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.
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 is the latest painting I am working on. I started her about a year ago, inspired by my love for the colour blue and for the mythological story of Leda and the Swan. I have probably spent an hour on her – she measures 7 x 10 inches and the paper is a gorgeous cold-pressed smooth cotton rag .
The muse cannot descend with grace if you don’t have a few elements in place to welcome her. I have discovered that using good quality watercolour paper is essential to allowing the paints (and your Muse) to mix and flow beautifully. My preferred paper as I have mentioned in a couple of other posts is the amazing Stonehenge paper which I discovered at my local art shop The Artist’s Store while living in Katoomba, Australia. I love this paper because it is smooth – it has no grain like many other watercolour papers do, so it is great to use with coloured pencils and pen for clear, sharp lines and lovely blending.
The first thing I generally do is sketch out my design roughly in a soft lead pencil so that I can easily erase if necessary. Then I apply a light wash to whatever areas of the composition I want to have definite colours. Above are examples of this initial process from previous paintings (which can be found on this blog)
The paint brushes I use vary between ones for acrylic and watercolor. Some of my favourite paint brushes are also the cheapest ones, but I do have some beautiful sable-haired brushes strictly for watercolour use. The fan brush to the right is great to use for blending in larger areas of colour wash with great effect and feathered delicacy. It’s good to play with each paint brush and see what it can do: I use the finest tipped brushes for drawing in lines and faces little details.
As you can see, my palette is simple: I have used this old plastic plate for years now, and just squeeze out a selection of watercolour paints, plus some chinese white, in a way that I know I will use and blend them together. My favourite watercolour tube paints are Van Gogh brand which has a large selection of beautiful colours at very good prices.
Many people ask how I blend my watercolours, and the rule of thumb with this type of painting is to be very subtle when applying the paint to the paper. Watercolours by nature are transparent and have a beautiful translucency which is desirable to translate onto the paper or canvas.
Try to always keep the paper showing through to some degree, and gently layer your colours as you go along with delicate strokes, being careful never to overload the paintbrush with paint, and to use a good amount of water as you blend. I blend on both the paper and also on my palette, working from light to dark layers – so don’t start with your darkest colour first.
Next time I will explore more about adding detail, layering and making the composition flow….
A moment shared in Love will linger in our eternal memory…
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!
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.
I have a fascination with red poppies and with cats, and have often portrayed them together in little montages and pieces of art, but have never done a full painting of these two lovely themes together.
Here are the beginnings of a watercolour based painting that I have been working on, Art Nouveau style, with pigment inks and white gesso highlights. The paper I use is Stonehenge cream paper – great for mixed media and especially good for etching and watercolors. I painted a yellow wash with touches of orange for a base design of colours to set the tone for what looks to be a folk-art kind of painting. ~ More photos as I go along !
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
I have been experimenting again with various natural elements and media to create a wonderfully evocative painting full of the Archetypal symbolism of Love, reminiscent of the beautiful romantic paintings of Gustav Klimt and Marc Chagall.
Here I explore the promises, dreams and awakening spirituality associated with the profound union of a man and a woman, the merging of two kindred souls. Below is a detailed image of this collage, with the poem that I wrote which is featured in the painting.
I have painted it on beautiful ivory coloured smooth Stonehenge watercolour paper, using a mixture of watercolours, gouache, gesso, wax, coloured pencils, gold and silver pigment inks, mosaic slices of copper, pewter and brass and dried pressed flowers that I collected whilst living in various countries. This picture mostly has pressed poppies – I also did a Fairy picture a few years ago with wild flower collage and watercolours which you can see here available as an art print for sale: Flora Fairy Painting
This Lovers painting is available as a Limited Edition print at my shop Here: ~ I will only be making 50 prints in 7 x 10 inch size and I have the first artist’s Proof for sale. I feel that some of the more personal paintings I have done deserve to be released as small runs of limited edition prints – this means that there is only a certain number of these prints produced in a particular size – after they have all been sold no more will be ever produced.
You can see more of my Lover Art if you click on the menu to the left.
Thank you for visiting my blog, and may you walk in Love : )
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 been very busy painting these beautiful little pieces of art, each a one-off original miniature painting : I have produced about 20 or so, a selection of which you can see below.
Some of them are inspired by Art Nouveau style artwork, reminiscent of the art of Odilon Redon, and also the stunning designs of William Morris of the Arts and crafts movement in the late 1800′s. Each one has been carefully painted on gorgeous silky handmade mulberry bark paper in vibrant watercolors with highlighted colors in pigment gold and silver ink.
The border has been uniquely drawn in a combination of silver and gold ink.
The paintings, measuring 4.5cm x 4.5cm (1 3/4 x 1 3/4 inches) have been mounted on stiff coloured card which actually opens up and can be written inside, so this makes an ideal and very collectable all-in-one gift !
You can find a range available for sale in my Etsy online shop here: Small Original Art for Sale ~~ or you can simply click on the Permalink below each image to find out more details and see a larger image…
Contact me if you see something below that is not for sale there…and thanks for looking!
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 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 finally found a way to paint with watercolours on stretched canvas that works for me, as I sometimes get a bit bored with conventional watercolor painting on paper. And it’s always good to paint something that is ready to hang in only a couple of hours!
I painted it fairly quickly while doing a few hours at the wonderful art & craft co-operative that John and I are members of – The Nook – here in the Blue Mountains.
It was a very spontaneous painting; I had been cherishing a gorgeous photo of an owl for many years from which I had been wanting to paint some kind of picture. It has been stuck to my cupboard in the studio waiting to be realized. We are lucky enough to receive occasional visits from what I think may be a Barking Owl – he sits on top of the clothes line and watches silently in the dark with his curious eyes…
You can purchase a gorgeous giclee print of this painting here.
Our good friends supplied me with some gorgeous handmade mulberry bark paper from Thailand – where they deal in fair trade amongst various communities.
This paper is also known as Rice Paper but it is made from Mulberry trees. It is beautiful to paint on in a spontaneous, direct way much like the Chinese style of brush painting called Shui-mo..
I have been experimenting with this style of painting with dragonfly imagery and these are some examples of the results. Once the paint has touched the paper’s silky surface, there can be no mistakes- expression, fluidity and focus are elements that help to make a successful painting on this kind of paper. It is a lovely challenge, and a wonderfully mindful way to create – quite relaxing and meditative…
I am looking at plants, insects and flowers in a completely different way now- in terms of their essence and how to capture this in a few simple brush strokes.
These paintings are available from my Online Shop here: Original Paintings
I have just finished this little Siamese Cat portrait ~ I liked using the patterns and colours to compliment this cat’s eyes and markings – the painting is watercolour on beautiful Stonehenge smooth ivory paper which I always love to paint and draw on.
It will be available soon as a pocket mirror and a print- keep an eye out! If you would like to see more cat designs and jewelry, check out my other Cat Art
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.
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.