Sue Malkin

About the work

A longstanding interest in the human figure and life drawing underpins my work. Observation drawing of the figure is the most demanding and rigorous discipline for an artist, and this eye-training gives a confidence to my approach whether swiftly executed sketches, or painting large-scale canvasses.

Figures in movement were a natural progression from life studies, with many works based on drawings of dancers in rehearsal. Some of these are graphic networks of lines, tracing the sequence of a movement, rather than a frozen snapshot of one stage of it. The superimposed images create new shapes, with an interplay of solid forms and spaces between.

My work based on horses show a similar emphasis in treatment. The muscular structure dictates the play of light and shade, and the underlying anatomy together with the associations of power and speed lend themselves to my painterly approach. As well-proportioned and athletic animals, they have been subject-matter for artists since Paleolithic times, and I enjoy visiting galleries to work in my sketchbook in front of masterpieces from past centuries, from Tang horses in the V & A, to Rubens paintings in The National Gallery. The inclusion of a figure and its relationship to the horse gives another dynamic to the subject, and introduces varied psychological elements. I try to explore the aspects of competition, co-operation, tension and power as well as the obvious dramatic possibilities of speed.

The sea and wave movements feature in my current work developed from sketches around the UK coastline. Some of them are based on very high tides, with dramatic wave forms, others are more contemplative. The interaction of sky and sea are features of work based on sketches of the Outer Hebrides, off the West Coast of Scotland.

Dance study
Dance Study: Mixed drawing media, metallic pigments.
Red Arrows
Red Arrows: Oil on canvas.
Sand & sea
Sand & sea: Oil on canvas.