Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Introducing Ronell van Wyk

I feel honoured and priviliged to share this journey with eight very talented artists, Vivien, Lindsay, Katherine, Tina, Jeanette, Laura, Gesa and Sarah, whose experiences with and connections to water are each so unique.

As a little girl, the sun and water were my constant companions and it has been that way ever since. I've always been around and/or close to water.

I did my final year research on sea life in the tidal reefs of Tsitsikamma, SA. With its rugged coastline and protected wild life and abundant marine life, it will always be my most favourite place.

...movement, oil on canvas block, 45x20cm...
I then married a man who was an avid snorkeler and scuba diver. Even our honeymoon was spent in a real cave on the rocky side of the Elandsrivier canyon, swimming in the dark pools and basking in the sun like lizards on rocks.

In the Cape winelands, we had a home where our two little girls splashed in the water canals that ran by the garden, losing shoes and hair bands. They ran barefoot off to the Eerste river a few metres further, collecting pebbles and pick nasturtiums.

We lived on a farm with a stream flooding the road to the house every winter, with marshes providing arms full of Arum lilies for our house. A high swing over the stream echoed constant shrieks of mixed fear and delight across the valley on weekends.

We had a family home on the south coast of Natal where endless days were spent on the sun drenched sand beaches; skimboarding in the shallow waters, diving in the clear waters between the reefs, fighting to keep the children from swimming in the warm lagoon and failing, giving medicine at night for upset stomachs and fighting again the next day.

The memories of experiences are vivid: caught by high tides on huge boulders, rescued by helicopters from drifting in to deep at sea, sandboarding down sanddunes, picking mussels from the rocks, diving for abelone and pulling lobster from a dilapidated canoe, watching the play of animals in the bush by the waterholes, swimming under waterfalls, catching fish with handlines...

..castles in the sand, oil on linen, 73x60cm...

We lived a short while in an old watermill in Wickham Market, and then a flight of stairs away from the promenade on the seafront in Felixstowe, Suffolk.
We lived on a lake with magical views and sailboats on sunset cruises.
We had a home high on a cliff, overlooking the Vienne river down below. And now we are living at the foot of a cliff in Montlouis sur Loire, right next to the river Loire. And the cherry on my cake is our small house in the mountains of Corr├ęze, facing south into the sun and looking down on yet another stream.

My connection with water has a very physical element to it and I can see every day here by the Loire continuing this element; animating an activity, telling a story: the birds nesting on the islands in spring, just to suddenly have it all swept away by rains. The violent floods in winter. The melancholy flow in summer, exposing the treacherous sandbanks. Cyclists. Photographers. Kayaks. Gypsies. Determined fishermen early mornings. Strollers. Powerwalkers. Picnickers. Coffeedrinkers(me).

...a corner of the Loire, watercolour, 30x23cm...


I'm not a landscape painter. I enjoy capturing, with exaggeration on certain aspects, a corner of a scene, a colourful detail of a story, a frozen moment of an activity, I'm not interested in a realistic rendering, but rather a reflection of reality, a suggestion of stillness or energy and movement .
With sketching I hope to capture the spontaneity of a water related moment in studies, and then work that into more defined oil paintings. We regularly return to most of these places and experiences and I'm looking forward to capturing some moments.
...moments...


11 comments:

Katherine Tyrrell said...

My goodness you've moved around - and all the places you've lived sound so delightful. How amazing that you've had that watery theme "streaming" through your studies, homes and family life!

I'm looking forward to seeing more of the Loire and the way you see your world.

Laureline said...

Ronell, I've been so eager to see what you'd have to say in your introduction because I love the way you tell your story as much as I'm a fan of your artwork. You've done it again---a perfect story, perfectly told, all Ronell.
I have less an idea about what you'll do here than I do of the others. That's because you're like mercury---bright, fluid, constantly changing. Like mercury, like water, too.

muddy red shoes said...

Ooh, me too, like Laura, what great storytelling and vivid exciting pictures. I too am looking forward to seeing more of your work.

Jeanette said...

Ronell, your words and your images show me more of you and its a joy to see and read about your life and your art.

Its interesting that some of us have moved around a fair bit and with each place, water has been a source of amusement, inspiration and life.

Thanks for your insight, I can't wait to see more.

Lindsay said...

I enjoyed reading how the water has "snaked" around all your moves. Ronell, your style is so spontanious and joyful I can't wait to see more. Funny how many of us live near a river of some sort!
Well, here's to us Waterbabies! Great intro !

Cathy Gatland said...

It's great to hear more about your background, Ronell, in South Africa and beyond - sounds like you've had some wonderful times in some idyllic places - a few of which I've been lucky enough to experience too! Look forward to your Watermarks...

vivien said...

it's all been said already - but what a beautiful vivid description :>)

annie said...

I can't add a word to what already has been said by everyone about this stream of wonderful places and atmosphere, threading the story of your life, so full and rich and evocative. Looking forward to more, Ronell.
annie

Marion BE said...

Mmm, Tsitsikamma... I've had a great couple of weeks on the stretch of coast. Fabulous when sunny, moody in the mist, literally moving when stormy. And always the next wave to watch.

Gesa said...

So many good things are already said, Ronnell. I am looking forward to seeing and hearing more. This is a fascinating intro. I have never been to SA but I was on a school exchange in Tour on the Loire the week the Berlin Wall came down. Having grown up 10km west of the inner-German border, that's something I won't forget.

caseytoussaint said...

Ronell, this is a beautifully written post which unveils a side of you that I had never suspected was there. I'm looking forward to seeing your work develop as you move into this new direction.
And to think, in five years, I've never even been able to get you to swim in our pool......