Archive for October, 2008

Some October favourites:

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

"Ascent" by Ann Cloete is a large, exuberant work of abstract expressionism.  The painting has a strong palette of yellows, ochres and red/brown shades and uses strong brushwork and contrasting tonal lines which give a great sense of life and movement round the canvas.

When viewed close up one sees first a "pathway" of light in yellows and white like strong sunlight, bordered on each side by textured areas which appear rather like steps.   However, upon stepping back to view the painting at a distance a strong portrait emerges on the right hand side.   What appeared to be randomly abstract lines and textures resolve into the profile of a bearded man with rounded brow and a strong bone structure.   He appears to have tribal markings on his face and this, coupled with his upright bearing and seemingly tranquil gaze are somewhat  suggestive of a tribal warrior.   At another glance he could almost be a lion.

The artist has used greens within the skin tones to suggest a strong light reflecting off the forehead, alone with deep shadowing on the face, and so the impression is that the man is gazing towards the sun (whether actual or metaphorical).  The combination of suggested images and impressions gave me the sense that the painting was, for me at least, about the spiritual ascent of humanity.   It is undoubtedly a compelling and fascinating  work.

Some October favourites:

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

"Abstract SW002″  by Debra Stevenson is a radiant piece of abstract art made with ink and acrylic.   According to Debra it is based upon the idea of a spider’s web.   This work uses skillful application of inks and acrylic paints to render a beautiful rainbow expression of a spider’s web.   The web like structures are predomninantly rendered in purples,  radiating out to deep oranges, leafy greens and indigo and aqua shades.   The colours are richly saturated, with all seven of the rainbow spectrum in the work, each colour merging and emerging from its neighbours to form subtle blends. 

The way the colours merge is rather reminiscent of water and looking at the painting I can imagine that the central purple web is a bridge over a lake with woods on each side and a vibrant sunset reflecting behind the web/bridge – it appeals to me as a fantasy of how the world looks to a spider.    The web forms are carefully rendered and appear three dimensional, coming forward out of the painting towards the viewer.   There are shades of greens most of the way round the edges of the piece, which draws the eye round, with the strength of the red/orange/purple centre capturing the gaze repeatedly. 

This is a stunning piece, large and full of life and will capture attention wherever it is hung.    However, it would look  wonderful as a focal point in a room in which one of  the dominant shades of the painting also appeared in accent colours and deserves to be hung where the light will capture the colour gradations and celebrate the drama of this work.

Some October favourites:

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Lorraine Smit’s wood and clay sculpture "Dreamer" is an engaging image of the head and upper torso of a young woman, eyes closed and head turned a little upwards, emerging out of /resting on an engraved piece of sleeper wood.   Lorraine says that the piece represents a young girl dreaming about the joys of tomorrow.   Her face is beautifully tranquil and blissful and when I first saw the image I took the wood to be a book, engraved lines representing pages, and imagined that the girl was contemplating something she had read or imagining herself within the novel. 

Looking at this piece further however, I was struck by how like an "earth goddess" she appears rising out of curving hills, her hair flowing down like waterfalls and her face rapt in ecstatic existance. The natural treatment of the materials, with little glazing of the clay or polishing of the wood seemed sympathetic to this perceived nature symbology.  It is interesting that a work about dreaming stimulates the viewer themselves to dream a little.  Interesting too that a sculpture about dreams should be mounted on "sleeper" wood.

This is a gentle and sensitive work and provokes calming and contemplative feelings – it is hard to gaze upon the gentle face without feeling dreamy and relaxed oneself.   This is a sculpture for a quiet room, such as a bedroom  where it can be enjoyed at leisure and fully appreciated in its subtle suggestions of rest.

Some October favourites:

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

"Day in Africa"  by Dulcie Robinson is an excitingly expressionist work, a mixed media creation of found objects and hand made paper.  Dulcie’s work aims to recreate the feeling of her subjects, in this case a day in Africa with all its sights, smells and textures, rather than to produce an exact copy of a landscape, flower or object.   Her comment that, in her flower paintings, she paints "the perfume of the flowers" rather than copying their images seems to be beautifully relevant here too.  The spicy, earthy colours she has used suggest scents of cooking, of nature, of the heat itself. 

The use of found objects seems suitably sympathetic to the subject, as if she has gathered things during the course of her day and then used them to describe that day in artistic form.  The curving forms of wire and string against the very pale paper suggest engravings on rock, or perhaps, with their upwardly curving motion, they are a  heat haze rising against a brilliant day.

This is a work full of delicate yet arresting textural and tonal contrasts and in the heart of it a small, human like figure appears to be wrapped or captured. His/her presence infers that the piece is a landscape or timescape, simply by virtue of scale.   As with the whole of the piece, one is drawn first to one interpretation then to another – is he captured or enraptured by the day?   Is he toiling on the land?  

The one thing this work certainly does is stimulate thought and will undoubtedy provoke conversation and analysis wherever it is disaplayed.  Being small and detailed it would look best with a simple background, perhaps in a room with strong light to make the most of the shadows that will be cast onto the paper by the found objects.

Some October Favourites:

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

"Pods of Life"  by Annie Pigott is an unusual and sensual piece, full of tactile references, both visual and kinaesthetic – the painting is on silk which lends another dimension to the curving forms and reflects light in quite a different way to a painting done on canvas.

Within an earthy, semi-monochrome palette a great deal of texture has been achieved, with fern like forms in the background echoing the vital curves of the foreground pods.  These seem both of this world – their three dimensional nature strongly indicated with deep and curving shadows and yet also abstract, with the otherworldly spirals appearing flat, almost floating within the pod interiors.  This is an interesting juxtaposition, suggesting to me that something as simple and earthy as a seed pod opening can also become a gateway to the world of the liminal.   Indeed, the spirals are rather like initiatory scarification marks or neolithic sacred cave markings, showing the way to the world beyond. 

This painting is very attractive because of its combination of simplicity (in colour) and complexity (in texture) and I can imagine that it would sit very well in a pale,  simply furnished setting where the curves and spirals could draw the eye of the viewer without distraction.  This is a meditative, peaceful painting and would especially suit a creamy background wall.

Pods of Life

Pods of Life

Know the Different Materials Used for Tribal Masks

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

The fascinating tribal masks are an indication of rich and diverse African tribal art. The masks of each tribal group have some unique characteristics which helpd in establishing its own identity. Each tribal community uses different type of material to make their masks.

Usually wood is the primary material used to make tribal masks. The people of Nkambe tribe always use a wooden mask called “Mabu”. Dogon people of west Africa too use simple wooden masks.

Apart from wood other materials are also used such as bark, resin and varnished antelope skin. The Chokwe tribe in Zaire always used resin, fibres and branches to craft their “Cikunza” masks for ceremonies. Certain tribes in South Africa, create masks of grass and then those masks are decorated with beads.

Some masks are also made of bamboo and raffia. These bamboo masks are mainly found in the Songye tribe.

The Fang tribe which originated in Gabon have very unusual masks. They used to carry "passport masks" made of metal wherever they travelled.

The Ashante tribal community of Ghana build masks of gold and bronze in remembrance of the kings who were killed during wars.

Tribal masks are quite often bought as souvenirs to be given to friends and family. If you are interested in decorating your home with fascinating tribal masks, you don’t need to travel all across to the African continent. All you have to do is check out our online tribal art gallery. We have a huge collection of tribal masks, original tribal art forms and other forms of African art.

Frame the original paintings to retain their beauty

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

The very next step after buying original oil paintings from an online art gallery or traditional shop is to get it framed. An original painting needs to be framed properly before you can hang it on the wall of your home or office. Moreover a beautiful frame will make the original painting look even more appealing.

Without a frame, a painting looks like a book without cover. Until you frame the original painting in a good and strong frame, it will be really tough to maintain its beauty. Moreover dust and other foreign particles will get pasted on the surface where paint has been applied.

If you are not willing to spend too much money on hiring a conservator to take care of your original paintings on a regular basis, at least have them properly framed.

Ideally, the frame to hold the priceless original oil paintings must have mending plates that are attached to the frame with screws. Preferably, use brass mending plates as they can be adjusted and make sure there is light pressure on the back of the stretcher or strainer.

Avoid using frames with nails since nails can rust, fall out, or protrude through the canvas. It is better to ask the framer to pad the part of the frame that touches the face of the painting to provide adequate protection to the painted surface.

Last but not the least, always choose a frame that fits the dimensions of the painting perfectly.

5 Essential Tips to Hang Original Oil Paintings

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Original paintings are priceless for the simple fact that you can’t have two of the same thing. Hence, they need utmost care and adept handling to ensure that they don’t get damaged and are able to manifest their beauty to the optimum. Sometimes little mistakes while hanging original paintings can curb their impact or worse can damage them completely.

It is important to take certain precautions while hanging an original painting, especially oil painting, in your home. Here are some easy to follow tips which you should consider while hanging your precious original oil painting:

  1. Avoid hanging the oil painting close to the shelves as anybody can knock it down while taking something out from the shelves.

  1. Hanging an oil painting over direct heat can cause severe damage to the painting. Hence never hang a painting over fire place, heater, or radiator. Similarly during winter months, don’t hang the oil painting in a well heated room.

  1. Never make the mistake of hanging an oil painting on a damp wall as the dampness would lead to the formation of mildew.

  1. It is almost fatal to hang the painting behind the door or in busy corridors. Also avoid hanging it in a place close to the kitchen, bathroom or anywhere near a swimming pool.

  1. Make use of high quality picture wire and don’t attach alarms to the back of the canvas or the panel. Instead always attach them to the back of the frames.

At south-african-artists.com, we handle each order individually and our sales team makes sure that the original painting you have chosen from our site is packaged securely and delivered to you on time and in perfect condition. All you have to do is browse our online art gallery at your convenience and watch the amazing collection of beautiful original oil paintings, landscape paintings and other forms of African art. Choose the original painting which you like and leave the rest to us.

Some October favourites:

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

"Human Angel"  by  Edna Fourie is a striking painting.   Although small and of a limited, ‘moody’ palatte, it is hugely atmospheric and full of archetypal potency.  Within a cloud of mist  a human figure struggles under the  weight of an enormous wing.  His head is hidden and all we can see of his human form is limbs straining under the weight, seeming to almost fall forwards. 

The detailed tonal modelling of the human form gives a strong feeling of movement, strength and burden and yet the wing, while huge, is detailed with soft feathers and seems too  delicate a thing to be causing such burden.

This piece is pregnant with spiritual and psychological metaphor.  One thinks of the journey of the soul, struggling towards self actualisation.   Here the figure has almost fallen under the weight of the wing, which appears dead rather than bearing the carrier up into the winds as one might expect.   Perhaps this is a metaphor for sin, or failure, or suffering.    In any case, despite the strength of the figure one is left with a sense of vulnerability and sadness.

In describing this work, the artist speaks of her fascination with bringing together ordinary things which then become visionary metaphors in the finished piece, which is very evident in this poignant and tender painting.   This would, I imagine, make a most fitting gift for someone with a philosophical or metaphysical turn of mind, being  both thought provoking and engaging.

Some October favourites:

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Maristha Schellink’s piece "Towards light"  is a refreshingly unusual combination of  found objects, driftwood, metal, semi precious stones and paint.   This mixed media approach, using objects found in life to make an artistic statement  reflects Maristha’s statement that she wishes to reflect the good in the world, to portray light, movement and energy.

In this piece we have a three dimensional exploration of texture, colour and form, presenting a semi abstract landscape of sea, sky and moon.   The shapes of found objects suggest the patterns of waves lapping the shore and seem to reach towards the crystaline moon at the top of the piece, perhaps indicating the spritual journey towards the Light, as the title suggests.  

The background of textured paint is delicately incised with multiple spirals, strongly suggestive of ancient cave art, where one finds the spiral representing the initiatory journeys of life and death.    As a whole the piece has a sympathetic  tension between the feelings of movement and of stillness which are caused by the interplay of solid foreground objects and ethereal background patterning.

With its striking simplicity this work would look wonderful on a pure white wall, perhaps in a room with pale wood furniture, echoing the colours of the painting and drawing the viewer into its embrace.