Monday, 17 August 2015

 Orange is the new 
EVERYTHING 

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.- https://www.facebook.com/theframedfeather



*edit*

- 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.

MAY:
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.

JULY: 

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.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

 Autumn! 

Does April count as autumn yet? Well I'm freezing my toes off, and the trees in our little homestead have all reddened, so might as well be.


As promised, updated photos of Frolicking, more or less colour correct, and already in their new home!

Also, I thought I'd share the 'how to' that was in The South African Artist magazine last year. I'm seeing it as more of a glimpse into how I work than a how to, to be honest, the idea of hundreds of people copying my painting is shudder inducing. But this kind of thing would have meant so much to me as a budding (clue-less) painter, and that excites me.




I know you faithful blog-readers have seen hundreds of these kinds of step-by-step posts from me, but I don't usually do it with notes, so hopefully that's informative!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

 Sneak Peek 

As promised, a little preview of my frolicking candy apples. 30 x 30 cm each.



I will most likely have to photograph them again, as you can see I'm struggling to capture the colour and texture - that background is something like charcoal with a little maroon, if I had to describe it (in reality, obviously there's about 15 more colours mixed in, but you know what I mean!). Also, it should be noted that I actually painted these simultaneously, next to each other on the easel - and it has to be said it is VERY satisfying to complete two paintings in a day!






Monday, 30 March 2015

Almost April
 In which I profusely apologise for not updating more often


And so. Every time I think I've succumbed to chaos, it gets a little worse. Adulthood and all that. 
We had a brief medical scare earlier this year, which accounts for little painting, no blogging and rather a lot of panic. It turned out to not be serious at all, but when it concerns your own body, everything is rather serious if you ask me! And so we're still trying to get back to normal. Suffice to say I am appreciating the little things quite a bit more than I did last year :P

Update time though: 

The last of the December drawings, completed in January, of the late Toto, beloved and never forgotten.
Toto
A3, pencil on 160 gsm untextured paper

The first candies of 2015! Completed in February, it turned out rather more 'vectory' and graphic than originally planned, but I'll admit, I'm rather crushing on this painting! 
Jannie verjaar is the term we used for the 'mix-o-drink' (aanmaak koeldrank) at every childhood birthday, red, and almost tasting of strawberry or raspberry or just possibly red with soda in it. These little cheap lollies taste exactly like the red of birthdays, pool parties and sun.
Jannie verjaar
40 x 50 cm
Acrylic on Canvas
After Jannie verjaar I did a commission of running horses, not to be shared on social media, but indeed a massive learning curve! My first landscape and first animal painting all in one. And for someone who has absolutely no idea how horses work, I'm quite proud that I survived it. 

Shortly followed by this painting, which rather didn't feel like being done, and fought me for every stroke. So much so that I managed to do two other paintings in-between bouts of painting and raging at it. 
This one was particularly hard because of the properties of yellow paint, which tends to want to turn green if you so much as think about adding any other shade to it! (banana and bubblegum flavoured, much tastier than you might imagine)


Blue lolly, Yellow lolly
50 x 40 cm
Acrylic on Canvas
I'll post the two in-between paintings later this week, right now my laptop seems to be turning itself off and on of it's own volition, which isn't conducive to good blogging. And of course, I'm working on yet more lollipops as we speak, never-ending fountain of candy and all that :) And yes. I eat them all. 

Also, it has to be said, it's my dad's birthday today (60!) and I'm off to eat all the gluten free snacks my mom could conceive of!