In Conversation With: Louise Knowles
Using oil paints on board, Louise Knowles translates the scenes of her everyday life – from ocean pools to skate parks.
How would you describe your art practice in a single sentence?
My paintings are inspired by the things around me; I use colour and texture to express shape and form.
Did you study fine arts or are you self-taught?
I’ve had no formal training apart from a few workshops taught by other artists. I had two exhibitions before our daughter was born. At the beginning of 2019 I started focusing on my art again and in April 2021 I left my job to give it my full-time attention. Maintaining a momentum makes the work more interesting. It’s like a conversation that you can pick up where you left off, sidestepping all the small talk.
What does a typical day in the studio involve?
I get into the studio first thing in the morning and paint until the afternoon. I do this three days a week. Apart from painting there is a lot of contemplation, drawing and research. Music is essential. Days out of the studio are taken up with admin and gallery visits.
What is your subject matter and where do you find inspiration?
Throughout Covid-19 I have been swimming in the ocean to stay connected to the outside world. The ocean pools and rock faces are so heavily embedded in my mind when I return to the studio. I start with many layers of colour to build up the textures. The second body of work I’ve been concentrating on is based on time I’ve spent at the local skate park watching my daughter Ruby on her rollerskates. The light on the trees is different every visit. There is movement and action everywhere. It’s really exciting.
What materials do you use and why?
I mainly work in oil because of its texture and the brilliance of the colour. Painting on birch boards allows me to build textures by applying layers and scratching parts away. It’s a hard and unforgiving surface that can withstand my process.
What have you been working on recently?
I have been developing a series of abstract landscapes for my most recent show at The Wellington Gallery in Sydney. They have come about as a result of walking the streets of our suburb during the recent lockdowns. Taking joy in the simple pleasure of observing my surroundings, looking at the light and shadows that produce delicious shapes.