Finding Happiness as a Painter

Every time I paint, I feel like I’m learning a valuable lesson.

I’ve spent a lot of time recently reading about painting; colour theories, techniques, and trying to get to grips with my craft. As it turns out, taking a more painterly approach, as apposed to an artistic one seems to be my current muse.

At the moment I’m working on a series of three oil paintings which express what it means to be maasai; the semi-nomadic warriors of Kenya and Tanzania. Their culture centres upon intricate rituals and rites of passage, their unique relationship with the land and the natural world; the maasai don’t eat wild animals but herd livestock and obtain the vast majority of their sustenance from their cattle. They also have a complex and often hostile relationship with lions, their adversaries; lions have targeted the maasai’s cattle, and lions have thus been killed both in retaliation and as a rite of passage for the young maasai warrior coming of age. Today though, the maasai’s traditional ways of life and lifestyle are changing; former enemies; maasai and lion have become a unique partnership. One’s knowledge of the other allows the maasai to keep their precious cattle safer, whilst protecting the lion, which has rapidly reduced in numbers throughout the African continent. And it is this changing dynamic between human and animal which fascinated me in my series of painting The Endangered Peoples.

African Oil Paintings

Working on the first of three paintings, featuring a zebu, one of the species of cattle common to the maasai, I’ve discovered that its the process of painting; planning and applying colours, laying on specific sweeps of colour, then at other times a random flick of a palette knife here and there…the process of creating the work is not about conceiving the idea and then simply laying it on a canvas, but deconstructing its elements, and then constructing it again in away that is unique to you.

Zebu Oil Painting Zebu Oil Painting Zebu Oil Painting Zebu Oil Painting

Zebu Oil Painting
Still some more work to go!

Finding happiness as a painter is the first step to finding happiness as an artist.

All paintings featured in this blog post are for sale unless otherwise specified. Enquiries may come to cjwaterfield@gmail.com

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Colour Theories – Inspired by the Palaeolithic

It’s difficult to recall the exact moment when I discovered Palaeolithic Art. I can only imagine I was at least partially exposed to it through the medium of art history, or television, or books. I remember as I delved more into this topic, being instantly hooked by the subtlety of colours in the brilliant, rust red bison and stunning horses.

It was a love affair that has lasted for eight years, and counting, and delving deep into this subject, I learned a lot about colour and mood, and how one intricately leads to the other.
The Solutrean Expression
The Solutrean Expression, 2012

While there’s no comparison between grinding earth, spittle and biological compounds with our easy squeezable plastic tubes, the qualities of those colours are no less obvious.

Yellow Ochre, Indian Red, Naples Yellow and Burnt Sienna are my palette staples; and here are just a few of their bold combinations.

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Spiritual Cosmos, 2014
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Cuba, 2016…a different subject for me, but still drawn to those dominant red and yellows! Privately Owned
olomayio
Olomayio (Lion Hunter), 2015

To be influenced by the deep past is the best source of inspiration, and limiting yourself to just a handful of pigments is a perfect way of creating your own painting signature. Why choose from 50 pigments when our great-great-great (cont,) grandparents were happy with just those that they could work with their hands?

All paintings featured in this blog post are for sale unless otherwise specified. Enquiries may come to cjwaterfield@gmail.com

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