Review: Niki De Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden in Tuscany

I had such a magical day at Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden  in Tuscany, Italy last week. I visited the garden lots of times as a child, and it’s still just as inspirational for me now as it was then!

The esoteric sculpture garden based on the Tarot cards was started in the late seventies and ended when Niki passed away in 2002.  Niki intended the Tarot Garden, a fourteen-acre sculpture park built atop Etruscan ruins, to serve as both “a sort of joyland” and a demonstration that “a woman can work on a monumental scale.” I find her use of vibrant colour,  shape and mixed media truly inspiring! Here are some pictures from my recent visit: 

Find out more about Niki de Saint Phalle’s amazing Tarot Garden here

Love,

Natasha Jade x

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The Progression of my latest commission

For the month of May, I shifted my studio abroad and worked on a wonderful commission. It ended up being one of my favourite paintings I’ve ever worked on! I love immersing myself in the area I’m depicting in my paintings. Soaking up the scents, colours and vibrancy of each area so that I can express it authentically on the canvas. 

If you are interested in finding out more about my commission process, please visit my commission page!

Love, 

Natasha Jade x

7 steps to creating a painting

More often than not when I am speaking to a client, it is assumed that after I have an idea for a piece, I then put brush to canvas and off I go. However, as you can probably imagine, there is in fact so much more that goes into creating a big commission. A lot of people have asked me recently about my process so I thought I would share it in this post! 

Step 1

The first step is usually a 1–2 hour meeting with the client to find out what they are looking for. We take a look at my various painting styles, examples of past projects and the interior of the space the work will occupy. Either during that meeting or the following one, I look at the size of the intended space measuring exactly the dimensions we think are suitable.  

Step 2

After this has been discussed and decisions have been made. Namely the colour scheme, intended dimensions, subject, use of material and medium, I then start creating the canvas. Depending on the size  and canvas material this could take up to a day to prepare. 

Step 3
This then takes us to the research stage. In an ideal world, I am able to go to the place which the painting is to depict. Normally I spend 2-3 days gathering information about the place, walking through the streets and finding unique buildings. I take loads of pictures and just let myself be free and take pictures of the buildings/areas I am most drawn to. During this time I also do a few real-life sketches to capture the energy and the vibe of the place. 

Step 4

I then take all the material back to the studio and take a full day to sift through it. I gradually break it down into the photos I am most inspired by or are best suited to the piece. I then take another day to create preliminary sketches and watercolours based on these photos to get a rough idea of how it will look. However, as I normally work on a small scale it usually only creates a rough outline. 

Step 5

The size of the canvas affects how much time it takes to plan the full size painting. This, in my opinion, is one of the most important and difficult parts of the process. For my standard canvas size of 100 x 150cm this can normally take up to 3-4 days. Essentially I have to sketch up the whole piece as accurately as possible. The more detail I go into in this stage, the more detailed the final piece will be. At this stage, I also have to start thinking about which materials I am going to use and slowly but surely build up the outline of the piece. In my opinion, it’s a bit like crafting a sculpture. I have to structure and re-structure the piece over and over again so I get the composition exactly how I want it. There is a lot of craft involved.  

Step 6

Once the outline has been depicted and I am fully happy with the composition this is when the mosaic and painting starts. For a painting that is 100 x 150cm, this normally takes about 100 hours. 

After painting, it then takes a full day to do all the final touches –  such as attaching the appropriate hanging material and tidying up all the sides.
After the painting is dry-ish, we then pack it up and deliver it to the given address.

Step 7

I then prepare a Certificate of Authenticity which states that the painting is an original piece of work by myself, so that in 50, 100, 200 or 300 years –  if there is any debate about the authenticity of the work, my clients have documents to prove the work is authentic. 

I hope you have enjoyed these tips! If you are an artist and would like to share your process, please comment below – I would love to hear from you. 
If you are interested in commissioning artwork, you can find out more on my website or by getting in touch with me at natasha@artbynatashajade.com

Natasha Jade
x

Finding the hidden art in nature

One of the negative things about living in London is that it’s very easy to feel trapped in the city. 

I find that more often than not I tend to get a flight out of London to another European city instead of going to the countryside to visit places in England. This weekend I was reminded of the beauty of the English countryside as I finally managed to get out of the city and go to North Devon. 

While I was away something hit me – I rediscovered the rich beauty and inspiration that can be found in nature.  Be that the curls of a tree trunk, the beautiful patterns of a fern or the constellations of stars in the sky. 

I love zooming in and taking photos on my camera that capture the texture of a slice of nature. I can then use these shapes, lines or even colours to help weave into the fabric of my paintings. 

Even though a lot of the paintings are architectural pieces it can be really good for me to draw what I can from these different elements and weave it into my artwork. 

For example, recently I have started going back to life drawing classes. Even though my speciality is not really drawing people, studying the form of the body opens out a different way of thinking for me. This is turn trains me to think about things like lines, form and shapes in a different way. These skills definitely seep back into my art and help develop my skills. 

Personally, I think whatever your creative discipline, looking at, studying and experimenting with colour, texture and lines that can be found in nature can really influence your creative work – feeding your creative mind and developing your skills in a very special way. 

Here are some snaps from my recent trip to the wonderful Exmoor area: 

Have you been inspired by the hidden art within nature? If so, I would love to see your snaps or hear about your projects that nature has inspired! 

Love, 
Natasha Jade x

The Amazing Benefits of Working on a Commission Abroad

Over the past few years, I’ve started to become known for creating large, mixed media, mosaic pieces featuring areas that have personal significance to clients. Be that the area they work in, live in or have a specific special connection with.

Over the last few weeks, I have been lucky enough to work on a commission abroad.  Here are a few points about why this commission was particularly special for me as an artist!

– It has been an amazing experience to have the opportunity to pack up everything here in London and work intensely for a couple of weeks on an exciting project. For the last month, my home was in the center of Tel Aviv.

One of the best things about living in the place that I was painting was that I was able to cycle through the area every day on my way home. This was a real added bonus for me as an artist. In this way, I felt like I could really feel the neighborhood I was capturing in a very profound way and experience it in a way completely different to the way a photo would allow. It was funny because I did always find myself going back to the same streets as if I was being called by certain buildings.

– I met amazing people who were doing all sorts of interesting things. In fact it was much easier then you would think to find a temporary studio. Before this trip, I had no idea that there are so many websites that are basically like Airbnb, but for studios – it’s amazing. One of my favourites is Stusu. This website is amazing. You can go anywhere in the world and sublet an artist’s studio for a few weeks – who knew!

In the studio next to me there was a local ceramicist. I was able to use some of her bowls as the tiles for the rooftops in my paintings. Again an amazing special touch that I was able to add to the piece.

After I have decided the outline, in every painting I always cover the canvas with sand. This is because I find that the oil paint mixes with sand very well and provides a textured feel.  In this case, I could also go down to the beach and collect sand local to the city. I would then use this sand to mix with the painting and provide the first layer of the painting. These sort of experiences are unique and really add another touch as an artist.

Here are a few close-ups of the piece…. stay tuned as the final piece will be revealed in due course! Keep an eye on my instagram for updates. 

To enquire about commissions please contact me at natasha@artbynatashajade.com. 

Love, 
Natasha Jade x

Review: Picasso 1932 at the Tate Modern

Living in a big city such as London comes with many difficulties and downsides but there are also some amazing upsides and perks to living in this crazy, big, expressive city.  For me, one of the things that really reminds me how great it is to live in a big city such as London, is going to fantastic exhibitions in London’s iconic galleries. 

My most recent visit took me to the Picasso exhibition at the Tate Modern. If you haven’t been you really should. But  don’t worry you have time, it’s on until 9th September!

The exhibition shows work purely from one year of Picasso’s life – 1932. This particular year was very important for Picasso and was marked by many social, romantic and political events. 

I think it’s safe to say that Picasso was prolific in the amount of work he produced in this year.  Room after room you can see how his style changed, adapted and developed within a year.  For me, it’s a rare privilege to be able to see such a concise collection of an artists’ work carried out in only one year. It’s also amazing to see an example of the journey one can go through in such a short time in terms of relative process and style.

On a personal note, I left the exhibition inspired by the way that Picasso was able to produce so much work in a short time and wanted to see if I could achieve the same. The exhibition showed me that sometimes the most simple of sketches and ideas can turn into great masterpieces. That even a sketch is important and nothing ever should be thrown away or treated as if it’s not worthy of praise. 

 

Have you attended Picasso’s exhibition at the Tate Modern? What were your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you if there were aspects of the exhibition that resonated with you!

 

Love, 
Natasha Jade x

How Visualisation Helps Me Achieve My Goals

I often find myself feeling stuck when I think about what I want to achieve or which direction I should take. For times like these, I find the art of visualisation to be extremely useful.

During my yoga teacher training back in 2013, I remember being asked to draw where I wanted to be in the next year. I drew a girl (me) near some water surrounded by lots of green trees, a big wooden house and people doing yoga. A while later when I was in Brazil, I looked around and realised I was exactly where I had drawn. There I was living in a community right by this big, beautiful river. I was surrounded by trees, the jungle and the houses were all made out of beautiful wooden structures. Right in the middle was a big yoga shala. I realized this was my drawing.

A few years ago I drew my perfect studio situation. It had a mezzanine with all my stuff upstairs, a big open floor at the bottom and a big table for me to work on. Sure enough when I walked into my new studio in December. I was slightly taken aback as I remembered my drawing and thought wow now that is strange. It was exactly like my drawing. Another example of the effectiveness of visualisation!

So the point of this really is, when I feel down or slightly at a loss as to which direction I should take, I sit down and draw what I would like my future to look like. I think this is super helpful and can be quite cathartic at times. I know if I just relax and let myself draw whatever comes to my mind, it can be quite awe-inspiring and the image I create can show me a path that I maybe hadn’t thought of before.

Another way in which I find visualisation to be helpful is in my yoga practice. I am often stuck in a yoga posture, thinking to myself there is no way in hell I will be able to master this posture. If I spend time just visualising myself in the posture it’s amazing to see what happens. I know I am able to master the posture more quickly and with more ease when I visualise myself in the position. I know it sounds like magic but I am now truly astonished by the power of our minds. If we think it, believe it, visualise it, it really can happen!!!

I hope by sharing my experiences of visualisation it might inspire you to try it out and see what happens. If you have had a similar experience, please get in touch or comment below. I’d love to chat more about the amazing power of visualisation!

Love, 

Natasha Jade x