POTENTIALLY tedious as subject matter, flowers are a dangerous thing to want to paint. The walls of the world are full of dry, botanically correct lilies and lifeless, dull-as-dishwater chrysanthemums, most of which fade anonymously into the wallpaper.
But Kirsty Wither’s paintings — whether flowers, landscapes or figures — are anything but anonymous. Not content with giving her paintings depth and vibrancy with impasto strokes, she has such a fabulous grasp of colour that whatever she chooses to paint either leaps out at you, or draws you completely in.
Being bored isn’t an option. Her paintings are animatedly impressionistic, like Scarlet Favourite, an orgy of reds and warm purples, supporting an indeterminate bunch of off-white blooms. Late Night Velvet has a cool, dark surface of purples and blues, against which the greys and near-white flowers shine out almost like stars. Her landscapes, with or without figures, often feature layers of bright colours peeking out behind bold, broad, earthy strokes. It sounds wrong, but such is her understanding of hue, tone and composition, that it works beautifully.