Spotlight on Sarah Fosse an artist with a unique view of London

Sarah Fosse is an artist whose work we’ve enjoyed for a while here on Inspiring City.  It’s her unique views of London, the city in which we live which caught our imagination.  Using vibrant bright colours, she see’s the city in differing way… a wobbly way!

Her work distorts the landscape and results in paintings which are unique and vivid. Generally painting onto canvas she’s more recently begun to experiment with car paint which she uses to paint her landscapes onto aluminium sheeting.

So we thought it would be a good idea to feature some of her favourite paintings and in her own words she’s chosen images from London and from New York, two great cities with plenty of scope for re-interpretation in her own style.

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Sarah Fosse in her studio

Canary Wharf Reflections

This painting is significant to me because it’s my first ever ‘wobbly’ painting and marks the start of my recognisable style. It’s a view from Millwall Dock near where I live. There are so many different buildings to see, from the shiny glass and steel towers of Canary Wharf to old red brick warehouses, all sitting comfortably together reflecting gorgeous swirly shapes and colours upon the dock.

I began painting the view with particular attention to the reflections but somehow when painting the skyscrapers in my then more photo realistic style they looked disjointed and at odds with the wonderfully ‘wobbly’ reflections beneath them!  It took a lot of experimentation before it seemed obvious to continue the distorted style of the water through into the buildings themselves to create a unique and fluid painting style.

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Sarah with one of her pieces

Strong well delineated colour work is also very important to prevent the main focal points being lost and the painting appearing to be a jumble of flat looking 2D squiggles!  Along with Matisse’s cut outs I am heavily influenced by the Fauvist Andre Derain. I love his depictions of London in hot bold colours rather than the more muted palette London can often be painted in.

I took this piece into a gallery in London Bridge for framing and was invited to be their artist in residence. From there on I’ve gone on to create about 40 paintings in this style – officially they form part of my ‘Reflections’ collection, although I affectionately nickname them my ‘Wobbly’ paintings!

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Canary Wharf Reflections

Battersea Reflections

I lived in Australia and the Caribbean for a time and would paint the beautiful bright landscapes. I used to love the red dirt of the Australian bush in contrast to the impossibly indigo sky and once I moved back to London I wanted to apply vibrant opposite colours to my cityscapes. Battersea Reflections presented a great opportunity to do just that – the vivid oranges of the famous red brick Power Station look so striking against the blues of the sky and the Thames (they are blue sometimes!).

I like the simplicity of this piece, focusing purely on Battersea Power Station and the aesthetic curves of the water spilling down the page. I was delighted to be invited to show it at an event at the Royal College of Art promoting the new Battersea and Nine Elms districts. This scene has also been printed with high gloss inks on to aluminium nearly as big as me which looks quite impactful!

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Battersea reflections

Rainy Times Square Reflections 

On a recent visit to New York I got caught on a rainy night in Times Square and the dazzling neon lights reflected on the wet roads created quite a spectacle!  The whole scene was drowned in an amazing array of colours and reflections – my favourite components for a painting – as you may be gathering by now!  It was also interesting to approach a cityscape where the reflections occur from the rain as opposed to the river as it meant I could incorporate the quintessential yellow cabs and people into the piece and capture New York’s famous buzzing atmosphere.

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Rainy Times Square Reflections

Empire State Reflections 

As well as acrylic, gouache and oil, I’ve been using car paint on steel for the past couple of years and wanted to create a large impact piece using this media. What better city to go large with than New York!

I loved capturing the sheer scale of the buildings towering up and off the this 1.5m sheet of steel.  As with my Times Square painting I enjoyed including figures and cabs giving the piece a human element and creating that ‘moment in time’ feeling.  The rich glossy car paint and the steel really lend themselves to an urban landscape like New York.  I had recently stood in the spot where my glamorous blonde is hailing her cab, so this painting brings back happy memories of visiting my second favourite city in the world!

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Empire State Reflections

Greenwich and Beyond

This is my most recent and my favourite of all my wobbly paintings as it captures my favourite view in London.  Standing at Greenwich Observatory and taking in this grand vista of the capital in front of you is breath taking.  From here you can see most of London’s iconic buildings and I love going there on a sunny day and seeing everyone out having fun – it’s always such an uplifting scene. I wanted my favourite view to pack a punch so this is another very large work using car paint on steel.  I love painting huge and would love to paint this scene ten times bigger one day!

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Greenwich and beyond

Sarah has exhibited in France and extensively in London at the Menier Gallery, Truman Brewery, Espacio Gallery, Lauderdale House, Flux at the Rag Factory, E1 Studios, Battersea Power Station and The Royal College of Art amongst others. Her work is held in both private and corporate collections worldwide including Ernst and Young and Marks and Spencer. She is represented by M1 fine art and Degree Art