Artist Captures Female Subjects Through Cobalt Blue Lens

Throughout history, Cobalt Blue has been appreciated by artists due to its stable and lightfast properties as well as compatibility with other pigments. Now, Icelandic artist Karen Ösp Pálsdóttir is using this pigment as a lens through which she captures portraits of female subjects.

Pálsdóttir’s paintings mostly feature close-up presentations of faces, which are often framed by botanical elements. According to the artist, this serves to explore the “historical context” that early humans couldn’t tell apart the colors green and blue because finding blue was a rare occurrence in nature.

While creating her Cobalt Blue oil portraits, Pálsdóttir employs an approach that is similar to collage art. This gives her pieces depth and makes them more life-like.

“My paintings are derived from digitally dissected images. I apply oil paint to the surface in consecutive layers to transfer the abstracted reference information into iconic female forms,” Pálsdóttir shares about her creative process. “The accrued layers leave visible traces of the process and create a physical depth in the portrait. The organic properties of the oil paint permeate the rigid digital process.”

Pálsdóttir was born and raised in Reykjavík, Iceland, but is currently living and working in New York City. Her works have been exhibited in solo exhibitions in her native country and in a number of group exhibitions in the United States. You can check out more of them by scrolling below.