Golden Threads – how Gold leaf, Balloons and Cranes came along…. on a Screen.

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As a painter, I do sometimes feel cheated  that my artwork has to always hang on a wall, so as I was navigating the internet and found the amazing screens of  one of my super favourite artists, Hernan Baas, I decided to look into the art of the room divider. I found out that many artists, all those that count at least, have explored the art of the screen. To my delight as I had previously stated my love for Japanese Geishas and art… I also explored a lot of Japanese screens which were mostly done on paper and wood, gilded with gold. Apart from that a painted screen  gives painting a sculptural edge to it that for many artists  is hard to resist.

Then I studied a bit more about gold. Gold is an amazing medium apart from being expensive. It’s most superb quality is how  it reflects light. As you move around the room, the light on gold changes making it glisten.

This artwork is the product of months and months of research and thought. All my black and white drawing  were the preparatory work for this piece.Many believe that my choice for cranes is the fact that my son was just born, well maybe it is.

Cranes are a lucky symbol in Japanese art, and legend says that they live for 1000 s of years..

These magnificent  animals wouldn’t last a day here on this Island would they? Humans have a need to capture something they  deem as beautiful .So how was I gonna capture those Cranes without shooting them down?

I decided to create magical golden threads, to hold them down for a bit before they take off. And whilst at it,  throw a bit of a party with balloons.

In the back of my mind, I always feel that plastic is ruining our environment and endangering our beautiful animals . Although it is disguised as  a necessary evil, we really need to stop and think. Hunters are not the only threat to our  birds.

It may be a bit unwise to tell, that this beautiful image, is about  pollution….but it is.

 

 

 

Blossoms from Within –

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I have been mad about Geishas since 1998.  It was during my first trip away from Malta

to Amsterdam . At the Van Gogh’ museum, the artwork that struck me the most was his

Geisha . And my  obsession began.I  have been painting Geishas since.

 

As  many of the others, this image was taken from a pornographic image of an Asian girl

from a porn  Cinema Poster. I have  been working on this painting for 2 years, the

flowers  were the latest  addition to the work which was monochromatic before.

Since I have had a child, I have realised that a woman’s body is a garden. We have a

heart that beats with love for the man of our dreams. We work hard for our dreams and

are independent. Some of us dedicate our lives to our family and stay at home. We can

have children. We feel pain, sorrow and joy. We wear perfume and choose our

clothes.Many collect shoes.Others love their cats, some their dogs. Many become

accomplished  in their sector.Women breath,  have dreams and aspirations. Showing the

Woman ‘s body as just an object for sexual gratification is too limited a view. There is so

much more to a woman’s body than just sex.  Yes,  sexual attraction comes naturally, but

that is not the only thing a woman’s body is for.

The Human body is a garden.  It is a cultivated intricate web of memories, skills, sadness,

happiness hopes and dreams. A human being has feelings. A human being  suffers when

ill treated and is unloved.

Nobody has the right to over look the importance and beauty of a woman  and use

her  for his own pleasure.

 

 

 

 

On Being An Artist and a Mother

 

 

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I am not a great writer and will never be,  but I still am going to use the power of the internet and jot down in words how it feels to be a mother and an artist other than my colourful artworks.

It feels AMAZING .

Yes it is wonderful being the mother of such an amazing child and yes I do not have as much time as I used to  to paint, but the few minutes I  do, are more powerful than ever before.

I would  also like to take the opportunity to say thank you in this post.

I want to thank my amazing mother and father for giving me ongoing support and for loving  their grandson so much.

I also would like to thank my friends who have given me support in hard times  .

I would also like to thank the people who tried to destroy me and ravage all my work and efforts when they found me weak and unable to defend myself. You have showed me a side of  humanity that I didn’t know existed and I dedicate the above painting to you.

Your lies, your deceit, your masterplan in making me look bad and destroy my family when I was pregnant and when I had just given birth  just made me stronger.

This artwork is about  just that- The inner strength, the magic and the powerful force of nature that I had to summon in order to come back and gather the strength to come back  and be who I am – a lion.

Thank you

Una and the Lion

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Artwork

acrylics, oils , glitter and spray paint on canvas size 200by 200

€7.000,00

 

How did this painting come along?

I have an Italian Gallery  owner  friend of mine, who always comes to my studio and has been telling me- Selina , paint Magic again. Large scale  is your ‘Forte’ , Magic Realism is your Card.

Considering large scale artworks 200 by 200 are so hard to sell on the island , everyone, even local gallerists have been making me forget about the love I have for larger scales. I hesitated for a bit but I decided to listen to his advise.

I spent months walking around Valletta the same path over and over again looking for magic. I knew it had to come from the President’s Palace, I just couldn’t find what or where. I took my son  for a walk for the 1000th time  there and decided to walk into the door to the museum and this time sat down.

And there they lay, those 2 magnificent lions.  Sleeping guarding a door to I don’t know where.

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And it hit me. Valletta’s lion, the spirit animal of it’s inhabitants. The lion king, the symbol of power and truth, which is seen on every emblem on every flag around this tiny city.

Then a few metres away sat a girl reading a book. I closed my eyes and I just could see the lions coming to life  and startle her from the back.

So back home, I sat down and did some research  . In not long I found out about the myth of Una and the Lion and gladly saw that other artists have also painted the subject.

This is a link

https://www.nationalgalleries.org/art-and-artists/5629/una-and-lion

The execution took over 8 months of work and to be able to do it, my son  had to join in for his first apprentice ship.

 

Pricing – How and what to pay for an Artwork.

It is a truth universally acknowledged ( as in the book of Pride and Prejudice) that artwork is expensive. It is a luxury that not everybody can afford.

There are different kinds of buyers and different kinds of art but how to know if you are paying the right amount for a specific work?

To be able to discuss this properly I am going to divide Art into 2 categories. Outsider art and Insider art.

Let us start with Insider art  -These are artists who usually have paid for their education and are formaly qualified as artists.

Outsider and folk art are artists who are not formally trained and usually do art as part of a ritual or  as an obsession  etc…

Before we start getting all pumped up defining which of these 2  categories is the best and most true artist , please lets keep to the point.  We are discussing prices not artistic merit. Therefore one must look into the artist’s background to be able to define the price.  Qualifications alone are not enough to sell artworks at very high prices.

Then we have to look into the artist’s longevity in the business.  How long has the artist been doing art? Has he/ she been doing art for a long time? Are they part of important collections? Have they ever worked with a gallery? If not working with a gallery are they managing on their own?  The most pathetic response by even members of artistic cultural entities  is that they equate an artist as more of merit if he/she lives off his/her art only.  Well that would depend on the individual. I  met artists who go crazy in the studio locked up on their own and have been prescribed to work part time to keep their head in check by their psychotherapists. Not everybody is the same. Generalising is not the way.

When buying artwork from a gallery usually the artist has to pay between 30% to 50%  commission to the gallery. Then there are taxes.

One  also has to keep in mind the price of materials. Has anybody ever tried to walk around an art material store? A stretched canvas can cost up to 500 euros( massive one) and even more nowadays.. Framers nowadays sometimes  feel like they deserve to earn more than the artist himself.

There are some oil tubes that cost around  60 euros (on the average) The brushes can go very high up in price as well. Studio space is usually rented, we have to pay for the electricity used , WIFI and count in the hours.

So basically when asking for the price of the artwork , the artist gives you the list of materials so you can understand what you are buying and how long it is going to last.A painting on linen will last 500 years, on cotton much less.

Also are you buying artwork as an investment? As part of a collection ? or to decorate your house?

Then you have to keep in mind the term- Art dealer and dealing.  Prices are usually negotiated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The things that really count.

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In 2007,when I had just graduated from Art school ,being selected by a gallery was a dream. So when I was offered a contract by a gallery in London and was flown to Italy to be introduced to  other important galleries  exactly when graduating was , in my mind amazing.10 years on, the thought of dealing with a gallery stresses me out

Why?

Let me explain. We artists are led to believe that we need a gallery and that we should obey them  and bend to all their wishes. It is not like that. The truth is one.  The artist needs to remember that you, the artist are the gallery’s client and the ones who buy the artworks are the Gallery’s friends not vice versa.Another thing to keep in mind is the business plan. Each and every gallery needs to have a business plan and in every country , especially if in other continents , business plans differ.

Another important thing to keep in mind is money. I don’t care how much hate I am going to stir now, but  the truth is , Art is about money, it always was and will always be.The problem is that we artists are too busy thinking up incredibly beautiful things to ever think about money and the asshole rest of the world knows that and abuses us.For us everything is priceless. For the others, we are ‘money making machines’ as one millionaire many moons ago called me. So when we get sick  of the horrid system we try to set up a what is called an ARTIST LED SPACE. It sounds amazing until you try to do it. I tried and the consequences were disastrous. I am way too creative to be able to deal with the monetary side of things  not to mention being the creative person I am I risked  and enjoyed making mistakes and tried to make something out of them, like I do with the process of painting. I can say I had come up with the most incredible business plan with the most outrageous artists.   There was one major flaw in the great scheme of things. I forgot to employ a full time psychotherapist who specialises in creative people. No wonder Van Gogh  had cut off his ear when he had trouble with Gaugin.  Disputes amongst creatives are pretty much what Hollywood drama aspires to be but never will ( Thank God for that)

The latest bit of drama I had to endure  almost catapulted me into a storm between  powerful people. I spent  2 days in a corner trying to figure out why the hell I always let myself into such situations. I was ready to swear on a facebook post to never paint again.  I just cannot believe how naive I can be, or rather how I let my ego and need to succeed  govern my little bit of rationality.

So I decided to post a painting I just finished, with my son next to it.  This photo does not show the painting in it’s glory but it shows the most important  and most beautiful amazing gift I have. I have a son who loves to be with me in my studio whilst I paint.

God has given me what I always wanted, a son, a man to love and a studio. I don’t need anything else.

My season’s blessings to all of you  and a little reminder to  be grateful for all you have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working in silence.

I haven’t posted in a while because I am  currently working on a new artwork . I have been planning it for weeks and now I am executing it. I usually wake up at 5am and spend the next 3 hours painting, and thinking. Those are the only hours I have to myself before my little man wakes up.

I cannot add pictures today, because most of what I have are thoughts, so it would be best for me to just be quiet for a while and in the end post a picture of the new piece I am working on.

May the stars  be with you.

 

Simplicity

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Sometimes,  just a simple outline is more powerful than any colour.

I decided to keep this drawing as it is and use it as a symbol of silence and meditation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2 most important people in my life and One more

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My mother.

My mum, has shaped everything I am. I remember when I was young, she used to spend days teaching me. The first  words she thought me were colours. Yep. I could name all the different colours of the rainbow before I could count.

I used to see her paint in the kitchen. I was so in awe. I remember her with long hair and a flowery dress, painting this beautiful eternal woman…….

She used to let me put the colours from the tubes into the palette. Then as time went by, she used to let me mix her colours with the palette knife. Then she gave me oil paints to paint, but never let me use linseed oil as she was scared it was poisonous.

Time went by, and as I grew into a teenager, she became extremely strict and would never let me go out later than 10. And I hated her for it. Little did I know how good a mother she was.

We used to fight and argue so much in my teenage years. Only today, can I look back and thank her.

I have become exactly who I wanted to become. An artist. Not the best artist in the world, as I always wished to be( far from it) but at least, independent enough to never bow down to convention and  material  fake promises.

My mum is the best teacher anyone can ever have and witness to this are the hundreds  of students whom she has helped blossom into tattoo artists, artists, graphic designers and architects… teachers..etc…..

My mum is amazing.

When I was accepted at CSM, I couldn’t afford to go. We are not a wealthy family, and my father was really opposed. But my mum, out of nothing like, found out about this Benefactor who supported students, Janatha Stubbs, and told me to write to her. This woman, funded my studies, and even though it was hard I managed to struggle trough and get the degree I wanted- BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS , from the University I always dreamed of.

The second most important person in my life, is Janatha Stubbs.

This woman, has not only helped me achieve my dreams but she supported me trough all the years of difficulty and believed in me. Like she did with so many other students who owe her  their qualifications.

This woman is such a good person and has done so much for our  little island. Not only has she supported students through the years, but she also funded Inspire.

I will never understand how  none of the political parties has ever publicly acknowledged her effort in making Malta  a better place for the disabled, but also for how much she has done for the arts.

If I could I would ask the Prime Minister to make her a monument. Because out of everyone she deserves it best.

I feel that I haven’t lived up to her expectations because I always thought I would become  successful enough to be like her and have enough money to fund other students and the arts.

I have faced way too many obstacles which I must admit have defeated me.

But I would like to use the internet, to remind people about this great person. About all she has done for countless people. Nothing can pay her back for her generosity. She has given me  and many others so many life lessons.

There is also another woman, whom I only met once, who showed extreme generosity to me.

Her name is Karen Sanig

I was in tears going trough hell, my artwork had been stolen, I was being bullied and I was desperate. I just googled – best art lawyer- and her name came up. I sent her a picture of my work , in tears and explained my situation not knowing how big the law firm  was.

She called me. I explained I had no money. She still decided to see me and when I went there,  out of charity she explained to me all the mess and the tricks people were using against me and after the life lessons and eye openers,  she opened the door to me to go back to the world and said to me- GO BACK TO THE FAIRIES – Never let anyone tell you what to do.

In one hour, she changed me and made me stronger. I couldn’t even give her an artwork as a payment because everything had been taken away from me. I also  never thought my artwork was good enough for her.

The Moral of this post is-

I can only thank strong women for making me go trough all the hardships in the world. And although I never became the best artist in the world I always dreamed of being, I sure know I have a lot to teach my son.This hopefully will make me a good mother.

And to the  women I mentioned above,  I would just like to say –

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

We women  should be there for each other much more.

I want younger girls to just go ahead with their dreams and tell them to choose their friends carefully. Because although we should stick together some women need to be avoided like the pest.

 

PS-

I always toy with the idea of writing about the men who have made my life an absolute hell, but they just don’t deserve to be  part of the story I want to tell.

 

SUNRISE.

12-w750This painting is one that took me long hours and many days to complete.  All the varnishes and glitter also make it extremely difficult to photograph.  Who sees it in real life gets a very different feel to it to those who see it on photo. Mostly because it is so huge,  with all the different effects of light it has that it is impossible to photograph it without  loosing its  various effects. I even had a film crew here  who to tried to film it but the result was far from flattering.  This is a painting that breathes. It is a painting that needs to be looked at as one walks across the room  . A painting that has to be seen from far and as you  walk slowly closer and closer to it , it changes  with you. Alas, I do not have such a big space to give it what it deserves so it is lying quietly in my studio.

But what is it about and how did it come along?

‘Sunrise’  is based on a model of Saint George, on our Maltese flag’s George Cross. It is meant to be a Maltese symbol, but as I worked along something changed. Saint George retained his knighthood, but he became the sun, and the dragon he was slaying turned into his incredible  pet tiger and together , they take over  the girl’s dreams waking her up, maybe from her nightmares, who knows. Only Maltese people who have slept on a beach on a hot summer day, and  have experienced the hot sun rays  of  the early summer sun  on their skin can maybe understand what this painting is really about. You know, when the sun is that hot that it burns into your skin like it’s got   claws…

 

The importance of sketching- Images from my sketchbook

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drawing on paper
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There is nothing more important for an artist than a sketchbook.To think I hated sketchbooks up until I graduated. I never was someone to keep a neat one especially because my ideas are so scattered and my love for  large scale canvases has never really helped either.

Nowadays, I never execute a painting with some careful studies. It just is so helpful .

These are  some of the images I have been working on this week . My new intergalactic

people,  Astral travellers I meet during my travels at night.

Will post more images shorty.

 

 

 

About Love again, this time, for my cats.

Anyone who follows me on social media knows I love cats.

I have always had a special relationship with my felines, although some of them are just

headstrong and independent, I cannot help but love them.

These are just some of the paintings  in which I painted my pets, in different forms.

One  can  be a bit perplexed to see a leopard painted and I am saying it is my pet.

But in my world, the world of magical transformation, my cat can turn into a lion, a

leopard and tiger whenever he pleases.