Feral Courtesans
is a collection of figurative paintings and drawings with props, drapes and dramatic lighting lending theatricality to the compositions. The women painted are nude or semi-nude yet these are not just figure studies but portraits of each subject in which her own view of herself and attitude to posing - whether confident and self assured or shy and coy - becomes part of a rich celebration of female charms. The title alludes to the independence and freedom that each of these young working women of the 21st century possesses.

Feral - existing in a wild state, especially describing an animal that was previously kept by people.
Courtesan - a woman, usually with a high social position, who in the past had relationships with rich or important men in exchange for money.


Katherine
Katharine - Vivid & Clapping
Oil on linen 2009
72 x 58in (198 x 147cm)

This painting truly depicts a captured moment. The tassels on her shawl swing, her feet are lifted, and a smile that speaks of words to come, animates her face. The skin tone is enviable, the feathers in her hair must be real! A fusion between classical painting skills and a snap shot provoke some to laugh with surprise!

Katharine - Vivid & Clapping (details)
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana

Helen and Diana
Helen & Diana - Reading Vogue
Oil on linen 2009
72 x 58in (198 x 147cm)

Two models sit together, caught in the act of looking at a magazine. Their privacy has been invaded and there is hostility in their look. But their dress and the contrived setting of drapes suggests something different - a studio setting - a scenario of pictorial fiction. The faces, bodies and clothing are painted to appear 3D, but other areas use fewer colours and tones. This makes them flatter, quieter and simpler like periods of rest, like a musical interval.

 Why are we looking on?   Why are these two models looking at us?

Helen & Diana - Reading Vogue (details)
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana

Jo - Big Pearls
Jo � Big Pearls
Oil on linen 2009
54 x 42in (137 x 107cm)

"Flesh is what oil paint was invented for"

Willem de Kooning exemplified his words in a visceral orgy of texture and colour applied with abandoned sensuality. How does that fit in with this painting? The technique is highly controlled to achieve realist ends but only oil paint could create a female body with skin that appears to glow. Our eye turns shapes, colours and tones into a voluptuous female model. Looking knowing and smiling, she holds the oversized pearls of her necklace which echo the generous curves of her body. The shapeliness of her legs make elegant forms against the drapery surrounding her.

Experiences, like warmth and coolness, are temporary. Art acts as a catalyst, invoking memories and new imaginings where our thoughts may wander.

Jo - Big Pearls (details)
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana

Helen - White and Light on Dark
Helen - White and Light on Dark
Oil on linen 2009
54 x 42in (137 x 107cm)

One of those quiet, calm and gentle days resulted in this composition. The deep darks of the background offer up the warm skin tones of the model and pale filmy blouse she wears. A white lace cloth hangs behind her, some whites are warm and soft other whites are clearer, whiter, more brilliant. The painting captures and holds a lively moment without strain. A perfect, quizzical expression of such rarity becomes enduring.

Helen - White and Light on Dark (details)
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana

Ellie - Black and White
Ellie - Black and White
Oil on linen 2009
54 x 42in (137 x 107cm)

An exceptionally pretty model poses in black underwear, boots and lace gloves which reach to just under her arm pits. Clothes chosen to be alluring. She, the nude, is still but not passive and certainly aware of her looks. Her waist length dark hair covers most of her torso which would make a modest statement if it had not parted to reveal one nipple. Was that unconscious or contrived? Her gentle expression gives nothing away, neither inviting nor repelling the viewer but there is determination in the set of the jaw, hesitancy in the encompassing arc of the arms - or are these traits merely imagined, transferred ideas?

Is it possible that a painting can be part of a dialogue? That moments in the studio can be sensed by the viewer as reality, and experienced as if for the first time.

Ellie - Black and White (details)
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana

Diana - Pink Flush
Diana - Pink Flush
Oil on linen 2008
54 x 42in (137 x 107cm)

Oversized fake flowers form a clumsy crown which rests on the head of a doe-eyed nude. Something both Bacchanalian and classical suffuses the painting while a pink flush creeps over the white silk fabric and her skin. The pose is tranquil and yet a glance shows that the hips are lifted and one leg hovers in space above the other, the right hand is briefly raised to touch a flower. The photographic origin of this work allows for a pose that would be strenuous and difficult to maintain. This painting is of a still moment.

Diana - Pink Flush (details)
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana

Helen - Black Hat
Helen - Black Hat
Oil on linen 2008
54 x 42in (137 x 107cm)

Helen - an elegant hat pierced with feathers taken from a raven's wings sits coquettishly on her head.  Rising from a crumpled mass of silken fabrics, poised and challenging, with no qualms about her nudity, she is in command and correctly dressed for this encounter.

The colours behind her are intensified to increase their vivacity, the rich pink fabric on which she kneels tumbles around her in a river of silken folds.

Helen - Black Hat (details)
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana
Helen and Diana