Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Four Seagull Paintings

Seagull by West Coast Artist Marie Theron, part of a commissioned set of four.
 8x8 inches (250mm x 250mm
Where I live, of course, we see seagulls all the time. It is not a picnic area or even a well-known beach, so the seagulls never misbehave. When dark thunder is on its way, like it often has been for months, the seagulls would fly circles over my roof. But they have never scavenged for food at anyone's home. The turbulent waters knock mussels unconscious against the rocks and that is where the gulls feed. I have just read a wonderful article about the things that make seagulls adorable, their beauty, functional built,  and their sound. You can read the article by Stephan Moss here .

I have just completed this commission of 4 works to hang in a kitchen at a seaside home. My favourite composition for a seagull is the "half-portrait" where the bird peeks in from the bottom of the canvas. The birds look plain, but my hand took some strain from doing the detail and I rested it in a brace afterwards. Here is the full set:

Commissioned set of Seagull Paintings by West Coast Artist Marie Theron
250mm x 250mm, 8 x 8 inches oil on canvas.

My daughter, Susan lives near Melkbosstrand, a beach a little closer to Cape Town, and she is my guest photographer today. Yes, it is the ever-present Table Mountain in the background!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Hello, Velddrif

Jetties at Velddrif 2012  30x14 inches Oil on canvas SOLD
Velddrif is probably one of the smallest towns on the West Coast. Although it lies on the beautiful Berg River, it has never been developed into a resort. Many, many times, I send up this prayer of thanks that Velddrif is undeveloped and the river untouched by fancy marinas! Tour the country and there are surely a lot of beauty in the Waterfront, Sedgefield and Knysna developments, those picture-pretty resorts! Those places are easy on the eye and has a vibe caused by lots of happy people moving around, so I am not shooting it down. But......

But for me, this is the place where one feels alive. I walk on that dusty dirt road called Bokkom Lane, and breath in the smelly little fish. I look at the bokkoms, some still a glistening silver colour, others already dried and golden and I read a people's history in them. I stroll around admiring the cunning of the seagulls, grinning at the names on the "bakkies", as the little boats are called. I may sit on a veranda and sip something, but soon I would be clambering over unsteady little jetties again. Hungry? Surely for me there is only one thing to eat at Velddrif: "grilled harders", the same little fish that are used for bokkoms! I miss how my husband used to go to the kitchen, meet the cook, and tell him how to prepare my harders.

The painting was made more than a year ago, in happy times next to the river and later in the studio at home. I think I have captured the water well here. I did not like my painting then. With my husband so ill there was not much that I liked about my art, and it was truly buried beneath a pile of stuff for about 15 months. But as is goes with clients, they ignore the wall displays and would rather scratch around in my studio. So this painting was rediscovered and sold. I must go down to Velddrif again.

Karen Van Niekerk, one of the early risers in Velddrif and a professional photograper, took the wonderful images of the river.

 The first heading on the right side of my blog is: Search this blog. There you can type in "Velddrif "or "Berg River" or "Bokkom Lane" if you want to read my older posts on this theme and see previous Velddrif paintings.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

One Thing Leads to Another: The First Ball

"The First Ball" 16 x 20 inches (400mm x 500mm) Water-soluble Oil on Canvas
R2500 / $250 SOLD
When I started going in the direction of softer works, I halted and said: 'No, this is not me!" but little did I know that the Impressionistic works would open the door to some delightful commissions. On seeing the Monet-like work, the mother of my young model, Kayla, whom I painted in a confident pose with an umbrella in a previous painting, asked me to do a special large painting from a photograph. What a wonderful image she sent me, and this is the result on a 16 x 20 inch canvas.

I loved doing the half-plaited look of Kayla's hair and the soft loose curls of her dark-haired friend who is also called Kayla. The painting holds for me not only the image of specific people. It becomes a universal expression of the joy of being young, as these girls approach a castle-like building to attend their first ball in pretty chiffon dresses. This is one of the many moments in a young girl's life on her way to adulthood.

The painting was done in W&N water-soluble oil paints, my new must-have product. It is amazing to work with, and I do not thin the paint at all.  To read more on the product, here is a link to Lori McNee's website.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Little Romantic Interlude

"Girl Talk" 9x12
Oil on Canvas , SOLD
I get so way-laid in everything! It is the story of my life. In art I fell briefly in love with Impressionism, but then found out the truth about the style: ironically, it takes quite a lot of labour to make something appear so effortless! Over and over I would flick colours onto canvas, using the side of an angled brush. When to stop, was the question. I flicked colour for days and days. The most annoying thing was that I could never again match the fleetingness of the little umbrella girl. What do you do when the first attempt is the best and after that you are just wasting time? I decided that after this it will be: back to the old and trusted way of painting, especially as I am suddenly swamped wit commissions based on my old work. And this painting then? Let's call it a little romantic interlude! The painting lends itself to some kind of narrative, but I want the viewer to interpret freely. The scene is set in that city with the amazing climate, Pretoria, South Africa.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Monet as Inspiration

I loved those Monet prints in my last blog, and thought: surely one can put more effort into your work! This was the result, when I tried that cheeky girl with the umbrella (from the previous post) in a more Impressionistic way:
"Spring Walk" by Artist Marie Theron 8x12 (300mm x 200mm)
Oil on W&N stretched cotton canvas.
Available from the artist R900 (South Africa) or $90 (USA) (plus postage)

The most difficult part was the tonal values. You want light and dark, but you still want the summery air to dissolve the forms. This is my book with the Monet print, next to my painting. It is fun to learn and still know that you are not copying anybody's work:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Impressionistic Exercise in Art

"Lilac Brollies" by artist Marie Theron
405mm x 305mm oil on canvas board

I quite liked an earlier painting that I did in 2011, called "Busy Lizzies". On seeing a photo of figures in movement that I would love to paint, I immediately reverted back to that cool fresh style of painting. The new one is simply called "Lilac Brollies" to rhyme with the earlier name. To crown it all, the owner of the first painting, wants to buy the new painting as well.

"Busy Lizzies" (2011) by artist Marie Theron
405mm x 305 mm oil on board

The freshness of the Great Masters of Impressionist painting, will always be appealing, and I decided to add some "wiki" images of Monet's umbrella ladies to this post for everyone to enjoy again and again!




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Painting "en plein air" in Wellington

"View at Welgegund Farm, Wellington" by Landscape International Artist Marie Theron
405mm x 305mm (12 x 16) oil on canvas board
Buy or View

This was the first plein air event of the season, winters here being much too harsh and stormy to venture out. Melissa Sutherland of Vindigo organised the day-long event! With 20 artists at the first event, I can see this concept growing in future! The venue was Welgegund wine farm in the Wellington District where Melissas parents live and farm with grapes. Top on the list for most artists was the lovely old farmhouse in the Cape Dutch style. I searched for a vista of the vineyards as seen through the farm buildings.

Around the lunch table each artist was given a chance to tell everyone about their journey through life and art. The shy ones were prompted with questions and there was lots of laughter and fun. We had a chicken dish followed by tart and mousse made from the fruits on the farm, and everyone had a chance to drink the farm's Welgegund wines. I do not drink wine and broke the heart of the winemakers as I believe this boutique wine has won some of the most coveted awards! 

We finished our works, then had a crit session in the open air. There was coffee and cakes served before we took the road home.
View of the vineyards at Welgegund

Watching the artists arriving.

Annelise Kolbe-Van Wyk in the most admired art overcoat,
me, and Melissa Sutherland, tour organiser

Melissa and her mom, Sheila Camerer served an early cuppa before we started.
Shirley in the background was tutor ready to help beginners.
The lovely old homestead is in the background.

I put the last touches to my scene.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Low Tide in Zanzibar

"Kelp Gathering" by Artists of Africa Artist Marie Theron
508mm x 508mm oil on cotton wrapped canvas
$US 489
Continuing my African paintings: Do you know the West Coast where I stay? Low tide, even while being called "low" is still a dangerous phenomenon and the water will throw you onto the rocks, should you dare to enter the sea. I love my noisy home, where nights are never quiet and the large waves can be heard day and night. Of course, travelling can be so refreshing, and we were thrilled with the low, low tide at Zanzibar. You can wade in for miles to sit in the water, find a dhow, chat to locals and scrunch up your eyes because the light is so blindingly bright.

Here we observed the activity of seaweed harvesting by the Masaai women. By driving sticks into the low areas of the sea, traps are formed where the seaweed can easily be collected. Bucketfuls of the green stuff are then taken to the beach to be hung out to dry. Dry seaweed is exported to China where it is boiled into soap and shampoo.

In my painting "Kelp Harvesting", I have tried to show the endless stretch of low tide, and the blinding light that etches out the figures of workers. I did not take enough photos while I was there, but I treasure these few photos and hope you like them too. They really portray the exact mood on that tranquil island.

To view the buying guide to this painting, click HERE

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Island Children

I am still taking my West Coast followers on a journey into deeper Africa! Our exhibition was popular and we were requested to leave our paintings behind as some of them may be used in other shows as time goes by. Of course, the public can still purchase a painting from the website. At the end of this post, I will also give the You Tube link to the opening night.

These children lived in a cute cottage on Zanzibar island bordered by tall fruit trees on one side and a spice farm on the other side. I really loved the 'make-do' appearance of the little home. Where there is clean washing, there is a normally functioning family. Kids in Zanzibar wear modern clothes, but their mothers and older sisters will always be seen in the attractive bright kangas. I noticed a washing line deeper into the shadows where a couple of these colourful pieces were drying away from the harsh sun.

They are playing here as kids do everywhere, the older one definitely the leader! Young brother is watching her closely to find out what game she would devise for them. Later at supper I will bet that the food would be flavourful and spicy and will be followed with lots of wonderful fruit, which is so plentiful here. Some of my paintings are almost large illustrations, as I try to tell a story of the daily lives of people in Africa.

The girl in pencil:

Bright kangas provide camouflage to the lady on the right:

Some links:
Spend a few moments with us at the opening night of 'Can You Hear The Drums' I can be briefly spotted in a dark red leather coat!
View purchase details of 'Island Children'
View paintings by my partner Tatyana Binovskaya

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Patience and Dignity

There is something of which all travelers to Africa become aware: Africa has its own time. Everything is done rhythmically, peacefully and slow. And look at the old people, there is an inborn dignity! This man was seen from a vehicle in Zanzibar. I just never like to ask people for a "pose", as much will be lost in the posed photograph. In the moments I have seen him, time stood still for me. Everything was just perfect! No hard selling, like that seen in the resorts, took place. God provided the fruit and by-and-by the regular customers would come along.

I used a limited palette in keeping with the subject. You should see the new skies in my work! I am tired of pretty perfect skies....these markings must say something else. The painting can be purchased HERE after the exhibition.

On the 1st of August, I am taking part in a 3-women exhibition in Pretoria. All welcome:

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Something Different from My Studio

I am still passionate about the West Coast, but as I took care of Philip during his long illness, there were no opportunities to travel and collect stories. 

 In 2011 I brought photos back from a Zanzibar vacation and started some paintings depicting the note of sadness and the immense dignity I found in Africa. I asked two friends to be my partners and we organised an exhibition called "Can You Hear the Drums" for  August this year. 

When my husband became ill, I still had a painting to finish. One day I switched to W and N ARTISAN water soluble paints, which have no fumes, and dragged an easel into the bedroom. This painting was made with Philip looking on. He really enjoyed seeing a work being painted from beginning to end. It will go on my exhibition soon. So today, not the West Coast but an African image of a Masai Mom and Son! It will also be available for viewing  here

Thank you for all those very kind sympathetic letters and comments I received after my previous post. I treasure them and have filed all of them to read again and again. The outpouring of love and support is still carrying me along. Love and hugs, Marie Theron.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The World Looks so Different Today

We had the loveliest West Coast weather here. On a bright and warm star-filled Saturday morning, my darling husband passed away peacefully in his own bed with three of his family around him. There is not a hand book or guide for these things, they happen and you are stunned.

I will love him always: Philip was my best friend for 50 years and my husband for 47. (Photo by Jon Ivins)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

And then one day...............

And then one day, illness entered our home and everything changed. This was a painting I started in December when daughter Helen and our youngest grandchild arrived from the States to visit her father. She had a long stay and a week ago arrived back here at the West Coast for another visit. We decided to upload the sketch as it is, and make time later to do the painting. The sketch symbolises all the visitors coming through the gate.

We were so fortunate this last weekend when we had all four children together. How they cheered and helped and cooked and were so very supportive. Two of the grandchildren were

here too, and we took a quick photograph. As far as my husband, Philip's health is concerned, we remain hopeful and prayerful and trust him to choose his course of treatment.

I love my blog, I love my blog followers! I notice that some friends check up almost daily to see whether there is a new post or at least word of what has happened to me. So this is where I am, friends, nursing the wonderful man I have known for 50 years.