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Seraphine, outsider artist

Last night I was fortunate enough to chance upon a French/Belgian film on TV called Seraphine, the story  of Seraphine Louis also called Seraphine de Senlis. Seraphine, (born in 1864) was an orphan by the time she was 8 years old which meant a life of  servitude and cleaning people's houses lay ahead of her. 

Seraphine had a secret passion however, she believed angels were guiding her to paint pictures. She created  wonderful images of nature, colourful flowers and leaves were woven into magical creations that were way ahead of their time. 

Seraphine was extremely devout and was inspired by her religious faith and the beautiful colours in stained glass windows.  She was discovered by an art collector who she worked for who spotted her talent and encouraged her gift and became her patron. The story is not a happy ever after tale, but it is a beautifully told story of a simple but driven woman  who was an intuitive artist, driven to express her spirituality through her art. The film demonstrates the fine line between passion and obsession and mental illness and is very moving.. Even if you don't want to watch the movie, you may like to look at some of  her art. Seraphine died in 1942.


Oil Pastel.... because sometimes you just need to play.

I recently found my oil pastels and decided to have a play. Do you remember when you were a little kid making images with crayons where you would put lots of colours on the page, cover them with a darker colour and scratch an image out? Maybe it was just me! The images I produced became more developed as I progressed in this experimentation, for instance the tree in the first image is less intense in colour than the second image of the tree.

 I love the way you can produce an image by scratching your particular method of mark making onto
the oil pastel. It is almost a way of sculpting an image by using a sharp tool. No two images will ever be the same as the mark making is random.

It is possible to manipulate the random nature of the colour by choosing where to place the colours on the bottom layer.

The image above had the hue changed in Photoshop to produce a different feel.

This method of image making produces images which are full of texture and which have an ethereal feel.


Do you dream in colour?

In Adelaide we are coming to the end of what is known as Mad March. There are so many events on in March in Adelaide that it would be impossible to go to all of them. I had the pleasure of seeing Neil Finn and Paul Kelly play a free concert in the city a couple of weeks ago to open the Adelaide Festival.
This was one event amongst many since as well as the Festival there was the Fringe festival which is the second biggest Fringe in the world after Edinburgh.
There were artists from all over wandering around entertaining us for weeks. And still it goes on. If you ever want to come to Adelaide come in March when Adelaide becomes Radelaide!
It has been exciting having so much artistry going on around me but I still managed to get into my shedio. (shed/studio) A while ago I posted some black and white images which I had made through a visualisation technique, well I finally got around to resolving those images in colour by using acrylic paint.
See previous images here.
 These are my colour renderings. I haven't decided if I like the black and white ones or these best. What do you think?
"And the whale jumped over the moon." acrylic on board

"Have you heard the news!" acrylic on board

. I made a few changes as you can see particularly by making the flower into a more open style flower. I particularly enjoy seeing my images in colour as they have gone through many stages before this, roughs,sketches, tonal studies and finally the colour rendering.
 I dream in colour!

Creativity and Self Doubt

 I just read an article which was very inspiring regarding creativity and self doubt.

The article stated that self doubt can be the biggest block to our creativity. The fear of being judged or misunderstood can be very strong and can stop creativity in it's tracks.
The author suggests 10 ways in which to overcome your self doubt and get your creativity back on track. I found this article really helpful, especially the reminder of why I create, it is not to impress people but to express myself in a way that fulfills a brief. The illustrator Carla Sonheim was one of those who were interviewed. Carla is an extremely daring and innovative creative who very generously shares lots of ideas about creativity and how she goes about the creative process in her image making. Carla quotes Alan Alda;

 “Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You cannot get there by bus, only by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you will discover will be wonderful: Yourself.”

Have a look at Carla's website here.  

In the spirit of putting myself out there and sharing my creativity here are 2 collages I recently finished. The cat was a project I started at uni and wanted to complete, it lead to the bunny. They are both paper collage using old projects I tore up, out of print book pages and some hand painted paper.  I like the way that random pieces add interest to the image.

Cat, paper collage
Bunny, paper collage