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Oil-colour Painting by Barbara-Louise
31 May 2008
Barbara-Louise van Graan is an artist whose abilities stretch from jewellery design to painting in oils. Her demonstration of oil painting at the Country Craft Market of 31 May will bring the present market season to a vibrant and warm close, as she extends the colours of spring into the tail end of autumn.
Barbara-Louise loves to paint flowers. She strives to highlight their simple natural beauty by showing them unfettered by props or weighed down by the pretentiousness of contrived still-life arrangements.
"Flowers tell a vibrant, life giving story", says Barbara-Louise, "and it is this story that I like to record in my paintings, so that it can lighten and brighten up someone's home, and life."
"I have been drawing and painting since I could hold a pencil and brush straight", recalls Barbara-Louise. It is therefore not surprising that art was her most favoured subject at school, a subject she pursued with unflagging enthusiasm right up till grade 12.
Her continued studies drew her away from her hometown Pretoria where she was born and raised, and relocated her in Stellenbosch. Beginning a 4-year degree in jewellery design, she started a new chapter in her life and art became her career choice. With her degree completed, she opened a jewellery studio with a friend. This studio has now been in business for 2 years.
However, while studying, another art interest was born. "I started doing paintings on order and also supplied an interior décor shop in Franschhoek", tells Barbara-Louise. This interest has continued and found a specific form of expression that is perhaps a metaphor for Barbara-Louise herself.
"I paint flowers in their essential context", says Barbara-Louise, "to show just the flower, what it is itself, and its message of life, colour and light". Her favourite flower is the poppy.
"I only came to know them in the Cape where I saw them in friendly bunches in many small shops all over Stellenbosch." she explains. "And from the small pots on tables in tea-garden tables, I heard them shouting to me, telling me to paint them."
Amazingly, Barbara-Louise takes on the challenge of using oils to capture the fragility of these flowers and portray their gossamer petals. This is something she achieves with great success and produces work that is filled with the elegance and life of these flowers.
As a sideline that she says is "just for fun", Barbara-Louise also paints little boards with teaspoons and forks on them, to give an outlet for another interest. "I love humour in things that are functional and also enjoy lurking around antique shops, looking for old spoons and forks", she explains. "So these light-hearted teaspoon hooks come from that playful side of me".
"Painting is still what makes me come alive", says Barbara-Louise, and she plans to be full of life with brush in hand at the next Country Craft Market on 31 May, where she will share some of her enthusiasm with all visitors who wish to come and watch her at work.
Last Updated 15 October 2016 18:30