White Lion

The White Lion, a new addition to my “In The Balance” series.

Oil on canvas, 120cm by 200cm, (2017). See my White lion time-lapse painting demonstration video – click here.

 

The White lion of the Timbavati area is the same genus as the tawny Southeast African lion. These lions are found in some wildlife reserves in South Africa, and in wild game parks around the world. They were thought to have been native to the Timbavati region of South Africa for thousands of years, although, the first logged sighting in this region was only in 1938. Held as divine by locals, white lions first came to public notice in the 1970s, in Chris McBride’s book The White Lions of Timbavati.

Furthermore, their white color is caused by an ebbing trait derived from a less-severe mutation in the same gene that causes albinism. This gene is distinct from the gene that causes whiteness in tigers. The white lion can vary from blonde to near-white. This coloration does not appear to weaken their survival skills. The white lions of the Global White Lion Protection Trust (GWLPT) have been restored back into the wild. They have been hunting and breeding well without human intervention for a long amount of time.

To paint this majestic animal I used the traditional Grisaille technique. I plan to produce at least 12 paintings of wild cats at this size and composition.

 

The Studio Art Gallery

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The Studio renamed The Studio Art Gallery, that was first situated in Kalk Bay at the Majestic Village, relocated to Kommetjie, the new Cape Town art hub.

This exciting new gallery venture is a partnership between Cape Town artists Marc Alexander and Donna McKellar, who chose Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie on the busy Cape Point route to be its new venue. The gallery occupies shop 6 and 7 that used to be the old blacksmith’s workshop built in 1743 and features the original forge, which is still in use, albeit only to warm visitors on rainy days. This new gallery space with its half-meter thick walls and quaint surrounds perfectly complements both artists work. Donna’s enigmatic Karoo landscapes juxtaposing Marc’s partially gilded wildlife series is a breath-taking experience.

At present, the gallery showcases a wide selection of Marc and Donna’s original oil paintings as well as the highest museum quality artist’s prints, but plans to also represent other local artists at a later stage.

Lindy Alexander, Marc’s kindly wife, who also manages his art career, has been appointed as the galleries new director. Besides a friendly welcome, Lindy plans to enthral visitors and patrons with a dynamic exhibition, education and events programme. Whether you are a new art enthusiast or serious connoisseur, if you would like to build your corporate or private art collection, then Lindy is the person to talk to.

Most days, Marc can be seen painting at the gallery, always willing to share his techniques and business experience, or talk about his latest project.

The Studio Art Gallery is open 7 days a week 9am – 5pm.

 

Snow leopard II

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Snow Leopard II, a new addition to my “In The Balance” Series. 

Oil on canvas, 120cm by 200cm, (2016). See my Snow leopard demonstration video – click here.

 

Endangered with an estimated population of 4080 to 6590, Snow leopards are found in 12 countries—including China, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, and Mongolia. The powerful build allows it to scale great steep slopes with ease. Its hind legs give it the ability to leap six times the length of its body while a long tail provides balance and agility and also wraps around the resting snow leopard as protection from the cold. It’s sole predator is humans. Hunting, habitat loss and retaliatory killings are the main reasons this big cat is now listed as an endangered species.

The technique I used in this painting is traditionally refereed to as Grisaille, which is a term used for a painting executed entirely in shades of grey or of another neutral grayish colours. This greyish colour is achieved by glazing subsequent layers of my ‘black’ (a mixture of Van Dyke brown and Prussian blue) and Titanium white oil paint. Glazing in oil painting is the technique of applying very thin transparent or semitransparent layers of oil paint over the dry surface of a painting. Glazing is used to enhance, change or deepen your colours. When light shines through the glaze layer it reflects from the layers underneath. Because the glaze layer has its own colour it changes the appearance of the lower layers, causing light diffusion and glow. The process is slow, but the results are not achievable by any other means of oil painting. The colours mix optically when two or more colour glazes are applied.

The oil medium (glazing medium) I used was a combination of a third Liquin, a third refined linseed oil and a third genuine turpentine. Liquin is a quick drying medium for oil and alkyd colors. It improves flow, transparency and soothes brush work. Liquin also has a great resistance to yellowing. The oil colour I used was 5 parts Vandyke brown and one part Prussian blue. Making sure that my oil colours are totally dry before applying my next layer. I have given the paining at least two days to dry before final glazing.

 

 

 

Gilding the Image

Gilding the image – Marc Alexander demonstrates his techniques for using gold leaf gilding in an oil painting. 

In 2012, I produced a series of paintings for a solo exhibition entitled “Dreams of an Enchanted World”. This exhibition was mainly inspired by bedtime stories, folklore and nursery rhymes, which I often told with much glee to my four young children. Working mostly in richly coloured oils in the style of the traditional realist and incorporating the lustre of gold-leaf gilding, texture and some two-dimensional elements into my composition, I aimed at creating a surreal world of talking animals, heroic characters and magical trees.

I’ve always found the rich cultural diversity of the different South African ethnic groups inspiring and worthy of preservation. So growing up in a fast changing world of lost cultural identities has been a challenge to me. It’s because of this reason that I have often included traditionally dressed subjects into my paintings, continually trying to recapture the narrative elements of almost forgotten cultures and folklore.

It was during my training as museum technologist at the Pretoria Art Museum, that I developed a keen interest in the restoration of 14th to 17th century Dutch and Flemish art, especially the extraordinary luminosity that they achieved with their glazed layers. I also learnt how to restore Baroque frames and other gilded surfaces. In fact, I love gilding so much that gold or silver leaf almost always replaces background water, earth, snow or sky in my artworks, which adds a two dimensional element similar to that of a Coptic icon.

For many years now, I have been combining these traditional techniques, and some modern ones with contemporary materials. My compositions are usually clean and triangular with an off centre focal point. During the preliminary drawing stage I take time to get the proportions and perspectives as true to nature as possible. After that each new element of the painting is systematically applied and there is never a shortage of painstaking detail.

This hyper-realism that I’m aiming for usually has a very smooth finish, so I will add an element of texture. Trees, dead branches or rock are sculpted using my homemade texture paste and a palette knife or other tools. I generally find that people are so saturated with perfect digital imagery these days that they often crave a bit of texture in a painting. Because the texture paste has a water base, I cannot apply it over my oils or gilded sections, so careful planning is essential in the beginning stages or what I like to call the ‘water’ stage of the painting.

 

Source: The Artist UK June 2016 edition

 

To view the demo portfolio click here or to see the demo video click here.

 

Marc Alexander demonstrates his techniques for using gold leaf gilding in an oil painting.
Applying texture paste
Marc Alexander demonstrates his techniques for using gold leaf gilding in an oil painting.
Gold leaf gilding
Marc Alexander demonstrates his techniques for using gold leaf gilding in an oil painting.
Titanium white highlights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RIP Muhammad Ali

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Legacy Series

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali is a portrait originally painted in oils as part of the "Legacy" series painted by South African Artist Marc Alexander

Born Cassius Clay, Jr. 17 January 1942, Oil and Steel Wire on Board, 100cm by 100cm, 2012

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under the lights. Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

An American former professional boxer, philanthropist and social activist. Born Cassius Clay, Ali changed his name after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964, subsequently converting to Sunni Islam in 1975, and more recently practicing Sufism. In 1967, three years after Ali had won the World Heavyweight Championship, he was publicly vilified for his refusal to be conscripted into the U.S. military, based on his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. Ali stated, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong”. Widespread protests against the Vietnam War had not yet begun, but with that one phrase, Ali articulated the reason to oppose the war for a generation of young Americans, and his words served as a touchstone for the racial and antiwar upheavals that would rock the 1960s.

Nicknamed “The Greatest,” during his prime Ali was involved in several historic boxing matches. Ali was well known for his unorthodox fighting style, which he described as “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”, and employing techniques such as the “Ali Shuffle” and the “rope-a-dope”. Ali had brought beauty and grace to the most uncompromising of sports and through the wonderful excesses of skill and character, he had become the most famous athlete in the world.

 

To see the whole collection Click here.

 

 

The Studio Art Gallery’s Grand Opening

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The Studio Art Gallery’s grand opening and evening market and picnic at Imhoff Farm.

The Studio renamed The Studio Art Gallery, that was first situated in Kalk Bay at the Majestic Village has, after three very successful years, moved to Kommetjie – the new art hub. On Thursday the 31st of March at 6pm, The Studio Art Gallery will be having its grand opening. Please join us as we celebrate the beginning of the next sensational chapter. This opening will coincide with an evening market and picnic at Imhoff Farm. See: http://imhofffarm.co.za/join-us-for-live-music-and-a-gourmet-picnic/ for further details.

The speed and complex, no-cost networking capabilities of the web, has fuelled a growing trend of artists who manage and market their own careers. Providing artist with direct access to private, corporate and institutional collectors as wells as the broader ‘cloud’ of individualised awareness of the artist’s work. Surfing this technological wave as business partners, are Cape Town based artists Marc Alexander and Donna Mckellar, who have chosen Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie on the busy Cape Point route to be their new gallery-front. The gallery occupies shop 6 and 7 that used to be the old blacksmith’s workshop built in 1743 and features the original forge, which is still in use, albeit only to warm visitors on rainy days.

The gallery is situated on your right as you enter the lawned area or courtyard, just after the Imhoff Plant Nursery. This new space with its half-meter thick walls and quaint surrounds perfectly complements both artists work. Donna’s enigmatic Karoo landscapes juxtaposing Marc’s partially gilded wildlife series is a breath-taking experience not to be missed. At present, the gallery showcases a wide selection of Marc and Donna’s original oil paintings as well as the highest museum quality artist’s prints, but plans to also include other local artists at a later stage.

Lindy Alexander, Marc’s kindly wife, who also manages his art career, has been appointed as the gallery’s new director. Besides a friendly welcome, Lindy plans to enthral visitors and patrons with a dynamic exhibition, education and events programme. Whether you are a new enthusiast or serious connoisseur, if you would like to build your corporate or private art collection, then Lindy is the person to talk to.

Most days, Marc can be seen painting in the studio part of the gallery, always willing to share his techniques and business experience, or talk about his latest projects

Neighbouring the gallery, one can also find a good mix of photographic art, ceramics, porcelain, glass art, and numerous other artistries. Many of the shops are new, and so contribute to a fresh and vibrant creative atmosphere on the Farm.

The Studio Art Gallery is open 7 days a week 9am – 5pm. To visit our website or online shop, please go to www.studioartgallery.co.za or for further information, consultations or private exhibition viewings please email: admin@studioartgallery.co.za. Imhoff Farm has a brief history on their website http://imhofffarm.co.za/home/about/.

 

Marc and Lindy Alexander at The Studio Art Gallery
Marc and Lindy Alexander at The Studio Art Gallery

Painting “The Kiss”

The Kiss (Lovers) was painted by the Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt between 1908 and 1909, the highpoint of his “Golden Period”, when he painted a number of works in a similar gilded style. A perfect square, the canvas depicts a couple embracing, their bodies entwined in elaborate robes decorated in a style influenced by both linear constructs of the contemporary Art Nouveau style and the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement. The work is composed of oil paint with applied layers of gold leaf, an aspect that gives it its strikingly modern, yet evocative appearance. The painting is now in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum in the Belvedere palace, Vienna, and is widely considered a masterpiece of the early modern period. It is a symbol of Vienna Jugendstil—Viennese Art Nouveau—and is considered Klimt’s most popular work.

I was recently commissioned to reproduce this masterpiece, Watch Video and see the stages and techniques that I employ for this reproduction.

November Workshops

Marcs Technique 2GILDING AND PAINTING

Come join Marc Alexander as he discusses and demonstrates his technique and the stages of producing his signature partially gilded oil paintings. The workshop will cover an overview of the following: priming, sketching, monochromatic underpainting, texturing, gilding and painting in oils.
You will be able to practice each stage on your own canvas.

DATE: Tuesday 24 November
TIME: 9am to 5pm

COST: R600 (includes gilding materials) Your payment confirms your booking. Limited places available

 

 

ART AS A BUSINESS I – an evening workshop with Marc Alexander

Marc with Red Fox paintingFor those wanting to earn money from their artwork, join Marc Alexander as he discusses various aspects of Art as a business. Drawing from his many years of experience as a museum technologist, freelance curator and full time artist, Marc will share his successes and disappointments in the business of making a living out of his art.
The workshop covers the following topics:
Approaching galleries and agents for representation, pricing your artwork, generating media, online marketing and sales, administrative software, digital printing, copyright law, etc.

DATE: Wednesday 25 November
TIME: 6.30pm to 9.30pm

COST: R300 (includes notes) Your payment confirms your booking.

 

Online Shop

 

ART AS A BUSINESS II – an evening workshop with Marc Alexander
For those wanting to sell their artwork directly from their own website and take advantage of other online selling and marketing platforms, join Marc as he introduces the world of DIY web-design, e-commerce, online selling, marketing and much more. No prior knowledge of web-design or online marketing is required!
DATE: Thursday 26 November
TIME: 6.30pm to 9.30pm

COST: R300 (includes notes) Your payment confirms your booking. Limited space is available.

To book email: info@thestudiokalkbay.co.za
R550 if you book for both Art as a Business workshops.

 

 

 

Art as a Business Workshop

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For those wanting to earn money from their artwork, join Marc Alexander as he discusses various aspects of Art as a business. Drawing from his many years of experience as a museum technologist, freelance curator and full time artist, Marc will share his struggles and successes in the business of making a living out of his art. The workshop covers the following topics: Approaching galleries and Agents for representation, generating media, online marketing and sales, DIY web-design, social media, e-commerce, administrative software, copyright law, etc.

DATE: Wednesday 28 October

TIME: 8.30am to 12.30pm

COST: R350 (includes notes) Your payment confirms your booking.

To book email: info@thestudiokalkbay.co.za

Gilding and Painting Workshop

Come join Marc Alexander as he discusses and demonstrates his technique and the stages of producing his signature partially gilded oil paintings. The workshop will cover an overview of the following: priming, sketching, monochromatic under-painting, texturing, gilding and painting in oils. You will be able to practice each stage on your own canvas.

DATE: Tuesday 27 October

TIME: 9am to 5pm Limited places available

COST: R600 (includes gilding materials) Your payment confirms your booking.

To book email: info@thestudiokalkbay.co.za

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