So a few years ago, I had just returned to Johannesburg, after having lived in Zurich, Switzerland for two years. I was happy to be home in South Africa, it was summer, and one night I went out with my best friend, Justin Brett, to the Colour Bar at 44 Stanley. It was about 9 o’clock on a Friday evening. We walked into the outside courtyard, and my friend introduced me a beautiful man. He was twenty eight years old, tall with dark blonde hair, blue smiley eyes, an enigmatic accent, and his name was Neil White.
After the perfect symmetry of Switzerland, I was in love with the fluid lines and wildness of the South African floral kingdom. The painting was the start of falling head over heels in love with my now-husband. I drew and painted it all day, every day for three months. I wanted to make an ode to love and beauty, and it hung cherished -and almost-finished- in our home for many years. In the time my husband and I have been together, I have gone from being an artist to a graphic designer and dtp layout dogs-body, to an account manager, to a textile designer and surface designer -which after being an artist, was what I thought I really wanted to be.
We moved to Cape Town two and a half years ago, and at the end of last year, my Mr White turned to me one evening, and asked if I didn’t seriously want to move back into making paintings again. He said that when I was an artist, it was the most ‘me’ he’s ever seen me -which I think might be one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. A few months later, I found myself a studio at Eastside Studios in Salt River, surrounded by ten other painters, and finished the painting. It’s 100cm x 100cm, and painted in oil on canvas.
I approached Michael Chandler to exhibit and sell the work for me, and in a room full of sweet-smelling spring flowers in the Voorkamer Gallery at Chandler House in Church Street, Cape Town, the exhibition opened on the first day of spring, as part of First Thursdays. I have to admit, that I was feeling very shy on the opening night and was having feelings of self-doubt the next morning, until the universe high-fived me with the news that someone had seen the painting, loved it, and bought it on the first morning of the exhibition(!) I’ll really miss the painting, but luckily, when I made peace with selling the original painting a few months back, I knew that a a keepsake print of it had to be made for my husband, so decided to make a limited-edition set of 25 smaller prints on thick, velvety, matt Hahnemuhle Museum Etching paper.
I believe that the things we make, resonate with our intention, and for me, this canvas gleams with jewel-coloured goodness, and I wanted to be able to share that, and to make the joy of owning it a bit more accessible. The one-off fine art prints are 60cm x 60cm each, and are available while stocks last. They are BEAUTIFUL! Contact Chandler House for more info on 021 4244 810 or HERE. I’d also highly recommend seeing the original full-size painting, before it goes to it’s new home!
(There was also a series of my beautifully-framed smaller goauche paintings of meadow flowers on paper on show, but most of them have sold as well(!) and are already in their new home in Franschoek.)
Thank you to Justin Brett for helping me curate the show, and for framing all my work more beautifully than I could have ever imagined. The show in the Voorkamer Gallery is up till 1 October, and Chandler House is located at 53 Church Street, Cape Town.
Michael Chandler has had fun taking photos of the painting in his flower-filled gallery over the past three weeks. Here is his #WatsoniaOnWatsonia. You can find his pattern-filled Instagram account HERE 🙂