Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Joy of Giving

At the end of each year we do our secret Santa thing where we get to buy a gift for a co-worker. This year I decided that I would do a small portrait for the person whose name I drew from the hat.

I think I got as much joy at watching the recipient open his gift as he did receiving it.  He is such a humble man and was very surprised that someone would do something like that for him.

Frans, you are a gem here at the office and worth every brush stroke!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Madiba Effect

During this busy time of year I am trying to find quiet spaces in my life.  Making time to enjoy the sound of the rain, and there has been a lot of rain of late.  All day long we are bombarded with noise, whether it be the radio in the office, the traffic outside or the TV when we get home.  I need the quiet to allow my mind to think and process the day.

Something that has been occupying my mind a lot is the recent passing of our beloved Nelson Mandela. I recall our rather irrational fear of this man and what would happen to us all (white South Africans) once he was set free.I remember the confusion in my mind once he was released at how he seemed to creep into the hearts of our nation. His genuine love for each and everyone won us over.

Then one day in 1999, after a company lunch in Johannesburg we noticed several uniformed men with rather large firearms and in the midst of them was a smiling Nelson Mandela. We had all moved out the way and expected him to just go by. But he stopped, reached out his hand to shake mine, greeted me and asked how I was and if I had enjoyed my lunch, smiled, wished me well and went on to greet my co-workers who I was with.

I was overcome with all sorts of emotions. I had just held the hand of the great Nelson Mandela and spoken with him. This is hard to describe, but he had a sort of aura or energy field around him, and once it touches your life it leaves some of that energy with you.

His effect was that of a bright candle passing by and lighting your little candle with his flame. It does not take away any of his brightness, instead it leaves behind it a trail of light. Some flames continue burning for years, some go on to light others and some flames will just burn out.

I hope that the unity South Africa is feeling now will continue and that each and every one of us will go on to spread a little light and love as Tata Madiba would’ve wanted us to do.

South Africa is a beautiful country and South Africans are amazing people. When we stand together, anything is possible. So let’s stand together in love and light and live out Madiba's legacy!

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
1918 - 2013

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Lunch Break Sketching

I call myself a part time artist because I paint and draw in my spare time.  I work fulltime as a graphic designer, which at least gives me a creative outlet. I spend my days creating email adverts, magazine ads, business cards, flyers and banners, etc.

From time to time I go through a phase where painting only when I'm at home is not enough and I find myself drawing or doodling on whatever piece of blank paper is on my desk.

For my lunchtime yesterday I went to the Mugg & Bean coffee shop not too far from my office, with my small sketchbook in hand.  It is amazing how fast that hour passes when you are drawing.  It was quite challenging to draw someone who is not posing, they move around and shift position all the time.  I really need to do this more often.

So as the coffee cup coaster says:- Do what you LOVE, LOVE what you do.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Virtual Paintout - Iceland

Reykjanesbær РIceland
Acrylic on Mounting Board
12.5” x 9”

I've been following a blog called Virtual Paintout.  Every month a different country is selected and you use google streetview to have a look around for something to paint.  You save the link and you submit the link along with your artwork.

Some time back I did a sketch from one of the countries, but never submitted it.  This time I took the challenge more seriously and submitted my painting.

It is an awesome excercise and I found that I ended up painting something that I don't usually paint, a street scene.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Colour Pencil Portraits of my Children

Around 2006 I did the drawing of my youngest daughter and my son.  I chose the wrong paper for this project.  It was too rough and too much white kept coming through.  So it ended up in my folder of watercolour paintings, pastel sketches and other drawings that never see the light of day again.

Many years ago I did a colour pencil portrait of my little girls.  However, I never framed the piece and it also ended up in the folder of doomed works. 

I think that I am over critical of any work that I do for myself, and it is a bit of a shame.  I think I should sign and frame these pieces and show them off in my home.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Portait on Mounting Board

Deep in Thought
Acrylic on Mounting Board
28 x 28cm

A few months ago I went to my local picture framer and asked for some mounting board offcuts.  He was happy to sell me quite a bit for a good price.  These boards are lovely to paint on and because they are cheap, they are nice for practicing on or trying something new.  This way I save my canvasses for my more serious projects.  The nice thing though is that these cards are quite nice to work on and the completed paintings can be framed.

I did this portrait last night and it seemed to fall into place quite quickly.  I like the loose, sketchy feel of the shirt and background. It definitely pays to play around and have fun when you paint.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The face of joy

After many years I have decided to advertise my paintings on You need to submit 3 examples of your work when you apply to sell on their website.  I have several paintings lying around, but nothing that I felt would be good enough to submit.  So I started working on some new paintings and finally finished my number 3.

I am very excited to now be listed with many other awesome South African artists.  Click here to view my page.

Acrylic on Canvas
24 x 28"

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Rhinoceros Painting

Earlier this year I started my Rhino painting, it was something that I had been wanting to do for quite some time. I painted it quickly and rather rough, but I knew that it was not finished yet. I was just not sure which direction to take the painting in, so like many other paintings, it sat unfinished in the corner. 

I finally tackled the painting again and decided to darken the sky and make the colours richer.  I am now happy with the end result.

Acrylic on Canvas
 24 x 24"
610 x 610mm

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A Burst of Energy

Being an artist who also has a full time job means that your creative time is limited to evenings and weekends.  Somehow I managed to work on three paintings over the last 6 weeks.  Here is the first one. It is Acrylic on Canvas Board, 305mm x 405mm (12"x15").

Something that I find interesting is the method that different artists use when 'constructing' a painting.  Some artists start in one place and work outwards in perfect detail, until the whole painting is complete. Other artists, such as myself, work in layers, building the painting till it is complete. The only problem with this method (especially when I'm painting), is that it can look really messy before being complete.

I am not sure about other artists, but I don't really like (non-Arty) people to see my work at this stage because they usually take one look, squint and then get a strange look on their faces and that is when you can just see that they are wondering if you know what you are doing. :-)

So here, for your entertainment is a photo in the first phase of this painting.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Time to heal

I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted in my blog.  I feel quite sad actually but when I look back to the date of my last post, I remember how ill I was at the time.  My fibromyalgia was at its worst and every part of me seemed to hurt.  My vision would blur most of the time and I battled to do any fine work in my paintings.

So I put away my paint, paper and canvases and tried to get better.  I found alternative treatments to help for the pain and the fatigue and was able to land a job again as Graphic Designer in 2012, but this meant relocating from my beautiful Port Elizabeth to the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg.

With tears in my eyes I packed and moved, making sure my art materials were packed in.  I started playing around with abstract paintings just to get into the feel of painting again.  Though not finished, I like having them to fiddle on when I can't do fine work.

The painting of the Rhino is also painted with large brushes and is quite rough.  The more I look at it, the more I want to get stuck in and refine it. 

So these are my projects that keep me going.  Till next time, have a wonderful week.


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