Monday, 2 November 2015

Sugar baby love

Sugar Love duo, 29 x 29 ea
Acrylic on Canvas
Just to be clear: these are candy paintings, and not Christmas paintings.. I don't subscribe to Christmas in November (mostly because November is my birthday month and I demand attention :P )

I knew these canes had to be painted when I spotted them behind some spooky halloween sweets. 
And I really love the idea of doing a set these days, especially in this case; a sedate still life and a more punchy colour and angle version. Of course the second one was much more fun to work on, but after the initial joy of seeing how many colours I could squeeze in, I inevitably start thinking 'this is the one that won't sell'. How sad that that thought is always so close. 
But what the hay. That is the kind of painting that sweeps me away, and reminds me how much I love painting. There are so many distractions, admin and social media and admin and emails upon emails.. but then you have that moment when you're in the zone and you realise you have no idea what time it is, how long you've been painting, when last you ate. And that makes it worth it.

 Also I finally got some business cards! Yay me! 


60 x 90 cm  |  Acrylic on Canvas
Well I finished this kid a month ago, I just neglected to blog about him! Super proud of how this painting came out, I was genuinely suuuper nervous about it. When you've painted a particular object a couple of times, you learn what to do to make it pop; a highlight somewhere, an improvised glint of light, there are little details that make magic. And I didn't know how to make magic with a fire. There's no prior knowledge of shapes or lighting you can fall back on, you just have to look and look some more. An excellent exercise for a painter!

But what really made this experience was the client. Elzeth is the most uplifting person I've ever worked with! She sent me bi-weekly emails just to tell me how excited she was, and how amazing this painting is going to be, and how much I rock. It's fantastic to get emails telling you sincerely how awesome you are! 
It's not something you can fake or force, but having a good relationship with your client really makes the process so much more enjoyable.

Complementary Candy | 60 x 50 cm | Acrylic on Canvas
And I finally finished this painting as well! 
(after about 12 background colour changes, elaborate shadows, simplified shadows, no shadows.. ) 

It was an exercise in layout, and I think that was successful, the style is less detailed than normal, mostly because my photo was a little over-exposed, but also it didn't seem to want more detail, I kept adding and then painting it out again, eventually just deciding to allow it to be different! It has such a presence though, I think it'll really shine when it finds a home.

Monday, 21 September 2015

 'Orange is the happiest colour' 
 Frank Sinatra    

Can Frank Sinatra be seen as an authority on colour? Doubtful. Why do people quote him on it? No idea. I only know I did it because I could'nt think of a relevant lyric, so I googled it. And that I'm thankful to be done with this painting, and that I'm super proud of it!

A bunch on Kleynscheldts holding their new Kleynscheldt
Whats new on the easel? Some more orange!

Monday, 17 August 2015

 Orange is the new 

Just a lil' update: The Gerbera commission I've been working on for two weeks. I've reached a stage where I see orange tones in EVERYTHING!

Having previously done an orange Gerbera, I thought I'd mix things up, and challenge myself by doing one with 'dew' drops (from the spray can I use when I dye my hair) I had no idea how many drops of water there was on this flower until I started painting them :/ 
Challenging indeed. I doubt that it will kill me, so in theory it will make me stronger (in patience? In seeing different tones of orange? In seeing differences between 50 tiny drops of water on a single petal?) Time will tell. 

Having said all that, I'm very excited to see this one through, it might turn out to be quite a show piece if I hang on to my sanity! I'll post an update when I'm done!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

 To be frank. 

I used to do this thing where I measured my 'success' by what a younger version of myself would think. Specifically 18-year old Marike for some reason. I'd think, woah, if I told young Marike that I'd be dating the boy whose initials I wrote on the Biology desk, she'd be so happy! If I told young Marike that I'd become an artist, she'd be so excited, if young Marike saw the wedding pictures, the first solo show, this party, this group of friends. 

And then one day I realised I'd completely outgrown young Marike. 
Who cares what a 18-year-old thinks of my life? And the reality set in that 30-something Marike doesn't actually like young Marike. I'm mortified when I think of who I was in high-school, my opinions, my world view, my human interactions, my attitudes toward just about everything. 
And that's fine, because I've finally caught up with myself. 
I stopped living for the future, and living in the past, and right now I can actually evaluate myself and by my own standards. Look at myself honestly, and change the things I don't like, and rejoice in the parts that I do. 

Which brings us to those motivational pinterest posters people post on facebook. They post these weird idealised things that range from very personal to very aggressive, these statements that they seem to think are about themselves, but I don't think they necessarily are, because most of the time the one they post today would be completely contrary to the one they posted yesterday. But most of them are about some form of acceptance. 
And so I've been thinking about that, and about the 'do unto others' thing, and about the different kinds of friends I have, and what I take away from hanging out with them. And what they could value in me as a friend. And there are traits in friends that I abhor, oddly, because they are generally traits I share. And how the friends I value most, whose opinions I really listen to, are generally completely unlike me. But what does that mean? Do I surround myself with them because they are different, and I need that in my life, or does all this mean I should change? And how does that kind of change work, which parts of us are intrinsic, what is personality, and what is learnt behavior? Which parts of myself do I accept, and which do I change? 
It's a very interesting place to be, if you're willing to be honest with yourself. 

So the last couple of days I've surrounded myself with art documentaries, and tedx chats about everything from art to creativity to personality. I let it all flow over me while I paint, some things stick, some go right out the window. Some artists are just dogs barking in the night, they make so much noise, and seem so desperate to find any meaning or depth, or maybe just to prove to viewers that there's meaning there. 

"It doesn't matter what kind of subject matter you take on, 
in the end it's going to be a self portrait. 
It will reveal who you are; if it's arrogant, it's about you, 
if it's pretentious, it's about you, 
don't think you can escape yourself by your choice of 
subject matter"
William Kentridge

The one thing I kept hearing was about honesty being key. And I know that we hear only what we want to hear, and of course I'm in the perfect place to hear that. But that really resonated with me today. 
Today I strive to be honest in my art. And honest in myself. And most of all to myself. 

Which to you might sound like more artists barking :P And maybe it is. But it's sincere barking, nonetheless.

Monday, 20 July 2015

 Ramblings in a studio 

The trouble with living in a small home is that every space has to fulfill the duties of three or four spaces. 
My studio is the study, is the store room. If you don't have a garage, this is where your husband stores his tools. And the space where he works on his hobbies. It's the place old boxes go to die - also sadly the space my cat's escapee lizards go to die, to my horror. 
Dust bunnies thrive there. 
It's the place you store old paintings and new canvasses, arb pieces of wood that might become parts of furniture in the future etc. And if that space is where you have to spend most of your time being creative, it can be a bit of a bummer. And if you have to bring a prospective client into the studio, and they have to step over a drill and move over some sanding paper to get to a chair, well, it doesn't feel very professional. 

Also: The walls were margarine coloured. MARGARINE! The colour of heart disease. To add to the gloriousness of that sick yellow, the curtains were sort of a caramel colour, that had been fading and somehow brightening because of sun damage, and as such faded from caramel to bright yellow. Like ombre. That didn't help.

So. One of the reasons I haven't been super productive, is the gradual removal of all yellow from our lives. I painted the room - a story in itself, involving masking tape that took off all the white paint from the ceiling in a 5 cm border, and a groundsman who found my work most entertaining, and took to taking breaks in front of my window, to watch me balance on a desk to paint the walls. I was not amused. 
Shelves now span the room - a story involving many broken drill bits and much cussing - and the tools are all in crates. Charcoal curtains (with the surprising glossy texture of a 90's suit) frame the window. No tools on the ground. No canvasses lean against the walls. No petrified (in both senses of the word) lizards hide in the corners. No clutter. No yellow. 

The room is very much still a work in progress, but already it yearns to embrace you with ideas and successes. 
My hubby is into miniatures - used to be Warhammer 40k, now Infinity - and so he assembles armies and paints them. We're in the process of creating a painting nook for him in the opposite corner from my easel, where the airbrush and compressor will live. Which might give you a better idea of the two types of art that have to co-exist in that little space. Last week we started spending evenings painting together, with audio books or movies on in the background. It's fantastic to share that, to work together for hours without having to banter, and to share insights on certain shades of red or about glazing and varnishes. And to occasionally try to figure our what shade of gray the shelves want to be.

The angle I usually post of WIP's: Just to give you an idea.

Science Fair still life  |  20 x 20 cm  | Acrylic on Canvas

ALSO! I've been lying to you all along.

For years I've been telling people that my paintings don't need to be framed, the edges are neatly painted, they look great as they are. 

And then I got one of my paintings framed.

And I lost about a week of my life, just staring at the new painting. The frame made SUCH a MASSIVE difference! I now admire it, as if I had no hand in creating it! I don't mean that in an arrogant way, but you feel a sort of kinship with one of your own paintings, you know it in and out, and you look at it differently than other people do, you look at that one shadow that you struggled with for 2 days, at that shade of green that took days to perfect and so on. Now I look at it as a complete work. Not like something I made. Does that make sense?
I used to have that painting on the wall because of sentiment, now it's a 'piece', a beautiful thing. The downside however is that I need to frame all the things. I'm somewhat obsessed. It's a problem.

If funds allowed, I'd frame all my paintings before consignment. But we're not quite there yet.

This was framed by The Framed Feather, in Boston, Bellville. Go there.-


- I don't hate yellow. But I like moderation. And too much of a yellow thing is bad.

- I seem to be insinuating that  a) my husband is to blame for much of the clutter and b) I don't like to banter with him - he's not, I'm a terrible mess-maker, and I love LOVE bantering with him. But being productive with someone is a great thing. And there's a wonder in productive silences.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

 3 Months later 

My last post was in APRIL? Gosh. 

I'll do a quick update, and then do a different post where I ramble a little about inconsequentialities.

Fluid  |  30 x 40 cm  |  Acrylic on Canvas
I like this painting so much, I might keep it. I think because it's a little too sharp, a little too vectory, and it amuses me. Also, the last painting I decided to keep, was done 4 years ago, and it's time for another.


Foiled I & II  |  30 x 30 cm each  |  Acrylic on Canvas
Jeez, how fun is foil to paint! If only I could find more sweets wrapped in foil, but not printed with ugly logos and such.. but that's a monologue in itself.
These were great fun, challenged myself by tweaking the saturation of colour. So the idea was to try and make them work as a unit, with the slight change in angle and depth of fokus as well as the change in colour, different, but 'the same' enough to still work together.
More of these might follow. At the moment though, I'm waiting to receive paintings back from Jo'burg - did I forget to mention?

Okay so I was part of the Jan Cilliers group exhibition with Lizamore and associates in June, my first showing that far from home! But none of my works sold, and so they're on their merry way home, and I intend to send them, along with the two Foiled works to either Everard Read Gallery or mayhaps somewhere completely different, we shall see. 

These three were at the show, 'Toffee Apples in various stages of undress' and 'Jannie verjaar'

ALSO. There was June. In June I worked on what I like to think of as my last Candy Apples painting, only I'm still working on it. It won't let me finish! I keep changing the background and tweaking the contrast in the plastic, and while it looks nice from afar, it just isn't working yet. So it remains a work in progress. *sigh.

I think that pretty much brings us up to speed. As to the future? Well. I don't know yet. But that's for another post.