London-based artist Nao McDowell creates radiant abstract paintings that are informed by her interpretation of the environment around her. Dividing her time between coast and city, she paints spacious canvases inspired by the great beauty that exists within the orderly structures and patterns of the natural world. Her distinctive style combines vibrant colours, sculptural layering of oil paint and unusual perspectives. The boldness of her palette and the confident, impasto laying on of the paints cannot hide the sensitivity that lies beneath the surface of her work - these paintings have a strong underlying message of emotional engagement and express the artist’s love and appreciation of creation. “I am inspired by the creative order I see in the world around me and love translating the colours, textures and moods of the natural landscape back onto canvas.”
When Nao embarked on her career as an artist, she would spend days at a time cycling around London capturing interesting planes and angles of the city’s architecture with her camera and sketchbook. As time passed she has become increasingly interested in the wonders of nature, fascinated by what seemed to be ordered colours and architectural lines which have occurred organically, without any human intervention. Her recent work reflects this passion for nature and features the landscape and coastline of southern Britain, whether seen through the shape of a headland, the silhouette of a copse of trees, or the huge shadows of clouds on a sparkling stretch of water.
Nao spends as much time as possible visiting beaches and coastal paths, often on the south coast of Devon, or sailing round the west coast of Scotland. As much as time allows she prefers to paint ‘en plein air’ - out on location – or if this is not possible, she will always have a sketchbook and pencils to hand. After sketching and photographing a scene she breaks it down into architectural shapes – horizon lines, blocks of cloud, of unexpected peaks and troughs created by the wind on the surface of the sea. When she returns to her studio she will work from this extensive source material to create her luminous representations of what she has just experienced.