With the pandemic lockdown closing the gallery on Skye where I sold my paintings and my becoming the carer for my partner, who has early-onset dementia and Long Covid, 2020 was a pivotal point in my practice. The Life Lines exhibition with Fife Contemporary, and participating in the North East Open Studios (NEOS) has provided a focus for rebuilding my practice and creating new work.
The need to balance my time and energy led to me changing from painting large seascapes on canvas to doing mostly works on paper. During lockdown I found myself sorting through pebbles I’d collected from various locations, including Iona, Findhorn, Gardenstown, and Thorntonloch Beach in the Borders, and painting rows of pebbles. Treating them like still life objects rather than landscape elements. Finding a sense of order amidst the chaos.
Row of Pebbles 1-5
Acrylic on canvas
My practice is very materials led, exploring a subject in different mediums and the possibilities of each and the interactions between them.
I often use ink in a pipette and continuous line drawing as a starting point for a painting. This lets me focus on observation rather than representation, and allows for drawing without the need to break the flow to reload a brush. Painting into this whilst it’s still wet means colours mix and spread with not-entirely predictable or controllable results, like geological processes, and the sea washing in to rearrange pebbles on the beach.
As I started working on paper more, I set myself the personal challenge of using pure watercolour rather than mixed media, because you can’t paint from dark to light, only from light to dark. This led to my concertina sketchbooks with single pebbles on a page, each like a small exercise in colour mixing and control of watercolour.
The convention in watercolour of using the white of the paper led me to exploring the use of this “empty space” in my mixed media paintings on wood panel. Using clear gesso as a primer means the visible grain in the wood can become another element in the painting. That you have only one chance to get it right adds an energy to the painting. If it doesn’t work out, I then develop the painting into a painting covering the whole panel.
Works on Paper
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About Marion Boddy-Evans
Marion Boddy-Evans is a painter with an interest in line, pattern and colour found in the landscape and coast. After living fourteen years on Skye, where the geology is dominated by volcanic blacks and greys, Marion moved to the northeastern coast of Aberdeenshire, where there’s a colourful geological mix. This has led to her spending more time painting on location, exploring patterns and pebbles on the seashore.
Recent exhibitions include Colours at Aberdeen Arts Society (2023); Words and Fish at Skyeworks Gallery, Isle of Skye (2018 & 2019); and solo exhibitions Colours of Spring at Inchmore Gallery, Inverness (2017); and Interlude at Skyeworks Gallery, (2016). Marion regularly takes part in Art Festivals, Art Fairs and Open Studio events across