I have felt for sometime that creating art is an emotional journey; in turn finding and viewing art you love is emotional too. So, is buying art actually deep personal connection between art and viewer?
Last weekend I was one of the demonstrating artists at Fresh Art fair in Cheltenham
I’ve been to Fresh the past couple of years and each time I have been on the stand, selling my work, this year at Fresh my work was represented by Park gallery, which afforded me the luxury or spending a day painting. My painting demo was of a lion. I had absolutely no idea how many people have been on Safari in various places throughout Africa. But believe me I met a lot of them on Saturday. I was enjoying our conversations immensely as I will be heading off to Kenya in September to go on Safari in the Masai Mara. People get very emotional when they see my lions, I try to put emotion into all of my animals, for me it’s definitely all about the expression in the eyes. I love the way the animal comes to life when I start painting the reflections and the glint in the eye. I even received around of applause when I put the glint in my lion's eyes during my painting demo. Later on in the fair a lovely lady bought a big lion from the Park gallery stand. And it turns out this was an entirely emotional response. This lady had worked in Botswana and South Africa on various different reserves, and understandably loved lions. Truly madly deeply. She said to me of the painting “That lion’s face just blew me away”. She told me that so often when people are trying to create the strength and power behind a lion that they make them ugly, but mine was majestic and handsome. [The picture above shows the painting I was working on that day, her painting is his big brother!]
Recently I have been creating some entirely new work, away from my animals collection. This isn't because I don't like painting animals, quite the reverse I love them. But I always think it's good to challenge and push myself further as an artist. But I also wanted to really explore this concept of emotion. Was it time to leave strength and power behind and work on something more delicate and subtle?
During the Easter weekend I found myself sitting at the bottom of the garden where we have a little orchard. It's a very special place for me. Under one of the apple trees is where my husband proposed to me nine years ago. Next to it is a cherry blossom tree which he planted on our first anniversary. Whilst I was sitting on the grass in the sunshine the wind blew and the cherry blossom tumbled to the ground. It looked like it was raining pink. In the same moment I thought of dear friends of mine who were married in Japan. Aya looked so beautiful in her stunning wedding kimono. And the chord was struck and I started thinking about how I could possibly create that image in paint. It took quite a few sketches and quite a lot of reference photographs to put the combination together but this is what I came up with.
The kimono and the cherry blossom. I'm absolutely delighted with this piece; it's incredibly emotional and I'm certain that whoever the buyer is, they will have an emotional response to this painting.
suitably inspired by this more delicate approach I went on to create a Thai dancer. When I visited Bangkok I was struck by how much gold there was everywhere! Very modest little buildings sit cheek by jowl next to bejewelled temples. The palaces are covered in gold and my goodness there is such a lot of vibrant colour. One evening we were sitting in an open air restaurant by the riverside and we watched a traditional Thai dance and this painting reflects that evening. The light glinting on her costume and the gold sparkling.
I don't know whether these pieces will ever become as popular as my animals, or whether it will lead to a whole new collection or merely be a dalliance in something different. But it doesn't matter because each painting I paint is a lesson, a journey and an emotional response to what's happening in my life. And I believe the people who look at my paintings go through a similar journey.
All these paintings will be on my stand, Number 45, next weekend at Newbury art fair.
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