Thursday, 2 December 2010

Class of 2010!

Today was the grand finale of another year teaching 'Oil painting for beginners' to 10 amazing ladies who have embraced the skills, tools, insights and 'secrets' of oil painting with passion - and made it their own, retaining their uniqueness and energy!

Happy/sad day, launching the eaglets from the comfortable nest, to fly and catch the thermals, to greater heights - my third year of teaching, encouraging and facilitating.

What a superb lunch and bubbly they spoilt me with! Lucky me!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Away in Arniston

Work was never like this - a 7 day 'business trip' to the idyllic town of Arniston - 211km from Cape Town, through rolling hills of cream coloured harvested wheat fields set against mauve stormy skies. And arriving at the seaside, there were aqua seas to take your breath away!

So much to paint - small thatched fishing cottages where the local fishing community live. Dogs, cats and darling children dressed in bright pinks, greens and orange (even Netherlands soccer shirt!), riding bikes, playing soccer or swimming - being children.

The working fishing harbour is always a buzz with boats coming and going, bringing in their catches of shark, Stompnose or Red Romans. Yellow, green and orange oilskins reflect in the wet slipway, while winches pull the boats up to their resting places in the harbour.
To capture these colourful moments in time is a challenge indeed - having wind, changing sunshine and boats going out to sea as you try to paint them in the natural daylight as they exist! But it is all worth the adventure - to lose oneself in one's passion of painting, yet gaining an insight into other people's lives!

The Impressionists did it, I know why there were hooked on it - and so am I! Plein air painting at its best!

Some of my paintings of Arniston's seaside life are already hung in a new gallery space in Bredasdorp, not far from Arniston. Run by Zoon Jacobs, the Bredasdorp Square Gallery is in Bredasdorp. And what an opening that was in March 2010 - my first introduction to high coffee... Italian ice-cream in fab Italian coffee. Mmmm!

Holidays are a joy for all one's senses - swimming, dining in style, comraderie and topping up one's spiritual tanks!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Gone fishing... (well, painting!)

Its a gorgeous day in Cape Town - one of those still, perfect and and peaceful mornings where the sky is bright blue and the silence indicates the heat of the day ahead! Apparently we're expecting 33 degrees! Seems summer has arrived at last!

And I'm headed up the coast, beyond the well-known whale haven of Hermanus, to another fishing town - Arniston!

For a whole week, a group of the girls will be painting by day and nattering by night! From harbours and boats to houses and mountains, the natural scenery abounds and so too, I hope, will the art!

To the right is one of the plein air paintings I did on our last Arniston trip! So until I return, sending you all some of Cape Town's glorious sunshine and a dash of inspiration for me!

Arniston here we come!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Early morning hair washing caught at V&A Waterfront...

They say a picture paints a thousand words... and they also say that the only thing better than word of mouth when it comes to marketing one's creations is for someone to experience it for themselves. As a Brit now living in Mossel Bay, it was one of my oils of London's old style Route Master bus that got his attention. But it was a painting of Cape Town's most iconic and impressive view which he most desired, and commissioned!

A view of Table Mountain from the Waterfront was requested, and so a photo shoot was required. While I mostly paint plein air (outside, in the elements, and with the natural light), there are some occasions where I will first take a photo and work from that! But I will always ensure that it is my own photo, my own artistic viewpoint and angle!

On a chilly June winter's morning, we headed off on a 'business trip' to the V&A Waterfront, arriving at 7am to capture the morning light! Not only did we capture the first light of the day, but I also managed to snap this shot of a local resident using a tap to wash his hair!

Using the structure of the photo I built layers of oils over the following weeks, allowing our beloved mountain to take shape and be born as it is today!

I also ad lib'ed with some more exotic sea to add a sweeping effect to draw you into the painting... and of course the ultimate approval has to come from the client, so in his marvellous Mancunian accent he delighted at how he was over the moon! He had it framed himself and said how happy he was to have collected the final framed mountain in the Mother City on his birthday!

Why I wear a flower behind my ear...

If I had my life to live over,
I'd try to make more mistakes next time.
I would relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have on this trip.
I would be crazier. I would be less hygienic.
I would take more chances, I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers,
and watch more sunsets.
I would burn more gasoline. I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I am one of those people who lives
prophylactically and sensibly and sanely,
hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I have had my moments
And if I had it to do over again, I'd have more of them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
Just moments,one after another.
Instead of living so many years ahead each day.
I have been one of those people who never go anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a
raincoat, and a parachute.

If I had to do it over again, I would go places and do things.
I'd travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefooted
earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
I would play hooky more. I wouldn't make such good grades
except by accident.
I would ride on merry-go-rounds.

I'd pick more daisies!