You are cordially invited to attend the opening of the exhibition
Paintings by Jeni Caruana
Inaugurated by Marquis Nicholas De Piro
at 7.30pm on Wednesday 7th May 2014
at the ‘La Vittoria Band Club’
(in front of the Mellieħa Parish Church)
23, Misrah il-Parroċċa, Mellieħa
Please click here to see the collection of paintings I will be exhibiting
First of all - Happy Easter everyone! I hope that it has been a peaceful holiday surrounded by good company and plenty of chocolate!!
At the moment Malta is in full bursting bloom, with spring flowers seeming to grow as quickly and abundantly as they possibly can in every nook and cranny. The fields are green and overflowing with produce, tall with wheat and corn, clover and wild grasses, all dotted with bright red poppies and yellow 'Ingliza' (sorrel).
This year has inspired me just the same, and so - you have heard this here first! - I will be having an exhibition of recent paintings at the 'La Vittoria' Band Club (opposite the parish church) in Mellieha in May. It will open officially on May 7th at 7.30pm and I would love it if you could be there. I will be saving trees this year and not sending printed invitations at all, so please, just come if you can.
My classes continue, Friday mornings in the delightful (and flourishing) gardens of Villa Bologna in Attard, and the Saturday Morning Drawing Club in my studio in Manikata. Come and join in the fun!
I am a Flat-Earther when it comes to drawing.... we have to draw on two dimensional surfaces so how can anything really be three dimensional in our drawings? Drawing itself is an illusion; there are no lines around things, only changes in colour or tone or distance, so we have to invent marks to show those changes. We capture optical illusions in our lines; objects don’t really become smaller as they move away from us, they only appear to.
This makes no sense to our beleaguered ‘left brains’ which will battle heroically to make things look the way they ‘should’. Struggling with perspective for hours and not knowing why the results still look so wrong is every student’s nightmare. Being shown how to construct disappearing perspective lines which meet on the horizon/eyeline makes the left brain happy, but it’s often hard to apply this accurately when faced with a real life, three dimensional subject. Lines tend to tilt in the completely opposite direction, we invent things we can’t see at all, and it just gets totally frustrating.
There is a much easier way; drawing three-dimensional space so that it appears ‘real’ is almost simple if you tell yourself that the world is flat. You have to prove this first, so that your left brain will give up trying to ‘help’ you.
Hold up a piece of string with a weight on the end of it – a plumbline – so that you can see past it to, say, a cup on a table beyond it. Close one eye and see that the cup ‘touches’ the string in space. Now close the other eye instead and see how much the cup appears to have moved! We humans have brilliant binocular vision with our two eyes, which gives us our sense of depth and distance. In this case though, we need one view, so close one eye and see the cup ‘touching’ the string. Now look down the string a little and see that the closest edge of the table ‘touches’ the string too, look down further and you will see the floor, the table legs perhaps – all ‘touching’ the string. Look up the string and you will see the further edge of the table and whatever else is in your view – a window perhaps, the view outside, miles down the road, all will ‘touch’ the string too!
This gives you not only a very useful tool to judge perspective with – it also gives you the greatest gift of all – you now LOOK LIKE AN ARTIST.
Do this with enough conviction (you don’t actually need to draw anything at all) and everyone will think you know exactly what you are doing. Result!
Before I came to Malta I had spent a good six years of my life at art colleges, but really hadn’t much clue about how to make a living out of art. I had studied Illustration, because my three year course at Harrow Art College had given me such good drawing skills, but I was pretty hopeless at doing as I was told (still am, some would say!). I came here with my art materials, my sketchbooks and a lot of love for a local musician!
Circumstances dictated that I had to work as a graphic designer for almost two years, and I absolutely hated it. By the time I left, I had completely stopped drawing or even thinking about art. I didn’t know any other artists in Malta, and I must have just blocked out any interest in art. I began a very odd period of my life; I found that I was obsessing over what I realise now were creative outlets, such as cooking, sewing, knitting, making jewellery and various other things, even selling some of the stuff I produced. I even went so far as to create two children (not alone of course!) – and no, I didn’t sell them......
Obviously there wasn’t much time for Art then, and so I continued with the cooking, sewing, knitting...... and then one day when my youngest daughter was asleep (I swear she slept for the first year of her life) and the eldest one was at school, I sat there and thought – something is really missing here, what is it that I am longing for? And it hit me. Drawing.
So I found my pencils and a nice new sketchbook, and I COULDN’T DRAW. Really, I couldn’t – the lines just came out all wrong, and the more I tried, the more I cried.
I think that feeling ranks as one of the most poignant ones of my life; how sad that I had let all that talent slip away from me. How could I have forgotten something I had found so easy, and so full of joy? What had I been doing, thinking that making dinners and jumpers could ever be a substitute for that feeling of connection and sheer self expression?
And so I began a journey back. It had been almost seven years since I had really drawn anything properly, and finding my ‘line’ again was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I started by asking myself what it was that was missing? I could see the subject that I wanted to draw, but my hand just wasn’t able to guide the pencil along the right lines to capture it. I began to read voraciously about creativity and art, and along the way came across Betty Edwards’ “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”. This helped to explain many of the problems I was having with perception and coordination, and – with a lot of hard work and practice – I found my love of drawing again.
This experience has helped me to understand and explain the problems that other people experience when they first start trying to draw. We are looking without seeing, coming at things from the wrong direction and attempting to do a creative task in a logical fashion; using our left brains for a right brain activity.
In four sessions I can explain all this to people who have always thought that they would never be able to draw anything well. We just need to trick our left brains into leaving us alone, and that is achieved with exercises I have gleaned from many sources over the years and put together in a structured course. I can’t turn people into Artists in four weeks, but I can give them all the tools they need to tackle drawing anything. They have to practice, of course, but for those that stick with it, the results can be amazing.
My next course begins next Thursday morning at 10am in Manikata – let me know if you would like to join the adventure - 80 euro for a whole new way of seeing the world!!
I am happy to offer you a half-price SALE on all my prints!
They are all printed using the best digital technology and show every detail of texture and brushstroke as clearly as the original. Each image is approximately 42 x 30 cms. Top quality inks and acid free 250gsm hammered card
make each one a very special record of the original painting.
I have several different collections of prints, this first one consists of eight of my paintings created on-site at the Malta Jazz Festival every year. I use acylics on gesso tinted paper and paint on the spot to capture the atmosphere and excitement of this great annual event under the stars.
This one, "Aviahai Cohen Trio" was painted at the 2011 Jazz festival. To see the rest of the series please click HERE
For my last solo exhibition in May 2013 I created a set of six prints of local Maltese landscapes. Most of the paintings feature the 'Girna' , or small stone farmer's huts, which dot the landscape in the North of Malta.
This one is called "Girna, Kennedy Grove" and the original was painted in watercolours.
To see all six, please click HERE
I also have a lovely range of prints made from paintings I painted on site at various of the famous prehistoric Temples in Malta. Some were created in the Hypogeum, the unique underground Temple, and others are of curled naked women, following the legends of sleeping oracles who spent nights down there to have visionary dreams.
To see the range of prints please click HERE
This one is called "Portal" and was painted in Ta'Hagrat Temple in Mgarr.
I hope that you find at least one that you like and make the most of this offer!
Meanwhile, here's to 2014, may all our dreams come true!
Best wishes, Jeni :-)
Well, I am travelling around on London's public transport with my sketchbook in hand..... this pic is of my daughter reading her Kindle, completely absorbed. She didn't even notice me drawing her until the man sitting next to me commented on it! She should be used to me drawing her, of course, as I have been doing it to her all her life! You can see more of these pages from my sketchbook on my Facebook page
I'll be back in Malta next week for my next First Friday on the 6th September though - pop in if you can!!
I love to paint - and draw - and help others to discover their creative side too.....
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