Laurel Holmes

Laurel Holmes

Artist Statement

Our city lives can be harried, bombarded by noise, too much artificial light and hard surfaces. In places where we live - the built environment – truly peaceful and restful moments are not easy to experience. Three years ago when I started painting full time, I began going through the reference material collected over the years from places I have visited where the natural environment captured my ‘imagination’, I could feel my breathing deepen and my heart rate slow, and a powerful, evocative pull to return to these places of serenity and quiet.

I would like my work to catch the viewer’s eye, and cause them to stop, look even for a few seconds, and in that ‘looking’, to feel and to begin to slow one's heart and breath, and even to go somewhere else in their mind.

Charles Scully (1855-1943) (immigrant, poet, farmer, diamond digger and gold prospector and lover of the land) wrote when in the Karoo that he was “close enough to the heart of solitude to hear its beats”.

There is profound restoration in stillness.


A deep love for indigenous flora has been part of my life since my early childhood as was exposure to various forms of art. My mother, a ceramist, was a keen indigenous gardener many years before the majority of gardeners began to explore the beauty of our South Africa plants and trees.

In high school, I took drawing classes at the Johannesburg Art Foundation under Bill Ainslie and Ricky Burnett. After obtaining a BCom, I spent a year (and a bit) studying textile design Natal Technikon before I started working, and later Fine Art at UNISA. At both, my interest in design and texture developed. Years later I took up oil painting with Karin Daymond in Nelspruit, for the first time indulging in my love for rich colour and beginning to explore still life painting.

In the years that followed, painting became more and more part of my life, as did more frequent visits to lonely places in South Africa that could feed my need for solitude and quiet. Through my painting I could reconnect and express my love of the natural spaces and flora of our country, growing my nascent interest in the landscape. Friends or visitors coming to the house would buy paintings straight off my easel, which I had squeezed into a corner of my lounge. The subject matter of my current work is still the South African landscape but looking at those fleeting moments of light or shadow that change the way one sees a particular snapshot of that landscape.

I have works in South African and British collections, some of which were commissioned. At the beginning of 2012, after many years of working in a corporate environment, I began painting full time, my studio being in Johannesburg.

Selected Exhibitions:

Group exhibition, White River    
Group exhibition, White River
Group exhibition, Ten on Russell, Nelspruit
Art Fair, White River, May
Project Group Auction, GIBS, Illovo, Sept
Bamboo, Melville - ‘Stillness’ June
Front Room Art, Pretoria - ‘Tree’ June
In Toto Gallery, Birdhaven - group showing of new artists, August
Bamboo, Melville - ‘Celebrate’ November
Front Room Art & Platform on 18th, Pretoria, Nov
In Toto Gallery, Birdhaven, Showing of new artists, Dec
Gordon Institute of Business Science. Showing of South African artists, Jan
Upstairs@Bamboo, Melville - ‘Pisces” Mar   
Project Group Auction, GIBS, Illovo, May
Solo exhibition: The Studio, Kalk Bay - ‘Light Play’ July
Group exhibition, Kirstenbosch, Sept