Bert is a painter living on the shore of a large dam in the Elgin Valley of the Western Cape in South Africa. When he retired from farming in 2000, he was able to engage more fully in his favourite pastime: painting. Working mainly in acrylics, his work has a contemporary feel with a graphical aspect as a result of his engineering background.
Bert likes cheerful images in bright colours, reflecting his optimistic view of life. Currently, he paints mostly quirky large portraits or flowers that bloom around him.
Most of his paintings are 1,2 meter square on canvas, large enough for accents in modern homes or business reception areas.
Paintings by Bert Touwen displayed in previous Bright Street Gallery exhibitions:
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My art is an attempt at capturing the innate beauty of the natural world the flowers, plants, birds, and landscapes that surround me.
I grew up in the’80s in Cape town, right at the tip of the African continent where the indigenous fynbos abounds. Without any formal training, I’ve been creating art in some form or another my whole life. Having studied both culinary arts and linguistics, I’ve always had a love for creating something from nothing, be it with food, words, or paint.
Today I create artworks inspired by Nature in my home studio in Kommetjie. Using primarily soft pastels and watercolours, I try to capture the sense of joy and deep calm that my subjects fill me with.
My art is not a denial of the ugliness and injustices of this world but a celebration of the beauty that exists despite it. This beauty is free to all of us who are willing to see it.
Artwork from Anneke that was displayed in previous Bright Street Gallery exhibitions:
I grew up in Roodepoort, Gauteng and moved to Cape Town in 2012. I currently live in Strand, Western Cape.
I have been practising art informal since a young age by drawing portraits and I wanted to obtain an official art education after completing my matric, but my future was redirected, when I obtained a bursary from a major steel manufacturer, to study mechanical engineering. During my studies, I kept my creative side alive by making jewellery and selling it to students. Not having much time to practice art for the next 20 years, switching careers multiple times between engineering and information technology environments.
I decided it was time again to invest in my passion for creating art. ln June 2016. I discovered my talent for creating sculptures during a ceramic and sculpture workshop. I have since embarked on a journey to develop my hidden talent to transform ideas into sculptures and paintings.
My other passion is to capture by means of portrait painting, a moment in time, of a person. The moment being an achievement in their career, a special event or a breakthrough moment.
Past group exhibitions and achievements:
. Top 40 Finalist VULEKA exhibition 2021. Atl Association of Bellville . Top 250 Finalist Portrait Awards 2021, Rust en Vrede Gallery . Sculpt 2019, The fiIelrose Gallery, Melrose Arch . art@clocktower, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town (20’18-2019) . Bright Street Gallery, Somerset West. (2018)
ln 1956 I obtained the U.K. equivalent of a matric pass in art. This unremarkable event brought to an end my formal art training.
For the next 63 years, I became, like many others, an occasional weekend painter, using the age-old method of self-taught, namely trial and error. Landscapes and townscapes are my preferred subjects. However, in 2019 I closed my architectural practice in Somerset West and began to paint on a much more regular basis.
I feel that this has steadily improved the quality of my work, which hopefully, can continue. My only problem is that I might be running out of time!
Having spent many years working in the equine industry, I was naturally drawn to the power and the beauty of the horse as a subject matter for my art. As I have grown as an artist I have found the urge to dig deeper into my fascination with these amazing animals, drawing on all the years of being in close contact with them.
“What is it about the horse that attracts us to them?” I have found that being in their presence is a healing experience, making me feel grounded in the present moment even when the outside world is chaotic and uncertain, It is the essence of these interactions that I seek to capture in my art, taking the viewer on a journey into the unknown world of the horse.
“Equanimity I embodies inner balance and harmony”
Throughout the creative process, I made use of several natural elements to bring about this feeling. The first is the incorporation of sea sand, mixed with heavy body acrylic, to create lively textures. The sea sand is symbolic of the ocean, which to me is a very peaceful entity that has the ability to calm a person. Balance and harmony always starts with calmness,
The second element is the use of natural Slate Blue pigment from the Joe Joubert Handmade 0il Paint collection, This natural pigment creates soft blue tones, which despite being subdued, is still vibrant and full of life. Although slate is a rather unremarkable stone it is considered by many to be a balancing stone that has the ability to balance the chakras and is seen as the perfect harmony of the elements.
These artworks are part of my whimsical, expressive series “She’s Horseman” which is inspired by my childhood love and fascination with horses. Both “Cloud” and “Wildheart” pays tribute to the incredible children stories about wild horses. Growing up, much time was spent reading these stories, as well as, watching adaptations of these stories and documentaries on wild horses (my all-time favourite being about the wild horses of the Namib). To this day people still see the wonder that is the wild horse and their many organizations, such as The Cloud Foundation, which works to protect the last surviving horses, the chakras and is seen as the perfect harmony of the elements.
‘Nostrils flared, head held high. . . the Arabian stallion turns to face it,” This painting pushes the boundary between abstraction and realism. At first glance, the viewer may only see a sea of colours, but when closely observed the head of an Arabian horse will slowly appear.
Exhibitions and accomplishments:
Equus Film Festival Art Competition Finalist 2017 Framez Art Exhibition (group exhibition) 2018- Framez Call of the Wild (group Exhibition 2018- Bright Street Gallery Western Cape Art Association members exhibition 2019 – Bright Street Gallery Avontuur Pop Up Market 2021- Avontuur Estate Restaurant