Archive for May, 2013

Grady Zeeman – "Gratitude"

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Grady Zeeman produces her masterpieces in oil on canvas. She possesses considerable talent and technique, but what is even more evident is her unique point of view. Most of her pieces feature figures of human beings, all caught in the expression of various stages of the human condition. "Spiritual Growth," for example, is augmented by "Mockery of a Democracy," and the poignant debauch of "La Dolce Vita" is juxtaposed with a mystical painting called "At Peace."

In her oil painting called "Gratitude," Zeeman brings one of her most abstract perspectives to bear. It displays what are probably two bodies, but may be more, fitted together in an interesting vertical composition. There are no faces, and the piece is largely unreadable, though it has a nice rhythm and harmonic movement of its own in the many large curves, trapped inside the straight-lined borders of the canvas. In this picture, the artist employs a characteristically heavy hand with blotches of texture and outlines that enable the viewer to see the forms as sculptures, rather than three-dimensional objects. The background is a dark, rusty red, and the shapes in the foreground are pale green with white-to-black accents.

Another work that is equally abstract, and equally fascinating is called "The Mob." It depicts a crowd of people who look to be dancing, but may be dreaming up something more sinister. Several of these pieces show this tantalizing, dark side of an obviously well-rounded artist.

 

Jill Connacher – "Willie’s Birds"

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Jill Connacher has a way with watercolors. She uses all mediums, including collage and mixed media, but her first love is watercolors, with its lovely responsiveness. Her work is mostly about landscapes, but there are a few  floral subjects mixed in, such as "Arums" and "Schastas."

"Willie’s Birds" is a stunning landscape that features a becalmed river standing placidly between two rugged hillocks with trees. In the far distance is a horizon lined with misty trees, and all is covered by a grey, foggy sky, reflected in the water. Beautifully executed, this is a classic picture. One can almost smell the humidity in the heavy air, and hear the birds in the title as they fly by, far in the back plane of the canvas. It’s a dazzlingly tranquil scene, carried out in monotones of sienna.

Connacher doesn’t always stick to the photo-realistic portrayals of her themes. "Landscape with Moon" is a good example of a painting which, while realistic in a way, is more impressionistic than anything else. Nearly a half of the canvas is given over to a rich, olive green field, cut into by a heavy horizontal horizon that defines the base of rocky mountains. Behind them is a deep Prussian blue sky decorated by a beautiful full moon.

Another charming offering, "Three’s Company," captures three snow-white geese stepping along in a green field, with a forest in the background. The artist has created added interest through the use of exaggerated shadows thrown by the bodies of the trio.

 

 

 

 

Jeanne Hendriks – Muse with Singing Bowl

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

A calm image presented to the viewer here by Ms. Hendriks is exactly what we are led to expect when we read the title of this relatively large piece “Muse with Singing Bowl” as we will discuss below.

The focus of the image, the muse, is show to us in a relaxed fashion stretched, reclined in a state of meditation. She is equipped with a singing bowl, for those who are not familiar with such things singing bowls are harmonic items played by healers and monks primarily used in the practice of meditation and therapy amongst other actions of personal well being. We have an image of such a healer, creating an environment of health and balance.

We are not familiar with the state that the muse and the outside world is coming from at all but get a feeling of calm and well being from the look on her face, the balance of her and the use of muted color and texture both from the manner in which the paint is spread as well as the mixed media method the piece is created. A muse as it is is a goddess of inspiration and art. The muse here is creating such her therapy to the world created in Ms. Hendriks’ painting is not only that of the body but of the mind and psyche as well. One cannot be inspired and refreshed if the mind is not balanced with the outer body. This muse has been equipped not only with her own abilities but also with her new tools of therapy and inspiration.

Karyn Wiggill

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

SouthAfricanArtists.com‘s Karyn Wiggill is a versatile artist at home with oil, acrylics, pastel, and the humble pencil. She presents some wonderful art in her online gallery, varied in approach and style, but mostly representative.

A gorgeous ambassador for Karyn’s ability is "Flowers of Joy." This is a superb watercolor of a vase with big roses overflowing from its rim. Its smallish size (12″ wide by 9″ high) is matched by a more than reasonably small price tag. "Flowers of Joy" is executed in a luscious palette of salmons, pinks, whites and blues in an uncomplicated setting with classic composition. This is a piece that would enhance any setting.

"Pause for Thought" is a pencil drawing that makes a perfect showcase for Karyn’s considerable skills in black and white drawing. In this picture, a little boy on a scooter takes time to stop and think. We don’t know what’s on his mind, but it is imminently clear that he’s thinking hard.

In "Tulip," Karyn displays her understanding of light and dark in an oil painting of a single tulip. The piece is vertical, but not extremely narrow, measuring 24″ high by 18″ wide. The star of the show is a dark pink tulip in its prime, standing straight and noble in front of an innocuous background and dressed up with slate-green leaves at the bottom of the picture.

In her online profile, Karyn implies that she has just begun to have time to do her art seriously. She has everything it takes to go far!

 

 

Grant Preston – "Drinking Alone"

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Grant Preston is  a painter and sculptor with a distinctive visual point of view. His style could fairly be identified as a combination of cubism and graphic illustration, but there is a complexity and control to it that is uniquely Preston’s own.

"Drinking Alone" is an interesting example of his whimsical side, which often crops up in his collection on SouthAfricanArtists.com. This is a portrait of a man with a bottle in one hand. Modern and somewhat cartoonish, this picture nevertheless is anything but unsophisticated. Preston says of this painting that he created it using underpainting overlain with see-through brush work, an interesting and effective technique indeed. The work is in oil on stretched canvas and measures 30″ wide by 22″ high.

A masterful craftsman with graphic composition, Preston’s work is given over to many variations on a theme. Usually, he will choose to portray cubistic illustrations of people in an appealing modernistic style. "Friends of Mine" is another good example of his vision. His work is put together almost like a complex jigsaw puzzle of repeated geometric shapes and color planes. The end result is absolutely fascinating, somewhat eerie, and always wonderful.

Preston has branched out into cast bronze sculptures, and in each he displays a continued penchant for the humorous and the near avant garde. "Nature Lover" is one such bronze piece, a vertical sculptural portrayal of a plant, perhaps a tree or sunflower, with an attractive, elongated human face for a trunk or stem. It’s charming and irresistible!

 

 

Christophorus – "Moon River"

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

SouthAfricanArtists.com contributor Christophorus uses oils and acrylics to bring to life his primal love, the sea, on canvas. You will find some stunning seascapes among his online gallery here, and you will be even more astounded at the affordable price tags. Clever and experienced with brush and color, Christophorus seems content to make beautiful pictures of the ocean, often with people in and around it.

The artist displays a few other approaches to his work, in graphic illustrations that are not realistic, but modern. "Moon River" is one of these exquisite pieces. It depicts a half-circle white moon, dead center in the top half of a mostly black canvas. The shape seems to float in the deep black sky, yet on closer inspection, we see that the blackness underneath the moon must be a straight horizon. Under that are three horizontal divisions of the rest of the canvas, rough indications of waves, reflections, and a beach. This is an altogether striking painting that measures 39″ wide by 35″ high.

Christophorus offers his viewers a plentiful series called "Paternoster," all seascapes, lovingly portrayed. "Paternoster 38" and "Paternoster 04" are two fine examples, depicting people in boats out on the water, fishing and enjoying the weather and the sea. Since "Paternoster" means "our Father," one could reasonably assume this is a reference to the spiritual bond Christophorus feels with the ocean.

This artist’s style is invariably carried out impeccably in a pleasant, pseudo-impressionist manner. He excels in simplicity, and the result is easy to read and very enjoyable.

Greg Norman – "Mandela – Good Hope,"

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

"Art has no boundaries," says Greg Norman. Passionate about sculpture, this SouthAfricanArtists.com contributor has recently immersed himself in oils on canvas. His online gallery here includes mostly portraits, executed in either photographic realism or cubist-style modern art. The collection includes some landscapes, among them "Stone House Path!" But it’s in his representations of people, such as "Nelson Mandela on Black," that Norman’s work shines.

Another portrait of Mandela, called "Mandela – Good Hope," is a tribute to the man honored across the planet. Norman depicts the "father of South Africa’s democracy" in his elder days, smiling his winning smile underneath a shock of white hair. Mandela’s spirit practically leaps off the painting, clearly showing the viewer the visage of a genuine, generous human being in this iconic figure. Nelson Mandela, we see from this oil painting, was a man at peace, living in joy. The subject’s shoulder-to-pate portrayal fills most of the picture. The background is a pleasant, yet simple, seascape with repeated, deep blues in the sky above.

A series by this artist is also displayed in this grouping. It stipulates the question, "What if Pablo Picasso painted ______," filling in the blank with the name of a famous artist. "Pablo’s Vincent" and "Pablo’s Warhol" are two oil paintings in this interesting series. The first shows a Picasso-esque deconstruction of a familiar Van Gogh portrait, and the second a similar treatment of Andy Warhol’s portrait.

To see a quintessential Mandela painting by Norman, view "Mandela & the 2010 Rainbow Children."

 

 

Stefani Ernst – "Portrait"

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Stefani Ernst is a passionate photographer and illustrator who has branched out into painting with oils from photos. The majority of her pieces on SouthAfricanArtists.com are photorealistic pictures. Some are of local animals such as cattle, and some are interesting closeups of plants. Many of her pictures are presented in an unusually large format, such as "Small Fish, Big Pond," a striking black and white photographic print which measures nearly four feet wide.

One photo, simply called "Portrait," is a standout in Stefani’s photographic collection. This large print shows a native South African in front of a wall made of slanting boards, stacked horizontally. There is great texture and fine lighting in this picture, but the face is the star of the show here. Squinting under a cloth hat, this man’s face is irresistibly weathered and interesting. The work is in color, but the palette is almost exclusively monochromatic in rich browns and tans, with the exception of some grey-green patterns in the color and weave of the subject’s shirt.

There is a series of unusual photographs along the lines of "The Art of Woodwork 3/9" in Stefani’s online collection. These feature humble carpentry objects, such as an old paint brush, displayed on personality-laden wooden boards.

Artist Stefani has very few actual oil paintings in this collection, but she shows herself as gifted in translating photography to oils on canvas. "Turkish Lady" is an excellent case in point. We suggest revisiting this artist’s online gallery frequently to see what paintings she might come up with next.

 

Johan Dempers – "Afghan Man"

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

All of Johan Dempers‘ small collection on SouthAfricanArtists.com are photographic in nature, though they are presented in the form of giclee prints. Although few in number, these pictures are well worth a visit, as they offer some remarkable views.

"Hexrivier" is a giclee of a dramatic photograph depicting a valley caught in its long process of cutting through two rugged mountains. Taken from a plane by a master photographer, "Hexrivier" is nicely composed, with the silver curve of a river rounding through the foreground and a quilt of farmland traveling from foreground to horizon. The colors are nicely saturated and the clarity is phenomenal.

"Afghan Man" is a true work of art in portraiture. Another giclee, this picture depicts an elderly Afghan who holds a glass out in front of his long, snowy beard, in a toasting gesture. On his head is an understated turban, and on his ring finger is a large red ring. He is portrayed on a sea of the deepest black, and this portrait is superbly lit, with artistic lights and shadows. The man’s face, however, is reserved. We are immensely curious about what might be going on in the subject’s mind. Caught just before or after a toast by another, this man seems in no mood for festive occasions.

"Cape Town" is another quintessential aerial photograph, and another giclee on canvas. It shows the city in all its considerable magnificence, surrounded by the deepest blues of the waters that frame it.

 

Berthold Moyo

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Invariably working in oil on canvas, Berthold Moyo is a talented and prolific artist with a flair for portraiture. His work displays not only his old-school studies in realism at the Paris School of Art, but also an intuitive ability to capture the essence of his subjects.

"Streetmarket" is a very interesting, quite large canvas, measuring 37″wide by 51″ high. In it, a mother holds her child in front of a market scene crowded with figures. The foreground is indicated by a table of large grapes which seem to spill off the canvas in front of us. The principle subjects are painted in incredible detail, with great attention to shading, brush stroke, and proportion. Their photo-realism contrasts dramatically with the crowd in the background, which is depicted in a monochromatic graphic style. The artist has the mother looking off out of the left edge of the frame and the child looking off to the right. There must be a lot going on!

While Moyo’s initial passion was for graphic design, his paintings are entirely given over to the fine art category. He mostly paints native South Africans, especially in portraiture, his strength. But he also makes inspiring portraits of the magnificent native wildlife, again in a realistic, beautifully executed technique. "Cape Buffalo Bull" is a good example. A stunning closeup of a cape buffalo surrounded by grassy reeds, this picture would be an asset to any collection. The massive face stares right into ours with a quizzical, yet benign, attitude, as if to say, "Peace, brother."