Kaye Donachie

Kaye Donachie was born in 1970, in Glasgow, and is a Scottish Artist, known for her muted figurative paintings. Donachie studied at the University of Central England in Birmingham before receiving her MA in 1997 from the Royal College of Art in London. Donachie currently lives and works in London. The works I will focus on in particular for this blog post are the figurate paintings in which Donachie also weaves landscapes, and places into, fixing the portrait of the person to a place in time, although painted in such a way you would wonder if you are dreaming as you fall into the gaze of the portrait, or the night sky in the back ground.

I love the many layers that go into Donachie’s work, face’s behind faces, or landscapes and moonlight. There feels a real depth and each painting draws me in deeper into the image. I especially like how in both of the above images neither portraits are looking directly forward, they are gazing off into the distance looking at something unbeknownst to us.

I particularly enjoyed working on a very dark background in previous exercises, although I wanted to inject a little colour so I chose a deep green and deep blue as a background for my responses to Donachie’s work. Just as you can see the movement in the painting on the left ‘Against the mass of night’ and the two faces, I revisited my previous work Monotype Portraits and used the monotype print faces, experimenting with this darker background and colour on A5 mixed media paper. I intended to paint the images in using acrylic, however I started off by using coloured pencil to mark out the shapes and actually preferred to stop here, just to see how the pencil and painted background interact. Also the portraits are quite small and use fine lines which actually meant I was able to capture this more easily in colour pencil.

This is quite a simple response, and the portraits are a little distorted, in comparison to Donachie’s complex work, they lack depth. Considering the layers in the painting more, and how I might like to experiment further with a concept that I particularly like which has spoken to me whilst working through my Post Grad Cert in Counselling was this notion of the child within us. Every adult carries around with them their childhood experiences, some may be positive, negative, ambivalent or unconscious, but either way we carry this small child with us wherever we go. To push this response further I’d like to try and portray this by painting portraits of adults and their child within. I’d experiment digitally using photos of me now, and as a child, and move on from there.

I also considered how I might like to experiment using Lino cut prints of the above portraits taken from Monotype Portraits, printing them onto different coloured paper with different coloured paint, this is something I’d definitely like to come back to. Perhaps even printing smaller portraits in a series on A4 with the faces all gazing in different directions or at/toward one another.

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