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.