Paintings by Melbourne artist Prudence Flint of strong female characters deep in thought

Prudence Flint Large Tartan Blanket, 2016

Melbourne artist Prudence Flint paints interesting women in what she describes as "psychologically charged environments", wrapped up in flat pastel hues and soft light.

For her series Bedsit, the oil on linen works feature characters lost in thought – often on their own but sometimes accompanied by a friend or relative. It's up to us to decide what has happened in each scenario. Where does her inspiration come from? From "conflicts, pleasures, and intensities" that are preoccupying Flint at a certain time.

She explains: "Often there will be a definitive moment that inspires an idea and a sudden realisation or body awareness; I see myself from a distance. An idea often has a few aspects to it. I have a dialogue with my unconscious within my paintings. I watch my dreams, how they feel, the objects I pay attention to and often lose, and the landscapes I inhabit.

"I am also inspired by specific paintings throughout history. Here I am working within a cultural memory/tradition largely dominated by a male psyche so here I often have the feeling of coming to an idea from a different viewpoint."

Flint attributes the theme of her paintings on modern culture – how the world defines women and how you "push up against this to make yourself stay alive for your desired future".

Are the characters fictional or based on real-life? "I create a painting from an idea that originates in recognition in my own body. I choose a friend to model so there is always that added consciousness and mirroring that they bring to the picture with their intensities and pathologies. Real-life? fiction? Is there such a thing? Dreams are real in that the unconscious creates a scenario to communicate an idea."

As for her influences, Flint tells us it's a constant fluid engagement in books, music, film and people in her life. "At the moment I'm reading The Severed Head by Julia Kristeva, and the novel A Thousand Acres which is a modern take on Shakespeare's King Lear. I am watching The Marvellous Mrs Maisel. I write and draw every day. I am listening to traditional Indian music which seems to soothe my mind."

Prudence Flint's next solo show is with Fine Arts, Sydney opening 15 May until 20 June 2020. Discover more of her work at prudenceflint.com.

Prudence Flint Bedsit, 2016

Prudence Flint Bedsit, 2016

Prudence Flint The Meal, 2016

Prudence Flint The Meal, 2016

Prudence Flint Bitter Springs 2017

Prudence Flint Bitter Springs 2017

Prudence Flint Blue Cotton Dress, 2017

Prudence Flint Blue Cotton Dress, 2017

Prudence Flint Shower, 2016

Prudence Flint Shower, 2016

Prudence Flint Shower #2, 2016

Prudence Flint Shower #2, 2016