This work by the Scottish artist Mardi Barrie delicately depicts a snowy garden thawing under the glare of the winter sun. This mixed media work achieves its atmospheric effects through multiple layers of paint and transparent glazes. As the work is reliant in this way on material processes, the viewer is drawn into this scene in quite a seductive manner. Mardi showcases an exquisite handling of paint and painting techniques in her representation of a gradually melting winter landscape scene.
While the transparent glazes that the artist has used shroud the work in a misty haze, the gentle pale blue hue of the sky above creates an overall calming effect. Further compositional elements appear to be snow covered foliage and architectural shapes that are partially recognisable. An air of vagueness is added to by the painterly drips that cascade throughout. The layers of paint, along with the technical effects that Mardi has created, act as a mystifying veil that obscures the winter landscape scene that lies underneath.
Mardi Barrie was born in Kirkcaldy in 1931. She studied at Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh University. Since 1963 she has exhibited regularly in solo shows whilst also teaching at Broughton High School. In 1983 she exhibited her work at The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh, where she used the palette-knife to simplify shapes and turn them into abstractions. She paints landscapes and interiors and works mainly with oils, responding to the harmony of mood and colour. Her work mixes tension and excitement and at the same time provides a sense of space and place. Many music lovers and musicians are attracted by the lyrical qualities of her work. Her paintings are held in numerous public and private collections, most notably that of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.