I paint stories.
Every painting is a story that screamed to be told.
When you read a novel, enjoy an expressive dance, listens to a beautiful song and tastes a MasterChef meal, you are not just experiencing a piece of the artist’s heart, he lets you hold it for moment. I paint the stories of people and places so you can not just experience my heart, but theirs as well. And maybe see yourself in their story. When you view my paintings, the art is happening in your mind, not on the canvas. Why? Because I can only put color, value, edges and drawing on the canvas. You have to make sense of it. When you find the story, you found the heart. That is art for me.
After I received my degree in Fine Arts and later in Education, I went into teaching for about 20 years. Having a full time job and raising a family made it hard for me to commit full time to my art. So, only when my family and I emigrated from South Africa to the Netherlands in 2018, I found the time and the state of mind to focus on my deepest passion...to create.
The first year in our new adopted country was consumed with immigration administration and trying to find our feet with a language we couldn’t speak. Add to the mix a whole lot of language lessons, emotional ups and downs, and a serious lack of Dutch cycling skills, and you get a pretty tough first year.
Lockdown came as a blessing in disguise: I went from balancing an ironing board, and a printer on a bicycle with two shopping bags dangling from the handlebar (all at the same time), to a time to finally find my words. I started expressing myself more through writing, painting, and cooking. I discovered two things: My writing makes people laugh and cry at the same time, much like my cycling, and I absolutely love painting with words as much as with oils. My life took a major turn after our immigration … and I loved it! I found so much freedom in letting go of my self-made constraints, and expressing myself in different creative ways. Oh, what an absolute unexplainable relief!
But there is more to my story: I was super shy for much of my life and had no idea how to express myself. I tried to join the debate team at age 12 and failed miserably. I also tried to join a public speaking contest at school, but not only did I choose a topic that no-one found amusing, but also hit a blank after the first two sentences and went back to my seat red-faced and humiliated, vowing to never ever voice my opinion on anything ever again. I received the lowest score and the most pitiful looks that day.
It was a long road from fear and silence to joy and freedom of expression. Yet this is what makes my art and my writing meaningful to me: I vividly remember what it’s like to be shut down. But I also know the exhilaration and power of facing your fears, finding your words and expressing your true self, no matter the medium and no matter what others might say.
So that is why I paint and write at the same time. Writing taught me to paint with words, and painting taught me to write. My painting and writing goes together. So when you view my painting, read the story behind it. Because only then the artwork is complete.
I truly hope that you enjoy my stories...