Looking Outside (1987)
About this artwork
McNairn’s paintings often contain a combination of interior and cityscape images. Here, the recognisable shape of a pot plant in the foreground is set against the familiar outline of the Scott monument, trees, a modern tower block, and a bridge similar to the Forth road bridge in the background. Other shapes are more mysterious. The title suggests that the artist was ‘looking outside’ through a window, but she presents us with a variety of images from different places, instead of a straightforward view. McNairn’s bold paintings are dominated by a palette of soft but cool colours – blues, greys, purples and pinks.
Caroline McNairn’s work lies in the tradition of the Edinburgh School of painters, being characterised by the sensuous use of colour and masterly handling of paint. Her paintings are made up of contrasting shapes and textures and interlocking forms. Her work often contains echoes of shapes from the cityscape of Edinburgh, from the hills surrounding the city to the Scott Monument. McNairn often worked in pastel, as the medium allowed her to work quickly and make changes easily, but she also produced paintings in oils and watercolour. Born in Selkirk, McNairn studied art at Edinburgh University.