Affordable Art for a Good Cause

Want to buy affordable art for a good cause?

Affordable Art for 3FM” is an online ‘silent’ auction for 3FM’s Serious Request – a fundraising campaign in conjunction with the Red Cross to raise money for mothers affected by war & conflict situations.

In at least 25 countries throughout the world more than 10 million mothers are affected by war – they lose everything, have to flee, have no food, clean water or healthcare and are the victims of sexual abuse. They are left behind to care for their family alone.

The Red Cross helps these mothers not only by providing them with the essentials (such as shelter, medical care, food and drinking water), but also with support in getting an independent income and with the search for loved ones that have gone missing.

The 8th edition of 3FM Serious Request will take place from 18th – 24th December. ‘The Glass House’ will be set up on the Beestenmarkt in Leiden, the Netherlands, where 3 DJ’s will be locked in without food for 5 days to raise money by playing requests.

How can you help?

Affordable Art for 3FM” offers you the opportunity to donate money to this good cause whilst gaining a great piece of original art. The artists featured in this collection have graciously offered to donate a portion of the proceeds (a minimum of 50%) to the 2011 3FM Serious Request fundraising campaign.

The bidding for the online auction starts 6th December and will run through till 20th December.

Would you like to know more about the auction or any of the pieces featured, or would you like to place a bid? Please contact Pieter Augustinus or Dewy Van Tol.

Help a mother, save a family

 

Gathering Momentum – Photography, Paintings & Exhibitions

Despite the ‘radio silence’ since February, it’s been a busy few months.

Photography
 A lot of my focus has been on photography over the last months. Fascinating skies have held my attention and have made for some stunning shots.

Street art has also been a favourite subject and I captured a lot of sticker art in a recent trip to Amsterdam. Sadly I’m unable to attend the Amsterdam Street Art festival that’s currently underway (8-15 June 2010) – I’m sure this would be a  great source of inspiration. The London Police will be there, along with many others.

As always, light play is a subject I keep coming back to and I have taken a wide range of pictures, mainly from the city lights in Den Haag. Other favourites include macro shots of flora & fauna and abstracts inspired by glass and nature.

As there are so many photo’s it’s impossible to load these all onto this site, so I will shortly be loading up a selection from each subject area.

New paintings
Next to my photography I have also been busy painting. Below are the newest additions to my portfolio and one ‘work in progress’:

Exhibition IGZ, Zwolle
In April I was asked by the Inspectie voor de Gezondheidszorg to exhibit my artwork, both paintings and photographs, at their government building in Zwolle. It’s a private exhibition (an art loan – or ‘kunstuitleen‘ – if you like) of 30 pieces: 16 photos and 14 paintings. I’m really very privileged to have been invited to exhibit there. The exhibition runs from April right through to September, when I have also been asked to come and talk to the IGZ about my work, my style & my inspiration.

Exhibition Diageo, Amsterdam
A second private exhibition I’ll be exhibiting at is one I’m organising myself at Diageo in Amsterdam. Diageo is a premium drinks manufacturer and employs a large pool of international and talented people. The aim of the exhibition is to reveal the hidden talents of Diageo’s employees. The exhibition is planned to start in August and will run continuously, with participants’ content being rotated on a quarterly basis.

Other Exhibitions
Other exhibitions that have kept me busy since February have been ones I have visited and these have been so inspirational.

Running from 6 February till 13 June is ‘Kandinsky & Der Blaue Reiter’ at the Gemeente Museum in Den Haag. 1911 was a turning point in the art world and Expressionism gained momentum. The Munchen-based group of Expressionist artists included Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, Gabriele Münter, Alexej von Jawlensky, August Macke, Marianne von Werefkin and Heinrich Campendonck. The colour, style and vibrancy of these works gave me much to think about. If you get a chance to go, go early in the day to beat the crowds, as it’s (quite rightly) a very popular exhibition.

Whether you manage to make it in time for the Kandinsky exhibition or not, don’t leave until you’ve explored the depths of the Gemeente Museum. In the far corner of the museum are some stunning works by Piet Mondriaan. Because the hall is situated so far away from the temporary exhibition it’s virtually empty of people – a shame for the people who’re missing out on these great artworks, but a real boon for those who leave the beaten path. The luxury of an empty hall filled with impressive, colourful paintings is not something one gets to enjoy very often.

The Mondriaan collection at the Gemeente Museum is the largest in the world and contains some of his best known pieces. Victory Boogie Woogie, while remaining a very original piece, has seen better days though and I thought it was looking a little grubby. On the other hand, ‘Molen bij zonlicht’, ‘De Rode Molen’, ‘Duinlanschap’ and ‘De Grijze Boom’ are simply awe-inspiring. I really recommend paying these a visit.

A recent weekend in Amsterdam enabled me to explore the Van Gogh museum and Foam Photographic museum at my leisure.

Even though the Van Gogh museum is being renovated and some of the most famous works aren’t currently on exhibit, there are still many, many of his best known pieces to drool over.

In the temporary exhibition in the newly extended part of the museum is a collection of paintings by Gaugin and a number of fellow artists of his day. During the Paris World Exhibition of 1889 they formed a rebellious group and offered an alternative exhibition in answer to the traditional works that could be seen at the Word Exhibition. Particularly interesting, I thought, were the paintings by Émile Schuffenecker.

At Foam I enjoyed the works of photographer Ari Marcopoulos the most. His work can be seen till 13 June 2010, so be quick! Marcopoulos has close links with the youth culture in the US and has taken many photo’s over the past three decades of the hip hop, skateboarding and snowboarding scenes. Due to his close contact with these groups his work shows an intimacy and honesty that any other photographer would simply never gain access to.

Lastly, on a more local note, I will be visiting the opening of an exhibition of work by Den Haag artist Jolanda van der Elst. Jolanda paints using various media and, although she has a preference for portraits, she is not limited to these and also paints still-life and landscapes. Aside from being able to meet like-minded people, the opening will also give me an opportunity to network with some of the local artists. A bit of PR is never a bad thing, I say! Jolanda’s work can be seen throughout the month of June at Gallerie Nootenboom in Nootdorp.

Dieuwke Swain
Fine Artist & Photographer
DESigns

Art for the Artist

Fascinated by colour as I am, naturally one of the artists I find very inspiring is Mark Rothko (1903-1970). His work makes use of large rectangular areas of colour, highlighted by or offset with complimentary or contrasting hues.

In his mature work, Rothko generally painted two to three fuzzy-edged blocks of colour, of varying size and set free of the canvas edge. He used a wide range of hues and added complexity to the pieces by breaking the rectangles with a contrasting bar of colour (as a sort buffer), or by creating and varying lightness or darkness, opaqueness or translucence, warmth or coolness, and yet retaining a sense of harmony.

Untitled 1951

Untitled 1951

Apparently Rothko claimed he was ‘no colourist’ and that to see him as such was missing the point of his art. Maybe so, but art is such a personal thing. In a way, it’s a form of communication: the artist may have his own message but he needs to remember that not every observer will see things from the same perspective, level or experience; therefore, the observer may take away something completely different from the piece than the artist intended. No bad thing, if you ask me. If I appreciate Rothko, as many do, for his colour, then it is surely good that I derive pleasure (and a range of other feelings) from his work, despite what his original intention may have been. I’m a simple soul – art for me is about feeling and atmosphere. The meaning and symbolism behind a piece is less relevant for me and I derive little pleasure from analysing a painting – that just removes all feeling from it. Call it escapism if you like.

Untitled 1953

Untitled 1953

In addition to the use of colour in itself, what really fascinates me is the interaction of colours with each other. By placing one hue next to another it can really change the feeling and dynamic of a piece. Red next to orange will tell us a very different story than red next to blue. The interplay between the colours (complimentary, broken and contrasting) and their position and size on the canvas all have a major impact on what the piece is saying to you. Rothko really masters this in his mature work.

Untitled 1949

Untitled 1949

Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Paul Klee are also favourites of mine, but they don’t hold a torch to Rothko’s purity and depth when it comes to the use of colour. ‘Pure’ in this sense doesn’t mean ‘simple’ though, as often Rothko layered colour upon colour, using glazes and applying and wiping off paint, creating complex hues that are difficult to describe. None the less, the effect of this is, for me, is a purity of feeling.

Red on Maroon 1959

Red on Maroon 1959

If you ever have the chance to visit the Tate Modern gallery in London, Rothko’s Seagram murals are a must. Located off the main exhibition hall in their own room (the ‘Rothko Room’), they invite you to get lost in the vastness of the deep colour. Some are evocative of the after-image you get when you close you eyes, after having looked out of the window on a bright day. They are stunning. I could have spent hours staring at them, losing myself in them. Unfortunately, visiting hours are way too short and all too soon you have to emerge from the temple, blinking in the daylight, back to reality.

Rothko Room - Tate Modern Gallery London

Rothko Room - Tate Modern Gallery London

Dieuwke Swain
Fine Artist & Photographer
DESigns

Red Ted Art – Bringing Art to Children’s Hearts

Take a look at my good friend’s bespoke artwork (mainly) for children on http://redtedart.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/red-ted-on-facebook/!

Maggy Woodley creates wonderfully vibrant pop art paintings that will liven up your child’s bedroom.

Mention my name and get 10% off until 28th Feb!

Dieuwke Swain
Fine Artist & Photographer
DESigns

(Co)mission Accomplished

A commission is not to be underestimated.

Normally, I paint from inspiration—an idea, a feeling, an urge—basically, to satisfy a desire to express myself in colour and forms.

As soon as someone asks you to paint a piece in a particular colour or form, the freedom to satisfy yourself is caged up and replaced by a need to satisfy someone else—to ‘touch’ them, in fact. So instead of being a relaxing pastime, it becomes a task tinged with stress.

The excitement builds the nearer you come to finishing a piece and reaches its climax at the unveiling of the final painting to the commissioner. Will they love it? Hate it? Is it what they had in mind? Do they still want to buy it?

The answer, I’m pleased to say, is ‘yes’!

My very first commission piece met with approval. Now hanging proudly in the space on the wall for which it was intended, “it looks great”, the buyer informed me, extending an invitation come and see for myself how well it fits. You can imagine how pleased and relieved I am to hear it.

Sonal and Dieuwke with the commision piece Aeolian

Sonal and Dieuwke with the commision piece Aeolian

Three months in the making—discussing the assignment (the colours and forms), coming up with a design, buying the materials and then the building up the painting on canvas—it was a rewarding learning experience. For the commissions I have in the pipeline, I will be altering my approach, using the insights I’ve gained.

If you would like to commission a painting, I’d be happy to discuss ideas and wishes with you. Please refer to the contact information in the Acrylic Artwork page on this blog.

Dieuwke Swain
Fine Artist & Photographer
DESigns

Exhibition 20 June – 17 July ’09 – De Etalage, Montfoort

I am very pleased to announce that, half way through my exhibition at ‘De Etalage’ in Montfoort, the Netherlands (20 Jun – 17 Jul), I have had a lot of positive comments about my work and have sold my first photo.

De Etalage, Montfoort, Netherlands (20 Jun - 17 Jul 2009)

De Etalage, Montfoort, Netherlands (20 Jun - 17 Jul 2009)

The photo sold was ‘Scar’, one of my favourites from the Inspired By Nature series.

 Scar - Inspired By Nature series

The advantage of photo’s is that, even if I sell a favourite, I still can keep a copy for myself! Also, the same image can come in different sizes.

If you would like to go to the exhibition of my work at ‘De Etalage’, please call +31 (0)348 469499 for an appointment. More details can be found on the ‘Exhibitions’ page on this blog.

And finaly….. More good news on the DESigns front: last week I received a new commission – a tetraptych of four 90cm x 30cm canvases. This will be a longer term project, so I will fill you in with more details on this at a later stage.

Dieuwke Swain
Fine Artist & Photographer
DESigns

Good News Shared

At last the summer has arrived and we’re enjoying fine, sunny weather. What better way to celebrate this than spend the day indoors…. painting of course! I had promised to reveal which painting it was I had sold and now it is time to relieve the suspense.

On 16 May, Jenny became the proud owner of ‘Bird of Paradise’.

Jenny L - Proud new owner of Bird of Paradise
Jenny L – Proud new owner of Bird of Paradise

While of course I’m immensely pleased to have sold my first paining, there is also a tinge of sadness for me, as this was my favourite piece, and so it is difficult to part with it. I’m happy in the knowledge though that this painting will have a good home in China! Thanks Jenny.

Meanwhile, I have been busy this weekend with my first commission piece and have made a start with the background. I found a fabulous olive green paint in Delft on Saturday and this will be taking pride of place in this piece. I’m looking forward to getting started on the next stage.

In addition, I painted a new abstract piece called ‘The Waxing Wave’. Please check this out in my painting gallery. I keep returning to the wave style in my paintings and this time I have done this in a more literal sense. This painting was inspired by a small image in a Japanese/Chinese book I’ve been reading*. I’m thinking I may do a whole series in this theme in a variety of styles.

Dieuwke Swain
Fine Artist & Photographer
DESigns

* ‘The Samurai’s Garden’ by Gail Tsukiyama (http://us.macmillan.com/author/gailtsukiyama)