Tuesday 21 April 2015

Plein air inspiration

In March, I was invited to speak at the Constantiaberg Art Society (CAS) about my passion for plein air painting. Having done a presentation to the South African Society of Artists (SASA) at the end of last year, I actually shortened what I had to share... as the real lesson of plein air painting is to go out and do it!

I received this wonderful warm feedback from CAS, and hope to inspire others to get out into nature and look at it through artist's eyes. I'm also thinking of doing plein air workshops again!

Lyn Northam gave us the most interesting and informative demo and talk on 'en plein air' painting. Her friendly spirit and knowledge that she imparts is a delight. She gave us information on the simple equipment needed for sitting out in the sun, the rain and all sorts of weather. 

She made it look simple but really it was an education, something we do not think about taking with us or even on the value of certain aides/ideas and the special know-how of selecting a view to paint - or what to leave out. 

Lyn, your demo was exhilarating and encouraged even the meek to venture out and try their hands at plein air painting.  Thank you for the most valuable information that any aspiring and professional artist could wish to achieve from a wonderful demo and talk."

Saturday 22 December 2012

Summer art sale

Marketing art has become an interesting subject amongst us artists! Through galleries, Kirstenbosch exhibition hall or through friends is the usual way.

Saturday and Sunday 1 - 2 December was chosen to be my first at home summer art sale weekend - a chance to share a large showing of my paintings to family, friends, neighbours, SASA and CAS artist members and past pupils.

The garden angle was dashed due to 110km South Easter winds during the week so the dining room, lounge and patio became a huge gallery of art! It was even a thrill for me to see it all hanging together reminding me of many wonderful plein air ventures!!

What a delightful event of meeting, talking, shopping and drinking tea in the garden. Well worth the effort, and resulting in 33 new owners of my work too! Talents are for sharing and enriching all of our lives.

Be blessed with peace, beauty and love this Christmas and the new year of 2013.

Kgalagadi Magic

Such a busy time of the year! The Mayan calender ending yesterday, and the world never ending as some predicted, has prompted me to journal two events in November/December 2012 that were amazing to me!

A painting that virtually painted itself from the very beauty of the early morning sunrise (6.30am) at a hide in Nossob, Kgalagadi (September 2012). This is a game reserve in the Kalahari Desert in northern South Africa. Freezing cold, bundled up in anorak and gloves, watching the doves huddled on an old log at a waterhole was mindblowingly beautiful! As they flew off, startled by something, their wings  glowed in the sunbeams streaming through them! An unforgetible experience, captured on film and then in paint!

How delighted was I when this painting 'Huddle of Doves' won the SASA annual Eleanor Palmer Trophy of the year, voted by its members at our final meeting of the year ! This is the 3rd time I have won this prestigious trophy - 2004, 2009, and now 2012.

Wednesday 31 October 2012

'English Summer' has found a new home

'English Summer' has found a most wonderful new home! One of the South African Art Society (SASA) patrons, and a great South African artist himself, Sam Nhlengethwa, has bought one of my recent SASA annual exhibition paintings for his very own collection! What an honour for me!

Sam has a highly prestigious collection of art works in his Joburg home and he sometimes even opens his home for public viewings. He was in Cape Town as the honorable guest who opened the annual SASA exhibition on 1 October 2012, and to award and honour the SASA winners.

"You again?" said Sam as I came up to receive my third award for the evening!

"Yes, you hug so well," said I.

My trophy-winning Best Oil at the SASA annual - 'Three Beauties' - was sold on the opening night, and before Sam returned to Joburg he went back to Kirstenbosch to buy my 'English Summer' painting because he said that he had dreamt about the bicycles for two days!

I painted it in oils from a photograph I took on a gorgeous summer's day in England whilst daytripping down to Brighton with my family.

May my paintings bring great joy to their new owners!

Thank you!

Sunday 5 August 2012

To my delight

It was a cold stormy Sunday when the annual selection day took place for the South African Society of Artists (SASA). Selection day is in advance of the prestigious SASA Annual Exhibition starting 1 October 2012.

Criteria for selection are strict and selection day proved a nail-biting affair with acclaimed external judges this year who had the task of scoring nearly 500 entries. Every painting is judged by three judges, each providing a score out of four, with a total for each painting out of 12. To get into the annual exhibition you need a minimum of 8 out of 12

I entered three artworks, all in the oil category, and all three made it into the SASA Annual! Approximately 200 artworks made the cut for this upcoming exhibition. 

In addition to being selected for the exhibition, overall prizes are also given out for best in various categories. Prize winning artworks are selected from the pieces receiving 10 or above. In the category of oils there were 49 oils with 10 and above, in comparison to only 10 in the category of acrylics.

Imagine my excitement to discover that not only had I scored a 12/12 for one of my paintings, but that I had also won the Best Oil for my '3 beauties' - two Nguni cows and a fat lady on a beach in the Transkei.

'3 beauties' oil on canvas (Best Oil 2012 SASA Annual)

I also received a highly commended for 'English summer' for my bicycles and umbrella scene on Brighton beach, and a commended for my 'Foggy Day', a plein air painting of Table Bay.

'English summer' oil on canvas

'Foggy day' plein air oil on canvas

I was particularly chuffed to have won the top prize for my oils as it gives me additional gravitas amongst my amazing oils for beginners class which I teach on a Thursday.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Plein air bliss

An Indian summer on a Cape winter's morning on the slopes of Table Mountain, looking towards the docks at the V&A Waterfront. What a subject for a painting!

A golden thread of light zigzagged across the bay towards Milnerton as the mist snaked through the town below. All in tones of blue, grey and creamy foggy beiges. As I painted furiously to capture that moment in time, the real life fun began.

Not long after, the 'My Top Billing Dream' TV crew arrived in our empty car park to film for the next week's episode. Five wanna-be Top Billing presenters were remaining out of the top ten, and they were all ready for action to be filmed for a mountain biking insert on Table Mountain! Lucky me getting a real live, interactive sneak peak of the upcoming programme!

As an avid watcher of Top Billing, and having followed the 'My Top Billing Dream' every Tuesday, it was such a thrill for me to hug Lauren, my original favourite in the competition. And to think I was hugging her the day before she jetted off to Australia to interview the one and only American music teen sensation Justin Bieber. Only last night she won this amazing opportunity as a prize for her on-the-spot interview when she interviewed 'Sechaba' from Isindingo while on a ferris wheel at Gold Reef City. Each of the contestants had to interview an actor from the SA soapie Isindingo (another favourite in our household!) and hers was voted the best, resulting in a flight to Australia to find out more about Bieber-mania!

I also met - and hugged - the other four finalists and watched the filming as some fell of their bikes and ad-libbed about the experience! Plein air painting is never dull! It captures a small slice of life using all your senses and gives one a heart flutter of amazing memories and fun!

Sunday 23 October 2011

Life is full of surprises

Such a wonderful story in my art class on Thursday!

One of my oil painting pupils has just returned from an overseas holiday on the continent! Sitting in her friend's home in Zurich, Jane admired a painting on the wall of an Nguni cow! 

Going closer to admire the brushstrokes, she discovered it was mine, painted by her very own art teacher! What are the chances - a true God incidence and blessing! The world is a very small place!

PS. This painting, which won the coveted Eleanor Palmer trophy in 2009, was bought from an exhibition at Kirstenbosch, Cape Town.