Quite a lot has been going on in the studio since my last post. I’d like to share with you my journey into the emerging work of the Krysalis painting


Chrysalis is a bold piece of work that has a beautiful story connected to its emergence. While being slightly decorative in its abstraction, it has a strength and harmony that  would offer a dramatic addition to your living space. If you like your artworks to hold more than paint and canvas, this one certainly does that.  I was fascinated by the  swirling motifs, one of which clearly resembles a heart or fish-hook.  The fish-hook is a central Maori symbol which represents  strength, good luck and safe travel across water. ( Which also speaks to the fact that many refugees travel across water seeking freedom).  These markings were placed there by the sculptor using traditional Maori techniques, working with fire and clay.

My inspiration for this emerging work came from  a sculpture by Will Ngakuru, which I saw in Rotorua, New Zealand. The sculpture was part of several that had been commissioned to commemorate the Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand soldiers fallen in battle.)  I’ve called my work ‘Chrysalis’  because we see the figure in a stage of metamorphosis – emerging into a new and better version of itself. The chrysalis is the container of possibility. I feel that displaced people, refugees,  have the possibility of the Chrysalis in beginning a new chapter in their lives.  Often our best work is forged in the crucible of life’s biggest challenges.

I love the whole chain of connection that has led to this painting. It is a work grounded in the gift of a sculptor honouring people’s struggle for higher ideals – freedom. The piece couldn’t have been made without Will’s work ‘Continuum’ and I offer thanks for his beautiful creation which led to the birth of mine.

36″x 33

91 x 84 cm

Oil on Canvas



Look For Next Week’s Post: What makes an artists lifestyle something to be envied?

So here we have the same subject as last week handled differently.

Beginning with the drawing again…

Working drawing charcoal for Underpainting

Working drawing charcoal

and a working drawing for suggested different coloured underpainting…..


Working drawing


Then applying the paint this time using colour not too dissimilar from the under painting.

Abstract Painting -Yellow House

Abstract Painting -Yellow House


From this exercise you can see how the same subject can be painted quite differently indeed.It is fun to experiment with things like this – you never know just how things will turn out.  But it is also a great way to launch, or drift really into an abstract concept – this image could certainly be pushed a lot further if I wanted to.  This kind of painting is sometimes called colour blocking.

Next Thursday’s Post: A different kind of abstraction

Next Monday’s Post: Childhood causes for creative blocks

Posted By: Kadira Jennings

Underpainting and abstracts

This post looks at the further use of underpainting and how it can influence our work in quite dramatic ways. The paintings you see here are underpaintings done in preparation for a colour blocking technique. The finished version of this appears later in the post.

Working drawing charcoal for Underpainting

Working drawing charcoal


  • A simple place to start is to get the real estate pages out of the paper and go through the houses for sale.  Look at the images until you find one that has shapes that appeal to you.
  • Then do some preliminary drawings until you find an arrangement of shapes that you like as in the above drawing.
  • Then you paint an under painting of your working drawing – this is version I
Magenta House underpainting

Magenta House underpainting

  • You might experiment with different colours on top of your underpainting.
  • Or take the same composition and give it a totally different colour palette.  You can see what a different effect you can get by doing this .
  • See how by placing different tones and colours in the same position, you take the viewer’s eye to a different place.
  • For extra emphasis separate the colour blocks with thick or thin or uneven black or coloured lines

And then you have the finished painting

Magenta house  - finished

Magenta house – finished

To see the same subject handled differently – check out next weeks post……

Next Thursday’s Post: Developing an abstract painting continued

Next Monday’s Post: Childhood causes for creative blocks

Posted By: Kadira Jennings

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