I am a South African architect and artist who lives and works in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. Apart from my studio here, I also have a house and artist studio in the Auvergne, France, to where I retreat annually to paint.
I am fascinated by light reflecting from an object and what it reveals about the season, the time of day, the setting and the texture of the object. Muted, interior light on a still life, compared to strong exterior light of a landscape. Soft light of early Spring in Europe caressing the delicate petals of an Iris as opposed to the harsh African sunlight bouncing off a vase in Stellenbosch.
The play of shadows and the mood it creates become and integral part of my subject matter.
In South Africa I see colours as slightly muted, faded, layered and compounded. Here I am mainly occupied with being an architect: lines, bricks, builders and the accompanying pre-occupation. I paint in my studio, in a sense to come back to myself, to deliberately search for the beauty surrounding me.
In France colours seem to be brighter and less complex. Depending on the season, I am surrounded by bright canola fields or dancing sunflowers: scenes and colours that assault the senses. Here, painting is an extension of myself, a natural reflection of the exuberance that I perceive around me.
My choice of subject matter always refers to where I find myself: flowers, landscapes, workers on a building project, cattle being driven down a dusty road, crayfish served in a heavy ceramic bowl. I am as much inspired by my immediate surroundings as I am by the beauty and shapes of objects, by things that sometimes carry the weight of memories that need to be honoured and captured.
I love the texture of the canvas on which I paint, the brush strokes of the paint applied in abundance and even at times the absence of paint, allowing the beauty of the canvas to be revealed. The weave of the Belgian linen canvas sometimes invites and allows me to show the honesty of the lines that I sketch – almost an extension of my insistence as an architect to still design and sketch by hand.