Artist Angelica Lüthi explores nature through colour and mark making

Angelica Lüthi is a 24-year-old fine artist who trained as a painter at Ruth Prowse School of Art. And this is where she learnt to apply her medium with great lightness of touch. Her passion for making art began as a child. A particular moment that sparked her creative impulses was when her parents bought her a variety of illustrated children’s books.

“I adored the Beatrix Potter series the most because of the beautifully illustrated animal characters. This inspired me to learn how to paint. I was also quite enchanted by the prospect of painting anything imagined, and travelling into a completely different world,” she recollects.

Her ethereal landscapes create a tangible representation of emotion. “I try to recreate the experience and the feeling I’ve had in the surrounding being portrayed, in order to create an instant relationship between the viewer and the theme,” she explains. The young artist’s creative practice also includes illustration and motion graphics.

We recently spoke to Angelica about her approach to putting brush to canvas and her continuing love for the phenomena of the physical world.

‘Fire’ (2015)

Why is it important for you to create connections with nature through your art?
I believe that it is critical to be reminded of the enchanting, natural environments we have the opportunity to explore and engage with, but often forget or ignore. The technologically accelerated pace of living we experience today can distract us from experiencing beautiful places which are right on most of our doorsteps.

‘Langeberg Mountains’ (2013)

Can you talk to us about the intent behind your technique and colour choices?
I want to personify nature through the overlaying of subject matter and translation of landscapes through mark-making in the hopes of achieving something that looks like a painting in motion or a moving landscape. I often make mistakes and these subsequently end up becoming a new technique which I have to recall (quite tediously) so that I can reuse it. The process of painting involves a subtractive painting technique, to reveal the raw texture of the canvas, and to act as a metaphor for the depletion of beauty through the urbanisation of natural spaces.

What about your drawing tools?
When I am painting, I tend to grab all sorts of strange objects to remove paint from my canvas such as old school socks, rags, toothpicks and earbuds. These DIY tools assist me in creating a variety of marks in the paint. My tools comprise of many fine-liners of all shapes and sizes, Quink ink, some calligraphy pens and paper with a heavy grammage. My favourite drawing medium to work in is fine-liner. The quality of detail you can achieve is great and I find myself getting lost in the linework when depicting things like animal hair and tree bark. I use unfamiliar dream-like colours to enhance the mystery of unexplored places and to produce a sense of mystique. 

‘Sunbirds’, ink on 200gsm Modigliani paper (2016)
Is there a sense of crossover between your drawings and paintings in your mind, or do you view them separately?
There is a limited relationship between my paintings and drawings. On occasion, my drawings and doodles inform or inspire what I may paint next, otherwise they are refined life drawings and studies of animals I have encountered in my travels.
‘Man-made’, (2016)
How far do you think that your works adhere to notions of romanticism – of the pre-eminence of nature?
My work is partially inspired by a yearning to escape from the commotion and excitement of the city. I draw inspiration from the interests and subject matter portrayed by painters such as Joseph William Turner and Casper David Friedrich so it does correlate with the Romantic notions quite moderately. However, I am also intrigued by neo-expressionist, Anselm Keifer who focuses on the memory and the history of locations. This theme holds close to one of my latest paintings on account that I overlaid my references to produce a new meaning and place. Furthermore, I am concerned about the way in which we experience and perceive nature and how I can develop a painting language to transform perceptions of being within particular environments.
 
‘King’, ink on 300gsm Bockingford Paper (2015)
 
Could you talk about how your work is evolving now, and where you’re planning on taking it in the future?
The paintings are becoming more abstract or vague as I start forgetting what place I intended to paint while in the process. I’ve started to pay less attention to my reference and so the painting develops into an imaginary place. In the future I would like to experiment with a variety of digital media but for now I’m exploring media that I am familiar with and seeing how I can combine them successfully.
 
‘Vlakkenberg Nature Conservation’ (2013)
‘Tokai Forest River’ (2013) 
‘Ladismith’ (2016)
‘Wooden Horses’, II Ink on 300gsm Bockingford (2014) 

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To view more of Angelica’s artwork visit her website.

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