Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Art in Review - April 2016 - Demo and Art Challenge

Cathy Layzell Demo 

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Born in 1972, Cathy Layzell graduated with a BA Fine Art Degree from Rhodes University in 1994. After a career in book publishing in London, she began painting full-time in 2002, spending many summers at the Painting School of Montmirail in SW France (near Toulouse). Visiting guest lecturers included British Abstract artists Gary Wragg, John Mitchell and Michael Kidner. Layzell exhibited extensively in the UK before returning to Cape Town in 2008.

Cathy Layzell completed a post-graduate diploma at Michaelis School of Fine Art, Univeristy of Cape Town in 2013. Recent exhibitions include Wilderness at Salon 91, Polynesia with Paul Senyol (Salon 91, Cape Town 2015), Connect the dots, (Casa Labia, Muizenberg, 2014), Kingdom and What lies beneath (Equus Gallery, Somerset West, 2014), Seeking Eden (Casa Labia, Muizenberg, 2014).
Cathy specializes in abstract and colour painting (not a well understood genre), which involves use of forms and shape, with marks cross fertilizing the work. She works full time as an artist, from a 5th floor Industrial space in Woodstock. She paints in oil on several paintings at once and the process is inspired by places and nature.
 She often works en Plein air and finishes in studio, using photos as a visual reference.
Cathy starts her research of a subject by collecting tons of photos and creating a “mood board”. She does research on other abstract painters that she admires, such as Matisse, Delacroix, and contemporary artists such as Gary Wragg, Ken Done and Michael Kidner. She then produces several small studies to build up a “vocabulary”. Usually her paintings consist of 3 layers, with loose washes of colour. She glazes to create translucency.

The demo
For the demonstration Cathy chose an underwater scene of fish. Nature gives infinite shapes and colours. She pre-mixes up a huge amount of as many colours as close to the colours in the reference photo. She does sometimes do the colour beginning in acrylic paint to speed up the process. She uses paint straight out of the tube and adds a little turps for the initial detail. She keeps looking at the photo,” look, do it, look, do it’. The under painting is prepped in a few layers.

Colourists are trained to see the colour in the shadows and darks eg. Red or green in the black and exaggerate it. Cathy says it’s better to leave a painting 90% finished, than overwork it by filling in every last detail, which makes it boring.
“Abstract painting lets you play more and nobody can tell you it’s wrong”
The end result was a beautiful large bright painting oozing with wonderful thick oil painting which left many of us dashing home to try this technique!

Written by: Linda Gotlieb                      Photographs by: Fran Sexton


Art Challenge:  "Dry"


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Kirsten Slater

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