With VERGE exhibition slowly creeping closer, we would like to introduce to you our artists. They all work hard to bring their love for nature, their need to conserve and their amazing artistic talent together for you. From here on out, it is up to you how you interpret their passion.
Three of the artists managed to bring their artwork to life. It’s easy to lose ourselves in the amount of detail they create with their fine art skills. Below you can find the essence that they put into their work.
Chris Lochner finds himself inspired in Helderberg. Living among incredible flora and fauna, he focuses his attention on capturing natural beauty.
“Traditional botanical art focuses on the defining characteristics of plants. I prefer to depict subject matter with all its inherent flaws and to sometimes change scale in order to reveal detail that is otherwise hidden. The interplay of order and chaos, complexity and simplicity, makes organic matter very appealing and the recognition of beauty in its transience and imperfection informs my work. I hope that my paintings will inspire viewers to look closer and appreciate these qualities in plants and all parts of nature, animate and inanimate.”
But Chris wasn’t always an artist. He first received his BSc at the University of Stellenbosch in 2011. From there his interest in scientific illustration took root. Renowned botanical artist, Vicky Tomas, took him under her wing. It was only since 2015 that he started exhibiting his work. It truly is never too late to follow your heart’s path. But no one can explain his heart’s path better than himself:
Living in the Cape Floristic Region, I am keenly aware of our rich natural heritage and the threats to its integrity. Not only is this area a hotspot of biodiversity, but Cape Town has been named the extinction capital of the world. Since this biome is diverse not only in terms of species content, but also geographically, some species exist exclusively in highly localised areas. If a small section of land is developed, unique habitat is destroyed and entire species may be lost. It’s for this reason that even relatively small scale urban development is such a threat to biodiversity in this area.
In my lifetime I have seen enormous growth and development in my once small home town of Somerset West. Vast areas of open space have been developed and it seems this trend is just speeding up. In the process I have seen plots formerly bursting with rich indigenous flora covered with bricks and tar. If swift action is not taken we will lose all but a few bits of land that have protected status and possibly see more species go extinct within our lifetimes.
I view species as I do individual lifeforms; as beings with an inalienable right to exist and thrive. I see their extinction at the hand of man as a tragedy that is fully avoidable. Not only are we in danger of losing irreplaceable parts of our natural heritage, our immediate environment is becoming a less diverse, more boring place.
For this exhibition I have chosen to paint a few of the endangered plants that occur in my surrounds. They are but a tiny representation of the many treasures that might be forever lost if we continue to live without regard for the natural world.
Living in Knysna, horticulturist, Helena Joubert is touched by nature’s plight. As a vegetation rehabilitation specialist, she doesn’t simply see the harm we cause, but she also understands the full impact of it. With her deep connection to plant life, she took on the role of trustee/volunteer at Pledge Nature Reserve (Knysna). But her work doesn’t end there, as she also captures the perfume of the oil studies she does on scented indigenous flowers.
“My focus for this exhibition is not only on particular threatened species, but also threatened vegetation types. The combination and incredible variety of plant species and other living organisms are intertwined and delicately interdependent and in any many cases unknown. Apart from the obvious threats like development, farming practices and alien infestation, introduction of another species, exotic and even indigenous, can alter the conditions needed for survival of a species and vegetation types irreversibly.”
Walk in nature, and you might find yourself there. Jane Pitchford does exactly this, but she also finds more than herself. She finds a deep connection with nature. Her love to explore nature also act as her muse.
With her Art and Design degree, she finds other ways to be creative, such as photographing nature.
“I love the focus that drawing to a small scale gives me. I am fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and drawing is in such contrast to my other hobbies which include exploring the forests and wild areas that we have around us. The plants and animals in my drawings are what I see in nature and every day and are close to my heart.”
A percentage from the sale of all of Jane’s originals and prints is given to Nature’s Valley Trust. Jane has chosen to contribute to the trust to assist them with their valuable work in the area.
Prints of many of Jane’s pencil illustrations are available at Art for the Earth >>
You can see more of their work at VERGE exhibition (entrance is free). Allow their work to bring you closer to nature even when you’re unable to go for walks yourself. For more information on the dates and events, visit the website here or go to the Facebook Page.