Leda and the Swan : a new watercolor painting

I have finally completed this painting, which I’ve been working on over the year. You can see its progress here. It is based upon Leda and the Swan , the ancient Greek myth of Zeus disguised as a swan who seduces the innocent mortal Leda.

Leda and the Swan

I wanted an African nuance, but ethereal too, with allusions to flight and feathers; the dreaminess of Leda’s imagination as she ponders Zeus’s love…This painting was done in watercolor on my favourite Stonehenge paper, with touches of gold paint, coloured pencil and ink.

Swan Maiden painting

I have gorgeous art prints for sale in my online shop, and the original is also for sale here.

What is a Merrow…? Gorgeous Limited Edition Mermaid prints now available..

MERROWKISS~original watercolor painting~

A Merrow is a gentle Irish mermaiden in Celtic folklore.

I painted this romantic watercolour painting , “Merrow Kiss” quite some time ago, and released it in a limited edition run of prints. It is definitely one of my favourite paintings; I love anything to do with these mysterious mythical creatures whose bodies – half human, half fish, symbolise the feminine connection with imagination, love and sensuality. The prints sold out quickly and due to requests by a number of customers recently, I am releasing it as a limited edition poster print.

This poem by W.B Yeats was my inspiration ~

“A Mermaid found a swimming lad,
Picked him for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown”

The print comes signed and titled by me with a certificate of authenticity. For a limited time I am able to offer it with free shipping anywhere in the world. You can find it for sale in my online shop Here.

merrow mermaid original painting 2

Leda and the Swan watercolour painting progress

I am nearing the end of completing this little painting, which I have really enjoyed doing. As mentioned in a previous post, the concept is based on an ancient Greek myth of Zeus disguised as a swan who seduces the innocent Leda.

I wanted a kind of African nuance, but ethereal too, with allusions to flight and feathers; the dreaminess of Leda’s imagination as she ponders Zeus’s love…

leda and swan

Leda Swan

The Painter’s Journey ~ Part III : Putting the paint brush down….

This last part of my process of painting posts deals with bringing the composition together towards its conclusion. This can be the hardest part for me. Often it is at the stage when I feel like abandoning my creation because it is not quite what my inner vision had conjured up: I get a little impatient; frustrated with the paint, or the colours, or just my own hyper-critical sense of perfection.

It is normally at this point when the all-knowing Muse leans on my shoulder and gently but firmly encourages me to keep going, even if I don’t know what I am doing. It’s often a good time to step back for a few days if you are feeling like this, too, and watch an inspiring movie or start a new book. What always helps me, without fail, is taking long walks – through tree-lined streets, in a park or wherever there is a bit of Nature to guide the creative instinct and clear the mind of clutter.

time2sketch

I rely mostly on my creative instinct when finishing a painting. When I consciously choose to open up to this intuitive aspect, it does seem to flow towards the resolution of the work. Holding the painting from a distance upside down gives a really interesting perspective, too, on design and composition elements that can be enhanced. I love also at this point to just quietly meditate on the process of filling in small details: hidden faces, creatures, patterns and spirits that inhabit this world that unfolds before me…

time goddess painting 2

time goddess painting

“Time Goddess”

sun-moon-3  sun and moon lover art
“The Sun and the Moon”

sun-moon painting 3

As many painters (and probably all artists) would agree: you have to know when to finally stop painting, and just put the paint brush down, and let it go. This moment is the sweetest, and the most troubling of the whole process: what if I just added a bit more detail there? Or some intenser colouring there? I’m not happy with her hand, should I try to change it? But inevitably, with me, something just clicks and I know that my creative journey is over with this painting. Perhaps the Muse calmly puts my hand down for me, and lets me sit back, but I know this moment is also sacred, for a new creation has been completed, and I have that inner satisfaction and peace that tells me so….

My new favourite artist: Grant Wood

” I realized that all the really good ideas I’d ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.   So I went back to Iowa.”  ~ Grant Wood ~

Last week we visited the lovely snow-dusted Mississippi river city of Dubuque., Iowa. We decided to drop into the wonderful Dubuque Art Musem    a regional art gallery I was delighted to find had some works of this great iconic Midwest American artist.

The painting that particularly captured my  imaginations was “Appraisal”

appraisal grant wood

It is exquisitely painted, with tender, delicate detail and gently humorous symbolism.

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The other painting that struck me was his eerily gothic and deftly satirical “Victorian Survival”

Victorian survival grant wood

The first time I learned of Wood was as part of our cursory study of American art in a South African school curriculum. We briefly investigated “American Gothic” as an example of Depression-era painting, with its wonderfully subtle parody and gentle realism. I was lucky enough to see the original at the stunning Art Institute of Chicago

American Gothic Grant Wood

Wood was also an amazing print maker, his lithographs are dreamy, whimsical and surreal and have his characteristic delicacy and attention to the evocative landscape of his beautiful native Iowa…his childhood country school is also depicted on the 2004 Iowa State Quarter.

grant-wood-february

588px-Iowa_quarter,_reverse_side,_2004

Wood’s colour schemes, his sensitivity to his subject matter and the magical elements that sparkle in his work really inspire me as an artist. I would love to hear any comments others may have of their favourite American artists – I love discovering new work!

This is a good link to visit for more information on this quintessential American artist:

Grant Woods

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The Sacred Union of Female and Male : Art of Lovers

The Masculine and Feminine revolve

through nature and life as One.

The Sun and Moon symbolize a great

power of love and balance…

~John Robson of Nitesongs~

Throughout my artistic life I have been drawn to expressing the beauty and power of romance between Feminine and Masculine elements. The Lover Archetypes are inherent throughout all cultures, religions and mythologies, and is woven deep within our collective consciousness and the very laws of Nature herself. Here are some of the paintings that I have been inspired to create in honour of the love that man and woman have spun together in the timeless dance of sacred love, union and deep mutual fascination that is the basis of the creation of human life…

you can click on the images for more information

The Secret Garden original watercolor fantasy painting

This is the completed commissioned art work for Aldene in Wales! I enjoyed getting lost in the realms of nature and fantasy…and added some hidden fairies and little creatures throughout the painting if you look closely. It measures approximately 20 inches x 20 inches ; 51 cm x 51 cm ~ my previous posts outline the process of this painting.

You can purchase a beautiful print of this painting here.

Secret Garden Painting progress

This is a close up of painting commission currently underway, the beginnings of which you can see below or here. I have been painting mostly with watercolours, adding touches with acrylic paint and pigment coloured pencil. There are two faeries, and a hedgehog so far….click on the image to enlarge and see if you can spot them! More little creatures to come later…

Cat Folk Art Painting Art Nouveau style with poppies, butterflies and ladybugs

This is my completed Art Nouveau style Cat painting. It is watercolor with gold and colored pigment ink and is inspired by folk art as well as the illustrations of the Art Nouveau period which had a wonderful flowing style and often incorporated natural elements within the diverse themes depicted.

It is for sale as a beautiful print in my online shop here and the original painting is for sale here – I have not come up with a name for it, so any suggestions are welcome!