Prue Flint

5th March 2016

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Hawthorn Artists Society welcomed Melbourne based artist Prudence Flint at the Zelman Room Hawthorn Arts Centre on Saturday afternoon March 5. 

Prudence spoke about her life's work as a painter exploring the subject of the female figure in a highly successful career spanning more than twenty-five years. Prudence has kept meticulous journals recording daily her thoughts and ideas through drawings and words. These drawings usually done in pencil have become the inspiration and the fundamental beginnings for many ideas for paintings, sometimes many years later.

Prudence works in the medium of oil on linen canvas, working to a size of just over a meter square. She works the imagery onto the canvas with willow charcoal, then blocks in the colours loosely and works in layers building up the pose and detail over a period of about three months. Prudence likes to work on at least three paintings at any one time all at different stages of resolution. She often doesn’t know what she will paint next but rather lets the subject unfold through place or an embodiment of feelings. 

Prudence initially used fashion photography to reference the female figure for her early paintings but after facilitating a Life Drawing class at Linden Gallery for many years, realised the importance of working from models… real bodies having become the source of her subject matter in all her subsequent work. While teaching art Prudence was entering portrait prize competitions. In 2004 she won the prestigious Doug Moran Portrait Prize for her work A Fine Romance 9 2003 which enabled her concentrated time to focus on her work. 

Prudence interest in the body shape and pose of her female characters take many different forms. Her subject matter comes from everyday settings and intimate observations of domestic settings. She often crops the feet off her figures creating the feeling of looking at her figures from a particular intimate distance and giving space to the figure against blank walls and flat surfaces that create harmonies of colour. 

Prudence feels great affection for all her characters, such as her women on ladders, driving cars and airplanes, playing musical instruments, cooking, sitting in parks, and cleaning their teeth in bathrooms. 

Prudence's figures are usually placed in profile, inviting the viewer into a quiet contemplative world of self-absorption in their specific activity. In the painting Cook 2008 Prudence pays homage to her mother preparing food for the family meal. In Contact Lens 2010 (Finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize 2010) we see her interest in the shapes and colours of the bathroom, and depicts a woman putting in her contact lens in front of a mirror, this theme developing further into an interest in fluid things such as water, Spit 2014 (Finalist in the Doug Moran Portrait Prize 2014.)

In Birdpark 2011) an outside scene, inspired by a park at the end of her street, depicts a woman feeding pigeons, this theme developing into an idea of a theatrical landscape in Tartan Blanket 2014 (Finalist in the Portia Geach Memorial Award Highly-Commended 2014) 

Hawthorn Artists Society thanks Prudence for generously giving of her time in such an inspirational talk.

Prudence is represented by Australian Galleries, Melbourne and Sydney and Bett Gallery, Hobart. Her next solo show will be in 2017 at Bett Gallery, Hobart