Ethereal women float on clear waters in Marissa Oosterleefascinating paintings. For years, the Dutch artist has been creating works inspired by the healing properties of water in a series titled Wash away my sorrows. In these paintings, female figures lay with their eyes closed, allowing their bodies to be gently enveloped by the still bodies of water.
Oosterlee finds real role models to showcase in her art, all of which inspire different interactions with natural environments. She brings the likeness of these women to life by carefully rendering them in layers of oil paint. Some of these figures glide through the shallow waters, dressed in romantic costumes, while others have their heads turned to the side, as if using the water as a pillow. Each, however, seems to share a connection to the ocean setting.
“The paintings in this series, all titled Wash away my sorrows, with different numbers and subtitles, are about ‘then, now and later,’” Oosterlee told My Modern Met. “Life without water is not possible. Water symbolizes purity, clarity and tranquility. It reminds us that we need to cleanse our thoughts from time to time and strive to achieve a state of purity. While it’s hard to distinguish whether the women are sleeping or simply in a moment of rest, their relaxed expressions indicate that they are at peace with their surroundings.