Marietjie du Toit
Western Cape, South Africa
Mediums: Oil on Canvas
Favorite Quotes: “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” –Napoleon Hill, “If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” –Vincent Van Gogh
Favorite Books: The Bible, The Little Prince
Favorite Movies: Pursuit of Happyness, Gifted Hands, Forest Gump, Shawshank Redemption, Dead Poet Society, A Beautiful Mind, Marley and Me, Benny and June, Promised Land, The King’s Speech and many more.
Wild Horse © MS du Toit
From a very early age I loved horses and I have spent many hours drawing horses. This is large painting I have done and I loved every moment of painting it.
As an artist I probably see things differently than many other people. I look at form and colour and light. I try to see the beauty of ordinary scenes and then I try to convey that to a canvas. When I am busy painting there is a calmness in me. To create is one of the greatest gifts from the Creator. It gives me such satisfaction to finish a painting and stand back and see that it is good.
Please tell us about your first experience creating.
When I was in grade 6 my art teacher noticed some artistic talent in me. She encouraged me to enter an art competition. I asked my mother to buy me some oil paint and brushes and a canvas. My mother was willing to buy four tubes of paint (red, yellow, black and white) and one brush and a piece of hardboard. I had no other choice than to paint a very fiery sunset with a tree in silhouette. I loved the experience and the smell of the paint. I won the competition. I was hooked for life. It became my dream to be a professional artist and not just a hobby artist.
Ducks © MS du Toit
A friend of mine commissioned me to do this painting. Her mother used to love ducks and flowers. This is in remembrance of her mother.
What music do you like to have playing while creating art?
I love Gospel music and light classical or instrumental music when I paint. It must inspire me and add atmosphere. It takes me into another world from where I can produce and create artwork filled with atmosphere.
If you have a job besides being an artist, can you tell us about it?
I own and manage a guesthouse with three self-catering cottages. Because it is self-catering I only need to do some basic cleaning once a week. That gives me lots of time to spend painting and promoting my art.
What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?
The world was so beautifully created and I believe we are all creators in some way. I want my work to bring the viewer closer to our beautiful world and to inspire the viewer to look at it with different eyes. I want them to stop for a moment and experience peace and beauty.
Lemons © MS du Toit
The evening before our last home exhibition I realised that we need one more painting. I painted this that very evening. Of cause it was still very wet the day of the exhibition. This was the first painting I sold that day.
Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion:
My first step is just to think about my subject and to see it in my mind’s eye. I visualise the whole picture, where the light and shadows are, the colours and composition. Then I take a blank canvas and paint an undercoat with a mixture of paint and turpentine. I normally use Burnt Sienna, but I also like to use Cadmium red if it is going to be a landscape with lots of green. Once that is dry I basically draw the larger forms onto the canvas using a brush and a mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna which almost makes a black.
The next step is to paint all the darks and shadow areas with that same mixture. From there on I work wet on wet, starting with the sky or background if it is a still life. I paint with the largest brush as long as I can going smaller as I progress towards more detailed work.
Once all the larger forms are filled in, I start adding detail. I use a very painterly technique with bold brush strokes. As I progress I also start using the palette knife for more effect and texture. I continually stand back to see the painting from a distance. The last step before I write my name is to add all the highlights.
I finish the painting off by painting the edges in black.
What things inspire you to create art?
Normally I do not need anything to inspire me. I am inspired, but all the beautiful colours that surround me every day definitely add to it. When I look at clouds, I am amazed at how colourful they are, and I think of what tube colours to mix to get that. I also like to visit galleries and to search for other artists’ work on the internet. Many of those works are very inspiring.
Bennie © MS du Toit
This is a portrait of a friend’s Border Collie named Bennie. I have painted this as a gift for her for Christmas. He is a very gentle dog as can be seen in his eyes.
What exhibitions have you had?
I have only exhibited at two student exhibitions. I have not sold anything at those exhibitions. After that I have organised my own exhibitions together with a friend. We called it “Kaleidoscope of Colour”. We had our first one in October 2012 and sold 22 of the 50 paintings we exhibited. The second one was held in October 2013 and we sold 23 of the 50 paintings. We are currently working towards our third exhibition which will probably be in October 2014.
Have you sold any of your artworks?
As I have already mentioned in the previous question, I have sold many paintings already. Most of my paintings sold at my home exhibitions and as commissions received during those exhibitions.
How do you promote your art on the internet?
To promote my art on the internet I use as many avenues as possible. I have a website, I blog, I try to be as active on Facebook as time allows, I have posted photos of my work on Flickr, Skill Pages, Google + and Paintings I Love. I am also active on Twitter.
Tell us about influences
The first person who has influenced me was my art teacher who encouraged me to enter the competition I won in Grade 6. Another person who has influenced me in a major way was a local artist in the town I grew up. Her name is Alta Louw. I have always admired her work and love her style of painting. My parents and friends have always supported me and that is very inspiring.
Bo-Kaap © MS du Toit
The Bo-Kaap is an area in Cape Town where the Cape Malay people stay. They have the tradition to paint their houses with very bright colours. This painting was done for a commission.
Please recommend another artist you admire
There are many other artists I admire and can recommend, but I would like to recommend my friend and fellow artist, Simonette van Oudtshoorn. She has inspired me to use more bold colours in my work and is always very supportive. She is very bold in her use of colour and uses mostly an impasto technique.
Tell us something interesting in your life
Being an artist is my first choice but my second choice would be to be an professional tourist. I love travelling although I don’t do it as often as would like to. I have been overseas twice. The first time was with my brother and we went to England and the USA. The city I enjoyed the most was San Francisco. I found it to be a very friendly and colourful city. The second time I went with a friend on a passenger liner. We did a cruise visiting all the Scandinavian countries. My favourite city on that holiday was Copenhagen which is also a very friendly city and it seemed that the people there loves making music.
Do you have an embarrassing moment in your life?
There are too many and too embarrassing moments to tell. But one embarrassing moment that I will share is the following: More or less ten years ago, I decided to have a small exhibition in my house. I have done my best to arrange everything inside, I had wine and snacks ready and I have put out a signboard so that everybody that passes there would see it and come in. I sat there the whole day and nobody entered. Eventually two friends showed up for a total different reason. The one had such a laugh about my effort. It was very embarrassing to me. But at the same time I have decided there and then that that was not the end of my art career and that I will one day be very successful. I have learned to never give up.
If you could live your life over again, would there be anything you would do differently?
I think I would start earlier in life to learn from experts. I would practice more and I would start earlier to maintain a balanced life and healthy lifestyle.
What plans do you have for the future of your art?
My plans are to continually learn and do as much as I can. I would like to grow as an artist and to take every aspect of my art to a place as close to perfection as possible. At the same time I need to learn more and more about marketing my art. I need to have sales to sustain myself as an artist.
Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?
The most important advice I can give to emerging artists is to observe, to draw and to never stop painting. Then I would also say learn as much as you can from books and from other artists.
Marietjie du Toit
Western Cape, South Africa
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