Kim Baker

Kim Baker is a British Painter living and working in London. I really enjoy her work as it incorporates bold colours and abstract elements which I particularly like and also use in my own work. Baker has taken influence from 17th Century Dutch floral painting and abstract works from the likes of Willem De Kooning. The below artworks I have chosen to look at more closely is from Baker’s series ‘Nature Morte’, which is translated from French to ‘Nature Dead’.

Looking in more detail at Baker’s influences I found examples of 17th century Dutch still life paintings. I really love the dark backgrounds and bursts of colour. I especially enjoyed working on dark backgrounds in my previous paintings in Painting on a painted surface and Collection Painting, and this is something I would definetly like to explore further.

Still Life with Flowers and a Watch, Abraham Mignon, c. 1660-1679 |  Rijksmuseum Public Domain

Looking in more depth at Baker’s other influence of abstract work and in particular De Kooning I explored his abstract works and gestural marks, below is an example of just this.

Willem de Kooning Untitled XVI 1975 oil on canvas 70 x 80 inches (177.8 x 203.2 cm)

When looking at these pieces together Baker’s intentions and influences become clear. In my response to Baker’s work I used black ink as my background, cutting down the edges of the paper to create a crisp edge of pure darkness. I then continued my experimentation with oils, loosening the paint using turpentine. I still feel quite uneasy using oil paint as it feels very alien as oils are so much thicker than acrylic however with the addition of the turpentine and increased fluidity I feel a little more comfortable. Sadly the painting feels quite dull, although I like the layers of the painting and the gestural marks. I purposefully decided not to paint from still life and an actual image and instead embraced just the fluid mark making.

To build upon this first layer I decided to retreat back to the comfort of acrylic, whilst also using an acrylic binder to increase fluidity. I attempted to inject some more vibrant colour into the painting, more akin to the works of Baker and De Kooning. The image still feels a little flat although I think by scanning the image digitally it does dull the image somewhat. In real life, the painting feels brighter, and I particular like the contrast between the deep matt black ink background, muted dull oils and gloss in the acrylic and binder combination on the top layer.

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