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A Strong Beginning

An interview with Naseema Barday by Christopher Reid

Naseema Barday, won the Beginner category in the Expression Of Hope International Watermedia Competition with her painting “The Tattered Flag, A Dream of Time.” She took some time out from her hectic schedule to chat with us about her art and how she has come so far with her painting in such a short time. Naseema was born in Cape Town, matric from Herschel, qualified at University of Cape Town, has a post-grad in Infectious Diseases from Wits, and a post-grad in reproductive medicine from Stellenbosch. She is a GP and a head doctor at Kenilworth Medicross.

“I always loved art and did it as a subject in standard 8, but dropped out because it interfered with my other studies. My father was a doctor and I already knew I wanted to be a doctor too. I always wanted to get back into art at a later stage in life.”

With 4 kids and a demanding medical career, art had to wait. In 2001 she tried her hand at oil painting for a doctors’ art exhibit in Joburg, but didn’t have the time to paint again until 2018, when, time allowed with her kids growing up and started moving out, she began dabbling in watercolor. Her drawing skills helped her but she had no training and no idea about watercolor techniques.

A still life study from 2020 as part of a class

In 2019 she took part in a doctors’ exhibit in Cape Town. Then the Covid pandemic struck. Socialising became social distancing. With more time at home, Naseema decided to set up an area in her house to finally pursue art seriously. Her husband loves photography and understands her passion for art. She began taking classes with Cape Town artist and WASA member Inge Semple at the start of 2020 and has put in an average of 20 hours a week practicing outside of class, despite a hectic work schedule.

“With a highly stressful job, art has been a stress coping mechanism for me. It was either art or medication. Painting has been a reprieve and an oasis.”

Naseema’s area in her home dedicated to art

Naseema used Covid as an opportunity. Putting in lots of dedicated painting time outside of class began to result in leaps forward in her art. When WASA announced the Expressions of Hope competition, Naseema decided to enter.

“ I thought long and hard about an image that would philosophically encapsulate an expression of hope to me first, and then I searched for the reference material. I found an image online that I could use and bought the rights to it. I am inspired by nature usually, and and this subject was not what I customarily paint. I loved the texture in this scene and enjoyed painting it. The emotion evoked by viewing a painting inspires me.”

She spent 50-60 hours on her painting for the competition. Many hours were spent working on a detailed drawing. Her lessons with Inge taught her lots of techniques and helped her develop her skills. Some of the same qualities that make her a successful doctor have helped her in learning art.

“I am very good at analysis and comfortable with drawing, so I am very careful to get the drawing right. I am extremely patient when working on art. I have learned lots from Inge. A big eye opener for me was to learn how much you can remove watercolor from page with lifting. I almost never use opaque gouache or masking fluid and prefer to paint meticulously around light shapes.”

one of Naseema’s paintings from 2019

“All paintings have stages, stages where you hate them and stages where you love them. For me you have a relationship with your paintings. There is a stage where I fall in love with a painting when it is turning out well.”

It has been difficult to attain supplies during pandemic. Naseema’s favourite papers are currently Arches and Fabriano. She started out with Cotman student watercolor paints and has upgraded to Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton artist grade paints. She plans to buy nicer brushes with some of the prize money.

Lahore Fort, done in Inge’s class in 2021, shows Naseema’s growth

What does Naseema love about watercolor painting?

“I love the translucency of the colour and the challenge of getting it right. Watercolor to me is a much more challenging medium than something like acrylic. I like a challenge and learning to master new things. I love the light in watercolor.”

Naseema’s winning painting shows what can be achieved in a relatively short time by someone with a passion for art who is willing to put in lots of time painting. At age 49 she is finally getting to explore her passion for art and we look forward to seeing where it leads her.

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Expressions of Hope Judging Results & Critiques

Winner: Artist Category

Morning Sunshine by Zhou Tianya

Morning Sunshine by Zhou Tianya
‘Mastery of the medium, you can feel the warmth of the sun in this scene full of life. A casual yet intimate subject with delightful details, textures and brushwork that guide you through the piece and make you want to share breakfast with them.’ by Morgane Antoine.
‘A masterful work well composed, and the paint handling is expertly accomplished. The variety of paint techniques are appropriate and well managed with some areas very tightly executed and other parts treated loosely. A composition reminiscent of the old Masters this is an extremely accomplished piece of work from a superb contemporary Chinese painter.’ by Angus McEwan.


Winner: Beginner’s Category

The Tattered Flag, A Dream of Time by Naseema Barday

The Tattered Flag, A Dream of Time by Naseema Barday
‘Wonderful details and textures with an intriguing narrative. I love it that I can discover new elements every time I look at it so I kept coming back!’ by Morgane Antoine .
‘A sophisticated image that would challenge even those with a lot of experience. There is a nice feeling of light pervading the room through the window. A nice understanding of perspective as well, especially aerial perspective, creates a lovely moody atmosphere that matches the subject matter perfectly.’ by Angus McEwan

Artists Category Honorable Mentions

Abundant Blue by Aimee Lindeque
‘I had to zoom in to see all the intricacy and wonderful details this little whimsical world has to offer. This is the kind of piece I could lose myself into for quite some time! ‘ by Morgane Antoine.

Spring has Come by Anna Pluda

Uncle Hamid by Dewanand Ramteke
‘A portrait full of character and kindness of whom I presume is a beloved family member. Subtle tones and the delicate work on the whites give it an ethereal quality. ‘ by Morgane Antoine.



Neo-Classic Building – Crete by Chrysoula Argyros
‘The textures and fading details that give this old building so much character have been beautifully captured in this piece’ by Morgane Antoine.

My Soul Sings by Mary Henry McMillan

Face in the Shadows by Ros Brown

The News Reader – Crete Country by Chrysoula Argyros

Night Queen by Irena Noreikaite Petraitiene
‘The strong light gives this piece a very graphic look. And yet if you dive in you’ll see lots of subtle values and a lovely delicate touch.’ by Morgane Antoine. 

Let the Children Play by Thea Darlow
‘A beautiful snapshot capture of a child immersed in his play world. I love the very spontaneous feel of this piece and the brushwork’ by Morgane Antoine.
‘Uncomplicated but executed in a carefree manner which evokes Sargent. Beautifully painted and a simple subject but this is rendered in a lovely loose style which we all come to expect from Watercolour.’ by Angus McEwan

To Build is to Hope by Linda Fourie
‘I love the “re-structured” paper emphasizing the building concept, very neat and well executed.’ by Morgane Antoine

Puppy Play by Ina Millman

And so a New Day Dawns by Gayle Gerber

Lech, Czech & Rus by Nikolas Wereszczynski
‘A beautiful, intriguing and narrative illustration that makes me want to know the story behind. ‘ by Morgane Antoine .
‘A highly accomplished painting reminiscent of The Art nouveau Posters from the late 19th early 20th Century, by Alphonse Mucha as well as the iconographic imagery from Eastern European Illustration. Exquisitely drawn, this is a highly individualistic approach to painting, beautifully composed and heavy with symbolism it is great to see such a unique style.’ by Angus McEwan

Mother’s Pride by Corinne Erasmus
‘A beautifully executed piece full of tenderness that is warming your heart! The expressions of the cubs and mother are very lifelike and perfectly captured.’ by Morgane Antoine.

Seeking the Light by Coral Ye Chen

Release by Bronwen Schalkwyk

Bird’s Paradise by Cheryl Curnick

I Lift my Hands to Heaven by Marcia Pyner

Gogo….the family’s anchor by Wendy Fundudis

Joy of Life by Alyson Guy

Beginner’s Category Honorable Mentions

Underwater Bouquet #3 by Emma Patterson
‘A very interesting approach which resembles linocut in its use of pattern to render objects. There is a lovely sense of abstract design that is perfect for representing the surface refraction of light and colour on water. This sees the break up the bouquet into a simplified but also sophisticated realisation of the subject.’ by Angus McEwan

Innerpeace by Tanja Lategan
‘I love the mix of intricate details on top of the flowing washes, the spontaneity of the latter balancing with the thoughtful, geometrical arrangement of the former into an eye-pleasing composition.’ by Morgane Antoine.

One Afternoon by Bianca Luztre

Covid Budgeting by Tanja Lategan

Blossoms – New Life by Tina Chang

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2021 Expressions of Hope Judges

In no particular order:


Judge: John Salminen

https://johnsalminen.com/

Judge: Soon Y. Warren

https://soonwarren.com/

Judge: Angus McEwan (Scotland)

https://linktr.ee/AngusArt


Judge: Amit Kapoor (India)

https://www.facebook.com/AmitKapoorWatercolors

Judge: Aine Divine (Scotland)

https://www.facebook.com/AineDivinePaintings

Judge: Antoine Morgane

https://www.morganeantoine.com/

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NEW: LOVEBIRD WATERCOLOURS

Written By: Afsana Nundeekasen (lovebirdwatercolours@gmail.com)

Owner and Founder of LOVEBIRD WATERCOLOURS http://www.instagram.com/lovebirdwatercolours

Lovebird Watercolours was born in 2019 when I joined a local art school and started learning watercolour painting as a means to help de-stress. I still consider myself a beginner watercolourist! Prior to this, I had a dream of making perfume and Lovebird Perfumes was born in 2014. The dream however was but a dream and did not come alive but rather evolved into something more vibrant and colourful!

I studied Chemical Engineering and have spent many years in sales and marketing of various chemicals and most recently in 2019 started in the world of pigments distribution. My love and appreciation of colour grew and my technical interest in the pigments used in the paint industry led me to start manufacturing my very own handmade watercolour paints. Lovebird Watercolours was officially launched just before my 40th birthday at the end of March 2021 and well since then, like they say…Life begins at 40!

Lovebird Watercolour paints are proudly handmade in South Africa using a natural binder and pigment. I make my own binder using Gum Arabic powder and spent a number of trials working on the right consistency and concentration to ensure good pigment dispersibility without chalking. The binder also includes natural antifungal and moisture retaining agents.

Pigment powder and binder is mixed and then hand mulled using a specially made glass Muller. I use a variety of coatings grade inorganic, organic and effect pigments like synthetic micas for the Shimmering Gems palette. The ratio of pigment to binder is specific for each pigment blend and a slightly higher pigment loading is maintained to allow for excellent colour vibrancy.


The mulled paint is then hand poured into half pans over a period of 2 weeks.. It takes approximately 5 to 6 pours and up to 48 hours of drying time between each pour. Care is taken to ensure air bubbles are removed so that the final product is compact. Since the product is hand poured, no two pans will be identical and natural imperfections will occur but this adds to the beauty of the full package. Each collection is a palette on its own and the first two palettes are the FLUORESCENT HUES and SHIMMERING GEMS.

The entire process from start to finish is very relaxing and quite meditative for me as I am able to immerse my love for colour and watercolour into each step, creating a final product that will be enjoyed and loved by many artists’ from beginner to professional!

It has been very rewarding getting feedback from customers especially from experienced watercolourists’ like Rekha Sinath, whose outstanding artwork I have admired for many years! (See https://watercolorartsa.com/rekha-sinath-reviews-lovebird-watercolour/)

This journey has just begun for me and I have so many ideas that I want to splash to life! It will be great if you can follow me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/lovebirdwatercolours) as Lovebird Watercolours takes flight and brings to life some fun and exciting palettes for you to enjoy!
Yours in Watercolour,

Afsana Nundeekasen

Owner and Founder of LOVEBIRD WATERCOLOURS


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Rekha Sinath Reviews Lovebird Watercolour

by Rekha Sinath (https://www.facebook.com/artbyrekha.co.za)

I learnt about the launch of LoveBird Watercolours from the founder’s Instagram page (www.instagram.com/lovebirdwatercolours).  Afsana and I studied Engineering together approximately 20 years ago; little did I realise our paths would cross again through our passion for creating.  I ordered the Shimmering Gems palette of paints online from a stockist in Johannesburg, and eagerly anticipated its arrival. 

When I received paints, I was most impressed firstly by the personal attention to detail: from the packaging, labelling and branding, hand written note on colour card from the creator, even detail to having little magnets affixed to the palettes to keep them attached to metal container!

Being a bit of a magpie, I was naturally drawn to the shimmer/iridescence of these paints.  I set about testing these paints, on Arches watercolour paper (300gsm) as well as on Yupo paper.  I worked with these paints on white/light backgrounds as well as on darker backgrounds and used in combination with Winsor and Newton and Daniel Smith watercolours. 

I was very pleased with the vibrancy of the colours, with the fact that it did not disperse the underlying colours or colours surrounding the paint application which I previously experienced with some other iridescent paints.  From this I inferred that the particle size of the pigments used in the Shimmering Gems was small enough to prevent dispersion of paints around it, which I later confirmed with the creator of these paints.  She further shared that these paints are light fast.   I worked wet on wet as well as wet on dry and attained good results, with wet on dry more suited to the application I intended.

I have used these paints in the works shown and was very satisfied with the outcomes.  I have found my go to palette of iridescent paints, which was also affordable and good value.  I look forward to trying out some of the other paints from this local manufacturer of artisanal paints, who has  in depth knowledge of the chemistry and science of paints, pigments and binders as well as the utilisation thereof by artists, being one herself.