Creative Cauldron - Criss Canning

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Artist inspiration and artist influences. No biographies, dates or scholarly research here -  this is a personal response to the work of Criss Canning by Australian artist Fiona Morgan.

Criss Canning painting

Showcasing Criss Canning seemed a natural followup to Margaret Preston of last month. Criss is an artist local to me at the moment. She resides at the wonderful Lambley Nursery, which is a unique nursery specialising in dry tolerant plants. You might expect gardens full of cactii there, but no. There are lush and colourful plants everywhere. The setting is beautiful.

Criss Canning painting

As Criss is quoted saying in her monograph 'The Pursuit of Beauty', "Beauty is really important to me. ... I know beauty is an unfashionable concept today, but for me it is absolutely the key. I believe you cannot overestimate the need for beauty in our lives".

Criss Canning painting

And what beautiful paintings she does.  Even though she specialises in still lifes which are hopelessly old fashioned as a genre, these pieces manage to be grand and have presence. People instantly love her work when they see it. I hate falling into using art-world superlative speak, but... sumptuous describes her work very well.

Criss Canning painting

To me, Criss is clearly influenced by Margaret Preston. I don't know whether she actually is, but the similarities, I think, are striking. There is the strong Japanese influence in the props and the assymetry of the compositions. There is the emphasis on pattern (so many patterns!). And the overall strong graphical/design style with black outlines. Where she differs is COLOUR. Rich vibrant colour everywhere.

Criss Canning painting

Where she really stands out is with her brushwork. If you get a chance to see the originals of her work, go for it. They are not flat paintings. A lot of the texture is missed in the reproduction of these which is a real shame as this to me is the standout feature of her work:

Criss Canning painting


More Criss Canning links

 Official site:

About the Creative Cauldron series of posts

Creative Cauldron - artistic influences & inspiration for Australian artist Fiona MorganThe Creative Cauldron series of posts explores and showcases the visual styles, techniques, attitudes, ideas, artists and paintings that have had the most impact on me. 

The rest of the series is accessible via the Creative Cauldron page. Have a meander if you please, and remember to check out my artworks on Flickr, and have an insider peek at life as an artist on Facebook.

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1 thoughts

  1. thanks for sharing. this is beautiful!


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