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10 Questions for West Coast Artist Marie Theron

Marie Theron (whose work was featured on our blog last month) agreed to answer 10 Questions in this month's edition of 10 Questions for South Africans.

Don't be surprised if you feel the urge to move to the West Coast yourself after reading what she has to say about this unique region of South Africa!

10 Questions for Marie Theron

1. What place (in SA) do you call home, and why?

I live in a private nature reserve with my studio 80 m from the sea. This position was full of surprises when I first moved here and I slowly got used to the intensity of Nature. Storms are so totally overpowering that I am always reminded of the ships that were wrecked all along the West Coast. On the other hand one can experience a field of colourful wildflowers starting from our garden and stretching as far as the eye can see.

Close to home...

2. Favourite place to have breakfast near(ish) where you live?

Definitely Simoné’s in Darling. Our attractive young restaurateur is always there to welcome you, smiling and chatting and busy as a bee, and the food is superb. The coffee is very good (important in the morning!)

3. How does a working day in your life look?

I wake up with thoughts of a painting I am working on. Sometimes I will prop up my latest painting in the bedroom while I drink my coffee, to make sure everything is in balance. As my bedroom adjoins the studio I will often start painting whilst still in my night-clothes. A good day will have two sessions of three hours each for painting. I rest and read between sessions. Housework, gardening and blogging are all done in the periods in-between.

Outside Marie's studio

4. What is it about the West Coast that appealed to you so much that you decided to move there?

The absence of traffic, the proximity of Nature; and because there are no high-rise buildings and few tall trees, the openness of the West Coast has a very special appeal.

A recent painting: 'Workers in Vineyard' - (near Malmesbury)

5. Which SA artists work do you admire?

Peter Midlane’s paintings always stop me in my tracks. He has a true understanding of the South African landscape and puts it down without the sweet sentimentality one often sees.

6. What inspires you (in your work, every day, in life)?

I think to even become an artist in the first place; you have to be inspired by the lives of the Great Masters of Art. Whether they worked unrewarded and unacknowledged or found themselves prosperous, whether they died young for their country or lived to their nineties; whether weak and sickly or full of stamina and health: hardly anyone of them were idle or sat on their laurels. It was work at any cost!

Marie's latest work - 'Arriving in Piketberg'

7. When you’re away from SA what do you miss?

I determine to enjoy travelling and not spend my time longing back, but of course our ocean, our clouds, blue skies and indigenous flowers are the most beautiful.

8. Tell us, briefly, about a positive or unique South African holiday / travelling experience.

There are many of course, depending what you are looking for: the peace of the Highveld of Mpumalanga or the culture of the cities. I think Lamberts Bay is a lovely experience. The birdlife and sea and boats are magnificent. It is impossible to tire of the gannets. Who can ever eat too many crayfish? And for a Saturday evening with the sun setting way past eight, the Muisbosskerm is such wonderful and relaxed eating experience

Lambert's Bay - a lovely destination

9. Who is your South African hero, and why?

Can I change that to a town I admire? Then I will choose cheeky Darling, full of breezy confidence. They are as hard hit by the slump in the world economy as anywhere else, but there is no letting up, no slacking. A visitor can find something pleasant to do, somewhere to go almost any night of the week! You will always find smiling, positive people there.

10. Once you’ve run out of inspiration along the West Coast where will you be heading?

It is impossible to run out of West Coast material. I have hardly touched the sea and all it has to offer in critters, birds and boats. There is the San history and the Moravian missions. There are so many fynbos species (a painting of a special plant is coming up on my blog on Christmas morning.) The more I speak with people the more stories, places and legends of the West Coast are revealed, so hopefully I will just paint on and on…….