Archive for July, 2010

Karen Steffano – radiant depictions of light and shadow…

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Karen Steffano is such a lovely breath of fresh air in an artistic environment that can sometimes feel very serious. The really great thing is, Stefano has a lot of talent – more than most – but doesn’t take her artistic subject matter so terribly seriously. The result is that we are gifted with a repertoire that includes the more amusing and light hearted pieces that some other artists cannot produce as effectively.

That is not to say, however, that her pieces aren’t fantastically rendered or accurate in their portrayal of their subjects. On the contrary – the quality is magnificent and endearing, all at once. Some of her pieces are more whimsical than others; some of her pieces are just plain beautiful and so meaningful – one can tell the artist has had a connection with each and every one of the scenes and the portraits she paints.

Steffano moved to South Africa from the UK in the 1970’s, majored in Fine Art and now works as an artist on a full time basis. Stunningly, it took her years to get to this stage, having lost confidence in art as a way of making a living – something fairly commonly thrown around in the non-art world and a thought process that tragically leads to the loss of some tremendously talented artists! Thankfully Steffano got back on board and the results can be seen now in her excellent online gallery.

From pigs looking over fences to landscapes, Steffano is a very wide ranging artist. We’ll look at one such landscape first – a really beautiful piece that is bound to be sold post haste! This one is called The Walk 2 – CR Swart and Kowie Road and is a dedication to the walks the artist has been taking with a friend of hers – a sort of tribute to that period in both of their lives. Certainly the walks must take them to some beautiful places, because this is a lovely view – flowers adorn the sides of the footpath they are about to tread along; meadow grasses decorating the way; a blue sky overhead caps the scene.

Black Horse on the other hand is a really incredible mastery of charcoal. Steffano states that she loves horses and wanted to explore charcoal – but this is so much more. Steffano’s expertise and familiarity with the interplay of light and shadow is really something to be marvelled at. Take a look at the way the horse seems to emerge out of the page, as though it were made of obsidian and shadow in the same dimension…

Some people just “have it” – Karen Steffano is one of those artists. With enormous talent and prices starting at a mere $67, you’d be amiss not to have a look at her incredible repertoire!

Maureen Tomaino – "Storybook Stream"

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

"Storybook Stream" is a fanciful image created by Maureen Tomaino that could only be waiting for discovery within a storybook reality that has no restrictions or smothering limits. This scene that might hold similarities to realistic landscapes has a fantasy life of its own with light and colors that dance off the page. Tomaino’s use of watercolors provides a calming wonderment unreachable through other mediums. She has taken a gorgeous, but often seen vision and turned it into one that has us searching for fairies and sprites dancing and poking their faces from between the branches of the flourishing trees. This world of wonderment entices the imagination and somehow soothes the soul. The depths of the stream that might otherwise withhold menacing fears, meets us instead with tempting exploration. Floating along this path of water is totally without danger, as is a walk through the dense forest that envelops the cool, clear liquid.

Maureen Tomaino’s paintings flourish with her love of simplistic beauty, nature, children and life. Her landscapes are glorious and her attention to family and their pets is endearing.

Carol Hadfield – muted shades of dappled shadow in the light…

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Carol Hadfield is a gem in the new world of art – plain and simple. Having given up “regular” work in 2007, she concentrated initially on pencil portraits and then on acrylic, which she found did not suit her. After a course in oils, taken with Margie Johnson in 2008, she found her true calling in terms of medium, and has sold steadily since then.

It’s not just the medium that Hadfield settled into that helped sell her first painting, however – oh, no – she is also naturally very talented. Say what you might about formal vs. non-formal training – Hadfield proves that you don’t need any kind of degree to turn out beautiful oils. Basically what is required, is a keen eye, a full heart and the sense to sit back and gently discover the light and shadow; the interplay between the different colors in a setting. Hadfield has all of this ability – so what you get is an artist who is eminently capable of producing beautiful pieces of art.

The first such piece of art we will have a look at is a piece called Misty Hout Bay Harbour – which as the title suggests is a painting of a harbor in the mist. There are quite a number of boats tethered in the background – veiled in a grayness created by the mist – and then in the foreground we have a wooden vessel. It seems that the viewpoint of the painting comes from a lower vantage point than the front of the boat and that creates a much bolder profile for the boat than might otherwise be achieved. The composition conveys to the viewer a feeling of complete stillness and greatness: apart from the gentle rippling in the water, the large boats sit alone, waiting for their human occupants to return…they sleep in the early morning mist.

Wine Farm Cottage is a fabulously titled piece because indeed, so many of the colors used in it are autumnal and smack of the velvety rich hues of red wine. Here, Hadfield shows just how well she’s mastered light and shade – the brightness and the shadow in the piece play with one another to bring out the dimensions of the building. The trees flow so well with the house, as does the ground they all sit on. The muted blues of the sky provide just enough contrast and shade difference to work perfectly within the context of the painting. Altogether, it’s just a lovely piece.

If really beautiful paintings draw you in; if you want something very special for your home, come and see what Carol Hadfield has to offer. We don’t think you’ll be in the least bit disappointed.

Anthony Latimer – "Equine Dance"

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Of all the nebulas in space, one of the most definable is known as the Horsehead Nebula. Its spinning gases and dark, thick dust hold a shape that, when viewed from Earth, emerges much like the head of a horse. Anthony Latimer embraces this amazing phenomenon in his "Equine Dance." As he successfully attempts to offer personality to this dark and tantalizing plume, this horse of the universe dances joyfully while entertaining the universe. An audience of stars, planets and moons look on with amazement as they observe his performance. Even the distant galaxies come to attention with awe.

The majority of Latimer’s work honors his appreciation of the starry universe and its cosmos. While many of them focus on astronomy, some even reach far into the depths of the ocean. The limitless reaches of space and the deepest secrets of the sea hold many of the greatest mysteries in existence. These allusive entities very creatively protect their knowledge, most of which will never be disturbed by mankind. Enjoy taking a look at Anthony Latimer’s work on his homepage.

Anita Smal – "Three Naked Ladies"

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Anita Smal enjoys studying the nudes that are revealed in many of her paintings. In "Three naked Ladies" she encourages a refreshing lack of inhibition in appreciation of the human body. A trio of lovely ladies relax and lounge among the vibrant shades of the outdoor setting. The vivacious purples, blues and yellows in a mixture of deep tones used with pastel shades lend a cheerful mood to the piece. Warmth from the sun extends brightness and caresses the naked skin while its surface drinks in the freedom from the restraints of confined clothing. The lack of activity creates a peaceful tranquility that encourages leisure, free thought, candor and nonconformity. The figure in the forefront adds a touch of playfulness and tease while holding her toes with one hand and fruit of red in the other.

"Woman with Cats" sets a mood of the same type. With colors that are akin to the previously mentioned painting, the all-but-nude lady rests onher settee in nothing but a feather-light sheer and revealing gown. Her head, arms and feet are placed in stances of comfort and easy tranquility. Next to her, lie two white cats that join her, presenting us once again with a reclining trio. The feline figure on the left rolls and plays in quite contentment giving the playful touch.

Smal also divulges an interest in floral and fruited still lifes, as well as landscapes and portraits. Visit her homepage to enjoy her display of charming paintings.