Artwork Category

  • BLOG: BLAST FROM THE PAST – 2003 to 2016

    Artwork, Dunes, Personal StoryComments (2)

    On October 26, 2016 • By

    Lana Art, Lana de Villiers, Acrylic on Canvas, Landscape Art, South African Artist, Dunes, Namibia, Namib, Namibian Art, Red sand, Blue Skies, Lana Art, Lana de Villiers, Acrylic on Canvas, Artwork, Landscape Art, Desert Art

    THE DUNES OF SOSSUSVLEI – MY FIRST AND MOST RECENT ARTWORK

    I saw and experienced the Namib for the first time in 1999 when my family and I visited the majestic dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia. The landscape fascinated and inspired me to the point of doing my very first Acrylic Painting of it in 2003. It has remained one of my favourite places in the world as I have been there two more times.  I recently finished another acrylic artwork called “Dunes of Sossusvlei” – the featured artwork.

    In this blog post I look back at my journey in art and what I learned while working with this versatile medium.

    BLAST FROM THE PAST

    The other day my mom asked me if I have ever shown my first artwork to my boyfriend. I hadn’t. I had to think a little before I could remember where I hid it. I finally discovered it behind a drawer in a dusty corner. After all these years it was good to see it again. A blast from the past.

    I had just started with High School and took art as a subject – I was 13 years old at the time. blast-from-the-past-artworkBefore this, I had never attended an art class and only drew with pencils and used some water colour. The assignment had something to do with making a collage (the combining of different elements) and then painting it – something like that. That explains why there is some random water bursting onto the scene.

    My mom also asked me to critique my own work in hindsight. Three of my comments were:

    • The best element is the meerkat in the foreground. The colours of it is very natural. The shape of the body and attention to detail is surprising for my level of skill at the time.
    • The use of colour is very childlike. One creates the illusion of a three dimensional space (perspective and depth) on canvas by slight variations in colour and not just through the use of lines. With this artwork I clearly did not understand this yet 🙂
    • The element that bothers me most would be the shape of the cloud with it’s white-straight-out-of-the-tube colour. One has to unlearn a lot of the drawing ideas you picked up in kindergarten if you want to be an artist!

    FEATURED ARTWORK: DUNES OF SOSSUSVLEI

    This Artwork captures the strong early morning shadow lines of the dunes down to the patterned ripples the wind made in the sand. I took this picture when we climbed this dune back in 2014. I can still remember the cool beneath my feet; knowing we have limited time to reach the top before the sun will heat the sand to the point of instant blisters.

    This Artwork shows a true landscape of contrasts. The orange of the landscape and blue of the sky are complimentary / opposite colours (creating the strongest contrast when placed next to one another). There is also a strong divide between the dark purple brown colours on the shadow side of the dune as opposed to the bright and misty orange tints on the sunny side.

    View “Dunes of Sossusvlei” in the Lana Art Website

    FROM RULES TO INTUITION

    Becoming an artist is a trial and error affair. I might have been born with artistic talent, but the skills I have came from spending countless hours observing, studying, drawing & painting. I would like to compare it to learning a new language. No matter how much linguistic ability you have, you will still have to put in many hours of study and most of all, practical time spent listening, speaking, correcting yourself & battling with difficult areas.

    Anyone who has ever had to learn a new language knows that there are rules in languages and always the dreaded exceptions. The same with art. There are general rules, but just as many exceptions. You will definitely get better with time, but there will always be room for improvement and new skills to be mastered!

    As your language skills improve, you end up focusing less on the many rules and formulas and instead developed an ear for the different nuances of the new language.  In art you develop intuition and a sense for what to do next without thinking too much about it.

    3 THINGS I LEARNED

    dunesprogress2

    • Back to Front: I work systematically from the furthest point in the background to the foreground. When I started with Dunes of Sossusvlei I worked on the sky first.  Then I started with the furthest dunes on the sides, followed by the main dune and finishing with the ripples in the foreground.
    • Cross-Pollination: There is always an amount of reflection from any object to those around it. Even when I have “completed” an area I always add some of the colour I use in the foreground to the areas in the back and vice versa. A subtle dot or watery wash over an area usually does the trick.
    • Work in Layers: By applying many thin layers of paint over a section, you can create that three dimensional effect as I mentioned in the critique on my first artwork.

    With every artwork there is a battle (or sometimes even a few!) where something just doesn’t want to look right; it can be anything from a particular shape, a texture or a specific colour. These battles become opportunities to grow or abandon ship. I prefer the former 😉

    LOOKING AHEAD

    I look forward to writing another post in a couple of years time in which I am able to share what I have learned since this post. I never want to stop improving and getting better at what I do.  Please feel free to write me some feedback in the comments section below.

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  • EYE BLOG 1: OUT OF THE BLUE

    Artwork, Personal Story, UncategorizedComments (8)

    On September 29, 2016 • By

    Lana Art, Lana Venter de Villiers, Acrylic on Canvas, Landscape Art, South African Artist, White Flowers

    MY REFLECTION ON FINDING HOPE ON THE UNCERTAIN ROAD OF LOSING AND FIGHTING FOR SIGHT

    The one day I had freedom and sight and the next I was losing both. A very aggressive bacteria broke through the defenses of my eyes and started eating away at its corneas (the transparent layer at the front of the eye). Something of a nightmare that wouldn’t end for weeks and months. It affected every area of my life and made me very dependent on others.

    With the help of an Ophthalmologist the right eye got stabilised and has no permanent damage. The real battle centered around the left eye. The bacteria was prevented from reaching the iris, which would have destroyed my eye completely. It got so badly scarred that only a blurry 10% of disturbed and confusing vision is what is left today.

    The last chapter is yet to be written. I am consulting with a specialised Optometrist on custom made contact lenses. If that doesn’t work, then the next step will probably be a cornea transplant.

    Have you ever thought about the value of your sight? If you could measure its worth in terms of money, what amount could even come close? Eyesight is simply invaluable.

    WHAT IS A VISUAL ARTIST WITHOUT VISION?

    Through the loss of vision, I nearly lost my inner vision too. I was able to work as my right eye is fine, but it became a battle of the heart. Personally I don’t like dark or depressing art, but here I was, facing the most depressing situation.

    It all started back in February this year (2016).  I find it hard to describe what I experienced.  Something like having a stick in your eye, having it  turn slowly, pushing deeper, hitting every nerve.  I couldn’t speak for the pain was overwhelming.  The Doctor prescribed different eye drops at various times, starting with drops every half hour, day and night.  These drops decreased gradually over the course of 5 months.  The cumulative effects of a lack of sleep, incessant pain, a tremendous amount of discomfort and the loss of life as I had known it overwhelmed me.

    As the situation stabilised, the process of coming to terms with my loss began.  While working on art projects I became frustrated fairly often. Being able to create visual art is so dependent on vision and fine observation.  I had to learn to live with myself and my new handicap. The question remains – what will “the end” look like? Will I ever get rid of the double & blurred vision?

    CLIMBING A MOUNTAIN IN JAPAN

    My boyfriend and I recently went to visit some family members in Japan. I find traveling adventures absolutely irresistible and can draw a tremendous amount of energy from looking forward to a trip like this one. It was exactly what I needed.

    During our visit we climbed a dormant volcano – Mt. Kurikoma in Miyagi Province. I enjoy long distance running and haven’t been able to really pursue it the last few months. As we climbed, for the first time since the infection, I felt that exhilarating feeling and sense of accomplishment as we got closer to the top. At first it was tough as I struggled to navigate over the rocks due to my lack of depth perception (another side effect of only having good vision in one eye). Luckily one’s brain can adapt and soon it became easier. The mist came rolling in, folding over the mountain like a soft blanket. It was cold and wet and the top was out of sight and felt somewhat out of reach.

    For me, climbing this volcanic mountain became symbolic of my journey with regard to my eye. The end is still unclear and an unknown distance away.

    While climbing, out of the blue these pretty white flowers grew right there next to the road as though they were planted just for me. There were only a few of them, limited to that particular spot.out-of-the-blue-inspriation

    The image of these flowers there, on an unfamiliar road in a foreign land, at that particular moment in time and space stayed with me. Here I am, not yet at the top, “the end” is unclear, but I can find hope where I am. I can surrender without giving up. I can stop fighting my situation and put my trust in the only place I can find rest and peace; in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    MORE THAN SIGHT

    I still do not understand why this happened to me. I still don’t know where it all will end. I still don’t know when and if I will ever see properly again. But what I do know is that hardship lays bare exactly what you believe, what you build your life on.

    There were dark moments when I cried out to God for help when I simply couldn’t deal with the pain and discomfort and lack of sleep any more. He was quiet and seemingly distant for longer than what I could bare. But deep down I knew and chose to stand on the fact that even when it does not feel like it, when it does not look like it, that God is still faithful and good. I can still trust Him. My future is in His hands because He is my Father, my Savior and my Comforter. He is the Author and Finisher of my faith.

    Those who were involved in this process were incredibly gracious to me, helping me wherever they could.  For that I will remain eternally grateful.  All of you were God sent.  Thank you so much.

    ABOUT THE ARTWORK

    Art can have many layers of meaning and various interpretations. I encourage viewers to find in it their own story; their own way of relating to it. The article Out of the Blue – my reflection on finding hope on the uncertain road of losing and fighting for sight” gives some background on what led to the creation of this Artwork.

    The artwork combines elements of precise lines and blurred edges, abstract and realism, palette knife strokes all the way to water colour effects. Out of the blue some white flowers grow, surrounded by a patch of small rocks and leafy greens. If you step back and ignore the flowers and plants, it can almost seem like an aerial view of sea and land masses. This artwork seems clear and unclear all at the same time.

    READ BLOG 2: ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

    EYE BLOG 2: ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

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