Navigating a New Land


Navigating a new land is the fourth painting in my current refugee series.  This work again developed from one of the misty hot pools at Rotorua. See below the photograph that this work developed from. Next to it I have also included the initial drawing up.


 Navigating a new land,refugees

navigating a new land,refugees,kadira jennings


Walking in a strange land, with new customs, a new language, the refugee is adrift, often homeless and alone. We see here a woman walking with great courage, holding onto her inner strength as she proceeds. She reminds me of the sculptures we sometimes see of women acting as pillars in ancient buildings. There is a certain grim determination to move forward no matter what the obstacles.

The curious thing I found about this work was the creature that appeared on her right shoulder.  Is it a combination of a few different creatures or something entirely of its own species?  What I love about it is the supreme contentment and trust it seems to radiate.  Could it be an external image of her inner feelings?

I trust you enjoyed this peek into my studio process.

It takes time to create a work of art, document it, video it and put it in a blog post. I invite you to make a comment, express your thoughts about this work.  Feedback is always awesome because I then get to see the work through someone else’s eyes.

This Weeks Question: Can you leave a comment  – what are your thoughts on Navigating A New Land?  I would love to hear what you think.

Look For Next Week’s PostWhy being busy is killing your creativity


Refugees in New Zealand have been warmly welcomed, as I mentioned in the previous post. As I worked my way through the first painting, ‘Refugee‘,  I thought more and more about the whole subject. What makes a person a refugee, is there only one kind of refugee and are refugees always created by forceful displacement?

The dictionary definition of a refugee is – “a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.”  I believe there are degrees of refugees.  Those as described already, and people who have been displaced from their native environment by choice, only to find they cannot return, for various reasons. In my next post I shall examine these ideas further.

As the painting developed, you will see in the vlog below, the struggles I had to get the image to work.



In this painting the refugees have arrived and are being welcomed by their new country – New Zealand, in this case.  I am working very intuitively at the moment, and being constantly surprised at what is coming out onto the canvas.  The images are very powerful and I feel they are taking on a life of their own.  The large figure on the left – the spirit of the land ended up having such an amazing feeling coming from him.  I was really excited by  this piece and it is my favourite so far.

Something else that has me really fired up about this body of work, is that I am going to donate 10% of all profits from the works to The Syrian Refuge Crisis Appeal  ( Care Australia).

It is a way that I, as an artist can support the refugees, while at the same time, sharing that with those who buy my work. So if you would like to purchase this work you can do so here.

Refugees,Vlog,You Are Welcome Here,Kadira Jennings,abstract art

This Weeks Question: What are your thoughts on the refugee crisis? Please Share…..

Look For Next Week’s Post: My 8 day Instagram challenge.



Studio Update

Getting back down to work in the studio is always a bit challenging after time spent rushing around doing other things. I’ve had a lot going on and have a lot coming up apart from painting, between July and November. Last week I held the first of my kindergarten seminars for teachers,on how to teach art to preschoolers, the pitfalls and things to do about them.

This is a very intensive 2-3 hour course which I will talk about in a later blog post.

Now, back to the studio – progress is slowly being made.  I am doing a series of very intuitive works at the moment, as I feel at an end with the dresses and that aspect of the Mythic Journey. You will however see elements of the dress series creeping into the current work.  A new emergence seems to be the inclusion of figures, which keep appearing. I am however wrestling with the colour palette – I’d like to do something with colours similar to those that Ben McLaughlin uses, (see below),he’s such a master of subtle complementaries….. however as far as the work is concerned – well  ‘that just aint happening!!’

Studio,Ben Mclaughlin

Ben McLaughlin


My current works are informed by a growing awareness of the interconnectedness of the energy webs which surround all of us and the planet.  There is a saying that ‘every thing is energy’ – well it’s not just a saying – it’s the reality of the world we live in. I am intrigued and fascinated with energy flow – as in the dancer and the dance. And in fact that’s partly where the dress paintings came from.  

So there is a continuing desire to represent this energy – the dance of life and the webs and veils of illusion that separate us in so many ways. Therefore the current works speak to an unfolding of this understanding.  It’s incredibly challenging to paint in this way, as you only have the vaguest idea of what you are actually trying to do.

I keep wanting to run back to my safe landscapes – however I feel the great Creator pushing gently at me  – no rush – ( just get on with it for heaven’s sake!).  I have completed two smaller works so far and if you get my Collectors Newsletter you will have seen them already.

Studio,A Little Bird Whispered In My Ear,Kadira Jennings

A Little Bird Whispered In My Ear, Oil and Acrylic on canvas 18″x 18″ $650

Above is the first painting in this series and below is the second.

Whispers on the Wind Oil and Acrylic on canvas 24"x 22"  $900

Whispers on the Wind Oil and Acrylic on canvas 24″x 22″ $900


This Week’s Question: What themes run through your own life and work, regardless of whether you are an artist or not.? What do you keep returning to and why?

Next Weeks Post:  Student versus Artist Quality materials – the age old debate?


Emotions In Art

Emotions In Art

Emotions In Art -Did you know that expressing your feelings is a way towards abstraction. Many people don’t know where to begin when it comes to doing an abstract painting.

They often struggle with the concept of abstract art because they feel it doesn’t represent anything for them.  But what if your abstraction was to include a relationship to a feeling? You need some place to start if you are unfamiliar with the abstraction process. It is easier to get going on this journey if you start with something concrete like a landscape.

  • Begin by looking at a picture of a landscape for example, and ask yourself what attracted you to that picture in the first place. Was it the colour, the movement, the light, something about the subject matter or perhaps the texture?
  • How does it make you feel? – Happy, sad etc.
  • Even if you are just learning to paint and draw it is still possible to express your feelings in what you do.
  • Once you identify what this thing is – you can then emphasise that thing in your painting. Perhaps overstate it – i.e. make lines bolder or the colours brighter or change them altogether as I have done in the painting below.
  • Create contrast of tone, shape and colour where ever possible. Use complimentary colours.
  • Plan out your composition, however above all be flexible – allow the painting to take over when it needs to.
Terrigal Point

Emotions in art – Terrigal Point

Above is an early painting in which I have loosely incorporated landscape elements combined with bright happy colour in order to give the work an uplifting emotional tone, yet it is still essentially an abstract work.

This Week’s Question: What emotion do you want to convey in the next art work you do?

Look For Thursday’s Post: Secrets – more works in the works!

Next Monday’s Post: The blue stocking art salon.

Posted by : Kadira Jennings


Putting the Heart into Art  – that’s it in a nutshell really.  Are you familiar with the term Heart Intelligence .   Its a fascinating concept and many artists and creatives  use their Heart Intelligence  quite intuitively when they work.

Heart Intelligence requires 2 skills, one is to be internally aware in any given moment of what you are feeling ( not what you think you should be) and also simultaneously having relational awareness i.e. the ability of  knowing others.  I think that what art does is allows you to access that place in your heart ,  and express that through your chosen medium.  After all every creative work is an expression of the internal awareness of its creator and putting it out there to be shared with others..  I have had a couple of extraordinary experiences in which a painting told me an amazing story  that I didn’t know was unfolding even as I was painting it.

Allow me to share this with you and I think you may well agree that it was an amazing experience.  This story begins actually with the end of a painting .  The painting you see below was finished.

Abstract landscape

Abstract landscape

I put down the brush and knew that it didn’t require another brushstroke.  So what’s the problem you may well ask.  Well the problem was that it didn’t feel finished.  When you do something do you ever have to reach an internal place that feels just right to you, in order to feel it is complete and move on. Well I always look for that when I’m painting.

So to return to the painting – I looked and looked at it – went away, came back, left it over night, sat in front of it again  – nah – still that nagging feeling and still no solution.   Left it another night , came down the stairs into the studio the next morning and walked right up to it and turned it around, till it looked like this!  And it was complete!

The Watcher

The Watcher

Well that was literally a shocking experience – here was a painting I had tried so hard to paint as an abstract, using some melded landscape photos and look what turned up.

Now do you know anything about symbolism?  Well I was familiar with a bit of it and immediately recognized several symbols in this picture.  There I was sitting on a rock with a hood on my head.  The hood was piereced with holes.  Behind the figure back to back is another figure looking out into a landscape  and off  to the right hand side of the picture a rather obese looking person slinking around – I was struggling with weight issues at the time.  Then there are more shadowy figures in the dark area at the upper left of the painting.  All these figures represented someone in my life at that time – it was a chillingly acurate portrait of my life during that period – I was in shock for several days.  My heart, intuition call it what you will made me pay attention to myself  in a way I could no longer ignore – it was truly amazing.

Do you think this was Heart Intelligence at work?

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