Feeling The Passion

From The Arts, The Sunday Gleaner, July 18, 2004, Section F
By Caroline Cousins

Accomplished Watercolourist
 Juliet Thorburn has embraced a bold energy in recent paintings reach a turning point in her artistic development. 
The artist – who has developed a reputation for translating the freshness and beauty in nature into a magical play of light, colours and shifting translucence on surface – has unveiled another dimension to her work.

In a series titled The Ethereals, Ms. Thorburn has allowed the free, self-dramatisation of a collection of intense and magnetic abstracts, appearing sometimes as bursts of radiant light and colours.

This new mode of expression, emerging albeit tentatively, has marked a fine complement to her long-standing body of work which incorporates representational paintings of flowers and seascapes. Her more traditional work is emphasied by the spontaneous allure brought to her subjects through the fine treatment of their interplay with light, and the evocation of rich layers and vivid colours, measured out in high detail.

Exploration with this new mode of expression began in 1998 when Juliet sojourned to Taos, New Mexico for a watercolour workshop. Her aim was to use this medium to become freer and more receptive to an experimentation with colours through the conduit of feelings.

This accessibility to a more diffuse treatment of colours, and the dispensation with the structural lines from favourite subjects like flowers and leaves, seemingly coaxed her subjects into a floating, lucid concentration of their essence.

During this transitional period, The Ethereals were born. This has transported Ms. Thorburn as an artist to a realm of renewed and meaningful possibilities, she says, away from the toil of perfectionism in art, and life.

A recent solo exhibition of watercolours at the Tryall Club, Montego Bay, sparked enthusiastic response from the public. The exhibition, titled Feeling into Passion mounted some twenty-four pieces of her finest work, including the Ethereals and her more representational work.

Violet Infusion, Feeling into Passion and Purple to Yellow were paintings in The Ethereal series, while traditional works included seascapes Inseparable and Integrated (which depicts the willowy presence of a tree against a muted seascape), as well as Blue Wail (a painting of a sea sponge).

In her recollections of the preparation for the Tryall Club exhibition, Juliet cites her own journey in confronting the increasing pull to depart from a place of artistic safety, and to go beyond her own boundaries.

In her effort to depart from the usual traditional approach, she discovered an ease in suggesting the essence of a subject, rather than pursuing its detail. The idea of following one’s passions as a clear lead into personal joy and artistic

The idea of following one’s passions as a clear lead into personal joy and artistic fulfilment was the impulse which directed her to re-invent her craft through the Ethereals series. The theme of her exhibition – Feeling into Passion – was therefore, timely and relevant.