Marthie Potgieter

 I was born in Krugersdorp in 1967.

Since childhood I had 2 passions- nursing and creating. Nursing won and after school I studied to become a nurse and I am still working in the medical profession. (I work for a medical laboratory as a lab-sister, I   work night shift – 7 nights on, nights off). That gives me ample time for painting, which I consider my real “job”. ( I am a nurse by night and a painter by day).

Although I chose a nursing career, I could not suppress the need to create and through-out my life I was always busy with different forms of arts and crafts (fabric painting, mosaic, decoupage) but it was only in 2015 that I decided to try my hand at “real” painting. I soon discovered my own style and technique which I am improving with practice and online studies and workshops by various artists. (Mel Elliott, Johan Voster and Kevin Hill).

I would describe my style as contemporary, but I don’t restrict myself by labelling my art. I love and prefer to work with oils. The texture and odour of the oil paints is an inspiration in itself.

The West Coast is my “happy place”. I love everything about the West Coast. From the long white beaches, the little fishermen’s villages right through to the people. We travel frequently and always somehow end up somewhere in the West Coast. That is where I get a lot of my inspiration. I have a lot of empathy for the fishermencommunity of the West Coast and our coastlines. Not only are they restricted by regulations regarding their main source of income, they are also subjected to commercialisation. The typical fishermen’s cottages have to make way for big fancy houses. This is what I try to capture on canvas, those little villages that are fast disappearing, the simplicity and serenity of these scenes but I paint it in bright colours because through the colours I try to capture the essence of the people that live there.

My subjects changed since I started. I tried a variety of subjects but always came back to these types of compositions.

I am inspired by At Botha and his paintings of Paternoster. I like his style and colours. Portchie is also inspiration – the vibrant colours of his work and then Rolf Rossouw – perfection, he can paint anything.

I do think my work carries a South African identity, although it is one that is often overlooked, what identifies the fisherman’s communities more than their villages/cottages.

The feeling I would like to give others through my paintings would be – serenity, nostalgia and buoyancy.

My paintings always start as an idea or picture in my head, inspired by something I see or hear or even read. It could be a beautiful sunset or a song that triggers a feeling or a newspaper article, a story that someone tells, and a painting is born.

I plan the composition of the painting, but I use colours on instinct and feeling. I seldom plan what colours I’m going to use. That goes for technique as well – “it just happens on the canvas”.

I think every painter has an emotional connection to their art. I have a string emotional connection to every painting. To me a clean canvas is like a new born baby. I see the potential, the opportunity and the sense of a new start. As I work on the painting, it comes alive – “grows up” until it reaches maturity.

I do not consider painting a job but would rather say it’s a lifestyle. In everything I see around me, I see a potential painting. I look at everything differently. I notice shadows, compositions and perspective. I use to look but now I see and painting is my glasses.

My art is decorative but I aim to capture a piece of history before it’s gone forever.

My husband, Paul is my biggest critic but also the one that supports me the most. He handles the business side of my art which give me all the time I need to concentrate on my passion. Without his support I would not be where I am today.

I learn something new with every painting and think that all painters are still learning until their last painting.

If I ever stand back to look at a painting and think that it is perfect, it will surely be a sad day because that will be the day I have nothing more to strive for.

“Painting Is Silent Poetry”