Rachel McDonnell

Falling Rising

Jackson's Painting Prize 2021
25 x 30 cm

“My work sits within a tradition of landscape painting going back a few centuries, which has always used images of the world around us to reflect the relationship between the environment and the people who inhabit it. Right now, the climate crisis and environmental degradation feel ever more pressing issues, and are the guiding thoughts behind my work. I use the individual characteristics of different oil paints, mediums and surfaces to reflect the beauty and fragility of our surroundings. I work into a medium so that the brush strokes are really visible, making my presence and viewpoint more a part of the work, and use the transparency and opacity of various pigments to help represent the vulnerability of the natural world.

The year before last, I travelled through the Turku Archipelago in Finland, where I found the whole ecosystem fascinating: from tiny, intricate mosses to huge trees, all perched precariously on lumps of granite. The thought that sat at the back of my mind the whole time I was there, was that much of what I saw around me, low-lying as it was, might soon be submerged. This painting celebrates beauty permeated with tragedy.”