The scene is idyllic. Past the window frame, the landscape stretches away towards the horizon, caught in the fading blue light of the day while some sheep and donkeys graze and lie in luscious green pastures. However the focus is in the forefront of the painting and on a glass bowl displayed on a windowsill and full of ripening pears, with three arranged invitingly around its base.
Freda Blackwood has captured the view from the window of her cottage in Dumfriesshire with her own fields and animals. Her palette is harmonious, the colours conversing with one another across the canvas. Curves dominate the composition, the pears and the glass bowl, the replete animals and the distant trees on rolling hills. She originally trained as a stained-glass artist and her affinity with this medium shows here in the fluidity of the glass bowl which takes centre stage.
The artist's consummate mastery of watercolour is particularly evident in her depiction of the pears on the windowsill, the focal point of the painting. Every mark, every spot, every shade of green and brown is completely realistic. You can almost feel the weight of the round fruit in the palm of your hand. Above, in the glass bowl, the fullness of the fruits push against the glass. The wealth of details given to the foreground is carried through the window and into the distance which each tree distinct from its neighbours. This is a celebration of nature and of the familiar landscape that Freda knows and loves so well.
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 designs.
With thanks to the McGill Duncan Gallery for artist information