Marthie Potgieter was born in 1967 and grew up in Glen Harvie, a little rural town near Johannesburg, South Africa. Since childhood, Marthie has had two passions: nursing and creating. Although Marthie chose a nursing career, she could not suppress the need to create and throughout her life, she has always been busy with different forms of arts and crafts (fabric painting, mosaic, and decoupage).
Originally from Kempton Park, she moved to the Western Cape in 2012 and currently lives in Melkbosstrand. Currently she works for a medical laboratory as a lab-sister. She works night shifts, which gives her ample time for painting, which she considers her real ‘job’.
It was only in 2015 that she decided to turn painting into her career. She went to Louis Pretorius for tutoring in oil painting for about eight months. She soon discovered her own style and technique, which she is improving with practice, online studies, and workshops by various artists.
Marthie describes her style as contemporary, but she tries not to restrict herself by labelling her art. Her work also carries a strong South African identity, although according to Marthie, it is one that is often overlooked. She travels a lot throughout South Africa and, throughout her travels, somehow, always ends up on the West Coast of South Africa, which she describes as her “happy place”, and where she finds a large portion of her inspiration.
She has a lot of empathy for the fishermen community of the West Coast and the South African coastline. Not only are they restricted by regulations regarding their main source of income, they are also subjected to commercialisation. She describes her art as decorative, but she tries to capture a piece of history before it is gone forever. Through the colours, she aims to capture the essence of the people that lived there, the simplicity and serenity of these scenes.
Although Marthie tried a variety of subjects, she has always come back to compositions largely depicting colourful landscapes. At Botha and his paintings of Paternoster inspire her; she likes his style and use of colours. Portchie is also an inspiration for the vibrant colours of his work. A painting always starts as an idea or picture in her head, inspired by something she observes. It could be a beautiful sunset, or a song that triggers a feeling, or a newspaper article, a story that someone tells – [from that] a painting is born. She plans the composition of the painting, but she uses colours on instinct and feeling. Even though Marthie only started taking up painting seriously a few years ago, she does not see painting as work, but rather as a lifestyle.
Marthie had her first group exhibition December 2017 in Hartenbos, Western Cape. Her work has been approved to be part of a group exhibition in March 2018 at the Franschhoek Art Festival.
I am an artist from South Africa. I have been painting since 2015 and I am mainly self-taught. My work from the past 2 years has mainly been motivated by the history of the Fishermen’s communities of South africa. I use to visit the West Coast of South Africa as a child and was always intrigued by these villages. Through commercialization and legislation, I saw it slowly disappear. Through my paintings I try to capture the history of the Fishermen’s villages and communities by portraying the simplicity they use to know. My work is not photorealistic.
With the colours that I choose, I want my audience to experience peace and tranquillity. I emphasize the buoyancy of the people with bright colours. My painting, “Fishing Day”, was inspired by a visit to Struisbaai, a little coastal town in the Western Cape, South Africa. There I heard the story of Skipskop, a little fishermen’s village near Arniston.
In 1984 the previous Government, who claimed the area for missile testing, relocated the people of Skipskop. They were forced to relocate to townships and the Cape Flats. Generations of Fishermen were lost. Access is prohibited and all that remains of a whole village is a few ruins. By doing this painting, I am honouring the people of Skipskop. After a visit to the Karoo, a vast area of farmers, I started painting landscapes, in particular Karoo landscapes. The vast open spaces and the typical windmill scenes offered endless possibilities. I took many photos of the different subjects to do these scenes realistic.
I like to use autumn/earth colours in the paintings to capture the essence of the Karoo. A few South African artists have influenced me, mainly At Botha through his landscape paintings and his paintings of Paternoster. I like his informal style when he portraits these scenes. Portchie has also influenced my work. His work is unique, colourful and full of joy. For me, painting is my way of telling the story without words. I often use the quote “Painting is silent poetry” (author unknown) as a way of describing my passion for painting.
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