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 - https://www.facebook.com/Alex-Hamilton-Art-Studio-166885483363072/?fref=nf

Friday, 19 February 2016

 The good Dog. 
My very first painted pet portrait.

Kensei, detail

I made a drawing of Madiba for Hugh in 2014, and ever since he's been telling me that I'm going to do another of his dog, Kensei. Late last year I noticed that he started referring to the 'painting' I was going to make of Kensei, and tried to convince him otherwise, but to no avail.
You see the prospect of painting fur is fantastically terrifying. I don't have much experience with portraiture, I'm not 100% comfortable there yet, even though I love love love it. Also details are MUCH easier in pencil! And dogs are made of details. And like love and friendship and moist noses and sunshine.. but I digress.

Since facebook became the place you share less-than-motivational posters of minions and videos of puppies, I had started following more and more artists from around the world. (and unfollowing people I went to high school with, but would not stop to chat with in a surprise grocery store encounter) And I have been inspired daily by unbelievable techniques, so many examples of greatness. And it's hard to not let SOME of that seep into your brain :P

I was most inspired recently by these two painters: 
David Kassan - have a look and 
Jennifer Balkan - look! 
David for his gradual building up of layer on layer of colour, and Jennifer for her pastel tones and strokes. Now you will no doubt see nothing of their work in Kensei, because I can't be them, they are masters. I was simply mindful of their work. And that made such a difference in this portrait! 


Have some In Progress shots: (looks like he's wearing a tie!)



Found the shape then:




And the completed painting: 

Kensei  |  60 x 45.5 cm  |  Acrylic on Canvas
I'm so very proud of this painting. The kind of proud that's frowned upon. People sometimes forget that pride isn't always a sin; I mean satisfied, fulfilled, rewarded, delighted.

Because I got to try a new thing. I layered tones with fur-like strokes, instead of trying for individual hairs. I got layers of blues and oranges in without making it look like a child coloured it in. I left the left side loose - I usually don't have the guts to do that. For the most part I used a mix of Windsor Blue and Burnt Umber instead of black. In sunlight the part around my signature that runs up to his ear, and details in his folds and around his eye is Violet. And I did something I learned from Heather Horton blogs, I was a mindful painter. Think twice, apply brush once. In so doing I finished this painting in a week and a half, which just about halves my usual time.
Also: experimenting and learning is super invigorating. I actively enjoyed every second of this. I had daily moments where I'd catch myself thinking 'I shouldn't be enjoying this so much'. 
I had so much fun, that yesterday when I only had to darken a fold and then I'd be finished, I ended up working for 5 more hours. I had to force myself to stop. 

Having completed my 2015 commissions in January, this is strictly speaking my first painting of 2016. What a wonderful start.

Special thanks to Hugh for not allowing be to draw this. I would've missed out on so much.
Here's a look at his Madiba in case you were too lazy to click on the linky:

Detail from Hugh's Madiba | 525 x 380 mm
Pencil on 160 gsm paper


 Nadia se Oranjes 
Yep, Another Orange Gerbera

Nadia is a collector. I can count on her to contact me about twice year with a couple of photos, and the text in the email saying 'What do you think?' And we take it from there.

In November '15 she emailed me a lovely Hibiscus, and I replied with an image of the painting of an orange Gerbera I had made for my cousin. Apparently completely blocking out the emotional carnage of making a complete painting in one colour, and painting 3000 water droplets.. She loved the idea, and I sent her some of the reference photos I had taken for the previous commission - too many to decide it seemed, and they couldn't - so I sent them my favourite three (orange, red and yellow), not at all thinking of painting it, just looking at composition. And they picked the orange one. Naturally. 

So it's coincidentally the exact same flower as the previous commission (very photogenic flower this), but with different lighting and focus point. Interesting challenge.
To make matters worse, I was in the middle of talks with the Popsons burger people, and it didn't look to me like they were going to go for my quote, so I was keen to get Nadia's commission ASAP. 
And they both agreed to their respective commissions a day apart, with the same deadline - end of Dec '15 - the one time of year my husband is on holiday. And it's only Christmas and New Years, and the time to catch up with family and friends.. and rest? Nope.
But I have a couple of years to go before I say no to  work.

This is the previous commission for Linda: 

100 x 70 cm  |  Acrylic on Canvas
And here's Nadia's:


90 x 70 cm  |  Acrylic on Canvas
Pretty cool to see them side by side! (so to speak :)

I struggle to find a favourite between the two, they are so different. I do prefer the dramatic lighting of Nadia's, but vibrance is HARD to do realistically, and there are technical things in Linda's, tiny little details they'll only notice later on, and I like that kind of depth. Both are great show pieces.

You will appreciate that I bought two bunches of Gerberas to photograph, to make sure I'd get something usable. Funny that I'd end up painting just the one flower! 
These photos were taken in my kitchen, best lighting at the time, and sprayed with a little water bottle-thingy that I use to dye my hair. There's some pointless trivia for ya.
Another: This was painted during the heat wave. It was bonkers. You want to mix enough of a given tone to put it on every petal and in every drop of water, and the paint dries before you can say 'It's so hot my brain is melting'. I'd usually start early and work till about 3 pm, at which time the 'studio' turns oven, the brush keeps sweating out of my hand, and my legs are so sweaty I'm slipping off my chair. It was not easy!


For brownie points, Cat being a gargoyle in front of the WIP - after he drank some of my ice water.