Year of the Horse

For those who are unaware 2014 is the Year of the Horse according to the Chinese zodiac which relates each year to an animal and its reputed attributes, according to a 12-year cycle. The Chinese also believe that people born under a certain zodiac animal inherit some of that particular creature’s traits… hopefully having a horsey personality is a good thing!

Truthfully, we were really just looking for a good excuse to share these BEAUTIFUL equine paintings with you! Painted by our favourite Cape Town artist, Gavin Collins these striking horse paintings have a dark romantic quality about them. I particularly love the broody and mysterious colour palette.

What do you think, do you like them as much as we do?

Touching Painting of An Elderly Couple Dancing by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins

The Road To Greatness

“We have featured the works of Gavin Collins in the past (I am one of Gavin’s loyal fans).  He was the artist commissioned to paint the artwork for our one Irish hotel project.  At the time of the art installation, Gavin joined us in Ireland. Since we shared digs together, many a late night was spent talking into the wee hours of the morning over a few glasses of whiskey.  The net result – I got to know a little bit about Gavin, who is so unbelievably passionate about his art.
There being so much depth to Gavin, prompted me to ask him to come on board and write a guest post for us. In his article below, he opens up an issue that hounds most professionals, no matter what your field, myself included.
Introducing, (long drum roll and announcement made in that singsong voice!) Mr. Gavin Collins…”

Painting of Lower Main Road Salt River by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.

 By Gavin Collins

Become an Artist, Interior Designer or Decorator in 6 weeks with this easy to understand course – RUBBISH!

You see this type of thing all the time and some people really believe that they can become good at something within a short period.  Ask yourself, who you know who is great at what he does and has not been doing it for more than 10 years. No designer, no decorator and no artist.  Most successful artists have been painting all their lives.

So you want to be an artist, you go out, you buy yourself some canvas, you print some business cards with your name in a nice artistic script with “Fine Artist” underneath it.  You start painting.  Clearly, things don’t go as well as you expected. The immediate most common route thereafter – you change your business card, which now reads like this: your name and “Abstract Artist” underneath it.  At this point after not selling a single painting, or maybe one or two to your great Aunt, you decide to try your hand at interior decorating.  Now your re-decorate your sister’s house free of charge, leading once again to a change of the business card details.

Once again – RUBBISH!!

Here is how it really works. 

Painting of Voilinist by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.

Something ignites a tiny flame inside you and points you in a direction.  You start looking in that direction. You start yearning to understand it. You start reading and you start doing.  The desire gets stronger, the drive takes over and you don’t stop doing.  Nothing else matters, the lack in sales is a non-issue. You don’t need clients – you just love doing it.

 Then one day you begin to realize that if you had an ounce of talent when you started out , 6 or 7 years down the line, you begin realize you that can almost do this thing.  Clients find you, finances come and the drive gets even stronger.  That is how long it truly takes. Tiger Woods started playing golf when he was 4 years old.  It has taken him a lifetime to become great at it. It is no different for anyone you can think of who is great in their profession.  Imagine this- undergoing an operation by a person who decided to become a surgeon last week.  There is very little difference – he does or he doesn’t know what the hell he is doing.

I remember the day I decided to become an artist.  The smell of oil paint was the ignition. I remember painting through the night and then sleeping on my school desk in the day. I remember painting on every bed sheet my mother owned until I had to sleep on a mattress. I remember painting before eating, before drinking. It consumed me and still does to this day. There is no place in the world that I would rather be than standing behind an easel. It has been 26 years now and I finally understand what I am doing. I recently looked back at some of my earlier work done in the first few years as an artist (or my delusion of being an artist at the time) only to realize now, that I clearly knew very little at the time. I also realize that there is not enough time left to learn all I want to learn about art.

The most common question asked when someone stands in front of my work is, how long does it take to paint a piece.  It is difficult to answer without getting annoyed because it took a lifetime.  What I would call a Master Series Painting now takes me only hours to complete because of years of understanding what paint does.  Every brush stroke is now exact and intentional, whereas in the beginning it was hit and miss.

Touching Painting of An Elderly Couple Dancing by Fine Artist, Gavin Collins

It takes desire, it takes drive, and it takes hours and hours and hours of practice.

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master.  For this reason, mastery demands all of a person” – Albert Einstei

So, to consistently create great sellable artworks and note I said consistently, give yourself 6 years at least before you print your business cards.  This goes for pretty much any profession that takes skill of the hand or eye.

There is no protection left in the world for the unknowing consumer.  Gone are the days when an artisan had to do a long apprenticeship under a Master or a designer had to belong to a Designer’s Guild. Your decorator may be able to wing a conversation on the latest colour trends but can he/she measure your curtains?

In conclusion, let me leave you with this thought – the next time you hire a surgeon, decorator, interior designer or artist, consider whether they have all it takes to do the job consistently well.

Beautiful Abstract Painting By Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.

P.S.  This is my very first blog, so if is not done well wait 6 or 7 years…

8 Paintings In 8 Days

Our followers will know that we recently posted an article on artist Gavin Collins. Well it seems that Gavin is being kept very busy of late with portraits of his highly collectable ‘Street Scenes’ (one of my favourite genres of his works) rolling out of the studio.

Day 1

The reason for the roll out – he is preparing to host a City Street Exhibition in 2 months time.  In the past Gavin only painted District Six, Bo-Kaap and Cape Town scenes and has recently added into the fray New York and Cuba.

Day 2

The first time I encountered one of Gavin’s Street scenes I was totally bowled over, so much so that we gave that painting a place of prominence in the Manhattan-style Absolute Hotel in Limerick, Ireland.

Gavin's Street Scene painting selected for the Absolute Hotel & Spa in Limerick, Ireland

However, not only has Gavin taken on the challenge of producing the art within a short period, but he has also challenged himself on a personal level – he is endeavouring to produce at least one street scene a day (eight paintings in eight days). For me that is like bait would be to a fish – very appealing.

Day 3

The news gets better. Gavin is going to be donating one of these street scene paintings to The Sunflower Fund for their Winter Charity Ball that they are having at the Mount Nelson in July. This will be up for auction.

One of Gavin's paintings will be auctioned off at The Sunflower Fund's Winter Charity Ball - what a worthy cause.

Saving the best for last, and moving away from the street scenes – I cannot resist including the image of this painting – The Chariot Race – full of movement and challenge.

Chariot Race

For the last week or so, we here at the Tabloid have been on a bit of an art trail. So watch this space.

A lovely weekend to you all.

Gavin Collins – Contemporary Artist

I don’t profess to be an art fundi or even remotely expert in this field, but in all my recent years of being active with interior design and decoration, and more recently through the magazine articles I wrote, my passion for art is on the up and up.

Gavin Collins

So, last Friday, it was with great excitement that I trundled off (mitt hubby) to an exhibition held at the Westlake Gallery of Contemporary Fine Artist, Gavin Collins.  Gavin and I go back about 6 years. During this time, I had been a huge fan of his work, regularly including his work in our projects.

Gavin Collins

Some of those projects include the large number of pieces which we installed in the Irish hotel projects, leaving us all extremely Proudly South Africa being able to display abroad such a fine SA Artist.

Gavin Collins

Over the years I have watched Gavin’s work evolve and what I saw at the Exhibition was really very pleasing to the soul.  He captures contemporary colours and textures, remaining faithful to the Fine Art Genre.  Colours such as silver and hints of that jewel blue we see emerging into our accessories more and more lately.

Gavin Collins

He has that skill of being able to capture horses on canvas, including those in motion. Putting such a touch of reality into those images, that it leaves me feeling a part of the scene so completely.

Gavin Collins

This exhibition delivered his latest “Horse” image. Due to the enormity of its size, the painting holds a very prominent place in the Gallery.  When I approached it, I felt as if I should turn on my heels and run, so realistic looking is this image – I could almost hear the snorting of these horses.

Then, Gavin did something that I have never encountered at an exhibition yet (not that I go to that many mind you). On a big wall there was a huge blank canvas, with a table full of artist’s tools and paints.  Well, was not too long before Gavin whipped up his brushes and his grubby towel to set to work, filling that blank canvas.

Gavin Collins

It was totally awesome and inspiring to watch him go about his work so effortlessly and to be able to watch the image unfold before your very eyes.  Needless to say, we were all total converts thereafter.

Gavin At Work In His Studio

A quickie Bio on Gavin:

He grew up the son of a farmer, not much into the academics of the time, choosing rather to work with his hands, drawing and painting. At age 16 (after already having his first exhibition at 14yrs) his encouraging parents sent him off the Ruth Prowse School of Art.

Gavin who has a passion for past maters of Art, studied their styles and techniques. Over the course of time and much experimentation (like a true master) he achieved a style of his own.  He uses pleasing pastel colours, thinned to create an almost water colour effect.

Words of Wisdom spoken by Gavin:

“If the important elements such as depth, form, contrast, light and space are not present, then call it what u want, but do not call it art”.

Gavin, like all good men, has a truly amazing lady by his side – pop into the Westlake Gallery where you should meet Amanda – his greatest supporter.

Please do yourself a HUGE favour and click on the various images to view the paintings on a bigger scale – the detail is simply amazing!

Visit his website: www.