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…
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 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 the pleasure of being able to do some wonderful commissions for fabulous customers over the years, and have been asked by Adlene of The Secret Garden of Beauty to do a custom painting to express the magical essence of her unique beauty salon in Wales.
I first liaise with the customer as to the vision of the original artwork they have asked me to create just for them, which may include photos, stories, memories or just imaginative feelings that they would like me to translate into a painting. In this case, Adlene wanted a secret garden theme with a magical, fairytale element to reflect the charm and tranquility of her wonderful beauty salon. Each commission process is different, and in Adlene’s I began with a black and white sketch, which I coloured in with a rough idea as to what she and I may be visualising about the nature of a secret garden….
The painting I have just begun is a watercolour and coloured pigment pencil artwork, which features mainly greens and pastel lavender with aqua blues, capturing the English garden flowers that one may find in the hidden garden of a mystical realm. More progress reports to follow ~ here is the beginning:
This is my completed Art Nouveau style Cat painting. It is watercolor with gold and colored pigment ink and is inspired by folk art as well as the illustrations of the Art Nouveau period which had a wonderful flowing style and often incorporated natural elements within the diverse themes depicted.
Recently I found a beaten up old edition – from the end of the Second World War – of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (or What You Will) and the same day I rediscovered a little owl painting I had painted some time ago. You can see it here.
I was intrigued by the idea of placing this lovely whimsical owl over the delightful words of the great Bard, creating a mixed media original yet very affordable piece of artwork. The result is what you see below. Each creation has been hand painted with acrylic upon a different page of the play, over the original print. The colours are fantastically vibrant, with highlights of gold and silver pigment to further enhance this little ACEO collectable work of art.
If you would like it purchase one of these delightful original pieces of mixed media artwork, each one created individually costs US$7.50, plus shipping – please contact me!
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 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.
I have been attending sculpture classes here in Johannesburg with the wonderful Marina Walsh. She runs classes and also produces uniquely designed sculptural items for the landscaping, interior décor and game lodge markets. Her website is Marina Walsh Designs.
My first attempt at portraiture was this Bird Spirit head; what started out as a simple head study soon became a totem-like exploration of both the human head and the clay. It was fun to do and I hope to get more practice with this type of expression in 3D, which is quite a challenge after working in a painterly 2D format for so long…
We were able to sculpt from a live model which was so rewarding; she sat on a rotating platform while the class stayed still, so that we sculpted the clay as she rotated in 10 minute intervals, resulting in a surprisingly effective way to render a life study in clay! You start of with a stick figure roughly modeled into the model’s pose, then work the figure while looking closely at the model as she rotates before you. My figure turned out to be rather Rubenesque in her curves and demeanour…
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….
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.
I am really missing having a cat around the house as I have always grown up with them and found these beautiful creatures a constant source of inspiration and comfort. So I am bringing their spirit through into this A4 drawing about the exquisite beauty and tranquillity of a sleeping cat…they almost look like they are lost in faerieland when they are asleep ! I am working on it slowly, while sitting at our market stall at Glebe Market, Sydney.
I used to do a lot of black & white drawings when I was a student, filling in all my lecture notes with little illustrations. There are some of my older works on my website and it is really wonderful to be doing this sort of finely detailed work again.
Listening to p.j harvey’s new “White Chalk” album with it’s simplicity and haunting emotion reminds me why I love this way of creating. Drawing in freehand, with only the barest of pencil lines to guide the progress of pen on paper – it is a good meditation and a great way to gain drawing confidence and freedom of expression ! Guess we’ll have to see how it turns out….but the path to creating is often more fun than what is at the end….
27 February 2008
Finally finished this – here it is ! …it kind of got spirited away with itself…