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Margaret McLoughlin is experimenting with encaustic painting.  This series of three encaustic paintings on board, are among her first explorations in this medium. You really need to see the texture of this paint to appreciate the character of it.   In these works, hot wax coloured with pigments was applied to board in layers of colour and then scratched back.  The technique is centuries old and had its origin with Greek shipbuilders, where the wax was used to fill cracks in their ships.  When colour was added to the wax it was used to paint the surface of the waxed hull. Once those of an artistic persuasion got onto it…a new artistic painting medium was born.

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Margaret lives and works at Yarra Glen, overlooking the Yarra Valley.  Last year she participated in the Yarra Valley Open Studio’s Program. I was really drawn to her use of vibrant colour. She attributes some of her brave use of colour to the Fauves and to her early training… a Degree in Fine Arts from Witwatrsrand, Johanesburg, South Africa.

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As is always the case, these reproductions don’t do the vibrancy of the colour justice. These two paintings (1972) represent the beginning of Margaret’s use of flat planes of colour.  At this time, Margaret discovered a black and white photograph of her father and used it as the basis for the composition of this work.

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Below, a black and white photograph of her aunt and uncle’s wedding became the basis for this composition.

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If you’re a child of the 1950’s like me, the painting below will look very familiar.   Margaret is very interested in creating a whole series of paintings of children from 1950’s photographs, such as this one.

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Since 2007 Margaret has concentrated on landscapes. Each one tells a story of her beloved Yarra Valley. Looking at the view from her studio, I could clearly see where she gets her inspiration. Margaret’s recent exhibition of these works completely sold out.

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The lure of her surrounding environment is just as strong in the print medium.

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In her spare time (I’m joking, Margaret is a woman who doesn’t know about spare time) Margaret makes the most exquisite silk hand painted scarves. Her South African heritage is evident in the boarders and patterns while this scarf borrows it’s motif from the Australian bush in the shape of the waratah. These scarves are collectors items.

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Amongst her busy life, Margaret manages to work voluntarily at Tarrawarra Museum of Art.  During July, while the Archibald Prize is being exhibited there, she will work full time providing guided tours for art lovers.

These felt brooches have been especially made by Margaret to reflect the colours of this year’s Archibald Prize winning portrait of Margaret Ollie by Ben Quilty. The brooches will be available at the Tarrawarra Museum of Art gift shop over the period of the exhibition.

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In their infinite wisdom, the Yarra Ranges Council have organized an exhibition called ‘Not the Archies‘ to coincide with the Archibald at Tarrawarra. Local Yarra Valley artists were invited to paint local characters.  These paintings will be exhibited in shops and other venues around the Yarra Valley in July. I’ve had a little sneak preview of Margaret’s two entries. I’ll follow up with pics when the exhibition opens.  I think the whole idea is a winner!