Archive for April, 2013

Cornelius Saayman – "Harvard Flypast"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Cornelius Saayman favors subjects in aviation, and has a deft, practiced hand with pencil drawings. In his paintings, he shows potential for daring choices and captivating design, as well as a marked penchant for the impressionistic.

"Harvard Flypast" is a representative pencil drawing, beautifully executed, of a historical naval plane with a handsome checkered decoration around its single propeller. This drawing measures 15″ by 11″, making it a good-sized work of art. The subject lends itself well to any den, a man’s bedroom or office, or certain commercial establishment’s walls.

Another pencil drawing on paper which Cornelius has published on SouthAfricanArtists.com is "Artist’s Expression." This is a super-closeup view of the tip of a 3B pencil, in all its graphic glory.

Working in mixed media, Cornelius created a piece called "Technology or Art?" Eight computer discs are the stars of the show here, each one unique and in varying degrees of erosion. They are lined up on dark brown ribbons, with a neutral grey background.

"Cape Snow 2008" is one of Cornelius’ most successful paintings. A large oil, it was executed strictly with the palette knife in striking primary and secondary colors. Cape Snow is so abstract that, were it not for the name, the viewer might not even recognize it as a landscape. The very fact that the artist is capable of such a vision, along with his precisely realistic pencil drawings of aircraft, speaks to his flexibility and willingness to fly beyond his own boundaries.

 

Pieter Saayman – "Out of Place"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Pieter Saayman started taking pictures at the tender age of eight. In his photographic work of today, he likes to convey landscapes with far-reaching, even surrealistic qualities.

"Out of Place" is a photograph that falls into the latter group. A magnificently composed, technically perfect work, it measures a full 35 inches high and 25 inches wide. It features a sere brown desert with rippled sand and gentle dunes against a blue sky full of cirrus clouds. In the center of the dessert lies an enormous, white rock, craggy and full of character. It appears so "Out of Place," in fact, that the entire photograph has an unreal, or alien, ambiance. The dazzling rows of naturally beautiful, geometric clouds move in a stately curved arc from the front of the picture to the far background. This remarkable photo is printed on canvas.

A somewhat similar picture, though not as surreal, is Saayman’s "Sparse Beauty." Again set in a desert full of brown rock, brown sand, and brown hillocks, this photograph also presents a somewhat alien atmosphere. The composition is fascinating and deliberate, with a diagonal hill of rocks cutting through the bottom half of the canvas, echoed almost perfectly by the diagonal plane of lacy clouds cutting upward in harmony.

Saayman’s stated purpose of awakening the emotions of his witnesses is also well-fulfilled in "Silver Lining," a good example of his reverence for the eternal beauty of nature. Dramatic clouds are the star of the show, with the ocean and setting sun beneath them.

 

Jacobus Saayman – "Airbus"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

While artist Jacobus Saayman sometimes paints in acrylics, he normally reaches for the oils and turpentine to create his work. His passion is aircraft, and the majority of his works on SouthAfricanArtists.com are lovingly created portraits of planes, from jetliners to historic aircraft. He employs a meticulous, photo-realistic style to faithfully recreate his subjects, whether they are airplanes, landscapes, or architectural paintings.

"Airbus" is a perfect ambassador for Saayman’s aircraft art. An ample oil on board, this painting measures a full 42 inches wide, or 1,055 mm. Its subject is the Airbus A340-600, flying high above the clouds in sleek nobility. The plane is centered in the canvas’ horizontal space and the background is nicely decorated by fluffy clouds above a lower layer of near-transparent mists. The feeling of depth is unusual. We are almost sure we can see the earth, far below. The plane is a beauty worthy to be the subject of a work of art.

"River of Gold" is a monochromatic departure into the dramatic landscape of South Africa. A wide, uniform river curves in an "S" shape through a plain with heavy shrubs. In the distance, pale mountains stand sentinel, and striated clouds frame the top third of the composition. Executed in varying hues of sienna, this painting is an interesting one.

"Cottage" is a picturesque oil on canvas that could well be an artistic postcard. A white home is framed by luxurious trees and gardens, all set next to a quaintly cobblestoned street. "Cottage" is as charming as it is idyllic.

Minette Zaaiman-van Rooyen – "Namakwaland" and "Graaff Reinet"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Minette Zaaiman-vanRooyen has put up a small but interesting collection of her work on SouthAfricanArtists.com.  She has taught art and dabbled in design over the course of her life, and enjoys making pictures using watercolor and pastels.

"Namakwaland" is a colorful depiction of a landscape, rendered in hard pastels. The work measures 20 inches wide by 15 inches tall, and would be a bright addition to almost any room. The picture shows a field full of color-saturated flowers in the immediate foreground, some indeterminate, multi-colored shapes in the middle ground, and two layers of hilly ranges, traveling horizontally in the background. The sky is left as a creamy white space up above it all. This picture is about as free as one can get with a landscape. It features bright reds juxtaposed with yellows and pinks, bold black outlines and textures, and a pleasant sense of perspective to tie it all together.

"Graaff Reinet," by contrast, is a completely different picture. Prettily executed in watercolor, it is constrained, where "Namakwaland" is not. This painting can fairly be categorized as a graphic illustration. It shows several buildings, sparsely represented, occupying the center horizontal third of the painting. In the foreground, we see a curving drive or street, which lends a nice perspective and liveliness to an otherwise staid painting. The colors in this work are likewise reserved, ranging from slate blue to the barest hints of pink. Perhaps this is a view of the village at sunrise?

 

 

Maureen Tomaino – "In Flight"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

"I call watercolor ‘the whispers of art,'" says Maureen Tomaino of her chosen art medium. She extols the expressive characteristics inherent in "the watercolor journey" which allow her to be a courageous, sensitive, and spontaneous artist. All of Tomaino’s work is a testament to this tenet. She refuses to overwork a painting, giving preference instead to the understated.

"In Flight" is a good example of this freewheeling approach. Two seagulls are captured in the air with a sweeping sky and clouds behind them. One bird is preparing to land, hovering above the other with its legs down. The second seagull continues onward below him, unabashed.

"Peaceful Pastures" is another favorite. Using the same carefree wash techniques, Tomaino depicts a classic landscape with a darkening indigo sky shadowing distant purple mountains. An enticing pond is surrounded by trees in the lower center of the canvas as a focal point, and flowers decorate  the foreground.

A similar piece, "Storm on the Horizon," shows an intimate picture of a white farmhouse, all but eclipsed by the nicely detailed flowers and shrubs in the foreground. Far beyond the rolling hills, a storm is definitely brewing. The artist employs almost the same color palette as she used in "Peaceful Pastures." Deep blues and purples are relieved by massive amounts of yellows, golds, and rusts, with a good amount of olive green to complement them.

"Storybook Stream" is one of Tomaino’s only mixed media works on SouthAfricanArtists.com. Aptly titled, this picture could be an illustration in a fine book of fairytales.

Schalk van der Merwe – "Sunflowers"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Although Schalk van der Merwe only started showing his work in solo exhibitions, he is a sought-after artist on SouthAfricanArtists.com and elsewhere. There is good reason for this. His technique is beyond reproach and his artistic sensibilities far above average.

Schalk mostly chooses to paint in watercolor, but will, on occasion, use oils and even pastels. "Sunflowers" is a magnificent portrait of two huge sunflowers on a multi-colored watercolor wash background. One of the blooms is placed dead center in the narrow vertical canvas, and the other is immediately above it, almost–but not quite–touching it.

Interestingly, the flowers and their grey-green leaves are wilting, yet that only makes them more fun to look at. Tiny details become important in the way each petal curls. Looking closer, we see that each petal and leaf have their own individual character and were approached in just that manner by the artist.

A masterful painter of landscapes, Schalk brings us picture after picture of the quality of "Lavender Field." This piece takes advantage of the geometric rows of periwinkle lavender plants in the foreground, drawing the eye inexorably into the main subject, a cubist-like cluster of white buildings with red roofs, all curiously set at differing angles. Beyond, he paints an uncluttered, sweeping depiction of tan fields and hills and a blue, blue sky.

"Water Carrier" is a fine representative of Schalk’s deftness with the human form. Fearlessly executed with high-contrast textures and colors, this painting is lovely, especially at its low price.

Kato Neveling – "Floating Pods"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Kato Neveling is a skilled watercolorist who delivers beautiful paintings with a sure hand and a rich, exquisite color palette. Of her painting, she says, "My art work is mostly influenced by nature, everyday objects, life and the scrapyard," (her family business). Structure, values in monochromes, and vivid hues combine with the vivacious tones and dazzling textures of nature in her paintings to present the witness with beauty in its truest, most immediate form.

"Floating Pods" is all about these internal concepts brought into two-dimensional life. Kato remarks about this work, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," referring to the fact the the magnificent pods the painting features are only lowly weeds. The work depicts five plump pods floating in a multi-colored pond. Abstract in some ways, yet with finely cut edges that bring the picture to three-dimensional levels, this watercolor is attractive and soothing. The colors range from the deepest blues and purples to the palest of pastels.

Kato understands her medium well, taking full advantage of all the blending properties watercolor has to offer and, at the same time, making sure to represent a figure realistically where needed. She tends to use both loose and tight watercolor techniques in the same canvas to drive the viewer’s eye wherever she wants it to go. "Food for Thought" is a striking example of this. It features three pears, one on its side, huddled together in a sea of amorphous foam. One is not sure on what they rest, but the pears may as well be sculptures in their photo-realism.

 

Alette Kruger – "My Family of Geese"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Alette Kruger has a large collection of pieces on SouthAfricanArtists.com. Her work ranges from landscapes to wildlife to flowers, and her preferred medium is oil on callico. This type of canvas lends a uniquely soft appearance, almost transforming the oils into a watercolor effect. Her color palettes are always deeply satisfying, and her work shows a reverence for the art of painting.

"My Family of Geese" is a charming illustration featuring four geese around an old tree stump in a flower-saturated garden. Three of the geese are white and one is black, making for an interesting compositional component. The picture is carried out in Aletta’s characteristic free-flowing manner, with interesting, bold outlines where needed and delicate details providing texture and depth.

A strength exhibited consistently by this artist is her florals. "Vanda Flower – Orchid" is a good example. Two colorful orchids fill the canvas on a delectable background of dark blues and blue-greens. Nicely laid out and carefully done, this painting would look good on any wall, anywhere.

Another flower painting, "Water Lily," is a courageous representation of a single showy bloom jutting out of waxy-looking green water lily pads. This picture is so faithfully made that it could pass, at first glance, for a high-contrast photograph. Aletta has placed the pink blossom right in the center of the canvas and covered every inch of the remainder with nicely reproduced lily pads.

Almost all of Aletta’s work has a fair-tale sheen, with a fair amount of docile tranquility mixed in.

Hilda Bischoff – "Nautilus"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

In her extensive and impressive gallery on SouthAfricanArtists.com, artist Hilda Bischoff offers mostly giclées of original oil paintings. Her work runs the gamut of fanciful impressionism, photo-realism, and surrealism, and is without fail approachable and delightful to see.

"Nautilus" is a nice-sized giclée measuring 31″ wide by 35″ tall. It’s a piece of modern art that mixes the real with the unreal in a way that’s beautiful and serene. A half-transparent nautilus shell on a see-through panel of glass is turned at a jaunty angle and then inserted, point down, into a vivid blue ocean. Behind the horizon are fluffy clouds, which become part of the texture of the nautilus’ shell.

A clear and readable statement at first glance, "Nautilus" gets more and more complicated as one continues to look at it. This seems to be a common characteristic of Bischoff’s paintings, and an admirable one, for the artist who can draw the viewer in and hold their attention and wonder is a truly gifted artist indeed.

The same compelling qualities can be witnessed in another whimsical piece, called "Moon Eclipse." This is another shell, this time colored a deep gold and inserted, not into the ocean, but into a sea of clouds. The top two-thirds of the painting’s background is a dark indigo sky that appears above the clouds, perhaps representing deep space or the infinite itself. The gold against the dark indigo is a sumptuous sight to behold, quite apart from the fascinating subject of the painting.

Kevin Stanley – "Landscape with House 3″

Monday, April 15th, 2013

A self-taught professional painter and art instructor, Kevin Stanley is an inspirational example of what can be done when one nurtures a creative gift.  All of his pieces on SouthAfricanArtists.com are landscapes, and that is what Kevin loves to paint. He invariably uses oils and conveys an ambient sense of the subject of his painting at a precise moment in time.

Stanley has lived by the sea, and has farmed the land in Karoo, and brings both these life experiences into his paintings. Impressionistic and free, there is nevertheless a careful consideration of the design of each picture, visible in the excellent technique and mood.

"Landscape with House 3" is a lovely oil painting that’s just right, though it may at first seem to break most of the rules of composition. The canvas is divided down the center by a vertical spray of dramatic storm clouds, and is further cut up horizontally by a deep purple, thin line of mountains far in the distance. The focus of the painting, a white farm house with dark roof, sits underneath the central cloud-drama, and is surrounded by several lacy green trees. The entire foreground is covered with a repetitive plain, covered in pink-and-green brush, perspective nicely carried out.

The effect on the viewer is a curious one. We are immediately drawn in to the farmhouse, all alone in this vast and dangerous region. Yet something about the stability provided by the very composition of the work eases our minds, even as the sensuous colors delight us.