Irises
By Joan Renton

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Year
1992
Media
Mixed Media and Collage
Subject Matter
Still Life and Flowers
Reg. Number
P170
Size
51 x 51 cm

In this work, the Scottish artist Joan Renton has loosely depicted what appears to be a field of irises. This tendency towards the abstract is typical of Joan's work. Consistently inspired by the natural world, she has gradually changed from a representational to a more abstract style. There is an air of freshness about this painting, which is generated by the range of blue, yellow and purple hues used. Compositionally, ones focus is grounded by the large yellow flower form, which is placed just off centre, while the long stalk like shapes direct the viewers eye in a linear fashion.

Irises is quite small in scale, giving the work an intimate feel and enticing the viewer to look more closely at the subtle forms and interesting, rich textural qualities in the painting. Joan has deployed various methods and mediums that convey a delicate, evocative handling of her subject matter. These include chalk pastels, flecks of gold paint, as well as gestural brushstrokes and markings. Heavily influenced by the Glasgow School of painters, Joan has been described as an artist who is respectful of the process of painting and who endeavours to capture the very essence of her source material.

Joan Renton RSW was born in 1935 and attended the Dumfries Academy before studying at the Edinburgh College of Art from 1953 to 1957. In her early career she was introduced to the work of Anne Redpath and at ECA she studied under William Gillies, John Maxwell and Robin Philipson, all of whom became influences on her work. After graduating she received a travelling scholarship to Spain in 1959: on her return, she began teaching in schools before turning to painting full time in 1982. Her work has been exhibited in twenty four solo shows across Britain, including exhibitions at the Edinburgh Gallery, Open Eye Gallery and Sally Hunter Fine Art, in London. Her work has also been shown in international group exhibitions that include venues in France, Holland, Spain, Germany, Hong Kong and the United States. She has also been featured in national collections including The City of Edinburgh Art Centre, The Duke of Edinburgh’s collection and Yorkshire City Collection. Renton’s awards include the Royal Scottish Soceity of Watercolourists Betty Davis Award in 1992 and the Anne Redpath Award from the Scottish Artists and Artist Craftsmen, which she led from 1988 to 1991. She was elected to the RSW in 1974 and is a past Council member.

Renton’s style is typically more abstract than representational. She states that ‘although my paintings have their origins in nature, the influences of light and atmosphere are more important to me than realistic representation.’