Calla Curls

Calla Curls has been an experiment. After I painted “A Lily for Mom“, I wanted to do something different and try my hand at a more abstract project. So I took a beautiful photograph showing three white calla lilies and distorted it. My first attempts at distortion did, however, not yield the desired results: the distortion seemed overdone as it represented nothing more than some odd curvy shapes in various tones of white and yellow. I realised then that while I wished to paint something abstract that I still needed to maintain a connection to reality to stay within “my creative comfort zone”.  The result is Calla Curls, an abstract version of one calla lily that I modelled by “liquifying and twirling” the photograph of three flowers of the same kind. If you look closely, you can still see them …

Calla Curls, 2019, Acrylic on Canvas, 36×48″



A Lily for Mom

A Lily For Mom
A Lily for Mom, 2019, Acrylic on Canvas, 40×40″

Vivid colors symbolising life and happiness. I dedicated this painting to my mom who sadly passed away earlier this year. She loved lilies, although she always dreaded the mess the flower’s anthers tended to create when they were left “unattended”. She usually removed the anthers from the stamens as soon as a flower had opened up.

The reference picture to this painting actually shows a white lily which was part of a magnificent bouquet that I had received years ago from a friend after the birth of my youngest daughter.



I did this painting of an African wild dog (based on one of my pictures taken in Ngala, South Africa) already back in December. I needed a proper Christmas gift for my husband and so I decided to quickly put something together. “Ayanda” took me a total of 5 days … which was definitely much faster than expected. But house guests from overseas were about to arrive only days later, so I was short on time and just needed to “get it done”.

1-Ayanda 2018
Ayanda, 2018, Arcylic on Canvas, 48×36″

Why a wild dog? They are my favorite animals. They are fast, determined, successful, social, playful, gorgeous and unfortunately very rare. They are also known as painted hunting dog, painted wolf, African hunting dog or African painted dog. “The 2016 population was estimated at roughly 39 subpopulations containing 6,600 adults, only 1,400 of which were reproductive. The decline of these populations is ongoing, due to habitat fragmentation, human persecution and disease outbreaks.” Wikipedia. 

Why “Ayanda”? This is actually the beautiful name of a very nice staff member at the Mountain Lodge at Phinda, SA …

I am very happy that the painting was finished on time and I hope that it does sufficient justice to this wonderful animal.

Cheers, Sabine



Where are the kids?

I took a photograph of the Red-billed Hornbills a few years back when we visited Botswana’s Okavango Delta. The birds are not only extremely beautiful, but also quite entertaining. When searching for a motive for a new painting I recently stumbled over that picture and thought, “why not”? The composition looked interesting to me and as I hadn’t done birds in quite some time, I gave it a go. As usual, I was short of time: I had only 4 days left and the canvas turned out to be pretty big!!!

On day 2, my daughter Isabella took a quick look at the work-in-progress and said: “You know what? These two guys look pretty much like you and daddy!” She clarified, the one to the right would be my husband. No doubt about it as its beak (-> nose) is much bigger than that of its partner … I initially laughed it off, continued to paint, but then started thinking. … Yes, she got a point … Those two hornbills really looked a bit like we must have looked like when trying to locate our three young daughters who had a tendency to disappear at the most inopportune times: on airports, in restaurants, in shopping malls, you name it.

So, that’s where the title comes from. If you look carefully, you may even spot the kids. (Hint: there are three of them hidden in the green foliage, and they are only symbolically represented) …

Hope you like it!

Cheers, Sabine


red billed hornbills, Botswana, Sandibe, Safari
WHERE ARE THE KIDS? 2018 Acrylic on Canvas, 47×47″


As 2016 is quickly coming to a close, I decided it’s now or never: Let’s paint one more piece!

Now after a 3 1/2 day marathon of painting, I am happy to report that I can add “Brothers” to my collection. The painting is based on a picture I took about two years ago in Phinda, SA. The two young lions looked extremely elegant when they slowly made their way down the steep dam. I planned to turn that shot into a painting for a long time. Happy it finally happened!

Brothers, 2016, Acrylic on Canvas, 48×36″

Animals in all colours of the rainbow

Animals are my favourite motif. Franz Marc‘s work in this area was my initial inspiration although I never followed his very specific ideas on the meanings of colour (e.g. blue indicates masculinity, yellow stands for femininity and joy, and red suggests violence). That said,  I do love colour and I don’t  feel the need to stay faithful to my subject’s original palette. Why not have a green seagull for a change? Or if it suits the colour scheme of the room better, an orange/red impala with purple horns?


Reflections and Light. Water and Trees. Great, but I am certainly not a landscape painter though once in a while it’s a nice challenge. Needless to say, STICKS was inspired by Ansel Adams’ work. I just had to have those oversized birch trees in my living room. BALINESE MIRROR WORLD turned into a pretty tedious challenge as I had to get all those ‘arbitrary’ water shades right if I didn’t want to risk ruining the overall effect. I painted HALF DOME and EL CAPITAN almost back to back. The latter was based on a stunning photograph by Stefan Heck, a great photographer, and friend and former colleague of my husband.


I have always loved flowers for their beautiful colours, incredible variety and amazingly detailed shapes. How can something so tiny be so beautiful? Unfortunately, most of us won’t spend a lot of time looking at a particular flower. But, when you do, it seems as if an entirely new world opens up right in front of you. All that incredible detail that makes up those delicate shapes – the folds, the wrinkles, the translucency of the petals, the sometimes almost alien-like shapes of stigma, style and filament – isn’t that amazing?

Of course, I wasn’t the first one who painted flowers in a large scale to show off their hidden beauty. American artist Georgia O’Keeffe was decades ahead of me and justified her motivation to paint gigantic flowers as follows:

I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.

After seeing her inspiring work, I no longer could.


When I had my “Asian Phase”, I did a few yoga inspired portraits of a yoga-friend instructor of mine. Subsequently, my three daughters requested their own portraits … which were much harder to do. After all, as a painting mom you do not only seek to capture the looks of your children, but also their personality. This took some practice, but was getting easier with each consecutive attempt. The backgrounds of “Lotus”, “Bella” and “Blue Eyes” are inspired by Gustav Klimt’s work.