Belinda Cloete – "Catherine Zeta Jones" and "Flower in Vase"

by Cindy Paul

Artist Belinda Cloete has a small but powerful online gallery here. One of her interests is to draw or paint pictures of famous people. She shows an amazing facility in this collection for both pencil and pastels, along with a great understanding of the shading techniques so necessary for turning out a believable picture in either of these mediums.

"Catherine Zeta Jones" is a pencil drawing in which Cloete has faithfully reproduced a lovely portrait of the famous actress. She is looking provocatively over her left shoulder at the viewer, lips slightly open, long, thick hair messy yet pretty. The white garment Zeta Jones is wearing in this picture is a lightweight wraparound dress with lots of interesting wrinkles and folds, which the artist has executed with her usual precision. An indeterminate background consists of hints of furniture and other interior decor. This picture is done in pencil and measures 16″ wide by 22″ tall.

"Flower in Vase"presents the viewer with a single yellow lily in a glass vase. This is a consummate pastel that also measures 16″ wide by 22″ high, but other than the size and perfection of technique, that is where the similarities between the two works end. "Flower in Vase" has a rich gold-and-green color palette and nice composition. The main point of fascination for the viewer, however, is the photographic quality of this pastel painting. Glass and reflections are especially difficult to portray with pastels, yet Cloete does so successfully and effortlessly.