Dutch artist Marissa Oosterlee is renowned for her photorealistic painting skills that enable her to render people with immaculate precision. She demonstrates her abilities by placing her subjects in a tricky setting—glistening water. In her series Washing Away My Sorrows, she combines her figurative painting talents with her love of the sea and depicts women half-submerged in clear pools.
“My latest water series, Washing Away My Sorrows, is about the then, now, and later,” Oosterlee explains to My Modern Met. “Life without water is not possible. Water symbolizes purity, clarity, tranquility. It reminds us that we need to clear our thoughts every now and then and that we must strive for a state of purity.” The women in Oosterlee’s paintings are shown with their eyes closed or looking away. Their bodies are languid in the water—just barely drifting above the surface—as though they want to “cleanse” themselves and their minds.
Oosterlee uses traditional oil painting techniques to carefully render her works and their splendid details. While some of these women wear simple swimsuits, others are also adorned with decorative flowers. “The women in the water are far away and at the same time very close,” Oosterlee continues. “You wonder what they are thinking… are they actually still in this world with their mind?”