A Merrow is a gentle Irish mermaiden in Celtic folklore.
I painted this romantic watercolour painting , “Merrow Kiss” quite some time ago, and released it in a limited edition run of prints. It is definitely one of my favourite paintings; I love anything to do with these mysterious mythical creatures whose bodies – half human, half fish, symbolise the feminine connection with imagination, love and sensuality. The prints sold out quickly and due to requests by a number of customers recently, I am releasing it as a limited edition poster print.
This poem by W.B Yeats was my inspiration ~
“A Mermaid found a swimming lad,
Picked him for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown”
The print comes signed and titled by me with a certificate of authenticity. For a limited time I am able to offer it with free shipping anywhere in the world. You can find it for sale in my online shop Here.
How do you feel about new ideas that appear in your life? Do they frighten you? Do they offer you a new perspective that broadens your thinking?
The Masculine and Feminine revolve
through nature and life as One.
The Sun and Moon symbolize a great
power of love and balance…
Throughout my artistic life I have been drawn to expressing the beauty and power of romance between Feminine and Masculine elements. The Lover Archetypes are inherent throughout all cultures, religions and mythologies, and is woven deep within our collective consciousness and the very laws of Nature herself. Here are some of the paintings that I have been inspired to create in honour of the love that man and woman have spun together in the timeless dance of sacred love, union and deep mutual fascination that is the basis of the creation of human life…
you can click on the images for more information
This is a close up of painting commission currently underway, the beginnings of which you can see below or here. I have been painting mostly with watercolours, adding touches with acrylic paint and pigment coloured pencil. There are two faeries, and a hedgehog so far….click on the image to enlarge and see if you can spot them! More little creatures to come later…
I have reworked the face of the lower mermaid, and am adding more and more detail and design to the composition, just on a free-form basis with paintbrush and paint – I love this intuitive style of painting and working the form and colour in.
Here is the entire painting, before I reworked the faces. Please click on each photos to appreciate them in their fullness of size – More photos to come soon!
I am currently on an extended stay in my home country of South Africa, re-connecting with my family and taking in the exquisitely vibrant countryside for inspiration and new developments.
I stopped off on our travels around the beautiful Eastern Cape province into the tiny and little known township Neiu Bethesda in the dry Karoo region. The only reason one would do this is thanks to an incredibly visionary woman called Helen Martins. This amazing but extremely isolated outsider artist lived here up until 1976 when she took her own life due to her failing eyesight and subsequent struggle to realise her creative urges.
Her life here was made known by the wonderful South African writer Athol Fugart in his play (and resulting Hollywood film) The Road to Mecca. Helen left a treasure of art and imagination in her tiny home and backyard, some of which can be seen in the photos below. It is now called The Owl House.
What captivated me the most about her ethereal realm was the care and vivid imagination that went into creating it. She lived this creation every day; she slept and dreamt within its luminescent walls and smiling, whimsical faces of the creatures she had conjured up from cement, wire, beer bottles and pieces of discarded ephemera…and then she gave them life and showed them to us.
Thank you dear Miss Helen for such a joyful gift from such a lonely but inspired heart….
preliminary to a painting
watercolour & pencil.
I was rummaging through some old artwork and found this photo of a commission I did about 16 years ago (I was about 18 I think) for one of my brother’s friends.
It is a large drawing- about an A2 size (poster size) and took a few months to complete. It is extremely detailed, and I do not find the time these days to do such elaborate work but would like to return to this wonderfully meditative process of creating art.
- she is the creation in the centre of her own being and imagination, from which all things are borne like stars in a galaxy….
This is the progress of “The Mermaid & the Sailor” painting- I got really carried away with the detail and flow, but enjoyed the meditation and depicting all the beautiful (and sinister) creatures of the deep.
Here it is as a beautiful print for sale in my online shop: “The Mermaid & the Sailor”
I realised after finishing this painting that whilst doing it I had been reading Possession by A.S Byatt-
an extraordinarily moving story encompassing love, passion and the mythology of the Mermaid along with Darwinianism, and Feminist and literary commentary. An amazing read…
The circus painting is also finished… phew…it was entirely fueled by cups of tea, red wine and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and it is my tribute to the Greatest Show on Earth which resides in all of our dreams and imaginings…
The original is a very detailed watercolour, acrylic, red wine,gouache and vintage lace & ribbon collage (you can see it’s progress in my previous posts). Below this is a detailed picture. It has been sold out as a Limited Edition print but you can buy a greeting card Here.
A soldier rode up on his tumbling black horse
to the woman under the Tree,
“What are you waiting for ?”, he said
“For Death”, answered she.
He asked “May I wait by your side?”
“Sit down” she beckoned him there,
and he sat beneath the shadowy branches
As she began plaiting her hair.
He watched as her fingers parted her tresses-
turning this way and that ,
and she gathered some flowers, grasses and clover
and knotted them in with her plaits.
” What are you doing?” asked the soldier,
Desire creeping into his heart
” I am gathering my possessions around me
before my funeral may start.”
And he saw how lovely she was
There in the shade of the Tree
“Surely you are born of this meadow
and lie waiting in it for me…”
He took off his armour and he took up his sword
as he brushed the hair from her face,
and he entered it into her body
with beautiful sly, gentle grace.
She clung to him whispering softly
so that only the Tree could hear
This has been lurking in my psyche for a while now…so it’s time to get it out !
I have always been a bit disturbed by the circus coming to town, so maybe this is my attempt at exorcising what should be a fantastical experience, if not coloured with a bit of darkness…
It is being painted to a soundtrack of Nick Cave – “Your funeral…My Trial” – especiallly The Carny – this song has an amazing rendition (as well as “From Her to Eternity) in the Wim Wenders movie “Wings of Desire”. It is sung during a pivotal and very powerful scene in the film – the whole movie just captures beautifully all the themes that move me – romance, sadness, life, death and the Circus….
so here is the Greatest Show on Earth – soon to be completed -
it’s been 4 weeks, and slowly all the characters are coming out in pencil, gouache, pen, a few tears, lace, ribbon and watercolour:
…I was thinking of the old Victorian Circus posters, all faded and worn with an air of Magical Realism, advertising the Carnival Sideshow of the Imagination…
….nearly finished ! I have added some beautiful vintage ribbons which add to the festivity..
This painting is available for sale. The Limited Edition print run has sold out but you can still purchase a note card from my online shop here.
For some time now I have been meaning to compile a sketch of things that have created some artistic ideas for me.
I’ll start off with an old painting of mine which I did nearly 10 years ago, while living in London…
I was walking around Covent Garden on my lunch break and popped into what looked like a small but interesting photographic exhibition down one of those alluring London alleyways.
The exhibition was of black and white photography by a young and very talented woman, Francesca Woodman .
I had never seen anything like what I saw in this gallery that day…it was visually so evocative and strange, yet dreamily familiar; it all resonated so strongly within me – especially since, at 22 years old, she was nearly my age when she took her own life…
Tragic, but also another facet of the incredible emotional power of her work.
I often struggle to put into words what moves me to create, and the symbolism contained within my paintings. It is equally as hard to express why another’s art moves one , but here goes :
Francesca Woodman: Space 2
Providence, Rhode Island, 1975 – 1976
Francesca Woodman: It must be time for lunch now 1979
25.4cm x 20.3cm
…and this is “Francesca’s Room” – you can purchase a beautiful reproduction of this symbolist painting here.
Just finished this painting of what I think may be a self portrait with a swan.
Again, Blue is the colour of a certain emotion…. we are both dreaming of something…flight, perhaps ?
It is done with watercolour, gouache and pen on a beautiful 100% cotton rag Italian paper -and I think one of John’s gorgeous recycled timber frames in white Federation moulding will be perfect for it!
Thought I’d quickly post this collage of new Dragonfly works that I have obsessively been painting on scraps of lovely paper left over from my Printmaking.
They have been great to do -mostly because I love depicting dragonflies whenever I can, on whatever I can(T-shirts ,Bags, Prints)
The first one is a dragonfly sojourn at midnight under a full Moon – kind of dark but I like that … and the black & white drawing is still a work in progress, so we will see how it develops. The bottom one is a Japanese-style watercolour painting on beautiful handmade Mulberry bark paper from Thailand – this kind of textured natural paper is really interesting to work on – it is not a watercolour paper so does not allow the paint to blend on the surface- more suited to quick line work. Here is an original for sale.
They were very popular during the Art Nouveau era as they are so stylistically suited to the flowing organic forms of Nature depicted by the designers of that time. Tiffany and Lalique have some of my favourite pieces of dragonflies- so inspiring !
I just wish things were made like that still, with care and great imagination; that’s why I have been slowly developing my own range of Art Nouveau Jewellery. -in honour of this forgotten era
thanks for looking – there will be some darker stuff coming soon….
Got the oil pastel and oil paints out to create the first picture “I Dreamed of Silk” – I was enjoying using wax resist again with watercolors and lots of blue. I scraped away textures and symbols into the paint – just experimenting with the medium whilst trying to capture a woman sleeping whilst dreaming she has the wings of a moth, and is kind of wrapped up in her sensual dream of silk.
Still working on it – I feel it needs more black around the wings, like night…
The next picture is rendered in pen, ink and watercolour on blue paper. Still seeing where it’s going. It is a lady of the lake, I think she is a seductress…I will concentrate more on her hair and the flow of it and the water around her. I always love drawing fish – their orange goes well with the overall blue.