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I have long been a fan of Richard Branson, I mean what is there not to like?  He is handsome, rich, and successful, cares about the environment and his family, extremely cool and seems like a genuinely nice guy.  That idea was strengthen in the late 90’s when I read his biography “Loosing my Virginity” which was an excellent read and one I thoroughly recommend.

painting of virgin airplanes and brides in hot air balloons and a train by artist marie jonsson-harrison

Spot the Virgin


As I lived in London for a while during my modelling years I really identified with the lifestyle and the “goings on” in his life although our paths never crossed back then I still did have my fair share of the jetset life.  But seriously, what I think I admire most in him is the way that he has retained his unpretentiousness and seems still very humble and unaffected.

photo of Artist Marie Jonsson-Harrison & Richard Branson in Australia

I could eat you for lunch!


Some years ago when we still lived on the farm I after rereading his book decided to paint an artwork called “Spot the Virgin” with lots of brides and of course one or two of Virgin’s airplanes.


I am always dreaming when I paint, day dreaming that is and after I finished the painting I had this crazy idea – I would love to paint one of his planes in real life!  Very much an impossible dream no doubt, how do you come to the attention of Sir Richard Branson?

So I figured first step would be to give him one of my paintings as a gift.  That sounds pretty easy right?  Oh how wrong one could be.

Richard Branson and Australian Naive Artist Marie Jonsson-Harrison with her painting Spot the Virgin

Richard Branson is such a fun and nice guy!


Unless you live in the same city or at least the same country, this is almost an impossible task.  There are so many minders in the way, PR companies, Personal Assistants, Secretaries, Security personnel and the like to try to stop you at every corner.

At one stage I had the painting all boxed up and ready to send to Necker Island but changed my mind at the last minute as I wanted to be sure it actually reached Richard himself.  Another time Mark from Giclee link who commissioned me to paint “London2012” was trying to arrange a meeting with Dicky Baby in London, but in the end that fell through too.


So in stepped my knight in shining armour; Paul Makin from the television program Today Tonight on Channel 7.  I mentioned my wish to him plus that I knew that Richard Branson was shortly coming to Adelaide and Paul said “Leave it with me”.

A week later Paul got back to me and had made the necessary arrangements, but even the best laid plans can go astray and after plan A,B, and C had fallen apart, we pretty much thought it was all over apart from waiting for the fat lady to sing.

However don’t underestimate an investigative reporter when there are plenty more letters in the alphabet and sure enough Paul overcame all the obstacles; a sway of minders and PR people including a PR girl with big claws that thought Richard Branson was her personal property.


painting called Spot the Virgin, of virgin airplanes and brides in hot air balloons and a train by artist marie jonsson-harrison

Richard said my art was lovely!

We held our breaths with duck tape at the ready (you know in case we saw anyone starting to sing) and finally I got to meet Richard and gave him the painting all captured on camera by Paul.

I will reassure you girls he is just as yummy in real life as he is on TV and a really nice guy to boot.  He took all the time in the world to say hello and admire my artwork, chat and kiss!  Meanwhile his so called PR people were frothing at the mouth much to Paul’s and my amusement!

I really enjoyed the kisses and next time I see him I will have to take a leaf out of Bianca Wordleys Blogs book and smear my face with chocolate – maybe then he will linger even longer!

Here is a quote by Robert Burns that I think fits perfectly here;

artist Marie Jonsson-Harrison with Richard Branson from Virgin Airlines in Adelaide, South Australia

Richard Branson said my painting was lovely!

“Love’s first snow-drop –  a virgin kiss.”

Till next time happy painting and sculpting.

Why not come and have a look at Marie Jonsson-Harrison’s PAINTINGS FOR SALE, GICLEE PRINTS FOR SALE and SCULPTURES for sale or WALLBASED SCULPTURES.  Enjoy an original artwork on your walls or perhaps one on your bed ARTnBED.



So those of you who read my art blogs regularly know that I met Richard Branson last year when he was in Adelaide, South Australia for a couple of days. It was all organized by a reporter Paul Makin from Chanel 7 for their Today Tonight program and if you wish to recap on the crazy and very convoluted story of how we finally pulled that off here is a link 189 ART and Kissing RICHARD BRANSON

It is no secret that I have long admired Richard both for his entrepreneurships and also for the man that he is. Meeting him was great and the fact that he genuinely seemed to like my art made it all the better. However there is still a bit of unfinished business – I still want to paint one of Richard’s Virgin planes!

Richard Branson's Virgin airplane design of Australian surfers painted by south australian artist marie jonsson harrison

One of my design ideas for a Virgin plane


Dreams, we all have to have dreams don’t we, goals to work towards and ideas to inspire us? Dreaming, well daydreaming is an essential quality for an artist and one of my dreams is to one day paint a plane. Above you can see one of the ideas I have for a Virgin plane and I do have quite a few other ideas too of course. It would be something to see my artwork in mega size and flying in the sky that’s for sure, I just love to see art on airplanes.

photo of Richard Branson and South Australian artist Marie Jonsson-Harrison

The Virgin Kiss


I guess the closest I have been to having my work in a large scale was late last year when my paintings were used for project mapping in Warsaw, Poland. Projection mapping or Video mapping also known as spatial augmented reality is when an image is enlarged to cover an entire building and then superimposed in a light show. In my case in Poland my artwork was also animated so it was a moving image. If you want to find out more about that and a bit of the history of Project mapping here is the artblog 205 Projection Mapping & Art in Animation

artist marie jonsson harrisons painting shown on the swedish embassy in warsaw of a lucia procession

Fun to see your art covering a whole building!


Well I guess also into the category of large scale would be the public sculptures that I have done over the years. The largest public sculpture of mine spans 44 meters across and is 3 meters high sitting as you enter the town of Balaklava in South Australia’s mid north. It was commissioned by the Wakefield Regional Council and took some 18 months to complete. Dale Gathercole and my husband were an integral part as were many many volunteers from the local community who all helped to make it happen.


The idea is that the whole sculpture looks like a Federation house, complete with roof and a veranda. In the center are two six meter by three and a half meter walls, located at 22.2 degree angle to each other which are rendered to look like sandstone with red brick quoins on the corners and around the doors.

One wall represents 1901 and the other 2001. In the 1901 doorway we see the back of a life-size woman, made from hand-made ceramic tiles and mosaic, strutting through the door in all her finery, long dress, hat and umbrella in hand. Through the 2001 doorway, she emerges as the modern woman, complete with short skirt, sunglasses and a mobile phone. This reflects the changes that our society has undergone during the last 100 years.

public art in the South Australian countryside,mosaic and ceramic

Art is making your dreams come true!

If you would like to find out a little more about that here is the link 109 Stories behind the Wall – Public Sculpture


So why not dream big I say you never know what awaits around the corner, maybe one day I will get a call from Richard Branson saying “Hey Marie, I’m sending my private plane over to pick you up – we really have to discuss your idea of painting a plane for me!”

Here is a quote I think fits well here by H.F. Hedge;

“Dreaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or Shakespeare.”

Till next time happy painting or sculpting or daydreaming.

Love Marie xxx

Why not come and have a look at Marie Jonsson-Harrison’s PAINTINGS FOR SALE, GICLEE PRINTS FOR SALE and SCULPTURES for sale or WALLBASED SCULPTURES. Enjoy an original artwork on your walls or perhaps one on your bed ARTnBED.

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