My medium of choice is oil paint and my interest is in using narrative and figurative elements in my work. In my
paintings I wish to convey a sublime moment in time that the viewer is sharing and to emphasize the transient
quality of life. As a narrative, figurative painter, I am inspired by the human experience and use figures to
express a range of emotions as well as our uniqueness as individuals. Many of my paintings reflect quiet,
contemplative moods while others convey a sense of intimacy and friendship. I also explore the theme of
isolation as a human condition. When painting two or more figures, I often portray them as emotionally
detached from one another.

In preparing for a photoshoot, I carefully plan out “storyboards” beforehand, setting up thumbnail scenes of my
ideas. I have a clear picture of the lighting effect, pose, setting, and mood that I wish to create before posing
the model/models. I pay careful attention to the composition, making sure it is balanced with adequate space
leading to and around the figure. For some compositions I prefer backlighting, adding drama to the overall
mood while emphasizing highlights.

In addition to composition, I also achieve a sense of emotion in my work through the use of color, contrast and
brushwork. For example soft, monochromatic tones evoke a feeling of serenity while intense, high-key color
conveys a sense of excitement. Strong contrast also creates a sense of intensity and draws the viewer into the
composition. Lights juxtaposed against rich darks have impact and make a powerful statement. The use of
expressive brushwork adds yet another dimension to the expressive quality of my paintings. Active brushwork
adds movement and texture allowing the viewer to connect to the work on a visceral level.

In some of my work I use various overlays to create a sense of movement & heightened emotion. In these
paintings the underlying figure emerges through patterns of multiple layers suggesting the continuing process
of self discovery that one experiences in phases of a lifetime. These layers can be peeled back, removing the
superficial to reveal the true self.

I prefer a traditional approach to my painting. The paint is applied in thin, soft layers of color onto a white
ground canvas to maintain luminosity throughout the process. I choose to paint in a representational style,
however, the paint application is done in a loose, painterly fashion. I like this technique as it conveys depth and
movement throughout the composition.
MARGARET BAYALIS
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