En Plein Air
Natalia Avdeeva spends much of her time painting outdoors in nature. It is her great passion and the fuel of her studio work. She works to capture Nature’s unfolding dramas in weather, light and landscape. Using oil paints and incredibly fast brush movements, she captures one-off natural events such as the treasures of a sea-bed at low tide, cloud formations or rare lights and shadows.
Avdeeva creates her studio paintings on a large format vacuum bed. Painting directly onto the silk screen, it is a fast paced, freestyle process, which at first glance appears to be frantic and chaotic belying the reality that each painting is the result of meticulous preparation. Avdeeva selects an image from a her Plein Air studies. She glances at it and then starts her preparation. A colour palette is prepared and much time is taken mixing the acrylic paints – in the same way as she would mix oils outside, en plein air – until the desired shades are achieved. The paint is quickly but precisely applied directly on to the screen with small pieces of card and plastic palate knives, each of which is scrupulously selected. There is an extremely short window of time to get the paint applied and the image made before it dries. The process is finalised by ‘squeegeeing’ the paint through the screen and the results revealed on a large piece of white paper.
In this way, the paintings are exposed, only in the final seconds, through printing technology. The innovative method produces unique pieces in an adrenaline-fuelled 15-20 minute period, where Avdeeva taps into the emotion of the painting experience and captures the moment. The process is a paradoxical mix of spontaneity and precision. There is as much creative freedom as there is in painting with oils, as the artist can use a limitless palette, but there is limited amount of time in which to apply the paint so that each and every attempt is a risk or a challenge for the artist to tackle anew. Painting directly onto the silk screen results in more abstract forms than with the traditional approach of painting on canvas and Avdeeva believes the technique can be taken further.