MIXED MEDIA ARTIST
As an artist for over forty years, I have come to accept that one’s style will alter many times. Where I find myself now is where I should be, using my intuition and instinct in an artwork. Having taught art in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and here in Africa, I know my soul feeds on colour. Born in Scotland, but emigrating after graduating as a teacher, to Australia, I found the beginning of my colour . Spending four years in Papua New Guinea showed me a change of colour, but Africa as my home gives me the extreme!
During junior school I had a teacher who would draw squiggles on the blackboard, five minutes before the bell rang to go home. Those were the most exciting “lessons” of the day, as she asked anyone to come out and draw into the shape what they saw. I never stopped seeing. Thank you, Mrs Abbott, you were such an inspiration.
Africa excites and sets the scene for almost any portrait. Colour and light illuminate the form within a coloured canvas, and the process to find the subject begins.
Masking fluid is randomly squirted and drawn over the blank canvas, dropped straight from the bottle. This is left to dry overnight.
The next day the canvas is sprinkled with water, and Sennelier inks are dropped onto the canvas. The inks spread, run into one another, and create their own hues and shapes.
Once again, the canvas dries overnight.
Ink and masking fluid dry, the latter is removed by peeling off from the canvas. Now there is a picture of white lines and sheer colour. The inks are very strong and will never fade.
The canvas is placed on an easel, and one can take anything from one day to a week, to finally “see” the painting inside. I turn the canvas around each day, and study it. Sometimes the subject is easy to see, other times it takes a while to see it. Not once, when I begin a painting using this technique, do I know what will emerge.
I use oil paints to paint in the body of the work. The richness of the oil, together with the vibrancy of the inks, creates a beautiful effect. Occasionally I will add some Rembrandt chalk pastel (very rich) to enhance a certain area, and balance the work.
Sometimes very little oil paint is needed, to bring out the subject. The inks play their part very well.
The artwork is then left to dry.
These paintings are totally original, and can never be copied. They are too intricate for anyone to do so.
“Lady with a bucket”
USE OF MASKING FLUID
I alternate using masking fluid, as some works are just ink and oil paint. The masking fluid provides a certain excitement and movement, necessary in some pieces. Below is an example of no masking fluid. The inks create a subject, the oil paint enhances the subject.
I use Sennelier inks, Rembrandt chalk pastels and a range of oil colours All of my materials are purchased from the Italian Art Shop, in Cape Town