Despite being fresh from a slightly blustery lunch outdoors, Jackie Shackson confesses that living by the coast is a "great source of inspiration," even on a windswept day. It's a fitting assessment considering her paintings capture the essence of when the elements are at their most animated. Nautical Dusk, in particular, showcases how even on a still night, below the surface of the ocean, there's still a restless wash of movement.
Having graduated in 2012 with a degree in Fine Art, specialising in printmaking, Jackie's able to blend elements from both techniques to produce a rich contrast of textures which emulate the natural world. Although having begun by painting local scenes in watercolour, it is evident her artwork has evolved significantly, as Jackie describes: "Taking back control and painting what I wanted to paint."
Over lockdown, Jackie began navigating a new direction and was led down the path of abstraction. Instead of representing locations, she found herself painting seascapes from memory, focusing on the duality of life above and below the sea. Walk Into the Sea highlights her focused use of texture with a bold pattern and crackle glaze, highlighting the transition between the calm above the watermark and the gentle motion beneath.
Instead of working from photographs, Jackie felt the experience of painting using her intuition alone liberating, sharing: "The finished painting is not in my mind at the start". Now her process involves applying layers in the form of blue and green washes to create seascapes with a tremendous depth of colour before adding detailed and textural elements.
As Jackie's gravitated towards abstraction, she began to document environments where the natural and urban worlds converge. Inspired by a series of ariel photographs, Safe Harbour depicts where the ocean meets land, exploring our desire to control its flow and contort natural processes.
Humanities' shaping of our environment leads Jackie to share her passion for Welsh legends, "I think I find it so fascinating because I know it's not just an old story, it's real. It's global warming.", she says, speaking of Cantre'r Gwaelod. The legend has particularly captured her imagination and tells of a lost land sunken below Cardigan Bay, recently discovered on the earliest surviving map of Britain.
Jackie's passion for Wales' coastline and heritage is reflected in her artwork's wonderous sense of mystique, balancing realism with abstract and mysterious underwater elements.