Friday, 23 May 2014


Some paintings have a difficult birth with a protracted labour before my concept, sketches, and dyes start to click, and I'm on a creative roll once again (and what a great feeling that is!).
This one, however, just seemed to tumble out of my imagination and on to my barkcloth canvas!  Here's a sneak peak into the creative process behind "FIRE WITHIN"

The 'blank canvas moment'...
My canvas in this case is a piece of beautiful, natural "masi" - traditional Fijian barkcloth made from the inner bark of tropical mulberry trees.  The masi we use in our studio is crafted by women from my husband's family who live on the small island of Vatulele in southern Fiji.  They travel several hours by boat and bus every few weeks to bring us freshly beaten masi - always a joy to receive!

The sketching stage...
My theme is DANCE, ENERGY, PASSION...  I'm painting for a cause - the end result will be donated to the VOU Dance Studio where our son works in Suva.  This trail-blazing local dance company has been instrumental in raising the profile of contemporary performing arts in Fiji, opening all kinds of doors for urban youth with a passion for music, dance, and culture - and the need to be able to make a living from their talents.  They are currently moving mountains as they fundraise to get dance crews across to Canada and the USA where they will be taking part in an indigenous cultural festival and the World HipHop Championships this summer.

The design has been finalised and transferred on to my piece of barkcloth.  Hmm - now for the colours - my favourite part!  I am using fire as my inspiration for this - the colours of flames: crimson, magenta, ochre - with indigo and violet thrown in too!

I'm painting in acrylics.  The rough texture of the barkcloth is a challenge, but the absorbency of the natural fibres lends itself to colour-blending - just up my street!

Reaching the point where I can finally see that the vision I had for this piece is panning out - YES!

The painting part is done - now for some fine outlines in gold metallic paint!

And here's the finished piece!  "FIRE WITHIN" is mounted on a backing board that is covered in a textured collage made from small scraps of barkcloth, painted with black acrylic.