• Lezanne Kotze

    Lezanne  Kotze
    • Artist Statement
      • My artwork stems from a wonder for nature and a need to react to everyday life through painting. I am exploring my own creativity and circling various themes and subject matter, aiming to develop my technical competence and gain insight into my personal artistic style. This is an ongoing process and self-expression and growth is never as fully experienced in work as with creating Art. I am ever revisiting favourite patterns and colours both in nature and man-made with current work inspired by the human form in relationship with nature. And the contrast of organic forms against geometric patterns. My new work strives to aesthetically engage the viewer.
    • Biography
      • Lezanne Kotze is an artist born in 1987 and now lives in Stilbaai. Although she has no formal art training she strives to refine her own individual style and technique, painting in response to daily life. She paints part time mostly concentrating on landscapes and botanical style paintings where nature is simplified to emphasize its intricate beauty. Her chosen medium is predominantly oil with a whimsical style motivated by self-expression and inspired by nature. Influenced by the Garden of the Western Cape she is currently working on a series of contemporary botanical paintings focusing on indigenous flora.

        Selected Exhibitions:

        Sanlam Portrait Award Top 40 2015 Finalists Exhibition

    • Interview
      • Favourite material to work with?
        Oil paint on canvas, I love the smell and look of oil paint and it offers unbounded possibilities. My paintings evolve on canvas and the long drying time provides freedom of movement and growth.

        What themes do you pursue?
        My focus currently centralises around fynbos and indigenous flora, I completely fell in love with these flowers and began forming a theme around botanical style paintings, simplifying nature to emphasize its intricate beauty. My work is more concerned with the ornate and conveying a feeling of whimsical romance with flat landscapes, colours and patterns.

        How many years an artist?

        Since childhood I’ve felt like an artist with a need to react to life by creating, bringing into being something from myself that showed I was here. I only started developing my own artistic style in the last 2 years and set to creating a body of work.

        What should people know about your art that they can’t tell from looking at it?
        I paint from experiences and each work represents a field or bush that lives and renews its bloom without our consideration, my art should remind people of the beauty outside and away to bring nature inside.

        Which living or dead artist would you most like to meet?

        Gustav Klimt, he was magnificent. I am in awe of his paintings and find inspiration in his landscapes. He was a true unique and I admire his independent attitude to life and his commitment to his art.

        Tell us about your studio. Location, clean, cluttered, big, small, etc?
        I have a small area where I work that is not separate from our living space. It’s filled with my finds from various nature walks with sun bleached shells and sea fans, driftwood and dried flowers, and when the day ends you can smell the sea in the mist from Robberg. It looks chaotic but it feels just right.

        Art school or self-taught?
        I have no formal art training but I see this as a challenge and not a disadvantage. I can’t say self-taught since the abundance of information available through the internet, art magazines, books etc. has allowed me to improve and develop my own style. I am also influenced by the various artists I follow on Instagram and found solidarity in this online artist community.

        Do you prefer to work with music or in silence?
        I love painting to the Black keys, Heartless Bastards, Haim or good oldies as it creates a great atmosphere to feed off, but I often get so into my painting I won’t realise if it’s stopped.

        Favourite brush?
        I enjoy painting with small brushes, size 000 to 00 as it allows me to get absorbed in the fine details. I’ll often favour a specific brush for one painting and paint it to the bone, I hate it if I miss place the chosen one as the others won’t feel right.

        Where can we find you out side of the studio?
        My inspiration comes from nature and it is part of my process when starting a new painting to first gather specimens from beach walks or hikes and bring them back to my studio to keep the feeling alive. I am fortunate to live in the Garden Route where subject matter is abundant and the energy in this area is very conductive to creative endeavours.

        If you couldn't be an artist, what would you do?
        I need a lighting rod for my creativity, if it bottled up inside my head I would forget to participate in the real world. I’ve always liked the idea of writing fantasy fiction and would have probably become a bad writer trying to follow in the foot steps of the great Terry Pratchett or Stephen King, my favourite authors.

        Interests other than art?
        I love animals, conservation and nature and my two weimaraners often compete with my art. I also enjoy hiking, reading and hermitting.

        What do you collect?
        I collect beach finds which consists of gifts from the sea, driftwood, shells, sea fans, insects, coral etc. I have an interesting array of dried flowers I’ve collected as inspiration for my new series, and of course Discworld novels.

        What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
        Paint every day, it is so important to keep painting even if it is just for your own sake. This is a challenge especially if you have a day job and it takes determination to keep at it when you’re tired. It is a conscious decision to paint and it takes self discipline.

        Are there messages within your work?
        I think the main message I want to convey is to love nature and the beauty that surrounds us that can get so easily overlooked. I would like to romanticize my paintings by implying a link to conservation of indigenous flora but I myself can’t resist picking those flowers…

        What does your art process entail?
        I like to start in nature to find my subject and take a lot of photo’s while out. Once a scene has imprinted on me I’ll collect a keepsake to remind me of the feeling I want to impart with my painting. I’ll first activate my canvas with a cream mid tone and then start by building up the layers methodically working from photos taken on my hike. These images are quickly abandoned as I begin to feel the look of the painting and start to concentrate more on the patterns and details. I switch over to small brushes, size 00 to 000 and get absorbed in the small strokes getting lost in the leaves. I will end by emphasizing highlights and putting a thin artist retouch varnish over my paintings to allow them to fully dry. Once I’ve decided I’m finish I don’t work on the painting again, each work is unique and I always feel I won’t be able to do that again, they are each one of a kind.

        What are your inspirations?
        My inspiration at the moment is fynbos and flowers or landscapes and I am playing around with simplifying a scene to draw attention to individual beauty apart from a whole.

        What materials couldn’t you live without?
        A new canvas so that I can start planning my next painting.

    • Video