Friday, 17 October 2014

 October Update 


My newest work-in-progress, commissioned Orchids from her garden - from the same client for whom I did the single Orchid below. Having return clients is a great thing, not only because it shows their happiness with the previous commission, but also because you've already been through the whole process with them, and you know there won't be hassles. This buddy should be done over the weekend, or early next week. 

Nadia se Orgidee
70 x 90 cm
Acrylic on Canvas

This photo was taken minutes after delivering Layla and Zoe's portrait, and I think it's just about the cutest thing ever. The clients were all kinds of happy, and proceeded to tell me about all the future work I'll be doing for them, including sketch portraits of all 4 dogs, and another portrait of the girls, since the paintings will be heirlooms. And I already have so many ideas, I'm struggling not to push them into action!


Also, while waiting for the pizza, I had a bit of a drawing party with the girls (serious business as you can see) and as if wine and pizza wasn't enough, Layla made me a loom-bracelet - er well she made some of it and then got really reaaaly tired, and her dad finished it for her - AND I got drawings for the fridge (which I promptly forgot to take, but will post pictures as soon as I have them :D )


One can only dream that all future painting deliveries will be like that evening.
Also I have no idea what to do with this bracelet. Except remember to wear it next time I see the girls!

In other news: The Music and Lyrics group show was great - the link to all the work on show music and lyrics - had a lot of fun at the opening, and now I'm prepping and planning and looking forward to future endeavours. Top most a summer group show at Everard Read, and early next year my first group show in Johannesburg. (yay me!)
I'm still waiting for the local magazine feature to come out (did I tell you guys about that?) I think I kept it a surprise, but the local post offices have spoiled all the excitement by striking and I have no idea when what is happening now.

And now I have to go prep dinner and clean up a bit, in anticipation of a paint-filled-weekend - my absolute favourite kind of weekend.

Friday, 12 September 2014

 FORTHCOMING EXHIBITIONS 


So those paintings I delivered earlier this week was for this, the 'MUSIC AND LYRICS' group show at Rust-en-Vrede, Durbanville. Opening eve is 16 Sept at 19:00 - and I hear there will be live music as well - NICE! 
I was so excited to get the invitation to be part of this since I've been naming most of the sweets in wrappers paintings after song titles and lyrics. And so yesterday, just before dropping the paintings off, I re-read the info about the show, and read that the paintings must be inspired by music. 

Oops. 

So I went anyway, full disclosure, and told them that these are still lifes, most definitely inspired by candy, by wrappers, by lighting and reflection and nostalgia, and the lyrics are just my silly way of tying in music from my childhood; AND they were fine with that - phew! 

ALSO. I've been asked to be part of Everard-Read's Annual Summer Exhibition. I'm REALLY happy about that, since I've been part of their Annual Winter Exhibition for a couple of years running, and this year my work didn't fit in - it was more landscape and figurative painting - so I was quite disappointed, it IS one of my annual occasions to dress up after all :P. And this is very good news since they rely heavily on tourists in summer, and this exhibition is slap bang in the middle of tourist season. Yay me!
So that'll be 21st November 2014 through into to January 2015.

This is an attempt at colour correction. The other photos are so vibrant - acrylics LOVE the sun - that they give you the idea that the painting is very pink, so this is an attempt at showing that the flesh tone is actually flesh tone! (cause I KNOW you were thinking WOW those kids are PINK! Also Ernest the frog never got a closeup, so here he is in all his sarcastic glory.

Thursday, 11 September 2014


 Layla & Zoe 

Layla and Zoe
120 x 90 cm
Acrylic on Canvas

I met Thea and Tiaan yeeaaars ago through a friend, and we've been facebook friends since, commenting and liking posts being the extent of our contact. When I started posting portraits on fb - for my solo exhibition, so we're talking 2008? (I think) Thea told me that she HAD to have a portrait of her daughter, we just had to wait for her to get a little bigger, since she was still a baby. And finally the day came, a couple of years and another daughter later!

The idea was to capture their personalities in the painting, and for the painting to have personality as well, in other words it shouldn't look like a photo.
Layla is a little princess - while she hunts for worms along with Zoe, as Thea put it, she just plays with them, Zoe cuddles them and takes them along when it's bedtime! Needless to say, Zoe is a bit more of a tomboy, loves everything reptilian. So we played around with ideas of tiaras and flower-crowns, editing a little alligator into Zoe's hand, etc. I suggested that T&T take photos of the kids at home, since they don't know me, and I wanted them super relaxed and happy, and then take it from there. And T&T show up at my house with 105 photos, and all of them awesome! It took me most of a weekend to work through them, and try to find two that complemented each other, but also showed a little personality - there were beautiful smiley pics of both, Layla blowing bubbles, Zoe sticking her favourite Alligator toy up her nose etc.. Eventually it was narrowed down to 3 or 4 options, and we added this gorgeous bullfrog (Ernest) and more roses and butterflies, and I got started!

I was a little rusty with portraits, so it took me a while to into it. I nailed the faces quite fast, and then realised they were about 18 shades too dark, and had to lighten them without making the contrast too high, and keeping them recognizable nearly killed me. The slightest little brush stroke can alter the whole expression, and its sooo hard to know when to keep something, and when to keep pushing. I tend to fix one thing, and then get carried away while I have that colour on the palette, and when I take a step back both faces are pink, and I end up creating much more work for myself!

But I'm super happy with the end result. I tried to balance the colours and I think that worked out nicely, Zoe's leopard spots echo the background, the frogs green is in the flowers, the top darker pink roses are picked up in Zoe's cuffs and zip, and in the girls' cheeks and fingers, Layla's pinky purple top echoed in the flowers, and the yellow tones in the hair repeated in the butterflies. So in a way the palette of the painting comes down to five colours. 
But of course it isn't that simple ;) 

MY main challenge was keeping the faces 'painterly' but recognizable. In the first week or so I took a step back and realised they both looked middle-aged - I had over-emphasized the lines and shadows, all things that are there, but not things you associate with kids. So I had to work backwards, removing little by little, trying to keep the things that show character and make them recognizable. 

Close-ups
Close-up on angle
Close-up on angle



Some pointless trivia: 
- The pink line of Zoe's zipper is the only part of the painting that I never touched up, it's still the original line I drew on day one.
- Ernest the frog was the first part of the painting that was done

And of course Cat Stevens, not giving a damn.



Wednesday, 10 September 2014

 Dear Diary 



These kiddos are all wrapped up for delivery tomorrow - cutting it a little fine, since the deadline is tomorrow, but today slipped out from under me, and before I found my feet it was too late! It's an open invitation group exhibition, so I can't be 100% sure that they'll be shown, but fingers crossed!

Today's studio visitor: a rather rude fellow, not terribly talkative, nor interested in anything I had to say.


Aaaand something bit me on Sunday - and while we had our first ever NFL marathon no less - it pumped me so full of venom that it's still itching terribly, but only in cycles. Like 3 times a day, and the rest of the time its fine. Yeah its pretty strange, both hands on almost the same spot. I'm thinking spider, but I have no idea what I'm talking about. I don't seem to be losing my fingers though, so all is well.


Another little preview, probably be done tomorrow, and then I'll post proper images, without shadows and ADORABLE cats and such :)



Tuesday, 9 September 2014

  Spring is (finally) sprung! 


Sweet Surrender
40 x 50 cm
Acrylic on Canvas

I finished this second flowering Candy Apple about mid August, but by then I was so deep in my next commission that the blog was abandoned once again! It's still chilling around the studio, but just might be delivered to a gallery for a group exhibition tomorrow! Also, I think I must add, I really like this painting. One of those rare paintings that just works, super fun while you work on it, and very satisfying when done.

It also has to be said, I'm probably one of few people who keep candy apples in the freezer for future paintings! Checkers is the only store that sells them, and whenever I decide it's time for another one, they're all out, and since I don't actually enjoy eating them it seems silly to keep buying them! :P By the way those are chicken breasts, not buns, frozen bread grosses me out, and i have absolutely NO idea whats in the ice-cream container, except that it isn't ice cream. It's been in there for a while. :/



Today we're drinking an amazing Ugandan coffee, a gift from my AMAZING cousin and her equally amazing SO, who recently returned from there (and everywhere else, but that's another story)
We're listening to a mix of pretty much all the powermetal on the pc, since I finished the Gunslinger book 4 this morning, and 4 of them in a row got to be a little heavy!
And were happy to announce that it's finally spring at our house - we had to wait for my 'vygies' to flower - very exciting, this plant moved to the new house with us last year, and decided not to flower (out of spite?) so I'm glad to see it's back to it's old self.




And then there's this: detail shots from the double-portrait I've been working on for the last month or so - I should finish tomorrow or the day after, just picking up final little details and cleaning up, and I'll write a little more about it and the awesome family it's for when it's definitely finished and approved by the 'commissionees'!


Friday, 8 August 2014

 The Winter Exhibition 


So the opening was last night, and it was a roaring success, so many people came out - and it actually didn't rain, thank God! 

I have such a history of being a pain in the butt at openings, being the eternal optimist (you probably wouldn't think it, browsing through the blog!) my 'normal' is to expect everything awesome, I'm gonna arrive and all my paintings will be sold, and they'll come running for commissions and I'll just be blown away.. but a couple of years experience has taught me that no-one will care about me, (at some of these the curators didn't even recognise me) most people only come for the free wine, and there's generally a host of disapproving art students standing around discussing their own art and blocking peoples view of mine. So I'm left intrinsically excited but realistically expecting horribleness but also hoping for great things - it really messes with your system.

But this was inviting and warm, people were super friendly and chatty, and despite the drama of arriving with wrapped paintings during an opening (I was THAT girl) I really enjoyed the evening, as ( I think) did most people. ALSO there was a bit of a buzz about my candies and marbles, and its AWESOME that people are buzzing about the paintings that I feel most passionate about.

Special thanks to Arend and Jeanné for coming through, keeping us company and making it look like we were mingling!


 These are the 5 paintings currently exhibited - I'm probably going to take some more through next week, so GO LOOK! Or if you're not from around here, drop Marzé an email and buy some work ;)

Thursday, 31 July 2014


 REALISM 



So this was the Editors letter is the Acrylic Artist Article. I only spotted it recently, and had a bit of a laugh - hyper-photorealist? Surely not!
They did chat about my opinion in the article though -




I chatted to Marzé Botha about it when I delivered paintings to her gallery, after a customer had come in, and freaked out a little about how realistic a recent candy wrappers painting was, told her how strange it still felt that people referred to my work as realist, because I don't think of my style in that way. And she said well you can't deny that they're realistic, can you? But there's certainly more to your style than just that. And then - like me - she sort of ran out of words to describe it further! And when I re-read this article, I thought it might be time to rethink my denials.
The thing is, that I realise people think of Realism as a complement (like saying you have a lot of talent - but don't get me started on that) like the more realistic a painting is, the more skilled you are. And there is a smidgen of truth in that. But Realists actually try to emulate every single detail, they paint the pores, the blackheads, the little embarrassing hairs that everyone pretends aren't there.. So implying that I'm trying to go for that (to me anyway) means that I'm failing, because my work can be so much more realistic than it is!  BUT I also can't deny that the objects that I paint look like the actual objects that I photographed, and that also means realism. There's a very thin line there, and I'm not entirely sure where it is!


What I try to do, is paint what I see. But I also try to sneak in as much colour, brush strokes and movement as I can, without taking away from the painting. I'm trying to find the perfect balance between expression (but in MY way) and realism, and I'm fairly sure that I'll be chasing that dream until the day I kick the bucket. And that's fine with me. But when people 'complement' me by saying its photorealistic, it's like a jab in the ribs, because that isn't my aim. 
That make any sense?

To illustrate what I mean, some of James Hollingsworth's paintings. Which I think are photorealistic. 



AREN'T THEY AMAZING?!

And then some of Heather Horton's work, which - in my humble opinion - is not Realist, but has very realistic moments. Instead its all about a balance of brush strokes and colour, and concept. - I assume her work is more Figurative actually, but I'm specifically referring to the more painterly style.




Love, love, love her work!

What I'm trying to do is capture something in-between these two, that still has a painterly feel, but also details that essentially show that I had to be working off a photograph. It's about trying to work instinctively, trying not to over-work, trying to keep myself excited and challenged, and trying to please a viewer or two as well!

*this was not a rant, only an attempt at clarification*