Greetings From South Africa!
... At least for the next few hours. I have been here enjoying a two-month tour with my daughter Nicole while she works on her new show. The opening image to this writing is an artist’s rendering of what it looks like to be stuck in quarantine when your roots need to be done!
Although I am known to be an oil painter, I wanted to continue to work while here, but didn’t want to deal with the mess, smells, and other somewhat precarious issues faced with this medium. I brought acrylic paints and have been loving every minute of them! I forgot how brilliant the colors can be and there’s absolutely no waiting for drying. This proved quite challenging in the beginning. Another challenge I have found is that they flatten out. It’s difficult to get the peaks and valleys that can be achieved with oils. I have been experimenting with the many different mediums that are available both to create texture and to keep them from drying so darn fast. This of course meant that I had to pay a visit to the local art supply store. Love it! I’ve had some success with the fiber paste and the heavy gel medium, but they dry faster and can still be flat. I’ve got a lot to learn yet.
I’ve also found that the mediums can cause a milking up of the colors, greying the dark colors and muting the light colors. Still working on this one, but sometimes that can be handy. I painted a small canvas of a tree/southern US border idea I have been working on when I first got here, but I made the background so brilliant that it’s just not quite there.
I took a big leap and tried some foiling. I thought it would be so hard, but it is one of the easiest things I’ve ever done. It’s paint glue, dry, drop foil on it and the results can bring a work to life. I used silver foil to create the “realistic” silvering of my roots in “Self Portrait Elaborately Coiffed”. Very effective and it glows in real life. I used aluminum foil on the wings of “Nigel”, which makes it glowing, but not as flashy as silver. Nigel has not earned the age privilege of silver flashy.
Cape Town is a very interesting place. So many things are familiar, yet different at the same time. I mean, I can’t remember the last time I went to a park and was concerned a family of baboons may introduce themselves to me. I am impressed at how hard the people of this nation are working to reinvent themselves after such a brutal and far too common history of colonialism. It is my understanding that their constitution includes full rights to ALL PEOPLE. I mean, what the… How hard was that?
Of course, because of Covid, we have been slightly limited on what we can do. We’ve seen (and smelled a few seals), tasted some amazing wine, and somehow avoided a run-in with the above-mentioned ever-hungry baboons, our loss for not having the experience, I say. Our last touristy trip included a visit to the Cheetah Education Center, the Spier Birds of Prey Refuge, Wine Farm, and Segway experience! Oh yeah!
Nicole got Covid but faired quite well as she is fully vaccinated (I didn’t get it – fully vaccinated), so we isolated. I have been a little lonely because when she is not recovering from Covid, she is working a lot. Nonetheless, it has been an amazing experience. I was worried that I would get further behind as an artist because of the time needed to be here, this has not been the case. In fact, I feel fuller as a person and as an artist. Not to mention, how lucky am I to be able to spend two months with my Nicolie?
In closing, I would just like to join the rest of the world in saying to the people of Ukraine; My heart aches for you and all that you are enduring. You are a beautiful and resilient example for us all. I believe in you.
Talk with you next time!