Goose in the Leaves embodies a calm colour palette marking a stage in Sally's exploration of colour. Her more contemporary work employs a brighter, more vibrant colour palette. The background here is filled with expressive diagonal brushstrokes evoking a sense of movement. The goose itself is painted in larger areas of colour for visual definition yet still manages to exude the unrestrained, expressive quality of the background brushstrokes. Sally paints in a variety of media in this piece. She employs watery brushstrokes, using the bleeding and absorbing of the paint to create soft translucent areas. The lack of representative detail in her initial applications of colour is indicative to her working process, I like to start loose composing in fluid areas of colour, then attempt to pull these together and convey the subject with an expressive economy of line.
Sally Carlaw can be described as a contemporary Scottish Colourist with her use of vibrant colour and emphasis on fine draftsmanship. The original Scottish Colourists were a group of Scottish painters that took their inspiration from the French Impressionists and Fauvists, applying the stylistic qualities to their own Scottish idiom. Their work was internationally known during the 1920s and 1930s and played a role in the development of Scottish art.
Sally Carlaw studied drawing and painting at the famous Charles Rennie Mackintosh Glasgow School of Art and graduated with a First Class Hounours Degree in Fine Art in 1985. She won a Travelling Scholarship at graduation and the various locations she visited offered inspiration for her painting. The natural world is Sally's predominant focus, delivering what she describes as fleeting moments of beauty. She develops the significance of these fleeting moments through the use of colour, I aspire to capture and somehow freeze the essence of these moments using the ancient yet still intoxicating language of colour.