Little Red Cap, 2011 (oil on panel, 18” x 24”)

Little Red Cap, 2011 (oil on panel, 18” x 24”)

On painting

In every myth and folk tale, there is a pivotal scene in which an encounter occurs .  Hercules with the hydra, Red Riding Hood with the wolf, and Pandora with the sealed box are a few examples.  These encounters always push the hero/heroine into an unknown world in which they have to learn to navigate.  in my own experience, my curious encounters with imaginary beings from novels, folktales, and dreams often stay with me for days, months or years until I put them into a painting.  The dramas in the lives of these imaginary beings often echo psychological conflicts in my own life and collide with my daily concerns in unexpected ways.

Since I was a child I've been enthralled with folktales, myths, and literature, and these have been a major source of inspiration in my work.  Children's games, old theater forms like puppetry and opera,  traditional British folk ballads, divination, superstitions,  the human/animal boundary and the natural world also come into play in my work.  

I paint with oil paint on wood panels, and begin with a monochromatic underpainting, successively building up layers until I've reached the desired amount of clarity and contrast.   I also sometimes use a decalcomania technique by stamping various colors onto the panel, and letting the textural forms suggest images to me.  From the developing image, a narrative forms.  This can be a very satisfying way to work, and often the most revelatory.  A world emerges out of nowhere.

- Gina Litherland, 2017