A Journalist recently wrote about Isabel's love affair with colour. That may be true, but I also think that I definitely have a love affair with Paris. During September - December, I had the privilege to spend 3 months in Paris for the fifth time in 10 years, at the Cite International des Arts. The Cite des Arts is an art foundation where professional artists throughout the world, receive the opportunity to improve their art in France.
When you arrive in a new painting environment, it is always good to have a connecting point to get your brushes going. It can be overwhelming and intimidating to suddenly be confronted with such a lot of high quality art. You need a quiet moment to contemplate where you find yourself in this bigger picture.
Knowing that the French Markets with all their delicious delicatessen delights are not to be missed, my feet eagerly found its way there, and oh, how delightful!
I had been commissioned to do a piece for a client of a certain place in Paris in the vicinity of a specific blue door, “La Porte blue”. Instantly inspiration flooded my mind and senses as it took in everything happening near that door: possibilities of things that could or might have happened. “La Porte Blue” inspired me so much so that I completed three paintings instead of one and I could just carry on.
Other influences, images and observations quickly started to play its eagerly awaited role. For me the most wonderful thing in Paris is to explore this magnificent never ending city. To walk in the streets, visit museums, sit at a street café and observe the people go by never loses its marvel. I never contemplate what I would paint, but rather wait for something to take me by the hand and let this inspiration speak for itself when I get to my studio. I had to work for an exhibition in Paris which I called “Reflets de la vie ” - Reflections of life.
I painted a world of reflected reality, unrealities and possibilities, flights of imagination. Circles, lines and colours allowed me to move in and out of spaces .Sometimes I absorbed the view, looking out from the confinement of the window and into the ever moving streets on the outside. The influence of Paris and exposure to so many well executed exhibitions definitely left its mark on the work I did there. I found my work to be much more rewarding.
Painting is like music. You have a certain love for a certain kind of music. Some people are recognized by the music they play. It is difficult to conclusively define yourself because you evolve with time. To know what music or art complements your being means that sometimes you've got to search for a new tune. Artists are creators and not performers.
In a way I want my paintings to be an invitation to travel. Travel with me into my paintings and to new horizons. It is also a way of finding and enriching myself with new experiences. It is an inexhaustible source of inspiration and interaction of impressions and emotions. Travel allows you to discover others, yourself, your surrounds and your dreams.
When I walk amongst passers-by, the shops, the display windows, the galleries, the market, the churches and restaurants, I discover thousands of things. It forces me to see my vision of the world against those of other cultures.
It was the Rugby World Cup tournament during my sojourn in Paris. I never thought rugby would inspire me to do a painting, but it did! I suddenly realized that there was a world of emotion combined in this game. I had to think about elements like victory, despair, physical power, confrontation, casualties, teams, countries, identities, rules, boundaries, supporters etc. It was quite a challenge.
Niekie van den Berg, well known radio personality and rugby commentator in South Africa, who was in Paris for the Rugby World Cup, found it a refreshing diversion from rugby, inter alia to do interviews about art and my inspirations and observations as an artist in Paris.