October 24, 2016


Sense of Place Composition Study no.6 (modified/unofficial version)
(digital painting of the Compassberg peak [witches hat] entering Neu Bethesda)

I was privileged to be part of the new Sense of Place exhibit happening at the moment in Graaff-Reinets fairly new and establishing gallery adjoined to the prestigious Drostdy Hotel. If you want to treat yourself and you are in the area, the cake is very good and reasonable.

I did 10 paintings altogether, 8 in a set plus two limited 2nd editions with frames I made myself and one multi-compostional piece. The process is simple, I paint them as I am inspired to do, on location in procreate on my iPad and print this to a fairly sturdy paper. A transfer glaze is applied (which I have learnt allot about, more to follow on that in future posts) and then press this to a prepared Masonite board, neatly finished off and centered. 

 The image then becomes a live oil painting as I apply layers of linseed oil and buff, then repeat. Oil paints go on in glazes and overlays, keeping to the basic composition mostly and importantly the correct value ranges. Of the 8 pieces, features include: a karoo house, some famous land mark 'koppies' and mountains as well as suggestions of agave, a most wondrous plant and for me a definite icon encapsulating the theme. They grow in forests out on the dry karoo plains, and it is just the flower that stands out almost like a tree itself. Very sugary, so you can make tequila from them too! 

Agave digital sketch

It is amazing to use this new technique and have done the experimenting, discovering how to do the transfer and produce finished paintings. I would not want to work from reference when painting landscape and this technique gives me that ability, since it is somewhat challenging (for most artists)  to achieve good 'on-location' results. There is some argument about it amoungst artists, those who condemn using reference versus working from life, but at the end of the day it is just a practicality matter and the notions of the artist in question, each of us having very different needs and therefore processes. Personally I am intent on the magic of painting what I see in life, for sure that process is far from finally understood or ideally handled, but that is also its charm, nothing is certain, and the art is almost secondary to the experience. I may paint from reference too but my intention is then different, the work is then different and so on, each to their own and let the art speak for itself.

Initially the paintings were done as studies, these were added to and by the time they were ready to hang had become fully finished pieces, and made from start to finsih by myself. It was allot of fun and opened a whole new universe of possibilities for me. Some might be a little 'nay saying' also on the part of them being made digitally, and its true, this is a medium of its own, not unlike water colours, or any other way to render a picture, but these finished pieces are not being looked at on a screen when finished, I have taken them further and to the very end. I am also sure not to re print or re work the same image again either, because I want to make more, others and holding to my discoveries, creating works of fine art the way that makes sense to me in the moment. Perhaps one day I will go and collect specific reference, work from it and then display ONLY on a screen!! Who knows..

Here is a link to a gallery shot as it showcases four of these pieces currently. The rest can be seen on my site here. Please follow the links for further information on the gallery and the Imibala trust (which a portion of the proceeds go toward). Thank you to Kim, Dianne and Tessa for everything and for displaying my work, thanks also to Imibala.

The Curators

Drostdy Imibala Gallery