Willie du Plooy – "Fighting Zebras"

by Cindy Paul

Artist Willie du Plooy works almost exclusively in oil and shows a penchant for South African wildlife themes. On SouthAfricanArtists.com, he has published a series called "Out of Africa Edition," each of which features a nicely executed portrait of a different animal protruding from the graphic outline of a map of Africa.

Also interesting are du Plooy’s well-done, classical oils such as "Fighting Zebras." This painting depicts two zebras in the midst of an altercation of some kind, out on the wild, near-desolate plains of South Africa. Side by side, they are captured in action, black and white zigzag stripes clashing against one another as they struggle. A bare tree full of leafless branches curves upward just behind them, adding weight to the atmosphere.

"Under the Sea" is a rare glimpse into the impossibly blue world of dolphins, sea turtles, and various exotic fishes. Also realistic, the oil on canvas nevertheless strikes its viewer as extremely surreal, since the bulk of the painting depicts ocean life under water, while the top fourth of the canvas is devoted to the wave-ridden ocean above.

Du Plooy enjoys taking a departure into the odd venture now and then. "Coca-Cola Victorian Lady," one such picture, is a faithful reproduction in oil of the famous Victorian lady inside a portrait-style oval, surrounded by the standard advertising slogans of the era.

"Bataleur," on the other hand, is a beautifully done, straight-forward portrait of the multi-colored bird on a curved branch, in front of a turquoise sky.