Still life artist Libby Haines captures the domestic through her textural paintings; rich with colour and life, they allow for a closer look at everyday life, evoking colour as feeling.
The paintings appreciate the quiet moments. As a result, they are anchored in the now. The artist works from photos, merging and omitting elements within the frame for her composition — depicting the messy part of life at unusual angles, reigning the chaos in with colour blocking.
Food and domestic scenes feature heavily, echoing her passion for cooking — another form of self-expression, escapism, and even love language. Alongside joy and feelings of nostalgia, a playful sense comes through the work. The uncanny and unremarkable —her shower, unmade bed, or a kitchen in motion— become alive and not quite reality in textural brushstrokes and vibrant colours.
Painting with water-mixable oil paints, alla prima (wet on wet), the vibrancy of oil paints dry exactly as they look wet. Applied thick and liberally, this is the most pleasurable aspect and where the real magic happens — the colours and textures vivid and powerful, bringing the initial sketches to life.
The process oscillates between smaller and larger works; the smaller paintings are relaxed and impulsive, completed in a few hours. An integral part of the practice, Haines commits to two a week to experiment and explore colour combinations. Complementary to the small works, the large paintings feed off this experimentation, yet with more in-depth planning and sketching.
First inspired by her creative grandmother, she also cites the colourful oeuvres of Kathryn Del Barton, Frida Kahlo, Mark Rothko, and Helen Frankenthaler. Additionally, collaboration is a key aspect of the artist’s practice, working with sculptors, galleries, cooks, and makers to craft original pieces.
Originally from Sale, Gippsland, Haines swapped the country for Melbourne in her early twenties. She graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor in Visual and Media Arts in 2007, first following a path of fashion, then jewellery design. This previous experience helped develop a strong sense of colour and pattern, which feeds organically into her paintings.
Haines paints from her studio behind her house, which she shares with husband, Sam, who creates all her frames. Together the pair produce fine art prints in-house selected from her small paintings series.
Words by Emma-Kate Wilson 2023
"Beyond the Threshold" x Jordan Fleming Saint Cloche, Paddington (opening September 13th)
Food for Everyone Poster Collaboration "Elizabeth Hewson x Libby Haines"
NGV Pierre Bonnard designed by India Mahdavi: Art Classes hosted by Libby at the National Gallery of Victoria
- Teen Master Class ( July 2023 )
- Drop-by Drawing Class NGV Friday Nights ( July 2023)
- Intimate Evening with Bonnard / Drawing Class (August 2023)
- Teachers Master Class (September 2023)
Solo Show "VISITORS" Perry's Refreshment Club, Collingwood
Group Show "Conversations" Minimum x Honey Bones, Brunswick
Group Show "A Gentle Unwinding" Modern Times, Fitzroy
Small Works Show Dr Morse, Collingwood
Solo Show "The Chaos and the Calm" Saint Cloche, Paddington
Finalist- Veraison Magazine x Minim Wine Label Competition
WILD Magazine: Cover Art + Interview Issue #09
Group show "Radiant Dreams" Modern Times, Fitzroy
Solo Show "There's a house with a wall" Brunswick Street Gallery
Finalist- Byron Art Magazine Art Prize 2021
Finalist- STILL Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery Still Life Awards 2021
2005-2007 MONASH UNIVERSITY
-Bachelor of Visual and Media Arts
2009 MELBOURNE SCHOOL OF FASHION
-Certificate in Pattern Making and Garment Construction
-Certificate in Fashion Design