23 November 2011

Karoo Geometric Mohair Rugs

A stunning silver-grey, yellow and cream (natural mohair colour) rug for a private client in Cape Town., photographed by Gary Hirson. Fully reversible and a dream to walk barefoot on. Available in more beautiful colour ways

26 October 2011

Contemporary Botanical Painting

Alistair Macintosh, writing in the Mail & Guardian of Oct 26 2011, asserts that Narcissistic modern art cannot help us in these troubled times:

He quotes Wassily Kandinsky from a century ago: The artist must "be a priest of beauty". Beauty itself is that "which springs from the soul", being anchored in the sacred.

Macintosh concludes: “I hear people yearning for what Kandinsky saw as prophetic art. Art that reveals hope. Art that breathes the flow of life into the veins.”

Eckart Tolle, in A New Earth, 2005, used this analogy of the sacred: “… these delicate and fragrant beings we call flowers would come to play an essential part in the evolution of consciousness of another species. Humans would increasingly be drawn to and fascinated by them” (p.2)

The flower, according to Wikipedia, first evolved from the vegetative stem of plants around 140 million years ago as a purely reproductive primordia (The principal purpose of a flower is the reproduction of the individual and the species)– and in direct complicity with animal and insect pollinators.

It has become one of a handful of symbols according to Tolle, with which modern humans may transcend the
cul de sac of ego-driven, materialistic 21st century existence. “Without our fully realizing it, flowers would become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves”. Apart from the fact that without flowers, there would have been no reproduction of plant life, ergo no further development of life on planet Earth, these exceptional manifestations of the reproductive energy of plants - and thus of life per se - are a prime symbol of our very existence within the cosmos.

Beyond the modish “green” and “eco” lobbys, these technicolour, sophisticated, beautiful and trickster flowers constitute spiritual building blocks towards an enlightened “New Earth”. Possibly for the first time in remembered history, artists of all ages and both genders are documenting and paying homage to botanical phenomena, collectors are collecting botanical art on a grand scale, and You Tube is showing gardener-artists from East and West as they lay down the veils of vibrating colour and light which constitute the ephemeral, spiritual qualities of a flower, its petals and leaves.

Flowers - and it follows - botanical art are in the vanguard of current human aspirations to preserve our ancient habitat on planet Earth. Their continued existence signifies hope, the quality Macintosh discovered people are currently so yearning for.

As a painter of life-pulsing yet ephemeral plant blossoms, leaves and pods, I feel the hour of botanical art has indeed come. Art that breathes the flow of life into the veins. Far from the madding crowd with its ego-driven insecurities, resulting paranoias and often alienating, international art market “art”, there is space for the uplifting, transcending power of a delicate, solitary flower in all its meditative beauty. 

As Georgia O’Keeffe noted: “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment”.

Beyond showing their pretty faces and embodying romantic allusions, flowers and their botanical accoutrements are both path markers and prophetic alarm signals accompanying the headlong human rush for more growth, more consumption and more profit. Ignore them at your peril.

09 September 2011

New botanical paintings 2011 - indigenous South African flowers

Nothing like a crystalline Karoo winter to incubate dormant painting energy. Three 50 x 50 cm portraits of indigenous blossoms are almost done, and a big 100 x 220 cm view of blue waterlilies (especially their leaves) progressing alongside these. Claude Monet's the major water lily maestro, so I'm happy doing my own thing with the pretty blue floating, diaphanous blossoms... I think flowers are the most overlooked top secret of all nature's secrets. We think we see them - but do we really? Hundreds of insects and larger animals (e.g. bats) are tempted by these sirens of scent and colour to visit and help with pollination. Without flowers, no continuation of the species... the dainty Bauhinia and Moraea Villosa above, the dramatic Diascia (Mask Flower) coming soon

The making of a painted flower portrait 2: Moraea villosa

After modelling the petals and further defining the flower centre, the stamens still need to be painted in detail.  Fourteen hours of work, spread over several weeks. The layers of oil paint dry naturally, no chemicals are used to accelerate the process..... Almost there...!

09 August 2011

Simplicity says it all

One painted vase - using design language from a Sally Arnold ™ woodcut dated 2004 - in a beautifully designed private residence in Swedish Malmö

08 August 2011

A magical phenomenon called colour


Colour is at the heart of evolution.

The first thing to remember is that colour does not actually exist… at least not in any literal sense.... What exists is light. Light is real. You can measure it, hold it and count it (well … sort-of). But colour is not light. Colour is wholly manufactured by your brain. 

Think of the relationship between insects and flowers (flowers are not coloured for our benefit, but for theirs), or of all the different colours of animals and how they either blend into their environment or, like the peacock, stand out in order to attract attention.... 
Read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14421303

24 July 2011

Pierre-Joseph Redouté - Belgian botanical painter

I discovered this gorgeous painting "Bouquet of flowers", watercolor on vellum by Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759 - 1840) which inspired me to produce new flower paintings

18 July 2011

Jaume Plensa monumental outdoor works, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

A master of lightness! How privileged I was to show "Cosmic Flowers" with Plensa's illuminated head nearby at St Tropez in 2006: http://www.sudafricana.com/sculp_cosmicgarden_StTropez2006.html

Artist Residency, Crans Montana, Switzerland

Sally Arnold has been invited to a Spring 2012 residency at the beautiful Cite Joie, Crans Montana in French speaking Switzerland. It will be a wonderful opportunity to study indigenous Swiss mountain flowers...

31 May 2011

Soft stripey stripes ....

New handwoven kid mohair sofa cushions in dynamic stripes with soft "beaded" inserts - more colours to follow....

Guest collaboration with Avoova

Sally Arnold ™ is creating 5 new designs for the expanding Avoova Ostrich Eggshell range, with a special focus on new colour trends and the international market.

14 May 2011

Biodigital architecture based on flowers

Phenomenal .... this is what architecture students in Barcelona are designing.... love it!

26 April 2011

The making of a painted flower portrait

This sequence shows the beginnings of a Moraea villosa - an indignous flower from South Africa. The background (acrylic) lightened in image 2, and a rather strong yellow ochre was added to the pthalo petal centres in image 3. The flower will be painted in oils. Once these ground colours have dried, shades of white and grey will model the petal surfaces, the coloured markings will be further developed and the centre of the flower will become sculpturally prominent. Watch this space....

30 March 2011

Water architecture

I really love smart urban architects! Though I love unspoilt nature even more, they're the next best thing.... check out these beautiful bubbles designed by Eriksson Architects from Helsinki for the Mentogou Water Institute + Eco Valley in China

25 February 2011

Ambiente 2011 - the official story

Dear Mrs. Arnold,

Ambiente 2011 was a roaring success. Together, we welcomed over 144,000 trade and professional visitors. This represents a 10 percent growth. With your new products and highlights you have provided inspiration for the international buyers who came and have motivated them as they look forward to the trading year to come. You and your company create the magnet that makes Ambiente what it is – the world number 1, with the broadest product range on the planet. We thank you for your commitment and are already looking forward to joining up with you again at the next Ambiente in 2012.

Ambiente Team

17 February 2011

Ambiente 2011 success

Ambiente 2011 was a wonderful success for a first visit, thanks to the DTI and SA National Pavilion! Sally Arnold™ received a distributor offer for Germany and Austria, sales and orders were great. Visitors loved the colours - accurately on trend with Ambiente's forecasts -, designs and very polished handmade look. The runaway stars were the big floor cushions!

21 January 2011

Indigènes - Grande Provence

Focusing on indigenous South African flowers, this small show runs till February 16. Above: Aristea, oil and acrylic, 50 x 50 cms, price on request

Knitting in glass

Seen at 15 on Orange, Cape Town - all the way from Murano

14 January 2011

Grande Provence Gallery + Sculpture Garden

Spending a few days in this idyllic wine estate setting in historical Franschhoek is a glorious build up to my upcoming exhibition Indigènes, January 16 - February 16

10 January 2011

Karoo Zen lounge cushions

Silky soft. lustrous kid mohair and a handloom combined to make this stunning new addition to the collection. In several sizes, colours and striped patterns, made with love and care in the Karoo. Don't leave without one.....