What is striking about this carefully considered composition is the amount of detail that is revealed by close inspection. The skins of the plums with their tonal variations and the way they reflect the light, all combine to achieve a remarkable three dimensional effect. Furthermore the same skills and commitment have been invested in the quail eggs, the pebbles and the marbles. She also uses the property of the various textures to bring out the contrast between the fine china dishes which reflect the light and the tablecloth which absorbs it. As a result the cloth appears flat and distant and the dishes seem to be coming forward which gives an added sense of perspective to the painting. The palette is mostly blue with a wide range of tones, from black to aquamarine, and the details are rendered with skilled craftsmanship.
The roundness of the dishes and of their contents, emphasised by the chequered cloth, and their almost palpable lusciousness, convey a sense of celebration of nature's bounty and beauty, a recurring theme in the artist's works.
Freda Blackwood lives in a cottage in rural Dumfriesshire and this watercolour study is inspired by her domestic environment and her love of nature. Originally trained as a stained glass artist, she has an enduring fascination for translucence which she uses with great effect in her paintings. A meticulous and consummate watercolourist, she captures the effect of light on different surfaces by applying layers upon layers of watercolour glazes.
Freda has had a varied career, from stained glass in Glasgow, costume design in London, and then on to sheep farming in rural Scotland where she took up painting in 1991. Her preferred medium is watercolour which gives her the opportunity to indulge her love of transparency with multi-layered glazes. Always trying out new techniques, she has made papier-mache portrait sculptures which she builds up with layers of coloured tissue paper. She also works with screen printing and printmaking. More recently, she has come back to stained glass design.
With thanks to the McGill Duncan Gallery for artist information