Helichrysum grandiflorum is endemic to the mountains of the Cape Peninsula, occurring naturally on cool sandstone slopes. The word, Helichrysum comes from the Greek helios, meaning the sun. Grandis means big and florum means with flowers. The Afrikaans word for this plant is Wit Sewejaartjie (White Everlasting.)
In this painting, I focused on the positive and negative abstract shapes the fynbos plants creates. I used subdued grey hues to accentuate the pale yellow / creamy white flower heads of this indigenous shrub.
I began my new series of oil paintings during the hard lockdown of 2020. With the use of strong, deep colours and exuberant brush strokes, I aimed to counterbalance the deep feelings of fear and uncertainty I experienced a year ago. I chose to call forth ‘overflow’ and ‘abundance’ in a time of need and want, and this is reflected in the titles and mood of the paintings. They stand in stark contrast to these uncertain times.
The motivation behind each piece was to bring pleasure, colour, beauty, and exuberance to our lives – and to speak hope to those viewing them. As always, I used fynbos as my inspiration, but deviated from the exact colours and shapes as I wanted to portray freedom in my mark making with vibrant colours and strong contrasts.
The title for this exhibition, ‘Shelter in the shadow’, refers to the deep palette I used in most of these artworks. When I walk in the fynbos-rich mountain paths, I find my best inspirational material on the shadow-side of the mountain. Here the light is more subdued and the colours of my subject, much deeper. The temperature is cooler, and I can walk slower and look closer. My eyes can focus better. I aim to portray this in my paintings.
On a spiritual level this has meaning for me too. During this past year, a deep truth has resonated within me: ‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty’. I will take shelter in the shadow.