Research – Luc Tuymans and Geraldine Swayne

Why am I looking at these two artists right now? I need some inspiration for my re-learning of how to use paint, how to work authentically and without habit.  The ethereal disquiet of Tuyman’s work appeals to me – the beauty and impact of his limited colour palette.  It is a style I would like to try and work with myself, perhaps it might take me somewhere new?

Swayne’s work holds interest because so much of it is using enamel paint on some kind of metal.  The paints create such beautiful textures and patterns in themselves.  She is a master of colour and demonstrates a real complex understanding of her medium.  I’m struggling with some of her subject matter though.  It’s this notion of what my role is as an artist.  I am not sure what the replication of pornographic images says, I am not sure of the purpose.  Most of her work of that nature just makes me feel sad. I sort of feel that the human race is lost.

Geraldine Swayne

I am looking at the painting entitled ‘IMG 3267 copy’

How does the painting make me feel? Challenged, interested, drawn in by the use of colour.

Do I like the work? Yes, I am really interested in the way parts of the image has been reduced down to a block of colour (e.g. the blue of the coat/dress) – or the minimal gesture of the hand.  I feel that is the kind of refinement that I need to understand and use for my own work.

What does it remind me of? A fashion pose, or an old 50’s movie star.

What about the composition? The figure is very central – it adds to the feeling that the woman is challenging the onlooker.

What style is the work in? It is figurative but abstracted to an extent

What colour palette has the artist used? Limited to blue, red, yellow and white.  I am really interested to see how she has used the red colour for all the facial features and shadow in the hair.  I would like to understand how to replace dark colours in this way where naturally I might reach for a dark blue or black.


What medium has the artist used? enamel paint as it is in the ‘enamels 3’ section, however, this is not stated anywhere else.

What’s the date? There is no date or any real information available about the piece. I am assuming it is a small piece of work as a lot of the enamel on metal plates seem to be but I could be entirely wrong.

Luc Tuymans

Der Diagnostische Blick V
Oil on canvas
22 7/8 x 16 1/2 inches (58 x 42 cm)

How does the painting make me feel? Hollow, determined, strength

Do I like the work? Yes, because the washed out hughes are juxtaposed by a strength that comes through the eyes of the figure

What does it remind me of? The work of Marlene Dumas.  Tilda Swinton. The ‘English Rose’ complexion.

What about the composition? Another central, challenging posture.  There’s a force that holds within the piece, draws me in.

What style is the work in? Figurative.

What colour palette has the artist used? Very limited palette, white, grey, sepia.  The paint has been used sparingly with thin layers.  The palour of the figure makes the image all the more intriguing, there’s a ghostly quality to the skin and an iridescence at the same time.





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