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Initiation, Aragonite and the Fire Element Drawing

Joanna Wilson

United Kingdom

Drawing, Graphite on Paper

Size: 28.3 W x 20.1 H x 0.1 D in

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About The Artwork

This work took shape as the restrictions of yet another lockdown began to ease. And so it is easy to interpret its open-ended abstraction as an expression of this newfound freedom. The figurative elements are unconfined, floating like amoeba in an expanse of negative space. Perhaps not a coincidence, then, that the crystal for which it is named, aragonite, occurs in nature as a sustainer of sea life that helps to maintain a neutral pH. What better metaphor for the balance we all need than this rust-coloured mineral with stabilising properties. With abstract paintings, it can be hard to interpret the artist’s intentions. Their aesthetic qualities stand alone, of course, but our experience of them is so much richer if we can also understand why they came to be. In 2021 Wilson’s work took a more metaphysical turn. Through the medium of paint pouring, she discovered a number of symbolic affinities between the colours she was selecting intuitively and her own psycho-spiritual needs at that moment in time. The healing properties of certain crystals, the revealing inner wisdom of oracle cards and the outward sense that a greater power is at work helped her to join the dots between her own creativity and Creation itself. Many of these pieces come with leading titles and associated affirmations. This one is named for a concept (initiation), a crystal (aragonite) and a classical element (fire). Together, these suggest the beginnings of a process: of overcoming emotional fatigue and practising patience; i.e. “grow through what you go through.”

Details & Dimensions

Drawing:Graphite on Paper

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:28.3 W x 20.1 H x 0.1 D in

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Joanna Wilson’s art is a paradox of thoughtful drawing and exuberant expressionism. Born and raised in the Highlands of Scotland, there is a lilting quality to her handling of form reminiscent of the glens where she grew up. But her figurative compositions often incorporate decorative elements, which seem to reference the industrial environs of Edinburgh and London where she has also lived and worked as an artist. Cartographical lines, organic shapes, monochrome sketches with colourful painted overlays: these are the hallmarks of a Wilson composition. Her picture spaces are animated by the tension between the human figure in all its freeform imperfection and the manmade world in which it is often confined. Ubiquitous of the human experience in a pandemic world, these dualities of freedom and confinement have rendered her art ever more relevant today. A renewed energy—not to mention a renewed sense of urgency—is apparent in her recent work. With lockdown Wilson’s practice of drawing from life shifted into a virtual space. Working from live projections in her studio, she sketches models she knows intimately but has never met. Isolation and familiarity, distance and high-definition, a celebration of the technology that brings us together yet at the same time a yearning for the way things used to be—these are the forces at play in her pictures of the past year. Her work can be found in public and private collections throughout the world. It has been selected for the Affordable Art Fair summer show in Battersea Park and displayed in airports, corporate offices and major hotels. Wilson’s home-based custom-built studio in Grantown-on-Spey is a hive of creativity, where you can usually find her multitasking (she is a mother of four), helping out a friend or “making a mess” as she so humbly puts it. In her words: ‘My art sits at the intersection of technology and humanity: where artificial, coded, rigid graphics meet the natural, free and unpredictable human form. Through a combination of drawing, painting and digital art, I explore the blurred boundaries between chaos and control, the cerebral and the physical … where is human innovation taking us?’

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