I am nearing the end of completing this little painting, which I have really enjoyed doing. As mentioned in a previous post, the concept is based on an ancient Greek myth of Zeus disguised as a swan who seduces the innocent Leda.
I wanted a kind of African nuance, but ethereal too, with allusions to flight and feathers; the dreaminess of Leda’s imagination as she ponders Zeus’s love…
This last part of my process of painting posts deals with bringing the composition together towards its conclusion. This can be the hardest part for me. Often it is at the stage when I feel like abandoning my creation because it is not quite what my inner vision had conjured up: I get a little impatient; frustrated with the paint, or the colours, or just my own hyper-critical sense of perfection.
It is normally at this point when the all-knowing Muse leans on my shoulder and gently but firmly encourages me to keep going, even if I don’t know what I am doing. It’s often a good time to step back for a few days if you are feeling like this, too, and watch an inspiring movie or start a new book. What always helps me, without fail, is taking long walks – through tree-lined streets, in a park or wherever there is a bit of Nature to guide the creative instinct and clear the mind of clutter.
I rely mostly on my creative instinct when finishing a painting. When I consciously choose to open up to this intuitive aspect, it does seem to flow towards the resolution of the work. Holding the painting from a distance upside down gives a really interesting perspective, too, on design and composition elements that can be enhanced. I love also at this point to just quietly meditate on the process of filling in small details: hidden faces, creatures, patterns and spirits that inhabit this world that unfolds before me…
As many painters (and probably all artists) would agree: you have to know when to finally stop painting, and just put the paint brush down, and let it go. This moment is the sweetest, and the most troubling of the whole process: what if I just added a bit more detail there? Or some intenser colouring there? I’m not happy with her hand, should I try to change it? But inevitably, with me, something just clicks and I know that my creative journey is over with this painting. Perhaps the Muse calmly puts my hand down for me, and lets me sit back, but I know this moment is also sacred, for a new creation has been completed, and I have that inner satisfaction and peace that tells me so….
A moment shared in Love will linger in our eternal memory…
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 the completed commissioned art work for Aldene in Wales! I enjoyed getting lost in the realms of nature and fantasy…and added some hidden fairies and little creatures throughout the painting if you look closely. It measures approximately 20 inches x 20 inches ; 51 cm x 51 cm ~ my previous posts outline the process of this painting.
You can purchase a beautiful print of this painting here.
I have recently finished this lovely commissioned original drawing of the Tree of Life for a wonderful customer in Germany. It has been done in pigment coloured pencil (I use Swiss made Caran d’Ache) and pigment ink pens and measures 6.5 x 6.5 inches. She loved my original pencil drawing of the Tree of Life with a sun and moon in the leaves and a dryad or tree spirit subtly portayed in the image which had been sold, so we decided to do one just for here with slight alterations and in vibrant greens, purples and blues:
I am currently accepting commissions for paintings, tattoo designs, business logos and wedding invitations to name but a few of the artworks I do as custom orders. You can view a selection of my previous artistic commissions here!
I finished this last Friday, and am quite pleased with the flow and expression of what is really a homage to the great Alphonse Mucha, the beauty that is Byzantine and Orthodox Iconic Art and, of course, fantasy art. The Luna Moth is a fascinating creature whose colours and ethereality also inspired me…
You can purchase a beautiful print of this painting in my online shop Here.
This is how my new Art Nouveau inspired fairy painting is looking so far…
I have been painting it on Fredrix watercolor canvas, which is proving to be somewhat of a challenge as it is very slippery and I am finding that the water-based pigments do not adhere too well on the specially coated canvas. it is also very sensitive to any natural oils that come off one’s hand whilst painting, making in effect waterproof! I will be using acrylic to give this painting more adhesion and substance – will post the next and final stage in the next 2 days…
Thanks for looking! – You can see the first stage of this painting Here
It is time for another fairy painting! To me, fairies represent the feminine spirit in Nature: ethereal, transcendent, beautiful and inspiring.
I love the work of Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha ; his illustrative style is highly decorative yet maintains a wonderful evocative realism that captures the feminine essence within the natural world exquisitely. I also have a fascination for the exotic luna moth and want to combine those two inspirations with the magical ambiance of a crescent moonlit night… ~ You can see more of my original fairy and fantasy paintings here. ~
Here is the quick sketch, and the beginnings of the painting. I am using Fredrix watercolor canvas which is so interesting to paint on. It has a smooth and very watercolour- paper like canvas surface, but one can achieve beautiful blending and painterly techniques.
I have realised that I have a fascination with throwing cats and fish together.
It started with one of the first etchings I ever did, in London where I learned the craft 14 years ago; for some reason I was compelled to portray a little black cat swimming merrily along with some goldfish:
I hand coloured it with gouache, loved the result, and put out an edition for sale, which you can find at my Online Shop.
The image of a cat’s fantasy underwater realm stayed with me, and a number of years later I painted a whimsical watercolour and pastel of the same topic, only with added water nymphs and spirits:
A gorgeous Print is for sale here.
Yesterday, I found myself in one of Johannesburg’s quirky bead shops, where I picked up a wonderful stash of gorgeous Czech glass beads and findings with which to play and create, and the result, unsurprisingly was this:
I had such fun making these, and have decided to start a few themed jewellery pieces along these whimsical lines. This pair and other lovely creations can also be bought in my Shop!
….with more to come soon….
Here is the completed painting. It has been such a wonderful experience doing this commission: thanks to my patrons for their creative support encouragement! Here is a shot with my Dad who helped my with the construction of a shippping box and a large board on which to paint. It measures nearly 2 meters x 2 meters (6 foot x 6 foot) and has been painted in acrylics. See the posts before this one for a step by step journey through the painting process.
Here are some detailed shots, and you can purchase a beautiful print of this painting here in my Shop
The painting is nearing completion now, and I have added much detail and flow to the composition.Below is the painting in its entirety, and once finished it will be rolled up, carefully packed and shipped away to be stretched onto a frame ready for hanging. I will post the final photos very soon…..
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!
Here are two shots of the progress of my mermaid commission so far – I have blocked in the basic colour and forms and composition, and started on the face details of both mermaids. I always like to do this initially to get a feel of the facial expressions and features that set the tone and nuance of the overall image. I have used acrylic drying retarder when painting in this technique, which gives flow to the polymer paints similar to that of watercolors.
Here are a few shots of my large acrylic Mermaids in Atlantis painting as it progresses from firstly a wash in greens and pthalo blues, with acrylic drying retarder mixed in with water to give a watercolour effect:
Then, in the second shot I have marked out all the figures and large details in white chalk, which is easy to wipe off with a damp cloth. I begin to block in the basic colours of the larger elements in the composition.
This was my most recent painting for Redwhisper Studio. As some of you may know, I have moved back from beautiful Australia to my homeland of South Africa. John is still running the wonderful business we created together, only he is now the captain at the helm! He is also immersing himself in his music, and you can hear a selection of his amazing original songs here.
I am following my own artistic journey and will still be creating designs and paintings for Redwhisper Studio when I can. Please keep an eye on this, my website, for more of my original art, paintings, etchings, limited edition prints and jewelery designs as well as mixed media and other hand made items and ideas exploring soulful creativity, Archetype energy and the healing power of colour and symbolism.
This painting explores the essence and symbolism of the Unicorn archetype: guardian of innocence, protector and bringer of courage.
You can purchase a beautiful art print of this unicorn painting here.
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….
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….
I am obsessed by the colour blue. It almost rivals my hankering for all shades green.
I wanted to create a “Faery” painting imbued with emotional hue; to me, blue is the ultimate colour of deep emotion – and there are so many different types of blue, the essence of which is a primary colour and cannot be created at all by mixing other colours together.
Blue is often associated with sadness; in Greek mythology, the god Zeus would make rain when he was crying, and a storm when he was angry.
I see it as a very mystical, emotionally-saturated colour which ultimately has much strength to it. It is a beautiful colour to work with – deep and tranquil…
So, here she is – the longing Sylph, caught between earth and air – perhaps the butterfly is her yearning for flight, or it may be some other spirit of desire….You can purchase a beautiful reproduction of this painting here.
I have been looking through my beautiful Art Nouveau books that I have been collecting over the years, and have been inspired particularly by the amazing artist and designer Alphonse Mucha.
His imagery is so beautifully and sensually executed, whilst still being functional – as so many designs of this era were. He drew on Celtic motifs and from the immense source of designs that we find in Nature- sinuous vines, flowers half closed, insects, women, leaves, stars and trees…can’t help but feel inspired !
-I have been wanting to do an unusual fairy design for a woman’s fitted T-shirt for a while and the gorgeous Art Nouveau style suited the image I had in mind perfectly – flowing, subtle ( which can be hard to find on clothing these days) and with a vintage feel :
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.
“The Mermaid and the Sailor”
( drowning lovers under a sea of desire )
….I don’t think this new painting needs much explanation – still a bit to do to it but I am not sure where it is leading me – it is entirely watercolor and I am just moving with the flow and emotion of it, and loving the greens and pinks – very relaxing and sensual…
Painting mermaids is a fascination of mine, and has been since I was a child. I love collecting any unusual pieces depicting them, from all around the world. Sensual, magical water beings, they offer so much to the imagination of the artist wishing to capture their elusive beauty. Mermaids are for me the ultimate union of humans and nature- the beautiful maiden with a fish’s tail appears in many cultures throughout time.
To see more of my mermaid artwork, please go to my online shop.
well- that says it all….
I have all the paraphanalia spread out before me…gas burner, hard and soft wax, old dentist tools, craft knife, sand paper -
here is a photo of the sketched idea and the current state of the carving…it should be finished in a month or so- and will be here on our website amongst all my other original jewellery designs when it is!