Figure paintings in Passerby exhibition

Steve Salo, 29 January 2015

While most of the paintings in Passerby are portraits, I’ve also included some figure works. See images below.

The first work ‘There She Stood’ came to me easily. I had a clear impression of the person I was painting. A work like this is all about feeling, it’s not about recording surface appearance or detail at all. I’ve translated what I felt from a five second glimpse of a young woman standing at traffic lights during her lunch break. She was a directed person with confidence. The turn of her head in the painting is when something distracted her and she turned to look in the distance, a busy point in time was briefly stopped. With some of these paintings it’s almost like that momentary feeling subconsciously sinks in and later I pull it out and paint from that feeling on autopilot. I’m not planning the colour before I put it down, I’m just pulling colours from the palette from that stored feeling of someone. For this painting I used colours I felt from her, a down to earth girl, who was not at all superficial.

After painting ‘There She Stood’ I then kept an eye out for other people I felt something from who I could paint in a similar style. This became a series of four works, each painted mostly using brush and palette knife, oil on board.

A different mood entirely, ‘Passersby CBD’ shows daily commuters in a mechanised society riding the escalator. Some stand with silent minds, others immersed in their screens before entering the office and facing a larger screen all day. Then returning down the escalator at the end of the day, they are immersed in their screens again before riding the train sandwiched between multiple commuters craving to return to a place called home. The painting tries to capture the feel of passersby collectively, and it’s also influenced by how that work-style feels to me. I used oil on aluminium, like I did for ‘Passersby Federation Square’, an early-morning urban scene depicting the quiet movement of commuters as they begin their day in the city.

‘Figure in Red’ began as a fairly detailed and proportional figure, then I used forceful strokes to cloak the figure in red. I felt energised when painting it and that energy comes through in the power of the colour and the movement of the figure.

Just five weeks until the show: Passerby, 7-21 March, Metropolis Gallery, hope to see you there!

There She Stood

Steve Salo, There She Stood

Steve Salo, ‘There She Stood’, oil on board, 35.5 x 41.5 cm. Artist’s collection



Steve Salo, Waiting

Steve Salo, ‘Waiting’, oil on board, 35.5 x 41.5 cm. SOLD


Girl at the Station

Steve Salo, Girl at the Station

Steve Salo, ‘Girl at the Station’, oil on board, 35.5 x 41.5 cm


There She Sat

Steve Salo, There She Sat

Steve Salo, ‘There She Sat’, oil on board, 35.5 x 41.5 cm


Passersby CBD

Steve Salo, Passersby CBD

Steve Salo, ‘Passersby CBD’, oil on aluminium, 30.5 x 61 cm


Passersby Federation Square

Steve Salo, Passersby Federation Square

Steve Salo working on ‘Passersby Federation Square’, oil on aluminium, 76 x 61 cm. SOLD The finished painting is on the Passerby page.


Figure in Red

Steve Salo, Figure in Red

Steve Salo, ‘Figure in Red’, oil on canvas, 76 x 76 cm

Preview more works from my upcoming solo show, Passerby.

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