Monday, 25 July 2016

 Concerning blame 
Aftermath of the Radio interview

First off, I have to mention that one of the greatest things that came out of the interview was the overwhelming love and support from my friends and extended family. So many people sitting huddled around radios in their homes, sending me messages of support, and even play-by-play messages about a comment I made or a question I was asked. We forget how many people root for us in silence, and the sheer amount of people hoping for my success astounds me!
I also got quite a few messages from strangers on facebook, new fans wanting to connect, and I chatted with a couple of them. And the thing that kept coming up was one of the main things that concerned me right after we recorded the interview. She asked me how I got started, and about my not having formal training. And I said the first thing that came to mind, namely that my art teacher told me not to study art, that it wasn't a good idea, and that I believed her.
Which is all true. 

Thing is, I can't remember the exact context or emotions. For all I know she didn't realise I was asking her whether I should seriously stop thinking of going to Stellenbosch, or doing research into fine arts degrees. We didn't have a long heart to heart about it, I remember that much. BUT I was very young for my age, and naive. And I REALLY didn't have a clue what to do with my life, I only knew that school never interested me, I only enjoyed art. So I need to make this clear: There's no blame for the art teacher. I made my own decisions. I didn't have to believe her, but I did. I could've done more research and gotten more opinions, but I didn't. Mainly because I was immature, and had no idea how to make large decisions like that. 
Also. I do believe things happened the way they did for a reason. The two years I spent studying graphic design taught me so much about layout and colour - and the photoshop skills I need to set up paintings and to clean up and colour-correct photos of paintings. 

I believe that, because I was so immature at that age, if I had gone to a fine arts institution, I wouldn't have been strong enough to shape my own style, I would've emulated others. And getting critiqued on paintings would've devastated me - crit sessions in design was bad enough, and I wasn't really even invested in that! 
I had to find my own style in my own time, through trial and error, and without an art lecturers opinions and tastes shaping them. Of course that doesn't apply to all, this is just my opinion on a thing I don't know much about.

We've become to quick to blame others for our failings in life. I could have become a graphic designer, and for the rest of my life bored people at dinner parties with tales of how I could've become a famous artist had it not been for that witch of an art teacher who foiled my plans and wrecked my life. But that's just silly. for the most part we ourselves are to blame for missed opportunities, and it's so much easier to blame people than to take chances and fail. I mean if the art degree was the issue, I could enroll today! Nothings stopping me! Stop blaming people for your life. If you're unhappy, start making changes.

I mean most people didn't initially support me in my art choice. My parents wanted me to get something secure first, many friends tried to intervene, most people tried having 'serious talks' with me about it, or just talked about it when I wasn't around. And that sucked. It's horrible when you're working your butt off to achieve something and people try to talk you out of it.
But if I was the kind of person to listen to those people I wouldn't be where I am today. The only way to make it if you don't have money or the right contacts is through sheer stubbornness, and hard work. 

My art teacher liked a bunch of my paintings in high school, and that was great. But it didn't matter so much cause I wasn't making art for her. And honestly, the 'work' I produced then sucked. Because it was only the beginning of the road. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

 15 x 20 

Strawberries and Cream I & II
15 x 20 cm
Acrylic on Canvas

I recently took part in Art.b's 'Tiny Treasures' group show, a fundraising show. I only had time to make two little paintings for the show, and both were sold out on opening night, and brought me two more 15 x 20 cm commissions!

Opening Night
The new Commissions:

15 x 20 cm
Acrylic on Canvas
Lekkers vir Ilse
15 x 20 cm
Acrylic on Canvas

I'll do a more wordy post soon, I've had a couple of things on my mind since the RSG interview, I'll make time for that soon. Until then, happy painting!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

 Ten little soldier boys 

Ten little Soldier boys
15 x 10 cm each
Acrylic on Canvas
I made two 15 x 20 cm paintings for an upcoming group exhibition - so very small! But very satisfying to complete paintings quickly for a change.. well I say complete, but I haven't uploaded them yet, since I'm still tweaking. They are done, I just keep changing my mind about the background, it has such an impact on the foreground; shouldn't detract, but highlight and complement the tones, and subtle changes actually make a big difference. So they sit on the shelf behind my easel, waiting. But I enjoyed them enough that I bought two even smaller canvasses, a quick challenge before larger work. 
And this is the result. The first actual life size marbles I've done. (I changed the background this morning :P ) These are also the first paintings I intend to frame before showing them, just because they're so very small, and I think they would be very handsome when framed.

On Angle
In other news, the Hoepelpoep show is still on, Alex's studio will be open on the following days: 

Tuesday (14th) until 4pm
Wednesday (15th) 9am to 2pm
Friday (17th) 9am to 4pm
Monday (20th) 9am to 4pm
Tuesday (21st) 9am to 4pm
And the RSG (Radio Sonder Grense, roughly translates as 'radio without borders') interview is tonight at 8pm, but you can be a sneaky bum like me and listen to it on their site, here: Marike Potgooi

I really do prefer putting my thoughts into images above trying to put my images into words!

On the easel today: All that glitters, about two days in. 

I took a bunch of reference photos last week, and this time I used natural light from the right, and a yellow desk lamp from the left, so I have even more exciting tones to work with (The ten little soldiers reference photos were also taken last week, but I think the paintings are so small, it doesn't really show) 
I don't usually start a painting with such a neat background, this is a cover-up, and only because I needed a certain size canvas, couldn't find a new one on the same day, and the half-done painting on this canvas just didn't excite me. The reddish background will probably change, I'm thinking something between this and caramel, but who knows what will happen, depends on what colours end up in the wrappers.

That's all for now, happy painting! :)

Friday, 3 June 2016

 Hoepelpoep: Afters

How nice is that? 

Well the show isn't over, still running, but it was a first for me to sell works before the opening! Great feeling to see those little red stickers. 
Saturday the studio will be open not only for viewings, but also for tea and cake (let there be sales!) And while the show is very eclectic, there are some real gems. 

I'm off to buy art supplies and print off some new ideas, continuing the 'all that glitters' theme, but changing a little in the vein of the Scapegoat.. happy weekending all!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

 Scapegoat, etc. 

The scapegoat
40 x 30 cm
Acrylic on Canvas

In the afterglow of painting Kensei's portrait, I couldn't get myself to concentrate on either of the two candy paintings I was working on. So I decided to approach this still life as if it was a portrait, using some of the techniques I 'discovered' while working on Kensei - layering warmer and cooler tones together to create some depth, and leaving the horns quite rough. I went through about 7 varieties for the background before this one (too blue, too light, too muddy, too tupperware) and I'm really glad this one worked, since the canvas is fairly saturated with paint now..
I really struggle to make time to experiment, since I need to make sellable things (blasphemy, I know) but money does make the world go 'round, or in our case, keeps our bellies full. So I think it worked out quite well to do something which allowed me to stretch a little, but not enough to give me the panics.

Scapegoat, detail

Scapegoat, detail

And I'm really happy with how serene he turned out. He sits in my studio, awaiting great things, along with a bunch of other randoms.

In other news, I'll be part of another of Alex Hamilton's Studio group shows, starting next week, called Hoepelpoep, sending off some new works to him tomorrow - I think I'm beginning to like this whole exhibiting thing!

ALSO - and I haven't told anyone about this, so shhhhh - I just did an interview with Christelle Webb-Joubert for RSG (a local afrikaans radio station) which should air next Tuesday, or the week after, will give you guys a heads up when I know! Yay me! 

That's all, happy thursday!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

 Post Mash-Up Exhibition 

With: Katharine Meeding, Hennie Meyer, Mark Chapman, Sarah Pratt, JP MeyerAndre du Toit, Samuel Allerton, Ilse Nieman,  Grace Kotze, Theo Paul Forster Michele Davidson, and probably more people whose names I didn't spot in the 20-ish fb posts I just scanned through :)

This was such a fun show, and really such an interesting (eclectic?) bunch of artists thrown together! I don't much like group shows, I never know how to look approachable, or mingle with strangers, or whether I'm allowed to glower at anyone who walks past my work without a second glance. BUT if the recent shows I've been in are any indication, they can be sort of great. Also, Alex's shows have Margaritas. So there's that.

Creating work, trying new things, taking time to learn and things like shows are radically different experiences depending on recent sales. If you're broke, you can't afford to take time to learn and experiment, and you can't be relaxed at a show if there aren't red stickers next to your work. It's so sad that it's like that, we're apparently supposed to create freely and never think about disgusting money. But blind faith in terms of financial success probably comes easier to the naive and the unintelligent. I would know, I was very young when I decided to be an artist! :P 

Luckily I can be very stubborn, and that's gotten me this far, and I have spent too many late nights, broken dates, lost friends, unwanted arguments about my irresponsibility, utter joy at creating a lovely thing, satisfaction to have struggled and overcome, detours to paint shops, not listening to conversations because the light on someones face is beautiful and I wonder how I would capture that, frustration upon frustration, and meeting goals I never even knew I had.. if I give up all that was for nothing. A timely paycheck brings only so much peace.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

 The Mash-up Exhibition 

So as you know I follow a bunch of Artists on facebook, and it's a great way to learn from them, everything from technical application to how to run business. And having a timeline that's chock-and-block with new paintings, drawings, ideas, philosophies, WIP's and even just encouragement is very inspiring.

So I became fb friends with Alex Hamilton a while ago, can't remember where I saw his work or name, and he ended up managing 16 art exhibitions at the Woordfees - and how incredible to view the whole experience through his facebook page! 
And then I saw him sharing info about the up-coming Mash-up exhibition, and I always wonder how people get in on these things. You don't know the right people, you don't get invited to participate.. but how do you meet the right people? (especially if you're something of a recluse!) 
But I let that go by. And I saw Alex sharing that Ilse Nieman brought in some beautiful works for the show - she runs the Framed Feather, where I buy my canvasses and have done the little framing I've done - and seeing someone I kind of know taking part just pushed me to try! So I mailed him! 
And he was open to seeing my work (thankfully us artists are curious above all), and I dropped off my paintings yesterday at his studio for the show! Which just goes to show how easy these things can be if you just make a move towards your goal. And not only is the show very exciting, but meeting Alex and the other artists there, seeing his studio space - which is a collectors dream, full of not just art, but sculptures, figurines, every little vintage/kitch collectable you can think of.. The kind of space you can spend days and not see everything, and every second object would make a wonderful painting. 
That's gonna keep me inspired for days.

I'll be showing the Foiled duo - one of which is featured in that top image, and the 'Toffee apples in various stages of undress' duo as well. 
Which are four paintings that I'm so proud of, I've literally kept them at home, waiting for an opportunity as cool as them. I realise that makes me sound like I think my work is pretty friggin special, but you know what, some of them are. If you work as hard as you can, and push your abilities for a couple of weeks to produce a precious thing, I think it's okay to be proud of that. 

Anyways, thought I'd share :) 

The Alex Hamilton studio -