THE ART OF ABSTRACTION
Cape artist Jenny Merritt explores the interplay of shape, colour and light in her abstract works
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.