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Previously a journalist, I am an oil painter, turned novelist, turned painter again. With no room for both forms of expression within the frenzied creative environment of a growing family, I laid down the brushes 25 years ago to write a novel.
I since had four novels of a socio-political nature published in Afrikaans, some of them award winning, Now, rather than evoking the theatre of the mind employing words, I have returned to capturing images through the often evasive, strongly wilful, but nonetheless forgiving medium of oil paint. Words do come easy in comparison!
Having relocated to the coastal town of Betty's Bay in the Western Cape, living among fynbos, surrounded by deserted beach houses, allows for more readily immersing into right brain activity undisturbed, save for dogs to be fed or tending to something banging in the wind.
It is comforting, though humbling, if not intimidating, to rediscover that, as with writing, what is supposed to become a work of art has a self-determining streak. The artist is more a director of sorts, through which something outside of and sometimes bigger than the self takes shape. This facilitator nevertheless needs to be well versed and fully equipped before surrendering to an empty canvas.
At the danger of it becoming more fulfilling than life's social obligations, it is exhilarating, all the same, to take off on a colourful journey within the confines of your own home. Without booking flights it demands to a varying degree a plunge into the unknown. It soon becomes a departure from self-conscious thought, peering into the soul of the work in progress, trusting it to start dictating your next steps, even if it takes seemingly endless returns on previous attempts. A humbling experience, indeed. To my mind conceit and creativity cannot both lodge believably in the bosom of one person.
My subjects at this stage are eclectic, some of them unfinished works from classes in the 1970's and 80's, that have now taken me on the final steps divulging their secrets in this rediscovery of the different characteristics and effects of colour. What the works have in common, I would say, is mood, light, and hopefully a slight twist in a sense of place.
Group exhibitions in Durbanville and Hermanus, selling most of the paintings on exhibition
Ruth Prowse School of Art, Woodstock, Cape Town
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