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Total Departure… Choices

abstract artwork
Choices, watercolor and charcoal on paper, A6, 2021, R250

In a total departure from my animal art….

This small piece was created in response to a friend of mine’s idea to curate an exhibition called ‘Shadow People’. I made two small pieces experimenting with my thoughts around this theme. This one is titled ‘Choices’.

Here the figure can be seen to be going in both directions at once. One way into a landscape we can see, and the other way into a landscape unseen or yet to be revealed. Will we be brave and step out of the shadows or remain in the safe known space? Is the unknown stepping into empowerment, or empty space?

These are some of my thoughts around this piece, but it can be interpreted in many ways depending on the viewer.

I love discovering what pieces mean to others and how they see them.

PS: I’ve been working furiously on the fossa piece the last few days… he is nearly done and almost ready to be revealed.

Amoria

I gave a piece of mine, that I had hanging on my wall, away. I kept staring at the blank space on the wall, the empty nail, and it was really bothering me, because it’s right above my desk in my workspace.

I decided to frame and hang up a piece I’ve been in the process of creating for myself. The piece is in coloured pencil and watercolour, of an Italian greyhound. I titled the piece ‘Amoria’, a Spanish name meaning ‘love’ or ‘loved one’. I have an Italian greyhound mix and discovered a love for the breed. One day I hope to have an Italian greyhound of my own, and Amoria is what I will name her.

The thing is, the piece isn’t yet complete… but I decided to put it up anyway. In life, nothing is ever complete. As an artist I continue to learn, to grow, to get better at my craft. I think this picture is an apt symbol of life in process.

Maybe one day I’ll take the piece down and work on it some more. Maybe I will let it remain complete in it’s incompleteness, just as it is.

Italian greyhound artwork
Amoria, colored pencil and watercolor on paper, A5, 2021, IAC

Time management…or not… and ramblings on fossas

I’ve been working on a large (for me) wolf piece in colored pencil and watercolor on A3. It was supposed to be my main project this week. Then I realised that the deadline for the online exhibition I want to create a submission for is NOT the end of the month, it’s this coming Sunday!

So the wolf piece, and my musings thereon, will have to wait while I create my submission.

My chosen subject for the submission is the fossa, a fascinating cat like creature from the jungles of Madagascar. Although it resembles a cat in some aspects, it’s closest relative is the mongoose. It’s status is endangered, and if I remember correctly, from my research, there are only approximately 2 500 individuals left in the wild. Pretty devastating… and all the more reason to draw attention to this amazing animal and it’s plight.

Today I worked out the composition for the piece. I sketched in an outline and then started on the underpainting in watercolour. In these initial layers I’m working on the structure of the animal and pinpointing where the light and dark areas will be. The fine detail and definition will follow on after that. You can see an image of the start of the piece below. As you can see, pieces definitely do not start out looking amazing, it’s working layer upon layer that creates the final effect.

fossa artwork in progress
Fossa artwork in progress

Red Bird

Sometimes a piece takes a long time to create, sometimes it never seems quite right and you come back months later and make some changes and suddenly the piece pops into life. Sometimes things just go instantly right… this red bird was one of those pieces. I hadn’t been planning to do another painting, but I’d set out all my supplies, mixed paints and so on, to create a background on another piece. On impulse, I began this painting, and each touch of brush to paper flowed, one line and dot to the next. It felt like meditation, like the piece was already in the paper, just waiting to be revealed.

Being an artist can be lonely, self doubt often lurks, especially at times when the work goes hard. I do a lot of things to maintain my equilibrium, because I know it will be difficult at times, but also that I can’t stop, art is something I have to do, I have to let it flow out of me.

This piece is a landmark of growth, and a symbol of hope and a reminder that I can. I’m so glad it has a home with someone dear to me who will gain pleasure from looking at it every day. Art is a giving gift, and I love being a channel of it.

bird artwork
Red Bird, watercolor and mixed media on paper, A6, 2021, sold/IAC