Thursday, 7 January 2016

It has begun.

So I thought you might enjoy this find. 

In 1996 South Africa took part in the Olympics for the first time after last participating in 1960, because Apartheid was finally abolished. And everyone was super excited. 
I was an awkward 12 year old in Newton Park Primary school in PE. My first real boyfriend had just broken up with me - a VERY big deal - and I had just gotten my first truly horrid haircut - a chinese bob, which on me was an afro that started above my ears. Not my favourite memory. 
Every single kid in every (compulsory) art class made an entry for the Olympics competition. Mine was a coloured pencil drawing of an action shot - a bunch of South African athletes holding up the trophy and celebrating. I don't have an actual image of the drawing, but I imagine it wasn't terribly good, as I drew from imagination, and I've always sucked at that. But my work was chosen (as were hundreds of others), and I would be flown to Johannesburg for a weekend and have the privilege of flying in our Olympic plane. (woot)

I sound snide now, but it was a big deal. My first time flying, a weekend all expenses trip away with my mom and about 8 others from my school. We got bunches of olympic merch (too short but very colourful tracksuit and beanie is what I remember best) We got to stay in a Formula 1 hotel - the kind where the bathroom is so small, its a wetroom by necessity - I'm fairly sure we met the athletes (but that wouldn't have been a priority, never cared much for celebs) and the highlight, and flying in Ndizani, the plane with a name. I very specifically remember that the settings in Ndizani were still being tweaked, most of the kids on the hour flight (joyride?) got sick to their stomachs. Air pressure trouble I guess.

In grade 6 my and my best friends first ever drawings in art class were featured in our school newspaper, because they were the best in class. Awkward HB drawings of our left hands. And I realised for the first time that I'm sort of good at this drawing thing. 

And then this Olympic competition happened. 
Starting high school, the only thing I was completely sure of, was that I would take art as a subject. These were the first things that set me on this path. 

Your reward for scrolling through all that: cattax! This was Cat Stevens during last week's heat wave. A bad time to be very very fluffy.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

 In a nutshell 


That, plus 3 WIPs is what left my easel this year. I think. 

We seem to have wrecked our backup harddrive, and since I recently moved from a laptop to a pc, my everything was on the backup. I couldn't mention it on social media as I try to not write anything dying of despair. But so, the very tidy folders of every painting, every quote, every little gallery invite is lost. Possibly to be retrieved when we have funds to have it professionally done. 

I'm still struggling to figure out if it's just vanity to document my work so carefully. I guess I had hoped that one day I'd achieve a point where the world would want some kind of Kleynscheldt anthology. Others have kids to leave a legacy, and I want people to want to read about my progression as an artist after I'm gone? That doesn't ring true, but it's close-ish! 
What ever it might be, I'm glad that I've reached a point in my journey where I can enjoy looking back at my naive paintings and attempts at career building. I don't often feel that I'm moving forward, I feel I've been battling the world to survive and enjoy being a painter for decades, but I truly have come far. 
I have to thank everyone who has played a role, whether it's a sale or a word of encouragement. I feel like it's only really art if I'm proud of it AND if others enjoy it, that 'dialogue' between me and you is why I do what I do. And 2015 has had 8 commissions (one currently on the easel). Through word of mouth, and faithful clients that come back for more. I used to see myself as much more of a exhibiting gallery from gallery type of person. But making a living from commissions, and painting what I need to for myself in-between seems like a pretty fantastic way to live.

Thanks for the support everyone! Have a very joyful new years eve (we plan to go into 2016 painting, accompanied by champagne and epic music) and may the new year bring you many challenges and successes!

Monday, 21 December 2015

(blood sweat and wine)

11 months ago, I had the privilege of drawing dear Toto, shortly after he passed away. And as if that wasn't hard enough on the family, their beloved little Cody died unexpectedly last month. 
Toto, A3, pencil on 160 gsm untextured paper
Cody, A3, pencil on 160 gsm untextured paper

It really is so precious to me to work on these kinds of projects, knowing that the families are still grieving, and that the part I play is actually quite important in immortalising a family member. And in delivery I will see in the clients' reactions whether I did them justice. 

Since that drawing I haven't posted much on any social platforms, I spent 2 very long weeks in limbo, waiting for talks to stop and commissions to start -

*Limbo: the period between paintings when you desperately need new orders to come in, second guessing every decision you've ever made in your life while trying not to 
come across as too desperate, too nonchalant, too anything really. 
It's a designated period in which you stress and regret. 
And your faith is tested. Deeply.

And as these things inevitably work out, I ended up with two large commissions with the same deadline. 
Which was 4 weeks.
For two 60 x 90 cm detailed, realistic works, over Christmas, while dear hubby and most of our friends & family are on holiday, after a rough tiresome year. 
I tried to convince myself that those 2 weeks of limbo was supposed to have been rest time, but if you're not 100% sure when the next paying job is coming in, it wreaks havoc on you emotionally, mentally and physically - I got a neck spasm during that time that I'm still feeling the aftershocks of as I sit here. Body parts you've forgotten about start aching and acting up. I go through a period like that at least once a year - sometimes bad planning, sometimes just bad luck - and usually it lasts at least a month, but it still sucks while you're in it.

And so I'm working working working. I'll rest next year :P 

Here's a very very sneaky sneak peak on an angle of an edge of one of the commissions, just to peak your curiosity! I hope to be done with this one in the next day or two, depending on the client's thoughts and expectations.

The next one should be a little gentler on the system; the deadline can be extended, I just don't want to, the client is one of my very favourite people to work with and I'd go very far out of my way to keep her happy, she's dived me out of art limbo many times. But more on that later.

Updates on these paintings and a look-back at 2015 to come soon! 

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!