The Nguni cow’s portrait

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Nguni Portrait – Ink on paper, A3 200gsm.

I had the opportunity recently to paint cows again for a commissioned ink work, which is now in its home in Hermanus enjoying the ocean air.

Some notes on the process:

  1. A fairly rough sketch in 5B pencil on some paper to warm up and have a better look at the image – hey bingo, a separate artwork (below).
  2. Plot the basic lines in 2H pencil on the A3 paper using a light box (read: my window) and the reference image for proportion accuracies.
  3. Ink time! Start with large areas of washes in very watered down ink where the darkest areas/shadows lie in the image.
  4. Work on layers, painting smaller areas but darker shades, building up the details.
  5. Work
  6. Work
  7. Work
  8. Use your finest paintbrush, add the detailed finishing lines, like lashes and stray hairs.
  9. Sign.
  10. Hey pesto. Nguni portrait done 🙂
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Practice sketch

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All images are © Amy Slatem.

King Protea Wallpaper – free download

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So while everyone else spent their weekends getting married, engaged, making babies etc (thank you for that, Facebook), I made this thing. And I want to share my love thing with everyone. So go ahead and give it a download (link a bit below) and protea-fy your computer and phone because our national flower is just that beautiful.
Protea-phone-mockProtea_Fullscreen_4x3_artaims

Click on the size below to download, then save as…

DESKTOP: 4:3 Fullscreen // 16:9 Widescreen (recommended)
PHONE: 450 x 800 slim (iPhone 6 etc) // 500 x 750 wider


ARTWORK PROCESS // DETAILS


Protea-sketch_process

The artwork was all done in Photoshop using a Wacom Intuos Pro and a variety of PS brushes, finished off with a bit of background paper texture.

Protea-sketch_detailProtea-sketch_detail1Protea-sketch_detail2

Thank you!
Want more, more often?
Follow me on Instagram @shmaymee


Photo/mock up credit: Carlos Martínez 

Hello there, Adele.

Adele-Vinyl-cover

Adele has just recently released her single ‘Hello’, taken from her new album, 25, (release date: 20 November).
The song is great. Like really. Which is why I decided to pull out my (rather dusty) inks and brushes and while listening to this goosebumping song far too many times, I did an Adele-portrait-meets-lyrics piece.
I ended up simplifying the original artwork in Photoshop because there was just too much text… this should explain why not all the lyrics made it on in the end. But that’s just the fine print. Who reads fine print anyway? (I’m joking)

1I started the painting as an A3 landscape (I’m not sure why that made sense at the time) which was just a bit too big to fit in my scanner at the end. So the only way to really digitise it (other than photographing, but that’s not accurate enough) was to scan in the image half a side at a time, left then right with enough overlap each time. And yay Photoshop (and Google for showing me the answer) and its highly impressive automatic stitching command: Photomerge (File > Automate > Photomerge).

Stitched-Trio
1. I was originally going to manually try match up and layer the two scans myself – this would’ve taken a lot more time, effort and inaccuracy.
2. This shows the stitching that PS did by itself. Pretty incredible. I pulled the two pieces apart just to show how it merged the two separate images so perfectly together. I initially thought it was already flattened because it looked so natural.
3. How it looked immediately after it finished rendering the Photomerge. SEAMLESS!!


Adele by Amy SlatemFinal artwork ^^
Reminiscent of Billy Joel’s Piano Man actually…


Adele-OriginalThe original artwork scanned in (more text – but it looked too much like a beard so I erased it)


Adele-eyesAdele se oogbolletjies. (detail)


PROCESS PHOTOS…42


In case you STILL haven’t heard it…

Joburg Art Fair 2015

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Having heard a number of good reviews about it, I went to go check out the Joburg Art Fair held at the Sandton Convention Centre for myself this weekend. Mmmm… there really was such a great collection of diverse contemporary art featuring some big names in the South African art scene and beyond.
It’s was definitely well worth it being able to see the work of artists I know of and have learnt about in school and varsity, or just generally admire. Let’s name drop a bit off the top of my head… William Kentridge, Lionel Smit, Athi-Patra Ruga, Ed Young, Brett Murray, Nigel Mullins, Nicholas Hlobo, Anton Kannemeyer, Roger Ballen and so many more.
Overall, it was well worth the R130 entrance for an afternoon spent walking around the lovely venue looking at works up close, then afar and getting to bond with my camera for a change and being able to admire the textures and painterly/material details of the actual artworks made by hands I admire.
So I’m sorry if you missed it, cause you missed out. Maybe next year, doll…

35-NigelNigel Mullins

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Johannes Pokela

2619_comboOne of my favourites (the artist’s name wasn’t there, sadly). Loved the realism left to clash with the loose brushstrokes and white canvas.

31Claudette Schreuders

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Lionel Smit

16-Lionel-comboLionel Smit

8 9 11-Cloe-ReidCloe Ried

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Ed Young, Buttercup

20_skullboySkullboy (If only I had R12 000 lying around… Love this guy!)

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Market exhibition, Pretoria

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Last weekend (20 June) I had the opportunity to show some work at the launch of the Market on main Pretoria. Very cool space up at 012 Central in Pretoria CBD, interesting recycled furniture in the converted warehouse, and of course amazing stalls (both food and fashion).

On arrival (and slightly late after getting lost a few times and being totally freaked out by the don’t-give-no-f*cks taxis everywhere) I was given an entire space for my own, and right at the entrance. Art-in-a-converted-shipping-container :D! Thanks to Alex (seen below) for organising all of this on behalf of the Market!

If you’re interested in buying a framed original, I’ll be updating my Shop page soon soon!

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0Part of the preparation for the event was editing through all my works, picking the best, cropping and mounting them in the frames.
I blame my phone for the not so great photo quality…

“To mother” – a Mother’s Day commission series

I was sitting on my couch one evening recently and got onto thinking about things, and things as gifts, and life, and more things, and home… and then thought about Mother’s Day, well more like wondering when it is and if I’d accidentally missed it already, isn’t it usually in March? Oh flip, what I am going to do if it’s passed already!

Google reassured me though that in fact, Mother’s Day is still to come, on Sunday 10th of May to be specific. So now you can relax knowing that you still have a good amount of time – the whole of April – to start thinking of a special gift for yo mamma… Like, let’s see… Now wouldn’t a thoughtful white-framed portrait painted of your mom be a great idea?

That’s how the concept for my next illustration series came about, entitled: To mother.
It’ll be a collection of black ink portraits painted on A6 (105x148mm) 200gsm card for commissioning individuals of their lovely mothers, which can then be ordered with a white, box-frame and couriered straight to your mom, or to you. To keep. For yourself. Because your mom is cool and you wanna see a picture of her everyday.

The title’s concept:

1. (to) mother: (verb)

Past tense: mothered; noun: mothering
Bring up (a child) with care and affection.
“The art of mothering”: look after (someone) kindly and protectively, sometimes excessively so.

2. To, Mother

To address a letter to… yo mama!

3. To mother

An art series of commissioned portraits painted by Amy (me) of moms for Mother’s Day (Sunday 10 May 2015), to send as a present to your ma (or to keep for yourself).


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And now…

How to get your mom’s portrait done:

1. I’m going to need a high res pic of your mother, preferably where her full face (no half-cut-off heads, please) and shoulders takes up most of the frame, or maybe you want to go with something more expressive that involves the whole figure, that’s cool too. REMEMBER: the more interesting and engaging the photo, the more likely the painting is bound to be too.

2. Email the photo and postal address to amyslatem@gmail.com, and I’ll book a slot for you and send a invoice with banking deets. The queue to get your portrait done is going to be dependent on demand at the time, and if it is too close to the commission cut off date (30 APRIL 2015) I might not be able to do it, sorry. Right of Admission Reserved (?).

3. As a formality I require the deposit before starting (see below for pricing*), you can opt to pay full price then too (deposit + frame (optional) + postage).

4. Once the portrait is done, I’ll send you an email with a snap of the work, and the payment balance (if due). You can add a frame to your order still.

5. All portraits will be safely packaged and sent to the courier by Wednesday, 6 May,  (tbc) to arrive the next day and in time for the Mother’s Day weekend.

*Pricing list

– All portraits (deposit) R350
– White box-frame (pictured above) – optional R100
– Next-day courier (Aramex) R120
– Registered mail (non-framed portraits only, I can’t guarantee when it’ll arrive though) R50

If you decide on the full, framed & next-day delivery package, the total price is R570.

wall

The frame can both be hung up on the wall, or stand on a table.

23dom: The beginning of a documentative series

23-cover_SlatemThere seems to be an increasing number of Buzzfeed posts or Elite Dailies on social media focusing on the trials, confusions, good thangs, bad thangs and general common traits supposedly experienced in your 20’s.

In particular though, my timeline has had a lot about being 23 (because many of my friends have been chugging away at this age for some time already…. #hipsters). Posts like: “23 reasons nobody likes turning 23”, “23 real-life struggles of being 23” and the likes…

So as my 23rd birthday approached, and the 23rd of January drew closer, I decided I’d record my own experiences, thoughts and understandings for the first 23 days of being this young/old/present/absent.

My idea is to document/doodle/illustrate/write/collage the most significant thought or happening of the day – and date it – to capture these initial days of being a 23 year-old, living by myself in Johannesburg, entering my second year post-varsity and with a fresh (but long distance) relationship on my mind.

The intention is to blog and Instagram the image, a tagline and then a brief explanation/ expansion about the day, each day.

The twenty threedom title plays on the word freedom (because we’re in the age of independence) and the Afrikaans word dom (meaning stupid or clueless – because we don’t have it/much/most/anything really figured out right now).