Grand Prize is a four-page editorial feature in American Art Collector magazine
Inspiration is found around everywhere for artist Ginny Page, who resides in Denmark. She is particularly drawn to patterns, textures, reflections and more that create unique imagery. Examples include shadows through a lace cloth on the washing line that makes patterns in the grass or reflections and distortions from silverware. She also finds inspiration from the Old Masters, with artist Albrecht Dürer’s artwork being the reason why she wanted to become a professional painter.
“There are certain elements in my work that I consider very important for personal reasons. I believe wholeheartedly that an artist must be true to his or herself. What is the point otherwise? Despite sometimes criticism and advice from others, I choose to paint the things I consider beautiful and inspirational in my own heart,” she says, adding that it is important for her work to have elements of nature and to capture simple pleasures or understanding from the viewer.
For all of her paintings, Page will take photographs, pick out the best elements from a selection of images and arrange them much like a jigsaw puzzle. For her figurative works she begins with an idea in her head followed by a photo shoot until she has images she can chop and change accordingly. Her still life works, on the other hand, include objects as symbols that refer to what’s happening in her own life at that moment in time.
Music has always played a role in Page’s artwork, as she listens to music while she is painting and songs have inspired the titles of a number of paintings. “My series of figure paintings started back in 1999,” explains the artist. “I painted my first oil painting of my lovely sister-in-law Helen in her garden in England. She was leaning up against an old tree holding a glass of wine next to her chest waiting for a glint of sun to warm her face. I titled the painting Waiting for the Sun after one of my favourite albums by The Doors.”
The painting was inspired by listening to the words of a song by Norwegian singer Ane Brun, thus the title All We Want is Love. The painting depicts a young woman relaxing on a bed of crumpled linen and feeling the first rays of morning sunshine warming her skin. She is at peace, contented, safe and loved. A moment of simple pleasure we often take for granted.
I have always enjoyed the challenge of painting creases and folds in various materials— cotton, silk, velvet or damask—and attempting to capture the textures involved in one painting. For example, the smoothness of the skin, the fine strands of hair, delicate lace, the hardness of wood furniture. I adore the Old Masters who were experts in this field.
My Design Strategy
My model was positioned paying special attention to the play of light on her face and skin. She had just been sleeping so it was easy to recapture her in a drowsy and relaxed natural pose. I wanted her clothing to “merge” with the bed linen, creating a waterfall-like flow of material spilling over the edge of the bed.
The chair was added to balance the painting and to give a strong contrast with its dark wood against the softness of the rest of the painting. The tiny glint of light on the chair back and the neatly arranged cloth on the seat were carefully
planned from the start. I chose an almost monochrome colour palette to illustrate simplicity and purity—black and white, with only a few hints from red, blue and yellow.
My Working Process
I decided to make the painting “life-size” to give maximum impact. At this stage my canvas is taped to a large board to enable me to change my composition if necessary. Due to the complexity of the motif, I decided to roughly paint the composition in acrylics first (using large flat hogs hair brushes) to get a general idea of the overall look and to help me find my way through the intricate creases and folds. Next comes the oil paint, which I build up with many thin layers, drying between each one.
The painting is varnished after approximately one year to bring out the colours and to give a fine, lustrous finish and protection to the finished piece. All We Want is Love took nine months to complete but would no doubt have taken considerably less time if I had bothered to iron the sheets.