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: Purple

We are a pattern-seeking species, and this is never more evident than in the career of any long-term established artist. From signature brush-strokes to colour meanings and even position and juxtaposition of objects, patterns are evident within any body of work. Evolution from disjointed works of art to art with purpose, evolution and a timeline doesn’t happen overnight, but sometimes it does seem to happen by accident. Look at Van Gogh’s early works, thickly pasted potato peel and dripping in mud-hues, or Marc or Monet’s early experiments with muted hues and brush strokes.

We all have our comfort zone, our comfort colours, even if we don’t necessarily have our feet on the ground artistically.

Purple is a colour that was once prized for its rarity, instability and its costliness. The colour purple is not overly feminine or masculine, and it doesn’t come into my daily life at all. I don’t own any piece of purple furniture, fabric, home decor, pottery or flowers. Yet it seems to be becoming the dominant colour in my watercolours.

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This colour has the ability to hold a painting together; it transforms something black into something solid, alive and that interacts with its environment. It can be used for hard and soft equally well. When used with complementary colours it transforms into depth, shadow, and light.

To find out more about commissioning a painting or to enquire about specific paintings for sale send me a message through my Facebook Page or take a look through at my website: cjwaterfieldart.com

Reflections

2016 is almost upon us, and it’s been an eventful year, to say the least. I thought I’d share with you some of the artistic highlights and other happenings of the year.

Firstly, I got a step closer to owning my own home. Now all that remains is to create some brand new paintings to brighten up the walls. Commissioning yourself to paint permanent artworks for your own walls…trickier than one might expect.

I embarked on some new painting projects, though admittedly my production rate was somewhat slower than previous years. However, I did complete my biggest project to date:

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The Artists Lodge, A Painted Maltese Door, 2015

I also had a collective exhibition which was featured on local news, and created a series of Arctic and Antarctic inspired works:

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Season of Change, 2015

But it seems that at various points during the year, I lost my way artistically and since then have been taking a step back and re-evaluating where I want to go. This process, surprisingly, has lead me to re-work some existing paintings instead of plunging ahead with new works. I like this back-tracking; I think it helps put things into perspective.

This was the first painting of the year, Axolotl:

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Axolotl, 2015

It’s cute and slightly odd at the same time, but provokes questions from people who have never heard of or seen such a creature, which I like.

Perhaps my artistic stumbling block came as I was struggling with the pain and stress of endometriosis, with which I was diagnosed back in March. I’m learning to take this in my stride as much as possible, but it’s been an interesting adaptation. Thankfully I managed to sign what I can presume to be the last painting of the year, which is a re-work of a 2014 piece that I’ll talk about it my next blog.

I personally hope that next year will be brighter not for me but for all those who are currently suffering in the midst of civil war, terrorism and poverty. Topics which I think I’ll be tackling on canvas next year.

Thanks for following.

To find out more about commissioning a painting or to enquire about specific paintings for sale send me a message through my Facebook Page or take a look through at my website: cjwaterfieldart.com

Of Attenborough and Art

We’ve probably all heard about the case of another trophy hunter that mercilessly shot and killed one of Zimbabwe’s finest bull elephants. We’ve probably also heard this week how female sea turtles will soon run out of males to breed with thanks to a warming climate.

But this post isn’t about that. Why? Because I believe in providing hope, and encouraging drive to change the world, not through devastation, fear-mongering and finger-pointing, but by inspiring.

If we turn away from our laptops, Smartphones, fast food outlets and treadmills, and take a closer look at the world around us, we’ll realise what we’re missing, without being told how we’re destroying it and how selfish we are (however truthful this is).

Stopping to watch how ants seamlessly navigate their jenga-board environment carrying twigs three times their size, or watching bats zip past the electricity cables whilst you’re convinced you can here them ecolating; watching pigeons lay down like dogs and stretch out their tatty, greasy wings to bask in the October midday sun…even in the most understated urban environment, nature can be found.

So imagine then, what the wider world offers. One only has to catch a glimpse of base-jumping barnacle geese, peacock spiders flamenco dancing to their death and reindeer swimming across a 2 kilometre stretch of just-above-freezing water to feel a sense of awe. It is thanks to the wonderful work of David Attenborough and the passion and skill of his film-makers, that we are aware of many of the wonders that the natural world has to offer.

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Portrait of David Attenborough, Oils on Panel, 2014

And to me, wildlife art can do the same. Let’s not point fingers and say ‘look what you’ve done’, instead, let’s say ‘look at what you’re missing’.

Yes, climate change is real. Yes, species are dying at an alarming rate, and yes, humans are to blame. But we as the Greatest Ape are the only ones who can solve the problem. If only we’d stop to look at it.

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Season of Change, 2015

To find out more about commissioning a painting or to enquire about specific paintings for sale send me a message through my Facebook Page or take a look through at my website: cjwaterfieldart.com

The Maltese Painted Door

A brand new painting concept in Malta; the Maltese falcon and Knight of Malta embracing a front door.

When I was approached by a local property owner in Malta seeking a novel concept for his front door, I was at first a little daunted by the prospect. Elaborately painted doors are nothing new on the Portuguese island of Madeira; the island positively screams culture, but Malta is a little more conservative when it comes to street art.

But, thrilled at the chance to create something new and daring, I took up the challenge. A nondescript house in a charming side-street in Sliema has been given a unique face-lift.

FullSizeRenderOn the front door of the house named ‘The Artist’s Lodge’ passers by are greeted by the sight of a posed, elegant Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, and looked down upon by the eyes of a domineering Maltese falcon.

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The painting itself posed a few logistical challenges; the qualities of the typical Maltese wooden door also proved a complex surface to paint on. But I was invigorated by the new surface, chunky brushes and the ability to let go and enjoy the colours.

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It was daunting but ultimately satisfying. Something new for me and, I hope, something new for Malta. I hope the idea catches on, giving Malta’s already unique houses an aesthetic facelift, giving locals and tourists alike a new feast to indulge in.

To find out more about commissioning a similar project or to enquire about specific paintings for sale send me a message through my Facebook Page or take a look at my website: cjwaterfieldart.com

SHout Art Exhibition – Artists together to protect birds in Spring

A collective art exhibition in Malta in support of SHout, Spring Hunting Out campaign. A number of Artists have got together and are offering one or more of their work of art to this good cause.

A collective art exhibition in support of SHout, Spring Hunting Out campaign. A number of Artists have got together and are offering one or more of their work of art to this good cause.

Artists: Chloe Waterfield (that’s me), John Busuttil Leaver, Rodney Ingram, Jacqueline Agius, Mathew Pace, Simone Cutajar, C.S Lawrence, Joe Sultana, Emma Pace, Marika Borg, Andrew Micallef, Doranne Alden, Cally Higginbottom, Kevin Sciberras, Marisa Attard, Winston Hassall, Joe Pace Ross, and Christopher Saliba.

More information about the event is available on Facebook.

Spring Hunting is harming birds. Spring Hunting is damaging our countryside. Make Malta better – Vote NO on the 11th April and let’s Shout Spring Hunting Out!

Date: 13th March – 27th March 2015
Place: Din L-Art Helwa,  Old Bakery Street Valletta, MALTA

Source: http://www.springhuntingout.com/

To find out more about commissioning a painting or to enquire about specific paintings for sale send me a message through my Facebook Page or take a look through at my website: cjwaterfieldart.com

Black, White & Colour

We’re all (hopefully) familiar with the colour wheel; we’ve been taught how to use it, and how not to use it, and learned what colours compliment, and which don’t work so well. Whilst I am a huge fan of bright, bold primary colours and using vivid yet limited colour palettes, I get the feeling that black and white are underestimated.

The Impressionists were against using white in their paintings. A ‘white’ object, when painted, is never truly white; it in fact reflects all of the colours, light and shadows around it. Shadows are never truly ‘black’; but try trying to paint a rich deep, darker-than-grey shade without black, and it’s never quite rich enough.

Ignoring these supposed rules, black and white have endless possibilities. You can throw together as many bold and crazy colours as you like; but add black and whites to them, and suddenly the whole composition will become coherent.

Below are some examples I’ve chosen that emphasis this rich harmony of black, white and colour, in various unique ways:


Henri Matisse, Sorrow of the King (1952)


Franz Marc Dog Before the World, 1912


Caravaggio Saint Jerome Writing, 1606


Lemakoo Art Flowers


Nature does it pretty well, too.

Thylacine Oil PaintingAnd my own painting ‘Thylacine‘ using black as a bold, neutralising colour. I will be exploring this colour harmony in more detail in the coming weeks.

What do you think about this subject? Can you suggest any examples of paintings/artefacts that demonstrate this wonderful colour harmony?