Friday, 26 April 2013

And so. We’ve moved in.

But we don’t have to talk about that.

Instead I thought I’d share my first attempts at studio-ing – I know, I know, but given time, a nice carpet, a paint job, and other furniture it could be something great! ;)

Studio cat decided to do some decorating with his tail on the first night..
Cat Stevens, tired after all that wall painting

And share some things you didn’t know:

  • I am ritualistic, I can only paint when I have a freshly brewed double shot espresso, and have rolled out 10 cigarettes (cherry tobacco). I know it’s psychological, but it works, so why mess with it?
  • I have to have ‘company’ when I work – generally music, and then generally power metal, you go ahead and judge, but fast paced music really works. That way (I learned this tip from Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’) you envelop yourself in music, and no outside noise can distract you. This will change when I finally get around to acquiring some audio books, I can recite the ones I have at this stage!
  • I have more paint clothes than normal outfits.
  • I am an avid gardener, and I suck at it, one of the plus-points of recently moving was moving away from the garden I had fudged up. But now I need a new one, for source flowers to paint!
  • A sneezing cat is probably one of the cutest things you will ever experience.
  • Living a week without internet or a phone connection was actually really nice.
  • I judge people by their shoes.
  • I almost failed art theory in high school. And my art teacher advised me not to study fine arts. And I trusted her judgement.
  • An ancestor of mine might have known Vermeer. :D didn’t see that coming, did you?
  • Now this is probably not true, but when my parents told me about this, it was so cool that I’ve chosen to believe it. If you have information disproving it, don’t tell me. I’d have to egg your house if you did. We were talking about the origin of ‘Kleynscheldt’, and apparently a family member found this gem in some archive: it is thought that our first ancestor to come to South Africa worked as an apprentice to Vermeer, and jumped on a leaving ship after having been caught doing shady things in his studio (I assume he stole, but thats based on absolutely nothing)

 True or not, Vermeer is a personal favourite, and if I ever have kids I will tell it to them as if it is a known truth.
The soon to be first painting in the new house (and in my first studio.
The apprentice

That’s all for now, paint on, and don’t let the man get you down.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A dive into the Archives

Selfportrait (Both SOLD) 2009
45 x 60 cm each
Acrylic on Canvas board

This was the first serious self portrait I ever attempted. I knew I would focus on two aspects, so I split it into two paintings, for them to still be sellable; I didn't just want one large Vanitas painting with assorted fruits, as I wanted to highlight the sombre next to the vibrant.

It was also my first attempt at a Vanitas painting, and the first time I zoomed in on fruit in this way, both of which I continued doing since.

Concept wise it came down to me wanting to change my general attitude towards life; I wanted to teach myself to live in the now, as I had a tendency to look forward to things without appreciating what I actually had. 
 I'd wanted a meaningful relationship for so long, and when I got it, I went straight into looking forward to getting engaged and married, without stopping to enjoy what we had. I finally figured out what I needed to do with my life, but I was unhappy with how slow it was taking place, I wanted galleries and exhibitions and praise now.
So you can see how wonderfully the Vanitas concept worked with that: its all about living a fruitful life, as death is imminent, which is why there is always a burnt out lamp, or a tiny stub of a candle, life is about to burn out. I had to be true to that kind of symbolism, and other imagery like wilted flowers, all focusing on decay.
The ring lying on the broken up (well used?) Bible is a promise ring my them boyfriend gave me, we couldn't afford engagement rings at that stage. The seven of diamonds card ties in there, 7 being symbolic in Christianity of a work being completed or perfected (it doesn't translate very well, the Afrikaans  word I'm thinking of is 'volmaak' or 'volbring') 

The leaf was nicely alive, but had fed many a caterpillar, and both the leaf and flower are 'kappertjies' which I grew up playing with (nasturtium flowers, google tells me) The leaves are waterproof, so you can let a drop of water roll around on the leaf without wetting it, and we spent many hours making  mud-stews  of them!

I've always loved candles, this one wasn't quite burnt out, it wasn't ready to die - this wasn't about death after all, only change.

The skull is a cast of a human skull, borrowed from our local teaching hospital's museum - for ethical reasons not an actual human skull - which a friend who works there sourced for me, and started out a relationship of borrowing animal skulls from the museum, which only fed my appetite for learning about anatomy. The walk-through my friend and I did in the museum was terribly interesting, macabre but beautiful.

The fruit still life needs less explanation. I just wanted decadence, but in a healthy way, bright juicy, alive. Especially in juxtaposition with the desaturated, dark Vanitas. The dark background I think helps to relate to the Vanitas, even though it's a much warmer tone.
You can tell the age of the painting in the outlines, I think I stopped outlining in 2010, when I finally realised it didn't give my work a contemporary edge, it just took away from it. That, and the poor photo quality and terribly crop, my apologies!

And there you have it. My sister-in-law bought the fruits, the Vanitas sold at the gallery, and I can look back fondly on how far I've come, in paintings and attitudes. And in the realisation that everything I yearned for then, I now have. 

Monday, 8 April 2013

A good day.

Depth of field - Available at Absolut Art
Acrylic on Canvas
60 x 90 cm
I'm delighted to announce that I will be represented by another Gallery, after meeting with them today. Absolut Art Gallery has a great selection of up-and-comers to Masters, beautiful works, and friendly down-to-earth gallerists. I've been meaning to exhibit with them for years, and only got around to arranging a meeting last week - in a flurry of constructive admin. (high five!)

Also, rather randomly I've been contacted about a painting mentioned in my previous blog, called 'Absence' from a buyer in Moscow, so I'm excited to see whether that will pan out - as far as I know they will be the first Russians to own a 'Kleynscheldt', so thats awesome!

AND I received a couple of wonderful comments about my work from an artist whose work I've been admiring from afar for ages - Alvin R - 
It's always great to get good feedback, but it's doubly rewarding when it comes from someone you look up to. 

So, all in all a pretty great day. How I'm supposed to get any painting done while my head is spinning, I have no idea, but I will do my best! ;) Thanks for reading these updates, and following along with my journey, it is much appreciated!

If you wish to aquire a painting of mine, please contact one of these galleries:

or email me if you have questions!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

46 x 60 cm
Acrylic on Canvas

Portraits and me

The first painting I made (as a young adult) was a portrait. I was most inspired at the time by the BBC Star Portraits show, and that progressed in a year to 25-ish A2 sized portraits and 5 more conceptual works as a solo show. I'd do the show, it would rock, and everyone would bow before me. Instant success!

They didn't though.
It sucked.
I sold one painting at the exhibition - not a portrait - and subsequently in the 6 years since, only sold one of the portraits.. and I never made another portrait (in the literal sense anyway) again.

Until this year. :D This year the first National Portrait competition takes place in South Africa, and I'm entering. Bought the largest canvas I could fit in my 'studio', it didn't fit in the car, switched it for a smaller car-sized version, and painted my heart out for a month. And it paid off, came out beautifully. Only I can't show it to anyone, as the judging will be anonymous, and I'd be disqualified. So my greatest work of the year gets to wait in bubble wrap until August!
Which of course is super frustrating, it's really gotten me in the mood for more portraits, but I can't use it to advertise, such a catch 22!

The cool part is this: The exhibition takes place in the same venue where my failed solo was held, I will have come full circle with portraits, and if I win it will have started with an epic failure, and end in (the first day of the rest of my life? er..) well in exposure, and a ridiculously large cash prize - if I am one of the 40 finalists, the work goes on tour through South Africa for a year, which would also be really great. But the winner gets more publicity, and as someone who really sucks at marketing but aspires to greatness, that would be a nice boost! haha

So that's what I've been brooding on, but until I can unveil the painting, here are some more works from my not so awesome Solo show in 2008: The Demise of Innocence in children.

46 x 60 cm
Acrylic on Canvas-board
Absence II
60 x 46 cm
Acrylic on Canvas-board
 FYI The concept of the exhibition was basically about how children don't play outside anymore, when I was young we lived in parks, and these-days parks are abandoned, there is broken glass in the sand pits, dodgy teenagers hang out on the swings (I know this because I turned into one of those dodgy teens) There are just empty beer bottles and used condoms, and all the kids are indoors, and it saddens me how in such a short time things have changed so radically, and it says a lot about this world. Oh and the titles of the kids portraits were all numbers, in keeping with the theme.

60 x 46 cm
Acrylic on Canvas-board
60 x 46 cm

Acrylic on Canvas-board
60 x 46 cm

Acrylic on Canvas-board
60 x 46 cm

Acrylic on Canvas-board
60 x 46 cm
Acrylic on Canvas-board