Artist Profile: Larissa Blake

Painter Larissa Blake uses colour to follow the movement of passing seasons. Donnalyn Xu writes.

Lately, Larissa Blake has been obsessed with the roses in her mother’s garden. There is something timeless about the subject of a rose, with all of its familiar colours and sensual shapes – but even more profoundly, its ability to thrive in a drought. “If I’ve taken a break from painting, flowers tend to be my entry point back into my practice,” she says.

This element of growth is present throughout Larissa’s work. Her paintings are often characterised by a vibrant colour palette and evocative brushstrokes as she paints from life and photographs. Drawn from the beauty of everyday landscapes and interior spaces, there is a material quality to Larissa’s figurative abstraction.

Surrounded by garden views and the regional city, she follows the movement of passing seasons, both in her paintings and in her creative process: “I deliberately push myself to change my process and approach so the work continues to evolve. However, the elements of colour and gesture remain a constant feature in my paintings.”

Larissa’s dream studio is a converted industrial shed on the slopes of Mount Canobolas, based in her home town in Orange, NSW. In this tin shed, amongst scattered objects and a flood of natural light, Larissa listens to music, dances to get her energy moving, then begins her work with acrylic paint.

Essential to Larissa’s work is a sense of intuition inspired by her immediate environment. However, this process has been built over years of discipline and dedication. “I prefer to plan my painting the night before so the subconscious can get to work in my dreams,” she explains. As a mother, Larissa has learned to be most creative during school hours. As an artist, painting engages with every aspect of her being, requiring both stamina and serene moments of rest. “I’m just trying to bring some joy and colour into the world and become a better human in the process,” she says. “The journey is in doing the work.”

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