Martiros Saryan – Armenia (1880-1972)

At the well
Artist: Martiros Saryan

Completion Date: 1908

Style: Expressionism
Genre: symbolic painting
Technique: tempera
Material: canvas
Dimensions: 51 x 63 cm
Gallery: Saryan Museum, Yerevan, Armenia

Recalling his own background, Saryan said, “My ancestors had come to the banks of the river Don from the Crimea, and to the Crimea from Ani, the capital of medieval Armenia. I was born into a family which followed the old patriarchal customs. There were nine children and I was the seventh.” I do not know when the artist was born in me. It was probably in those days when I used to listen to my parents’ stories about our mountainous, enchanted country, when I used to run as a small boy over the land around our home, and was filled with joy at the many colors of the butterflies, insects and flowers. Color, light and day-dreaming – those are what fired me”. 

He was heavily influenced by the work of Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse.

Saryan received a lot of attention after displaying forty-five paintings at the Lotus exhibition, featuring Armenian and Russian painters. Saryan used the exhibition to show both old and new work that reflected his travels and Armenian culture. Saryan also created G. Chalkhushyan’s Red Book, in response to the Armenian Genocide.

Unfortunately during the 1930s, many of Saryan’s paintings were destroyed during times of political unrest. After World War II the Academy of artists of the USSR was established, which claimed Saryan’s work could not be considered national, because of its formalism. In essence, Saryan’s work was compared to an Armenian version of the French bourgeois.

After Saryan’s death in 1972, his home in Yerevan was converted into a museum of his work. Saryan’s work is now in museums and private collections internationally.

Diary of an Adventure

Thesen Harbour Town Adventures

My fingers are full of holes, and there is more blood than paint on the panel I’m making for the laundry cupboard. My skills at carpentry a tad lacking, and I certainly don’t have the correct tools. None of which makes a difference when you can’t get the measurements precise! In my defense, the panel was incorrectly cut at the building supplier, which crated mayhem.

I managed, after careful measuring to install the shutter door for the laundry perfectly, apart from it being upside down! With assistance from a large hammer, the panel is in place, without further bloodshed.
The studio floor, a mirror that embraces the shadows cast by the window branding. A foil for some of the carpets from Afghanistan that have settled, waiting to be flown to new adventures.
Of the many things I expected with having the studio open, I certainly didn’t expect that a strong yard broom would be one of my most used implements. There is an OCD obsession with seeing who keeps their pedestrian walkway the most pristine. In part, practical as having hordes (OK, a few at this moment) of feet carrying dirt into the studio creates another area to be kept clean, and the wind brings with it, all sorts of rubbish.
On the easel, a painting of a catamaran against a glorious sunset. Nothing dramatically challenging, after the energy needed to get the studio established. The view from the studio, breathtaking as the light changes.
Summer exhibition at the Knysna Fine Art Gallery. A stunning portrait on linen, and excellent sculpture work, whose shadows danced in the sunlight. Beautifully cut fabrics, easily mixing with beach slops on the eclectic mix of patrons.
Searching for elephants within the Phantom Forest painting has generated a fair amount of interest, and is certainly engaging people to see beyond the visual representation of the forest.
Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm
Diary of an Adventure

Instagram Contest – How many elephants?


The Instagram Competition at the studio is up and running.


How many elephants can you find in the painting of Forest Phantom? Submit your photo of Jandreart Studio, with the number of elephants.


Tag it with #jandreartstudio #forestphantom


Win a pack of gift cards each week

Diary of an Adventure

Thesen Harbour Adventures

Brilliant yellow, on spikes of grey-green lining the road to Boggomsbaai.

The sound of waves, pounding the shore. Rhythmical. Sensual.

Foot prints, as transitory as the land-art in my mind.

A tad too much red wine with an excellent peri-peri chicken, Koos cooked, that removed the top of your head with its subtly building heat. Boring, it was not!

Polly’s tail feathers flecked with white from the wet paint around the new front door. The floors in the studio are being polished and the travertine marble repaired. New blinds and shutters are in, and the long kitchen counter and cupboards are installed. A few harrowing moments, all forgotten as we start to unpack.

The small painting sent to Switzerland and the Instgram competition sorted. Branding on the studio windows delayed by the crazy weather. Signage for outside the studio on order. 

The wind has turned, and the days heat has been replaced with chilly winds that smell of moisture. Skies full of tumbling clouds, that remind me of the painting I did of the clouds over Botswana. The two patios working well, allowing us to make the most of the variable weather. 

Diary of an Adventure

Thesen Harbour Town Adventures

At the studio, the new windows arrived at day break, and the efficient team from Mickelwood were soon breaking out the old doors and walls. With noise and dust exploding from the studio, we left for a day at the market and the festival on Leisure Island. By the end of the day we had new windows and a new, working, front door.

The wiring for the lights a casualty, as they were running in the wall where the window has been installed. A bit of a bother.

Apartment living, within the urban – laid-back – environment of Knysna, with its traffic at peak periods (this is not New York City), and overly loud locals walking past at restaurant shift change time, is switching off your music when the music drifting across the water from some distant party is pretty good.

Managing the garbage and recycling is part of the morning routine, and sometimes an evening one as well, depending on how many wine bottles the patio has consumed. We have a sort of system that will probably need a bit more thought once the kitchen is installed.

A flexible black rectangle with a non-stick coating, the grill mat that Coreta introduced me to made cooking sticky ribs a synch, and cleaning the Weber even easier. It’s wise to wipe the grill may before it gets cold to remove the fat and other bits.

Owls nesting in the tree outside the burnt-out Boat Shed building. The chicks seemingly unaffected by the pounding of jackhammers and demolition chaos.

The ever-changing estuary in front of the apartment, a fresh ‘canvas’ twice a day, as the tides change. Movement of water, with shadows formed by sunrise and sunset added dimensions. The potential for Land-Art. Organic, temporary in nature, a fleeting moment of organisation in a seemingly chaotic world.

First meeting held with the Knysna Basin Project Team to discuss the delicate biosphere of the estuary and what is possible.


Constantin Korovin Russian (1861-1939)

Pier in Gurzuf, by Konstantin Korovin. (1914).

Konstantin Korovin, born in Moscow on December 5th, 1861, was a painter by vocation and, one can even say, by birth. It is with good reason that he has been called the greatest exponent of Russian impressionism. Indeed, analyzing Korovin’s oeuvre and reading his memoirs, one is led to believe that almost from the very beginning of his career, as well as in his approach to the world — to nature and people — the artist tried to capture first of all his impressions, his fleeting experience of things seen. When he began to study at the Moscow College of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1875, he was seen by many as “different from others”, “foreign” and, taught the techniques of painting in the open air by Alexei Savrasov and Vasily Polenov, he was a decorative artist, fond of “colour spots” as a painting method.

The first years of the 20th century were undoubtedly the peak of his creative career. The peculiar features of the Russian Impressionist school became increasingly pronounced in his works of this period: the predilection for decorative effects, the emphatically expressive coloristic solutions and the pronounced romantic note. Korovin’s subjects were quite diverse, they included townscapes and rural landscapes, portraits and still lifes.

In his autobiography, Konstantin Korovin recalled how his professor Sorokin summoned him to the studio to show him his new landscape and to get some suggestions from his student as to why the painting was a failure. Korovin explained:

‘In nature everything is different in kind, and yet all the same. You see logs, glass in the windows, trees. But for me these are only paints. For me they are all the same – mere spots.’
‘Hang on, how can that be?’ said Sorokin. ‘I see logs – my dacha is made of logs.’
‘No. When one correctly applies paint, the logs emerge from the tones and contrast.’
‘Surely not,’ said Sorokin. ‘One must draw everything first, and then paint it in.’
‘No, nothing will come of that,’ replied Korovin.
‘Well, no wonder everybody scolds you. The drawing is primary in art.’
‘There is no drawing,’ replied Korovin.

In 1923, Korovin left Russia never to return. He spent the last 15 years of his life in France supported by Shalyapin, he worked for theatre as a stage designer. He also became famous as a book illustrator.

The artist died on September 11th, 1939 in Paris.

Diary of an Adventure

Thesen Harbour Town Adventures

Blisters. Stiff muscles. Creaking joints. Such, the first week in the apartment, with stairs. Walking into town. Carrying Polly up and down the stairs. A jogging program, and hours in the studio.

We have a resident owl who sits on top of the security camera mast, filling the still air with its, fog horn rivaling, hooting. Head rotating to follow us on our walk. Curious, rather than perturbed.
‘A Moment’, a painting of a couple sitting at the Heads. I wanted capture the joy of the moment. Bodies coiled with mirth. A bit of a fight as I wasn’t getting the figures to ‘jump’ from the composition. Instead, they were fading into the background. One of those days when the tonal aspects weren’t working for me. Their small size also giving me problems.
Having to paint with my right hand as my left wing is struggling after a week of continuous painting in the studio.
Sun out after the storms that had us closeted in the apartment. A chance to get the new fireplace working. With the sunshine, a guy out on his mower creating Land-art amongst the long grass and yellow daisies. ‘Pathway to my heart’??
The studio is empty. Ernest is wrapped ready to be shipped to its new home. Another of the small painting has been sold. The easels and painting bits have been relocated to the garage, and the builders are scheduled to start the last phase of the renovation work, taking out the front walls and windows of the studio to give us more light and visibility.
The first of the kitchen units from Design-Wise has been installed giving us a glimmer of what the final kitchen will look like.
Latest paintings from the studio
A Pair
Oil on Canvas 20cmx20cm
A Pair
Yacht Club
Oil on Canvas 20cmx20cm
Yacht Club
Messing About with Paint

The Moment

Oil on Canvas 78cmx102cm

A couple sitting at the Heads.

I wanted capture the joy of the moment. Bodies coiled with mirth. 

A bit of a fight as I wasn’t getting the figures to ‘jump’ from the composition. Instead, they were fading into the background. 

One of those days when the tonal aspects weren’t working for me. 

Their small size also giving me problems.




Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)

One of the great exponents of expressionism, the Dutch painter, Kees van Dongen achieved fame both as a member of the Fauvism movement and the German Expressionist group Die Brucke. He is best known for his paintings of women, nudes, dancers and society portraits.

Kees van Dongen was born at Delfshaven near Rotterdam in 1877; his full name was Cornelis Theodorus Maria van Dongen.

He earned his livelihood working for the magazines “Groene” and “Rotterdam Neusblad.” His racy drawings of life around the habor were published with great scandal. In 1897, he went to Paris, where he lived in Bateau-Lavoir. There he worked as an illustrator for “Revoue Blanche” and “L’assiette au Beurre.” In 1903, van Dongen exhibited his works publicly for the first time, and later he showed with Matisse in the Vollard Gallery. The Dutch painter became associated with the group “Fauves” (wild beasts) in 1905. 

Nonetheless, his affinity for the German Expressionists can be recognized in his works. Indicative of his work is the intense use of color, which increased the expressiveness of his paintings. In 1908, he became a member of the group of German Expressionists “Die Brücke” (the Bridge) and exhibited with them. At the end of World War I, van Dongen was discovered by the upperclass. He then painted many portraits, becoming a chronicler of the 1920’s and 1930’s. 

His expressive portraits, likenesses, and landscapes received much appreciation and achieved success through his unique coloring. 

Kees van Dongen died on May 28, 1968, in Monte Carlo.