Arabella’s unique painting technique and methodology

Arabella gives us an intimate look into the manner in which she immerses herself into each work of art for her Reflections of Life / Thread collection:


Both the method and the subject of these drawings and paintings go against the current trend of our society, to rush everywhere, to do hundreds of things at once and to endlessly acquire material paraphernalia to assuage our anxiety. They also, in their introspective nature contradict the desperate need in people to search for a cure to their inner pain in someone else.


We are born alone and die alone, and need to learn to navigate the path between these two points with self-reflection and meditation in order to grow and find peace. I hope that somehow the peaceful nature of these paintings will bring a measure of silence to those who allow themselves the time to contemplate them.


This new body of work deals with the individual nature of our existence. The paintings also attempt to touch on the concept that our happiness and contentment in this life needs to come from within, and cannot be dependent on outside elements whether they are other people or material objects.


These drawings and paintings are inspired by the deepest sense that each of us is extraordinary, unique and a miracle, and that, we alone are responsible for our own happiness and our own destiny.  To this end, single, mostly female figures inhabit vast empty spaces, in quiet meditative moods.


I paint slowly in a highly meditative state, drawing inspiration from a model, who  poses in my studio.   First I draw in charcoal for up to15 to 20 hours, and only then do I begin to paint from life. I work for up to a minimum of 60 hours on each large painting, while I simultaneously paint smaller studies. I try to evoke total awareness of the environment in which I create.  Every day the light is slightly different and even as the sun moves, so the shadows on the skin subtly change, just as the mood of the model changes as the hours tick past, through this state of extreme awareness the painting grows in both depth and intensity.


This meditative way of painting allows the surface of oil paint to build up gradually, with each subtle change in light comes a change in colour and through the intense observation of these extraordinary gifts of nature one is able to capture a quiet, subtle, life-like quality and grow a tactile luster in the paint impossible to achieve with fast superficial painting.


I try to maintain a harmony between the process, the inspiration and the ideas behind the work.  Through this I trust that the drawings and paintings will be imbued with honesty and integrity at every level, impart a sense of serenity and share my awe at the pure magic of life itself.


This work is being shown at The Everard Read gallery, Cape Town. Click here to view the full collection