Q & A with Derric van Rensburg, One of South Africa’s Top Impressionist Painters

Architecture is my Language by Derric van Rensburg

Architecture is my Language by Derric van Rensburg

Impressionism, a 19th-century art movement abandons a traditional linear perspective of idealized forms and perfect symmetry to be replaced with the world as the artist sees it, a montage of different fleeting experiences that can only be represented at the time. The ability to see beyond traditional forms and intuit how light and changing seasons have an impact on a landscape is precisely why Derric van Rensburg is one of South Africa’s top impressionist painters. Derric has a signature style that is free, yet subtly contained, combining both abstract and realistic elements.

We got to know a little bit more about Derric, and what makes him tick:

Q: Impressionist art has been around for more than 100 years, what is it about Impressionism that still captivates the art lover?

When tradition gave way to Impressionism a new language by a group of French artists opened revolutionary ways to communicate artistic thoughtto the world. The old order of things would never be forgotten, but would never be the same again. Artist and audience would see The world afresh in daring and bold statements of matter of fact colour, texture and application.

Q: What advice would you give to young people who want to become artists?

Think twice- or not at all! In all of us, so the saying goes, is a novel waiting to be written. The same applies to artistic expression. Sooner or later it will out! The temptation to start where Van Gogh left off is a powerful one, and I would caution against unrealistic expectations when starting out. I would also warn you to guard your heart against criticism which will surely follow.

Gold Rush by Derric van Rensburg

Gold Rush by Derric van Rensburg

Q: Are there any other artists whose work you take inspiration in? 

I first came across a young British artist in a well-known bookstore in London around 2007. Jenny Saville, deals with subject matter only a matured and seasoned artist should be able to translate on canvas. I might have left the book on the shelf had it not occurred to me to sit down and digest slowly and deliberately all that was on her mind and it is a lot and not that comfortable to glare at. But, her mastery of brush and paint left me breathless as it still does today and I count her as a turning point in my own application of paint.

Q: What are some of the popular misconceptions of Impressionism?

Popular misconceptions abound on every topic and especially ART making One post-impressionist whose influence I've found always forceful is the often quoted Vincent Van Gogh. Although a post-impressionist, few well known artists are more instantly recognisable in the world. His view on life and eventually his frail frame of mind should leave no one in doubt "that he suffered for his sanity" as the song goes, along with his painted word. He is at once one of the poorest andrichest artists in the world, but he appeared too soon to prosper from his genius. The world would be the poorer for not having had him in it. To me Vincent is the epitome of misconception.

Q: How do your Impressionist paintings differ from the Masters of the 19th and early 20th Century?

I'm proud to be considered an impressionist but could lay no claim to distinctly adding painterly value to its essence, except to say mine is a combination of modern colourist Impressionism and expression and is easily recognisable.

Q: Name and describe the Impressionist painter(s) who most influenced you.

Probably Van Gogh but this takes nothing from the other legends of that age.

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from when creating your artwork?

My circumstances dictate where I decide to live and every new environment has spawned new subject matter representative of my "brand" which was given prominence when I moved to Greyton ( in the Overberg) in 1990 . one of the great milestones in my life was the introduction of open spaces. I was not really known for landscapes. A commission to paint a farmstead in the Overberg opened my eyes to wheat and canola fields and suddenly a new game was on. I'm forever grateful for the six or seven years spent there.

just-perhaps-ferric-van-rensburg-good-taste

Q: Where is your favourite place to work? 

My favourite working space has always been my studio, however nothing brings out the best and worst in me than a demo /talk performed before an expected audience in a limited time frame. My penchant for lack of careful image preparation drives my adrenalin skyward. I need the tension for the occasion, and when it's over ,the trip back home is filled with quiet reflection or loud music and my best speeches are made on the way home in the car!

Q: Name a few of your favourite Art Galleries around the world?

It's difficult to single out favourite galleries around the world. I prefer national galleries where the nations art is shown alongside international works under one roof. This however does not exclude my love for important other venues like TATE in Britain .

Q: If you had to pick one, which would be your favourite piece of Art that you have ever created, and why?

Strangely my most varied and honest paintings would include my favourite work as a teenager onwards. In cavalier fashion I gave them away as unimportant musings. Another mistake I regret. Very few remain and for personal reasons these are my special paintings in a style I may never revisit. They're not my best paintings but what's left is very important to me.For some obscure reason I remember repeatedly painting a nanny with a broom, long before Van Gogh made his entrance into my life.

Q: What is your all-time favourite piece of Art by another artist?

‘Favourite’ reminds me somehow of a schoolboy boast about who the greatest guitarist is. I grew up having decided there is no definitive answer to that. I no sooner marvel at one, than another appears! But all I've loved in music and paintings occupies a favourite place in my heart!

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