Friday, 12 September 2014


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. 


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-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'!