I wonder what they’re thinking? What are their stories? So many questions run through my head while I am drawing people, and I think that the pictures capture my thoughts as I work. My impressions are part of the end product.
Underpinning all the ‘action’ paintings and sketches that I love to do so much is a life-long fascination with people. I always have a sketch book with me, but even when I am not drawing I am watching. There’s something about the way people behave and interact, the way they move or stand. They way they walk that tells you so much about their character. The way they influence the space around them, and the way they fit into the world.
The only way I can paint or draw really quickly and accurately at live events is to have complete confidence in my knowledge of the human form and how it moves. My years of studying in life classes have given me a solid feeling for anatomy and a connection to the way we humans fill space. I love working with models, male and female. Human beings are all beautiful, miraculous and unique. It’s a privilege to be able to spend time studying someone’s unique body shape and simply be allowed to stare at them without embarrassment or misinterpretation.
For the last year or so I have been working on a collection of drawings and paintings called ‘Fifty Shades of Grey Nudes’. To see the works so far please visit my Fifty Shades of Grey Nudes site. Here are some of the latest works, which have not been added to the website yet. I would like to exhibit them to coincide with the premier of the film in Malta, but we’ll see what happens.
All artists are 'self taught' to a certain extent. No matter what training they may have had, progress is only made through constant study and practice.
There are arguments for and against a formal training in art. Some say that it can stunt the individual expression of the budding artist. Many never progress beyond the boundaries of technique and the safety of general approval. Others say that having a good grounding in basic skills can only help an artist to grow in any desired direction.
It can be difficult to break free from the do’s and don’ts, with or without a formal education. I studied Illustration for three years at college. The standard of drawing we were expected to produce was extremely high. I had always had a gift, so I really enjoyed honing my skills. When I left college I knew that I could realistically represent any subject. I didn’t want to be an illustrator though.
Years later, when my children were at school and I had time to myself, I found it very hard to draw with my previous confidence. I also wanted to express myself more, but had no idea how to do that. I began a journey of discovery, learning to use watercolour and acrylics and then moving into three- dimensional works as well.
In the prehistoric temples, for example, I often record every tiny hole, groove and mark in the stone very precisely. I may then do several black and white tonal studies, recording light and shadows. From there I will go on to watercolour, still working on site. I absorb feelings, impressions and anything else which seems relevant
From this I am sometimes led to semi or purely abstract works, occasionally going into 3 dimensional works in mixed media.
I know that my solid grounding in drawing gives me a basis to work from and a confidence in my approach. I have been teaching drawing skills and watercolour techniques in Malta for years now. I find that giving people enough basic knowledge and encouragement helps them to discover their own unique talent. I think those who approach art through abstraction and trying to ‘express themselves’ are impoverished as far as their potential is concerned. They often give up in frustration and follow another creative path. This is a shame, as learning to ‘see’ by learning how to draw can enrich all creativity on every level. Being able to capture reality accurately gives us a basis to extract from, and also a mine of information to expand on and explore.
"PAINTINGS BY JENI CARUANA"
I have saved quite a few trees by not sending out invitations or making printed flyers or posters. I am relying on this, my Blog, emails and Facebook posts to advertise my current exhibition. I do hope this works as I really think that these are some of the best paintings I have ever produced. I am exhibiting again at the 'La Vittoria' Band Club in Mellieha. It is a great venue, run by some great people dedicated to the local community. It is easy to find, as it is in front of the main parish church in Mellieha.
No parking problems either....
Do drop in and see me - it is open every evening from 5 - 9.30 pm and on Sundays from 10am - 9.30pm and I will be there.
It is only open until Sunday 18th May.
I have put a lot of work into this collection over the last year, and I really think I have taken my work a big step closer to where I would like it to go. I would love to share it with you.
Besides simplifying the exhibition title (I am so fed up with exhibitions with grandiose, meaningless titles) I have also named the paintings simply too..... perhaps it's my age, or perhaps just the stage I have reached. I don't want to mess around any more. The paintings are the important things - they should speak for themselves.
In his inaugural speech, Marquis Nicholas de Piro must have telepathically picked up on my thoughts, and said
"I do not think that artisitic inspiration should be explained too much – all I am interested in is how Jeni’s work might influence me, and its power to assume any impact on my emotional stability. I do not really want to hear her version of what might have moved her. Ringing in my ears are the words of an Oxford Don and poetry critic I once knew. He said “Some of the worst poetry ever written was created with the sincerest intentions”. This is important and reflects all of art from painting to sculpture to architecture to music. Creativity to become great, does need a little bit of sophistication, and even enough hypocrisy to challenge the intellect. Jeni is not dreaming; she knows what she is doing. I think so, anyway. Yes indeed there is some naive art which I like and esteem, but now, today, this evening we are considering Jeni Caruana and she is anxious to pass on the stimulus she continually receives, the inventive, spur and motivation she chases and admires – and then passes on to us.
What she sees in a rough staircase attached to a rustic wall leading on to nowhere, and how she handles her paints depicting this scene made me gasp with pleasure. In another picture, her carmine nude contrasting the softness of reality with the mockery of falsehood – oh how it worked for me; but I would not want to hear why she did it."
The exhibition is in aid of Hospice Malta,
who deserve our support for their wonderful work.
In collaboration with 'La Vittoria' Band Club. Wines provided by Monte Kristo Wine Estates
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!
Haven't posted in a while - just been so BUSY, getting everything ready for the exhibition..... and of course getting myself in a tizz at the same time!
But now it's almost ready - paintings are framed, posters, flyers, invites etc are all printed and distributed, the British High Commissioner H E Mr Rob Luke will be inaugurating the whole thing, with an intro by the Mayor of Mellieha....... I'll be glad to just sit down with a glass of wine!
If you are able to, do pop along to the opening on the 3rd May at 7.30pm (oh and the local children's choir will sing a few songs too!) if not, I will be present from 5pm every day until the 12th.
More details are on my Facebook event page 'Landscapes' by Jeni Caruana with a map and all.....
What WILL I do when it's all over???
I love to paint - and draw - and help others to discover their creative side too.....
Be the first to see my latest work and hear of new classes by adding your email address below. Thank you!