Oil on canvas, 1993, original size: 55.0 x 67.0cm. Isabel Alexander had several stints at art school, but in the 1960’s she returned for more schooling, first for a term at the Slade under Andrew Forge, and then at Goldsmith’s College, again with Andrew Forge. Forge encouraged her forays into abstraction, and the use of the dot and dash as a technique, described by Forge as his ‘drumming’ technique: ‘Each painting starts with a single dot, and it grows as dots accrue over the field of the canvas….As the white field of the canvas is covered dot by dot, colour reveals itself’*. In ‘To the Northern Isles’, a journey between Thurso and the Scottish archipelago of Orkney, ‘drumming’ is used to good effect: daubs of paint amass to produce almost a preternatural light; two receding furrows of white lead you to the horizon; three seagulls catch the air, and a corner of the boat is used to frame this very beautiful view.
*Andrew Forge Obituary, Telegraph, Oct. 2, 2002.