Jodie and Ryan Loubser are not only a married couple, but also fellow artists and business partners. From 1996 to 1998 both Jodie and Ryan studied graphic design at the Pretoria Technicon where they met.
Fast forward almost two decades later, and now this couple runs their own travelling art gallery from Pretoria called The Loubser House, where they bring their art and works from fellow artists to the public by attending art shows all over South Africa.
Influenced by Ryan, Jodie painted in her spare time while she worked in retail before she established herself as an artist. After numerous successful exhibitions, she decided to leave the retail business to become a fulltime artist in 2012. Jodie explains that she enjoys the freedom of experimenting with different methods of applying paint. Each painting she creates has its own story and emotion woven within the technique.
Jodie describes the subject of her art, by which she uses the medium of oil on canvas, as depicting mainly South African landscapes, Victorian interiors, dilapidated interiors, and waterlilies. “We travel a lot all over South Africa with our gallery and I witness so much beauty in our landscapes, street scenes, and sunny reflections. On the other side I am greatly influenced by the artificial warm light of the Victorian chandeliers and interiors. I have a huge love for beautiful interiors, especially when they include a staircase, carpet, or beautiful light. I started painting waterlilies inspired by going to the family farm where
there is a dam full of lilies. Monet began to inspire and guide me through my journey of painting water lilies.”
The pair usually paint on cotton and Belgium linen. Ryan and Jodie both believe in using only primary colours paired with white and burnt umber for toning to ultimately create the most natural palette. Jodie says, “We do purchase ready-made canvas, but we prefer to stretch and make up our own. We usually paint a thin layer of burnt umber as an undercoat and then draw dark outlines to place composition.
“With my realistic style, I prefer a natural, soft palette and with my admiration for the impressionistic French influences, I draw the viewer into a more colourful palette and knifed interpretation,” adds Jodie.
With a clear inspiration from the Impressionists, and especially Monet, in her work, Jodie is also inspired by other artists such as Gustave Caillebotte, Degas, and Toulouse-lautrec, as well as South African artists John Meyer, Gregoire Boonzaier, and Mike Parsons.
Ryan describes his work as generally depicting landscapes, street scenes, and portraits mainly influenced by the Impressionism and Cubism movements, as well as the South African masters such as Pierneef, Gregoire Boonzaier, and Pieter Wenning.
“I have a very traditional style of painting influenced by the Impressionists.
These paintings have a soft and natural palette, which draws the nostalgia out of the viewer. My second style could be described as being influenced mainly by the Cubism of Picasso, and a bit of Pierneef. I break my traditional artworks up into fractions, which has become my signature style.
Ryan’s latest contemporary work portrays much more freedom in colour and in brush strokes where he experiments with very bright colours in acrylics for a background and then works over this base in a natural oil palette. “This range mainly consists of portraits which either inspire me, or I will paint it on a commission basis to bring people’s memories to life. This new style also consists of still lifes and street scenes.”
Nostalgia and warmth are ideally the feelings Ryan tries to attract from viewers of his art. “It is all about the way a painting makes you feel. It must draw you in and make you wish you could be there. It is all about atmosphere. When it comes to portraits it is mostly about the expression and the depth of the eyes.”
For this artistic pair, doing what they love for a living is the best lifestyle. “It is a lifestyle which has become a career,” explains Ryan.
The couple explains that the challenge of working on your own as an artist is the same as working together, with the difference being when you are working on your own you never get to see each other. As they work together, they are always by each other’s side.
They admit that the art industry is a challenge, because they are both essentially doing the same thing: Producing income from pure luxury in a difficult market and economy. “It works for us because we work well as a team. We run our career as a business together. We both have different styles of creating art that our business can rely on. Variety seems to be the key. That is mainly what is working for us, along with marketing.”
Ultimately, Ryan and Jodie would like their artworks to be well-known and respected throughout the art community, and for The Loubser House to become a household name.
“We do not aim to paint to match your cushions or curtains. Our work is a representation of the places and things we love. In creating our art, we hope to connect to an audience who will invest in us.”
For more information, please visit loubserhouseartgallery.weebly.com.