use acrylic paint and a limited palette of colours and very often work with complementary colours, mixing them together to produce neutral colours. I rarely use black or grey pigment, preferring to create richer hues from a mix of primary and secondary colours.

          The images I make are visual diaries, narratives recollected and reinterpreted at a distance.

“Cafe Montpellier”

   “Can you tell us more about your painting ‘Cafe Montpellier’ and it’s composition. More generally how do you create a strong and compelling composition?

          This is a painting of contrasts where colour is as important as the placing of objects to create the composition.

          The exaggerated perspective of the buildings in the background and the placing of the umbrella poles draws the eye to the figures in the café and they are contained by the diagonal on the lower right hand of the picture. The foreground is quiet and in shadow – the attention focussed on the central group of figures and objects, glowing because of the effect of sunlight passing through the strong colours of the umbrellas.

          The colour and tonal contrasts, bright colours against a neutral background, warm colours of the umbrellas and under them against the cool colours of the buildings, the dark foreground against pale greys, all emphasise the structure of the composition.

“Waterfront Cafe-Hydra”

   “Waterfront Cafe-Hydra’ is very different from your other busy cafe scenes. Can you tell us more about this painting and what drew you to painting this subject?

          Many of my café paintings are arranged like theatrical sets, front on to the viewer, the figures playing a significant role, but in this painting the eye is led past the objects and figures into the distance. The figures grouped near the edges, in the shadow of the huge canvas awnings give a sense of scale but are incidental.

          The geometric shapes of the chairs and shadows and the play of stripes on the canvas engage the eye. The focal significance of the figure in red is hardly noticeable. Colour is generally neutral and limited and there is a balanced play of warm and cool colours, light and shadow.

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