Waves of Emotion: A Journey from Mind to Heart

Abstract expressionist painting "From the Head to the Heart" with bold brushstrokes, vibrant colours. The swirling blues and whites, reminiscent of a tempestuous sea, mirror the often chaotic path from logical thought to heartfelt feeling.

ARTISTIC JOURNEYS

From the Head to the Heart

"Art has the power to transport us, to challenge our perceptions, and to heal our souls. Through swirling blues, tempestuous waves, and golden hues of hope, this artwork speaks to the inner storms we all weather."

A Snapshot from 2015

Abstract expressionist painting "From the Head to the Heart" with bold brushstrokes, vibrant colours. The swirling blues and whites, reminiscent of a tempestuous sea, mirror the often chaotic path from logical thought to heartfelt feeling.
Abstract expressionist painting "From the Head to the Heart" with bold brushstrokes, vibrant colours. The swirling blues and whites, reminiscent of a tempestuous sea, mirror the often chaotic path from logical thought to heartfelt feeling.
Created and Sold in 2015, this painting captures more than just the tumultuous beauty of the ocean. It embodies the internal struggles we all face as we navigate the choppy waters of our minds and hearts.

The swirling blues and whites mirror the often chaotic path from logical thought to heartfelt feeling, while golden hues breakthrough like moments of clarity amidst life’s storms.

When I created this piece, I lived just four houses away from the beach in Melkbosstrand, Cape Town. The crash of waves, the taste of salt in the air, and the ever-changing moods of the ocean found their way onto my canvas. Little did I know that this artwork would become a poignant reminder of how quickly our lives can change.

The art world, like many others, experienced seismic shifts during the pandemic. Galleries closed their doors, and artists like myself had to adapt, moving from gallery representation to direct sales. This painting, which sold immediately upon completion, now resides with an unknown collector – a testament to the changing tides of the art market.

Artistic Process: Embracing the Cold Wax Technique

“From the Head to the Heart” marked my first exploration into the cold wax technique. This method, combined with oils, allows for rich textures and depth that perfectly capture the complexity of emotions I aim to convey. The process is as much a journey as the finished piece – layers build upon layers, mirroring the way our experiences shape us over time.

Emotional Resonance: A Universal Language

Art speaks when words fail, and this piece resonates with anyone who’s ever felt overwhelmed by life’s challenges yet sensed a glimmer of hope on the horizon. It’s a visual representation of resilience, of pushing through turbulent times to find moments of peace and clarity.

As an artist, I believe in the power of bold, vibrant colours and gestural motions to evoke deep emotional responses. My work, influenced by expressionist masters like Karel Appel and Willem de Kooning, embraces spontaneity and the therapeutic nature of creation.

Expanding Horizons: From Cold Wax to Encaustic Mastery

While “From the Head to the Heart” showcases my work with cold wax and oils, my artistic journey has led me to explore other mediums as well. My recent forays into encaustic hot wax techniques have opened up new avenues for expression, particularly in creating abstract landscapes that capture the essence of our natural world.

These encaustic pieces, which you can explore in my virtual showroom (https://lifeart.co.za/virtual-showroom/), continue to embody the core principles of expressiveness, spontaneity, and vibrant colour that define my work. They serve as windows into a world of hope and vitality, inviting viewers to embrace life’s beauty, even in challenging times.

 

Abstract expressionist painting "From the Head to the Heart" with bold brushstrokes, vibrant colours. The swirling blues and whites, reminiscent of a tempestuous sea, mirror the often chaotic path from logical thought to heartfelt feeling.
Abstract expressionist painting "From the Head to the Heart" with bold brushstrokes, vibrant colours. The swirling blues and whites, reminiscent of a tempestuous sea, mirror the often chaotic path from logical thought to heartfelt feeling.

Embrace the Journey.

In a world that often feels chaotic and uncertain, art remains a powerful force for connection, healing, and transformation. It reminds us that even in our most turbulent moments, beauty and hope persist; we need only open our hearts to experience them.

Art that breathes life—this is my mission, my passion, and my gift to you. Join me on this colourful, emotional journey from head to heart and rediscover the transformative power of art in these ever-changing times.

https://youtu.be/bzGjoCjIqQQ?list=PLLwRzKA614fHhEGVNbP7qgxRs-uC_DznR

‘I am a wandering eye poet, an eclectic color fanatic. I want my paintings to leap off the wall and overwhelm you with their tactile, chocolate thick, color and texture.’

Leonie.e.Brown

Cold Wax Magic

Leonie.e.Brown Artist using Cold Wax medium in her studio

COLD WAX

WHAT IS COLD WAX PAINTING?

Written by Leonie.e.Brown Artist
The rhythmic scrape of a palette knife across canvas was the only sound in Leonie's studio that morning...

My Story of Cold Wax

The rhythmic scrape of a palette knife across canvas was the only sound in Leonie’s studio that morning. She dipped into the buttery mixture of oil paint and cold wax, savouring the way the thick, velvety pigments clung to the metal blade. With each stroke, she sculpted colour, watching ridges and valleys emerge across the surface like eroded canyons.

Cold wax was an artist’s form of alchemy, transforming the very nature of paint from glossy and slick to something richer, thicker, and more substantial. Unlike the molten wax used for encaustics, there was no need for heat or special ventilation. Just oil pigments bound by the creamy, opaque paste. It reminded Leonie of finger-painting as a child, digging into that soft, yielding medium with unabashed joy.

As she worked the wax into the oils, Leonie found herself mesmerised by the textures blooming beneath her tools—the buttery striations left by a squeegee, the whorls carved by the tapered tip of a palette knife, the velvety washes achieved by simply dragging her fingertips through the viscous paint. Each new layer seemed to hold memories of the one before it, with colours peeking through like ghosts from a previous life.

It was art stripped bare, tactile, and raw, built up through the physicality of materials rather than delicate glazes or hidden brushstrokes. There were no rules, no constraints—just the marriage of wax and pigment, a canvas to sculpt as her artist’s heart desired. With a smile, Leonie wondered what stories might emerge from this newest, most sensuous seduction of paint.

Cold Wax Magic on Glass

I reach for the cold wax paste, a translucent genie trapped in a jar, its power to alter both texture and transparency a constant intrigue.

The ritual begins. With a palette knife, I scoop a dollop of wax, its consistency like cool, creamy butter. The ratios are a constant negotiation – a whisper of wax for a luminous glaze, a hefty dollop for an opaque veil. Each decision holds the potential to reveal or conceal, a dance between light and shadow on the canvas.

The application itself is a glorious mess. Forget dainty brushes; here, a menagerie of tools waltzes across the glass. Palette knives morph into sculpting instruments, credit cards become makeshift spreaders, and even a stray fork might find its way into the fray. The paint, infused with wax, moves with a life of its own, smooth and buttery, begging to be layered and manipulated.

Sometimes, I roll the concoction onto wax paper first, creating a temporary skin of colour. This vibrant sheet then becomes a transfer medium, pressed and blotted onto the canvas, leaving behind a textural imprint. The possibilities are endless – oil sticks add a burst of vibrancy, charcoal whispers a smoky secret, and even my own fingers become instruments of creation.

But cold wax holds a final surprise. A day later, a scalpel can become a sculptor’s tool, scraping away at the waxy surface. Layers are revealed, hidden colours peek through, and a whole new dimension of texture erupts. It’s a constant conversation, this dance between paint and wax, a beautiful tension that never fails to ignite my creative spark.

Cold Wax Characteristics

Origins:
The use of wax mediums in art can be traced back thousands of years to cave paintings, where animal fat was combined with dry earth pigments like red ochre and charcoal to create wall paintings.
The painter J.M.W. Turner was known to use beeswax in his large oil landscape paintings.

What is Cold Wax Painting?
Cold Wax Painting is any style of painting that incorporates significant amounts of cold wax medium mixed into the oil colours.
It blurs the line between traditional oil painting and encaustic (heated wax) painting.
The artist mixes a wax paste medium into the oil paint, creating a thickened, textured body of paint to work with.

Characteristics:
– Adding a small amount of cold wax makes the paint have a matte, non-glossy finish, but is still conventional oil painting.
– Using a substantial quantity of cold wax medium is what defines a piece as “Cold Wax Painting.”
– Cold wax painters tend to work in an experimental, process-based manner due to the malleable nature of the medium.

Process:
– Unlike encaustic, which requires heating the wax, the cold wax medium is made from wax combined with solvent (and sometimes resin or oil) to keep it in a creamy, workable consistency.
The creamy wax paste can be mixed directly into oil paints and pigment powders without any heating required.

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LITTLE GIRL WITH A BRAVE HEART

Finding Peace Through Art: Leonie Edna Brown’s Journey + Part 8

Artist painting abstract landscape in studio

PART EIGHT

LITTLE GIRL WITH A BRAVE HEART

Written by Shankar Puri
On the drive home, after a conversation that eclipsed an hour, I find myself playing this part of the interview over and over again: “I wouldn’t wish it on anybody else, but I am not sorry that it happened to me because it has made me who I am."

Here’s the eighth part of the story

“I think the world needs strong men. Strong men establish families. When I look at my husband, he is a strong and gentle man, he is a wonderful man. He is kind and because he is strong, he makes me feel secure. I trust him. If I can trust him, I can be who I want to be. He helps me be who I want to be. I think that if there are strong men, strong fathers, there won’t be boys and girls who grow up with so much hatred towards others, wanting to hurt and abuse to prove something. So we need fathers. Strong male examples that stand for the right thing.”

But then, would this feed into everything that Feminists stand against?

“Before I got married, I was a very independent, a very strong woman. Nobody told me what to do, I told them what to do, I was very self-sufficient, didn’t need nobody. But I wasn’t happy. If I look at myself now, I am still independent, still self-sufficient but, I am secure. Because I have a strong man who loves and supports me.”

Leonie talks about balance. Being independent, strong minded and self-sufficient and secure from a love from a partner. It’s a message of unity, in her case, from the strength of her husband, who held her tight through the tears. It’s a story of finding forgiveness. I ask her then, since the abuse she experienced happened in South Africa, if she would ever leave.

“I love my country. I believe in this country. My husband is English and has a British passport and We can easily go to England, Scotland but both of us love Cape Town. We feel that here is where we are supposed to be right now.” Even though she tells me, she sells most of her art in America she has seen the power of social media and how “you don’t have to be anywhere specific anymore.” If American, then the state of the South African market must be difficult.?

“Tough. Very, very tough. The world economy is very wobbly and in South Africa it is not different. Here you have to have the gift of the gab and do something weird and whacky with your art. A good story sells. Conceptual art. It is all about telling the story and selling the story. The rest of the world is going back to skill. To be technically proficient. But South African art is full of colour.” But despite this, there is no desire to leave and start again in a market that could be more receptive to her work.

“I give classes 3 times a week and I have done since 2004 and I look at the work from my students, it’s totally out of the box. It’s always something new because we are so diverse. We have this wonderful diverse culture of so many nations thrown together, and we all influence each other. So that diversity brings something to this country and to the art that isn’t accessible anywhere else. I’m here, I love what I do, I love teaching. I love seeing what the students are doing and I love helping them, and I love seeing the bright future that each one has in them.”

On the drive home, after a conversation that eclipsed an hour, I find myself playing this part of the interview over and over again:

“I wouldn’t wish it on anybody else, but I am not sorry that it happened to me because it has made me who I am. I am not shy about what happened to me, I am happy to share it because I have survived. I am now living a full and happy life, happily married to a wonderful man. I am sharing it to say that it is possible for somebody who is in that pit of despair, and I know what that pit feels like, so I can say, ‘I was actually once where you are now, come, let me grab your hand’, even if it is through my paintings. That painting will go where it is meant to go, and it will talk to who it is meant to talk to.”

Leonie. Little girl with a brave heart.

Written by Shankar Puri

LITTLE GIRL WITH A BRAVE HEART

Finding Peace Through Art: Leonie Edna Brown’s Journey + Part 7

Artist painting abstract landscape in studio

PART SEVEN

LITTLE GIRL WITH A BRAVE HEART

Written by Shankar Puri
"It’s the crippling fear that keeps their secret locked away. To admit the abuse is to expose yourself to the world, a world that just might not believe you."

Here’s the seventh part of the story

“I love the works of Van Gogh. He had a desire for more. He never got to it though, he was very suicidal but there is such a desire for life in his work. Michelangelo had some unfinished figures in Florence, I remember seeing them and they made me cry, these figures trapped in rock that he was still chiselling away before he died.” We talk for a moment about inspiration and how, in the art world, it can be misconstrued as plagiarism when really, it is about being shaped by your own interpretation of other artists’ work.

But all that Leonie spoke about prior to our engagement over art and inspiration, still clings to my consciousness. So I bravely ask her thoughts on the recent #metoo movement. After all, who better to wade through a topic such as this than with someone who almost drowned in it.

“The person that is abused becomes shameful because they think that it is their fault. For many years, and this is something that I still have to work through, I thought that there must be something inherently wrong with me. That there is something in me that attracts this Sometimes people don’t speak out because they are ashamed of being rejected because they are already rejecting themselves. Self-hatred. So, how do I expose myself if people are going to hate me more?”

It’s a reoccurring pattern of women tussling with the idea to come forward and Leonie helps me understand why. It’s the crippling fear that keeps their secret locked away. To admit the abuse is to expose yourself to the world, a world that just might not believe you. I wonder then, how Leonie even has the strength to surround herself with men after everything.

“Not all men are evil. Men can be wonderful. If you look at a little girl, her girlishness gets established by her dad, at a young age, five to seven, treating her like a little Princess. That’s what makes her into a girl, that’s what makes her precious. Currently, there is an attack on men and the manliness of men, and I don’t think women should look at men as all evil. We all have a darkness in us from time to time. Men who abuse women were often abused themselves, so you hurt others because you were already hurt so badly”.

“I think the world needs strong men. Strong men establish families. When I look at my husband, he is a strong and gentle man, he is a wonderful man. He is kind and because he is strong, he makes me feel secure. I trust him. If I can trust him, I can be who I want to be. He helps me be who I want to be. I think that if there are strong men, strong fathers, there won’t be boys and girls who grow up with so much hatred towards others, wanting to hurt and abuse to prove something. So we need fathers. Strong male examples that stand for the right thing.”

LITTLE GIRL WITH A BRAVE HEART

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