I used to love ‘blogging’ and writing newsletters. I would blog about my life in Spain, my art, my life in general, however gradually I wrote less and less as other things took over my life and blogging seemed less important.
Blogging and newsletters were a great way to combine my love of art, writing and Spain, and so today I made a decision – ‘blogs are back!’
So expect a more regular blog or newsletter from me – a bit like the old days.
Here is a still life of some gerberas I painted a few days ago – the title of this painting is
‘The sound of falling petals’
Let me know if you can hear them …..
I just love the way the vibrant fluorescent pink lifts the painting – such an exciting finishing touch. More still life flowers can be seen on my website www.steffisartwork.com and are available for sale
When I studied art at University, many many years ago, I had to write an essay using the title ‘Why I do ART’. I found it a very difficult question to answer back then and in some ways over 35 years later, I feel the same way now. I regularly ask myself ‘why do I do art?’ and it’s a deeply personal answer.
I first discovered my love for art when I was a child and I realised I preferred to be alone creating in my bedroom, a solitary pursuit back then as now. Today, hours and days are spent in my studio painting alone with only my cat for company, fed occasionally or brought coffee or wine by my husband. Removed from any social activity, with music playing sometimes loudly and sometimes softly – usually the same tracks and playlists. The process is also usually similar – I stretch and prime my canvases with gesso in advance then when I feel the creative urge start to take over, my feet and hands tingle and my solar plexus does somersaults, I know it’s time to start the exciting process of art and begin to apply paint to the chosen canvas.
I am addicted to art. I absolutely love colour and texture, it is at the core of all my work whether an abstract, nude, female face, seascape or landscape. I work in various mixed media including oils, acrylics, charcoal, inks and I incorporate many textures and glazes, sometimes I play with collage. There are usually about 7 layers to my paintings usually beginning with words and impulsive brush strokes. There are also many ‘under stories’ which are the parts of the painting that only I know about which could be my own poetry or something I have heard and noted in my sketchbook. I use bold colours and brave brushstrokes with paint spatterings and drips, sometimes I feel loose and free and sometimes I feel stuck and tight and need to work through a difficult area. Decision making is a large part of painting and sometimes I make good choices and other times not so good, but I trust in the process and the final outcome is always satisfying as I can only say the work is complete when it feels so.
My addiction to art also includes ‘chasing paintings’ where my husband and I go in search of galleries worldwide to see one specific painting exhibited. I read books and study other artists, I watch documentaries, films, and listen to podcasts – my every day life is filled with art in some form or another. I crave art and could not imagine my life without it.
In essence I do not believe there is one short answer as to ‘why I do art’. The answer is multi faceted and is difficult to articulate simply. I do art because I believe it is what I was born to do. I AM an artist. Every painting captures elements of my life and my thoughts, every painting is a wonderful journey of ups and downs and helps me to clear my head, escape from the internal dialogue, make sense of difficult situations, it is like a meditation in movement as the process of making art is like an outer body experience where time is lost and the flow state is extreme and nourishing.
But I also make art because to create is a great joy and art is a great connector of the human soul. Anyone who has connected with or purchased my work always comment on the vibration of the piece and how the energy changes in the room where it hangs. So many of my paintings now hang in beautiful houses and offices all over the world and I am proud to have created something that will eventually outlive me.
So put simply, I guess the answer for me is because my life without art would be intolerable, without colour, without excitement, without stimulation, without connection – so the question should be ‘how can I NOT do art?’ I mean, just imagine life if there was no art?…….
At last, Spring has finally arrived here in Spain along with the birds, butterflies, almond blossom and wild orchids!
After a few months of hibernation, we can shake off our cocoons and listen to the orchestra of nature, observe new growth all around us and feel ready to grow ourselves. The spectacularly bright March Full Worm Moon was the subject of my latest Moon Goddess painting and being the first full Moon to occur after the Spring Equinox on 20 March, it is called the ‘Paschal Full Moon’ and this determines the date of Easter.
Each full Moon throughout the year has its own name and the March full Moon is known as the Worm Moon which refers to the earthworms appearing as the soil warms in Springtime wriggling to the surface to provide food for the birds who have also begun the very busy months of nest building and creating environments for their offspring. I used all this information to inspire my Worm Moon Goddess, she is filled with the love of Mother Nature and is complete with her own poem written by me. She is part of my Warrior Women series and is titled ‘I AM … A Miracle. She measures 75 x 95 cms and is painted on canvas using various media including natural butterfly wings found whilst out on my nature walks. She is priced at £/Euros 750, unframed. Hand finished limited edition impressions are also available for £/Euros 75.
I AM … A Miracle
Worms wriggle, composting the soil and determined to rise Blindly trying to find their prize A symphony of sounds echo, transformation the tune The orchestra of nature performs to the March Spring Full Moon The conductor revered as cocoons are rejected Wake up, be ready, it’s time to grow, be celebrated Skins of the past are shed like a snake Inevitable growth, no longer opaque A miracle performed, nature is truth Take that leap now, transform like a butterfly searching for eternal youth Your scars can come too, they may be your best attire You are a miracle, complete and ready to inspire
Not being able to show my work for the past 18 months has been very disappointing, after all what’s the point of having a studio full of paintings if there is no way of exhibiting them or having people see them. The world now is more virtual than ever and trying to keep up with all things online is both exciting and exhausting.
However (drum roll please….) I am so excited to show you my first online art exhibition – a collection of 14 abstract paintings created during lockdown.
I would like you to experience this as if you were visiting an art gallery but from your sofa with a glass of wine or Cava. To begin – click the link below and hover over the arrow which says ‘start the guided tour’ and the tour will begin – then sit back and meander through the exhibition. As you automatically stop at each painting a voice over (me !) will explain the painting to you and then it will move on to the next painting. This is a slow experience, not to be rushed so maybe two glasses of wine will be needed! If you want more information about a painting, double click on the actual painting for dimensions and price which include delivery and message me if interested on firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you enjoy having a look around my first online exhibition and please let me have any feedback. I plan to create more, so any suggestions would be very useful.
Thank you for taking the time to visit ‘Escape Into Abstraction 2021’
2020 left me with quite a few small paintings which never managed to find their forever homes and I have created a slideshow with the work I have available.
Each painting is an original one off piece of small art painted by me and I have indicated a reduced price next to each painting plus the postage costs to wherever you are in the world. If you are interested in any of my work send me an email to email@example.com or fill in the contact form below and we can discuss the piece in more detail or I can forward more photos of the painting to you. Your painting will be signed, securely packaged with tracked postage to you along with a Certificate of Authenticity.
This is a great opportunity to buy an original piece of small art, great as a gift or just for YOU !
A painting on canvas recently came into my possession by the artist Michael Bray Falslev of two men hugging and the tenderness touched me so much I felt inspired to do my own version. I can’t take any credit for the composition but after drawing the image onto paper I made it my own by making it the characters feminine and adding more colour.
It is such a sensitive image with so much narrative, the compassion and care which can be seen between the two individuals is very powerful and I think it is how we are all feeling during these uncertain times – after all everyone needs a hug especially now as we go into 2021 still unsure what lies ahead.
I admit it!! I am a total art addict!! Not only do I love the experience of painting I also love studying the work of other artists and spend most of my day either immersed in the practice itself or looking at the work of others. The genre of abstract art has always facsinated me and has become one of my greatest loves but also one of my biggest challenges to paint with a satisfactory outcome. But when that final paint stroke or mark is made it can be the most delicious feeling as I stand back and look at the balance and harmony I have created between colour, form and emotion.
I discovered the painting ‘The Talisman’ by Paul Serusier back in 2002. It was painted in 1888 under the guidance of Paul Gauguin and totally captured me. We don’t think of abstract art as being so old, but this painting became an iconic painting for a group of young painters who called themselves The Nabis and it inspired me in the same way as it did them. I couldn’t wait to copy it.
Gauguin instructed Serusier to paint what he saw straight from the tube whether it be a colour or a shape. It was painted on wood, a small cigar box in fact, with oil paints and is the only painting Serusier is really credited for as he was better known for his writing. However this painting spring-boarded the Nabis into action. I painted mine in the same way although on a much larger canvas, looking at my garden as I did so. It was a great lesson in abstraction and from then my love affair with the genre began.
As I continued to study the abstract artists, painters like Rothko and Pollock mesmerized me, Kandinsky and Miro excited me, Mondrian baffled me and de Kooning made me shudder. So many emotions would be stirred in me with each particular style. O’Keefe has brought me to tears with her beauty and sensitivity. Hodgkin being one of my absolute all time favourites with the deep simplicity of his brush strokes makes me cheer. Oh! there are so many – too many to mention, in fact.
I then began a quest to ‘chase art’ making it a continual pursuit to find out where these famous paintings where hung, go and see them no matter where they are in the world and to sit with them, allowing myself to dissolve into them to see how they made me feel. It was a great basis for my understanding of what makes a great abstract painting.
Abstract art is hugely based on feelings and emotions, not only that of the artist but also of the viewer and is very personal experience for both. So when I paint in an abstract way you get all of me in a painting, literally blood, sweat and tears combined with joy and love. As the layers start to develop, the back stories, text and poetry are covered by more colour and texture until I finally add that last brush stroke and I know my work is done.
When I accept a commission for an abstract painting there is also an element of the commissioner within the piece as we work together with preferred colour palettes and personal stories on the under layers and then I continue alone as I am immersed in the process through to completion.
So when you next see an abstract painting, spend a minimum of 15 minutes with it and lose yourself in the whole experience, see how you feel and what you see within the painting and within yourself.
I regularly paint abstract commissions to a particular size or colour palette and my work that is currently available can be seen at www.steffisartwork.com
A brilliant initiative called Portraits for NHS Heroes started by Artist Thomas Croft @tomcroftartist is an arts project where artists volunteer to offer to paint a portrait of an NHS worker. This began on April 4, 2020 during the Covid-19 outbreak when Tom put an offer on Instagram to paint a free portrait for the first NHS worker to reply to him. However, he received so many requests that he eventually put 500 NHS workers in touch with professional artists who volunteered to paint them. This offer really spoke to artists who wanted to lift the spirits of the key workers and snowballed into a massive project which now spans many countries worldwide and it is planned to have an exhibition of some of the portraits when the pandemic subsides.
I do not consider myself a professional portrait painter but decided to volunteer anyway and put out an announcement via social media where I received 15 nominations. The names went into a hat – literally – and the first name was Jude McBride who had been nominated by a friend. It turned out that she was the perfect choice, being a complete warrior woman working on the frontline who had also had a bout of Covid-19 herself. She has worked for the South Central Ambulance Service for 18 years based in Southampton and The New Forest and is the Paramedic Team Leader, responding as a paramedic and also the on call Operational Commander for this area when on duty to provide a large scale leadership role for challenging incidents and also provide support to the team. She directly manages a team of 25 staff and has a great team. Jude says ‘I love my role and am very proud to work with the people I do, who are all just amazing’.
We chatted on Skype for the first time to get to know each other, initially Jude was not sure about having a portrait of herself hanging in her house, but decided to go with it and sent through some photos of herself for me to work with. I used a combination of 2 or 3 of the photos as I wanted to capture her strength as a woman working on the frontline managing a large team, but also to convey her warm, caring nature. Her portrait, I hope, shows her looking like she had given her all on one of, I am sure, many challenging days.
Fortunately Jude loves her portrait and I really enjoyed painting her and felt I had really got to know a very special lady.
A wonderful initiative how artists and art lovers can help artists called The Artist Support Pledge was created by Mathew Burrows who thought of a way of to help artists sell some paintings or creative pieces during lockdown using social media – in particular Instagram using the hashtag #artistsupportpledge
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, artists around the world have found themselves without work as galleries have had to close, teaching positions have come to a standstill as schools and colleges shut their doors and with exhibitions and art fairs having to be cancelled, sales have completely disappeared. Artists depend upon many different avenues to be able to sell and show their work and these closures mean that the online virtual world has become even more important as a way of getting work out into the eye of the art lover and collector.
Artists post a photo of a painting for sale for up to 200 £/Euros and when each artist has sold 1000 £/Euros of work, they pledge to buy another artists work – however in many cases artists do not wait to buy another’s work – we buy in advance as this is the way we are ! Artists support artists wherever they can.
Here are a few of my small works available all for under 200 £/Euros. Each painting is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity, signed and safely packed ready for to post.
More detailed information can be found on my website page #artistsupportpledge and I will keep adding new work every week so keep checking or go to my Instagram page.
So if you feel like treating yourself to a small work of art for yourself or as a lifetime gift for someone special, now is a good time to buy small works of art from artists.
‘The Edge of the Table’, mixed media painting on canvas with gold leaf
After a very positive and creative start to the year, around the end of February my work began to change, my colour palette became darker, brushstrokes bolder, paintings were erased and restarted, my refinement lost its way. As I began to paint over each canvas, organically this collection of abstract work began to slowly emerge, brighter, lifted and with a positive energy from how they began. The text from a novel that had fallen apart created the title for each painting, the words being abstract in isolation leads you to consider the painting in more depth and the deeper meaning behind them. Painting in the abstract genre can be particularly challenging because to create an abstract painting the creative thought process is challenged the most. This series is based on how I was feeling using colour, shapes, brushstrokes, size and scale to explore that moment when the planet stopped to breathe.
Some of these works are part of the Artist Support Pledge @artistsupportpledge where paintings are sold for £/Euros 200 or less and can be seen on my Instagram account @steffi_goddard_artist. This is a project to help artists sell their work as exhibitions stop running, galleries close and teaching dries up. Message me for more info of what’s available and prices.
At the beginning of the year I was so lucky to have been given a joyous commission to paint a series of 3 canvases, one large and two smaller canvases for a beautiful home in the UK. After visiting my client I came away with photos and an idea for a bright colour palette – perfect ! The brief was for a wall in a large, bright conservatory and to bring the garden from the outside into the inside space. Fortunately it was sunny back in my studio in Spain and I was able to imagine the flowers and the bright sky without any problem at all. These are the three chosen from the series and are now very happy in their forever home. The large painting in the middle is the ‘Abundant Garden’, the painting to the left is ‘By Night’ and the painting to the right is ‘By Seasons’.
Federico Garcia Lorca is one of Spain’s best known poets and now a popular icon. Born in 1898, he lived the first ten years of his life in Fuente Vaqueros, which is close to Granada in Southern Spain. He moved to Madrid when he was in his early twenties and joined a group of avant-garde artists that included Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel. The group, collectively known as the “Generation of 1927,” introduced Lorca to Surrealism, a movement that would greatly influence his writing and poetry.
Lorca was an active socialist and his controversial political views as well as his generally bohemian attitudes would ultimately cost him his life and during the Spanish Civil War, Lorca was captured by Franco’s Nationalist Army and executed. His works, and even his existence, remained a taboo subject in Spain for nearly four decades after his death. However as a result, Lorca has become not only famous for his exemplary poetry, but for his martyrdom at the hands of a fascist dictatorship. His works were suppressed in Spain for many years but have had a monumental influence on the poets and authors of Latin America and the world over and he is often credited with being the first author to introduce Surrealism into literature. His work has a lasting impact on Spanish poetry and Lorca has influenced many of my abstract paintings with his interesting use of words, often written in a surrealist or abstract voice. Here are two of my abstract paintings complete with Lorca’s words.
I am so proud to have the above painting used for the design on a yoga and fitness clothing range. The painting was from an abstract collection of work called ‘Spiritual Exploration’ and was originally painted in watercolour on paper. I had no idea how this would work on a clothing range, but now the range is complete and I am thrilled with the way it looks on this collection.
The collaboration between myself and ILU Fitwear has been an exciting journey to see how artwork can be used in this way and because of the nature of the printing process, each item is different and unique. It’s like wearing an original piece of art as no two pieces are the same.