Nora Lemmon – "Under the Sun"

Cindy Paul

June 20th, 2013

Acrylics artist Nora Lemmon mixes and matches semi-realistic paintings with full-on abstracts in this online collection. She will often employ the use of collage or another type of mixed media to produce the exact effect she is striving for. This can be seen in "Linen and Lace," a freshly spring-like portrait of flowers in a vase on a lace tablecloth. Another work, called "Deep," is a beautiful acrylic and mixed media abstract that could be a closeup of vibrant colors in an interesting rock formation.

"Under the Sun" is a pleasant painting made with acrylics and mixed media. A large work, it measures 50″ wide by "40″ tall, and would have considerable impact on any wall. This is a picture-postcard seascape, complete with whitecaps breaking on a rocky shore and a blood-red sun beginning to sink below the horizon. A very satisfying picture simply due to its classic composition, "Under the Sun" has an occult attraction that keeps the viewer coming back for more. Heavily textured with unusual techniques, we find ourselves fascinated with exactly how this picture came to be.

"Butterfly 3" is another unusual canvas, also acrylic with mixed media. Its subject is a black-and-white monarch butterfly busily harvesting nourishment from the center of a bright red poinsettia. The background is a dark maroon field with bold blackish textured areas.

For an excellent representative of Lemmon’s ability to reproduce realistically, take a glance at "Protea," a study in monochrome, light, and dark.


Susanna Swart – "Object of Desire"

Cindy Paul

June 20th, 2013

Well-represented in private and public collections across the planet, Susanna Swart is a technically gifted, interesting artist. "The mystical African landscape, its people and spirituality, heavily influence my work," she writes in her online profile.

"Object of Desire" is a striking bronze sculpture depicting a single female foot. The tips of the toes rest delicately on its presentation platform, and the rest of the foot is raised above them, as if the owner is running, dancing, or simply stretching upward.

What makes this piece so interesting is the relief design which covers its entire surface. Swart says that the relief work is inspired by the ornate decoration used in traditional Mendhi art. This refers to the beautiful henna decorations generally used by Hindu artists to cover the hands and the fingers in Hindu folkart.

"Object of Desire" is an inspiring sculpture that carries a generous, low price tag. The artist calls the work a "foot portrait" and offers similar portraits. She obviously has found a unique niche, one that taps the interest of foot-lovers everywhere.

Robyn Pearce – "Open Lily"

Cindy Paul

June 20th, 2013

"I paint images that…offer the public a new insight, a new visual experience." This is a quote from Robyn Pearce’s online profile, and expresses her preference for modern, expressionistic approaches to her paintings. A canvas that demonstrates this is "African Girl," where an interesting portrait is positioned in the lower left portion of a nearly blank grey canvas. "Garden Nymph" could be considered another example of the manner in which Pearce holds true to her purpose to give the viewer a "new insight." This is a nearly monochromatic depiction of a nude in a garden, painted in a fantasy style using acrylic and spray paints.

"Open Lily" dutifully depicts the subject of the title. The painting, which measures one foot wide by two feet high, consists of a single white lily with its classic yellow center on a heavily textured amorphous background that’s nearly the same color as the flower. Delicate black outlines and detailing bring the flower into a welcome high relief. The picture is at once abstract and impressionistic, offering as much fascination in its textures as in the flower itself.

"Protea Cynaroides" uses a similar approach to display the dramatic plant known as South Africa’s national flower. Again, the main subject is relegated to one corner of the canvas.

Each of Pearce’s paintings offers a glimpse that could be seen to be one notch away from the norm. It’s a refreshing body of work, created with the viewer in mind, as well as thoughtful care for the paintings themselves.

Michael Albertyn Jnr – "Abstract Karoo"

Cindy Paul

June 20th, 2013

Michael Albertyn, Jr. is well-known in the South African art community and beyond. His work is completely given over to sweeping landscapes in oil, and he consistently produces dramatic scenes reproduced from the South African beauty all around him. "Pearl Valley" and "Zevenwacht Wine Estate" are two prime examples of the artist’s ability with brush, composition and shadow. He exhibits a sweet integrity in his realistic paintings and a grand love of the noble landscape as an artform in its own right.

"Abstract Karoo" is a highly unusual piece for Albertyn as an artist. As the title implies, this is a fairly abstract painting with only roughly recognizable subjects. The work is heavily textured and rife with unusual colors, such as purples and oranges, dusky greens and bright Cerulean blues. Taking a close look, the viewer can easily see that this is a landscape with a storm brewing overhead. The barest suggestion of hills on the horizon and hints of weeds and dry plants in the near foreground prompt us to be happy that water will soon fall from the cloudy impressionistic sky. Albertyn allowed himself a great deal of expressive leeway in this oil painting, and the result is a picture with as much immediate impact as his traditional, photo-realistic landscapes.

The collection includes some pieces that bridge the gap between abstract and realistic. "Pezula" could be considered one of these. This painting depicts an ocean scape in a fairly expressionistic manner. No pains have been taken to provide fine-textured reality here, yet the painting stands on its own in terms of simple beauty.



Marlene Swart – "Flowers"

Cindy Paul

June 20th, 2013

A prolific and gifted painter, Marlene Swart is dedicated to her craft and to the expression of God’s inspiration through it. "I paint with all of my heart," she says. "As I dip my brush into the paint, it becomes a part of me and a part of my soul to be seen."

Swart does a nice job, indeed, of allowing her viewers a glimpse into her soul, and an artistic soul it certainly is. She works exclusively with oils, offering impressionistic beauties like "Flowers 4" and "Flowers 570" for some of the lowest prices on Her work possesses a remarkable freshness and a good understanding of the drama of light and dark. Many pieces, such as "You Are Mine, Isaiah 43" and "Free State Serenity," display her poignant dedication to connecting to the Almighty through her art.

"Flowers" is a perfect example of Swart’s artistic style. A very simple still life of a vase of flowers surrounded by bowls or melons, this picture is impressionistic in the extreme, and obviously created with a passion for both the paint and the flowers the artist was capturing. A deep-turquoise, nicely textured background sets off the golds and oranges of the subjects of the picture, all lined up in a horizontal row in the foreground. The bold use of wide brush strokes and palette knife, high contrast and purity of line combine to make a painting that’s friendly and spring-like, a fine testament to living beauty and the One who created it.

Gerbrand van Heerden – "Cloudscape"

Cindy Paul

June 20th, 2013

Gerbrand van Heerden is a highly accomplished artist who works not only in traditional oils on canvas, but also with an unusual Venetian wax and oil medium on prepared masonite boards. There are many such masonite canvasses to be viewed in van Heerden’s online gallery. While they have a depth and sumptuous warmth that are similar to classic oil paintings, they also generally exhibit a pleasant crispness that helps define shapes and textures.

The majority of this grouping of pictures is given over to van Heerden’s stunning landscapes and fruit or floral still lifes. "Cloudscape" is an oil on canvas that stands out, due to its photo-realistic execution, as well as its semi-abstract approach. The painting is a monochromatic sepia-toned depiction of clouds in a storm-brewing sky. The scene is dramatic in the extreme, and the clouds range in color from the lightest to the darkest possible tones of reddish sepia. The viewer is immediately drawn in by the pure fascination of the painting’s composition. The texture and interweaving of the clouds cover three-quarters of the canvas, while the entire upper left quadrant is left blank, giving onto a cloudless sky in the background.

One of van Heerden’s most successful landscapes is also a great example of the unusual oil and Venetian wax medium. "Tamboerskloof" portrays an idyllic village with exaggerated perspective in a beautifully conceived composition with lavish green forests occupying one side of the canvas and white buildings with red roofs on the other.


Ina le Roux – "Kosmos Tyd"

Cindy Paul

June 20th, 2013

Ina le Roux is a consummate artist working mainly with oil on canvas to explore the beautiful landscapes of South Africa. She takes full advantage of her considerable ability with both brush and palette knife to bring inspiring paintings to life. "Women Carry Fire Wood" and "Crimson" are two fine examples of Le Roux’s uniquely vibrant style and deep devotion to the land and people around her. "My Home Country" is one of the most successful in this collection, a splendid oil executed almost exclusively with the palette knife.

"Kosmos Tyd" is a beautiful ambassador for Le Roux’s work. It pictures a white farmstead in the country, placed far back on the green-field horizon. An explosion of flowers cover the foreground of this charming picture, and palette-knife created clouds cover the blue South African sky. Happy and appealing, this canvas also somehow offers great depth and dramatic perspective.

Another gorgeous landscape created by Le Roux’s palette knife and passion for country scenes is "Destiny." White farm buildings with their characteristic brick-red roofs are surrounded by vivide\ fields and mountains that fairly sing with saturation. In the artist’s words, she likes to make landscape paintings full of "energetic colours depicting the absolute beauty of our land and its contrasts."

This love of energy on canvas is a typical facet of Le Roux’s artistic work, be it glorious patchwork landscapes of bright, cheerful florals.



Barbi Vandewalle – "Wild Pickings"

Cindy Paul

June 20th, 2013

A self-trained artist from birth, Barbi Vandewalle is gifted in both watercolor and oil techniques. She possesses a fine sense for depth and composition, as well as a love of color that comes out in each and every painting. "Story Time" is an excellent example, with its color palette made up of deep purple, turquoise, white, and rust, and its loving portrayal of a grandmother reading to the toddler in her arms.

Vandewalle shines most brightly in her watercolor executions. "Wild Pickings" is a lovely picture of a wooden bucket crammed full of daisies and wildflowers. The bucket sits calmly on a wooden chair, while the flowers explode outward, covering nearly the entire canvas and echoed in an explosive, wildly textured background. There is a grand passion not only for painting, but also for nature exhibited in this elegant watercolor.

"Tomatoes" is a brilliantly executed watercolor still life. Three ripe red tomatoes, surrounded by their leaves, lie on a counter next to a metal colander. They have evidently come straight off the vine. A wonderful bright pattern of light shines through the stamped colander onto the skin of the tomatoes, displaying a clever and very effective technique.

Landscapes in watercolor are also well represented in this collection. "Landscape in Texture" is a piece well worth a look. It shows a house in the country, hills in the background and fields in the foreground. The artist manages to infuse the whole canvas with glory.

Fred Brear – "Swiss Autumn"

Cindy Paul

June 20th, 2013

Fred Brear is a self-taught artist who works in oil and generally chooses portraits and seascapes for his artistic expressions. Works like "Louise" show a deft hand with all facets of oil painting and a gentle understanding of the human subjects he captures on canvas.

Brear is a high-profile, popular technician who evinces a sure understanding of his medium and his art. Nowhere is this more evident than in his many oceanscapes, such as "Sunrise Glare," and "Ramsgate Sunrise," both excellent examples.

"Swiss Autumn" is a splendid oil on canvas measuring 26 inches wide by 18 inches in height. Its subject is a chalet in the middle of the Swiss alps, not an ocean wave in sight. The bulk of the painting is covered by the magnificent, rugged mountains, white with snow. In the foreground huddles an unassuming little chalet next to a lavish forest of trees, some ochre, some olive green. It’s a peaceful scene, with a green field in front of the cabin and a blue sky, streaked with wisps of clouds, overarching all. In the artist’s description of this painting, he includes the interesting tidbit that the work is an amalgamation of scenes.

"Sardine Run" is a pleasant painting, narrow in shape and captivating. It pictures a flock of seagulls in the air, hovering over an aqua sea. One seagull in particular is singled out, ready to plummet down into the water and strike.

Brear has a gallery in KZN, where he works and lives. He accepts commissions for his fine portraits.

Cello – "Freedom Through Music"

Cindy Paul

June 20th, 2013

Here’s an artist who goes by the name of "čello," a tribute to both music and art. The work is prolific and intriguing, mainly featuring people, flowers, and South African wildlife scions. All exhibit a richness of color palette and particular interest in light and shadow. Cello infuses each painting with an expressionistic playfulness, combined with vast attention to technique and composition. This collection displays one of the widest price ranges on, and is one of the most successful.

One of the most abstract paintings in this group is called "Freedom Through Music." It is a rampant visual explosion of music on canvas, portrayed by a wide, high-contrast sunburst background, out of which various musical symbols are formed. These symbols start out as vague shapes in the center of the sunburst in the far background, then quickly take the forms of recognizable objects in the foreground, such as a violin and notes on a musical score. There is huge motion and an irresistible symphony in this remarkable two-dimensional collage. It measures 30″ wide by 24″ high.

A good representative of Cello’s approach to the human form is "At the Beach," a sweet, full-length picture of a young girl at the edge of the ocean. She faces the viewer, yet turns away to gaze down at something fascinating in the water.

"Peaches" is an unusual acrylic representation of three ripe peaches on a colorful yet indeterminate background. Interestingly, the realistic fuzziness of the peaches is carried into the rest of the picture.