Originally from Sale, Gippsland, artist Libby Haines swapped the country for Melbourne, where she works from her home studio. As a mother and an artist, her work cherishes the joy of everyday moments and the nostalgia of objects in colourful still life paintings.
Haines graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor in Visual and Media Arts in 2007; however, she followed down 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.
With her trolley and easel on wheels, Haines moves from room to room depending on where the best light is, her art practice evolving through Melbourne’s extended lockdown where a passion with painting redeveloped.
Painting becomes a form of escapism for Haines to think and create an alternate reality inspired by her surroundings. Alongside joy and feelings of nostalgia, a playful sense comes through the work. Capturing the uncanny and unremarkable —her shower, unmade bed, or a kitchen in motion— but in textural brushstrokes and vibrant colours, they become alive and not quite reality.
First inspired by her creative grandmother, Haines also cites the colourful oeuvres of Kathryn Del Barton, Frida Kahlo, Mark Rothko, and Helen Frankenthaler. The influence stemming from painting colour as feeling. Working with warm and vivid tones, Haines usually has a palette in mind when she begins; painting with water-soluble oils allows for flexibility and moving around her studio home.
When considering the composition of her works, Haines allows the ideas to swirl around in her head for a few days or writing down a few words. Once the concept develops, the artist works from a scene from home or a photo, roughly sketches her plan; yet when she applies the paint, thick and messy and wet on wet, that’s when the artworks come alive. She then focuses on one painting at a time — ‘obsessed until it’s finished’.
Alongside preparing for exhibitions, Haines also releases two artworks on Instagram each week to explore and experiment with new colours and concepts—now becoming an essential part of her practice.
Within Haines’s oeuvre, the subject matter reflects the domestic and the constraints of motherhood, yet here there is beauty in the everyday. Appreciating the quiet moments of life, especially through lockdown. Cooking, eating, enjoying a nice bottle of wine, all to a tonal palette that is joyful and slightly surreal.
Intimate details from within the home are reflective of the viewers’ intimacy with their own surroundings. As a result, the artworks are anchored in the now, contemplative of both motherhood and life in lockdown
Words by Emma-Kate Wilson 2021
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
2014-2020 Founder/Designer Lemon Jewellery
2009-2014 Various roles for small Businesses in Fashion Production and Design working with local and offshore factories
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