Within its chosen limits as an art of calm reportage, Veronica Burleigh’s painting work in water colours and oils now on view at Naake’s Gallery, Bulawayo, is very competent indeed.
Her special skill is in dividing her canvas into areas that are individually interesting and collectively harmonious. Some of the new water colours are conspicuously successful, where her fastidious inked line separates areas of nearly flat colour in a manner that is almost abstract in conception.
Tamariu from the Hill is a good example of the ease with which problems of perspective are solved and incorporated in an overall satisfying composition.
Occasionally her technique is almost too facile. In Houseboy, the well painted face is stuck on a background of curved ice-cream stripes, while Arum Lilies and Strylitzia are dangerously close to the calendar art fringe.
In most of the water colours, her use of blue, green and grey tones is subtle and pleasing. The dominant mood is quiet and reflective. In her hands nature displays a late afternoon benevolence.
I am not convinced that Miss Burleigh is quite so much at home in oils. The paint is used thinly – almost deferentially – and the colours do not have the conviction or luminosity of the best water colours. The latter are really very pleasing.