Cape artist Jenny Mer­ritt ex­plores the in­ter­play of shape, colour and light in her ab­stract works

South African Garden and Home - - Contents - SOURCE Jenny Mer­ritt jen­nymer­

Jenny Mer­ritt’s colour­ful art

What made you de­cide to make art your pro­fes­sion? I’ve loved art as far back as I can re­mem­ber – even when

I was three, I was draw­ing. My school books were al­ways cov­ered with im­ages. Later, I went to UCT where we were for­tu­nate to have renowned artists as our teach­ers. I’ve man­aged to pur­sue my pas­sion for art and make a liv­ing from it. Who has been your best teacher?

Art it­self – I never stop learn­ing. I be­lieve in ob­serv­ing the world around you and be­ing open to trends and chang­ing colours.

How would you de­scribe your work? Im­pres­sion­is­tic lean­ing strongly to­wards ex­pres­sion­ism and ab­stract art. I en­joy the re­ac­tion be­tween shapes and colours, as well as be­ing able to cre­ate ex­cite­ment on the can­vas. My very worst would be to have my work de­scribed as bor­ing. You’ve tack­led a va­ri­ety of sub­jects over the years, from re­al­is­tic horse and an­i­mal stud­ies to ab­stracts.

Has any­thing eluded you? Only land­scapes. I re­alise that I don’t fo­cus on any par­tic­u­lar sub­jects, although I’m in­spired by the hu­man form, and I adore an­i­mals. I ap­proach any paint­ing from the same an­gle – shape and form be­ing fore­most, with the added ex­cite­ment of light and shade. I do have a paint­ing mantra though: com­po­si­tion, bal­ance and per­spec­tive. What gets you out of bed and in front of your easel? I love a blank can­vas and ap­ply­ing the first brush­stroke – it’s the most ex­cit­ing mo­ment of my day. I never lose that ini­tial thrill. I love move­ment and lines – na­ture has no straight lines. I’m fas­ci­nated by work­ing with shape to cre­ate the whole. The other in­spi­ra­tion is the ‘bounce’ be­tween shades.

Do you work from pho­to­graphs, mem­ory or real life? All of them. There are cer­tain sub­jects though where I can only work from pho­to­graphs, such as horse stud­ies.

You work with many dif­fer­ent medi­ums, are there favourites? I pre­fer to work in acrylics for quick dry­ing time, but I do love the flow of oils.

Any new di­rec­tions in mind? I’m busy with a style of ab­strac­tion­ism, which is lead­ing me into new ar­eas of colour and move­ment. I’m con­stantly striv­ing for simplicity in my art. It’s chal­leng­ing, which keeps the pas­sion alive. My over­all mis­sion though, is for a buyer to en­joy liv­ing with my paint­ings.

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