Elizabeth Blackadder is well known for her paintings of orchids, but in the 1980's she began to incorporate exotic fruit into her compositions and in this piece the fruit take centre stage. This piece demonstrates Elizabeth's flair for simplicity as well as her lively approach to still-life images that bring together diverse and interesting objects. It was created using watercolours, which are well suited to the artist's delicate style of painting.
Elizabeth often makes use of empty or abstract backgrounds to make the subject of the foreground stand out. In this case, she has used a background consisting of energetic orange lines that offset the deep colour and simple shapes of the fruits themselves, with the area around the fruits themselves left blank in order to frame them. There is some subtle shading on both the fruits which gives them a sense of depth. The piece does not use borders to distinguish elements: separation is made clear by distinctions in colour and by the blank spaces between them which are apparent close up but become indistinguishable at a distance.
Elizabeth Blackadder was born in Falkirk in 1931. She is today one of Britain's most renowned artists and was the first woman to be elected as a member of the Royal Scottish Academy as well as the Royal Academy. She paints in oil and watercolours and has worked with printmakers on a variety of printing techniques. Her sensitivity to her surroundings has inspired many still life paintings, as well as many portraits of her cats, where she captures the paraphernalia around her studio and her domestic interior in compositions tending towards the abstract. The objects featured in her paintings are often those she collected during her many travels in Europe and in the East. The space between objects and their resonance with each other hold a great fascination for her.
Philip Long Elizabeth Blackadder, National Galleries of Scotland, 2011.