Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Artist of the Month - Daleen Roodt

Introducing our "Artist of the Month" for February:

Artist of the Month: February 2011
Daleen Roodt 

Daleen at her easel.
   Daleen Roodt, a young Pretoria based artist, is currently busy with a two-year commission for The Orient Boutique Hotel, which is situated on the Francolin Conservancy near Pretoria. About twice a month she goes into the field to search for indigenous flowers, mushrooms, and grasses. The objective is to capture with her brush anything beautiful and fascinating that the field has to offer. This project is exciting in that it promotes conservation, and guests of The Orient can now be brought closer, sometimes on microscopic scale, to some of nature’s often overlooked treasures. The paintings (about 50) will be displayed in a solo exhibition planned for early 2012.Daleen is also involved in making leaf illustrations for the field guide Wild Flowers of Southeast Botswana.

Daleen studied B.A. Languages and did an honours in Translation and Professional Writing. Although her art has been a hobby and passion for most of her life, her interest in botanical art only started in the final year of her degree, when her husband encouraged her to take a module of plant identification. During that time Prof. Braam van Wyk from the University of Pretoria approached her to start making scientific illustrations. Since then she has attended one course with Gillian Condy, as well as Vicky Thomas’ course Spirals in Nature. For the last three years she has been doing freelance scientific illustration for SANBI and the University of Pretoria. She was also involved in illustrating the Dictionary of Names for Southern African Trees.
 In 2010 Daleen received a bronze medal at the Kirstenbosch Biennale.

Aptosimum depressum by Daleen Roodt
(To be exhibited by The Orient in 2012)
Click to enlarge!

"Question and Answer" with Daleen:

1.  What is your aim for 2011, and beyond?
For this year I plan to abandon myself to creativity and stay focused, since I am working towards the exhibition for The Orient that will take place early next year. Hopefully by that time new commissions will have come my way.

2.  Do you have a favourite subject that you particularly love to paint?
I am still exploring a diversity of plant families with every new plant being the latest favourite, but nothing excites me as much as finding a new indigenous orchid.

3.  Is there a plant that you would love to paint but haven’t had the opportunity yet?
Rare and endangered plants are often the more interesting subjects since they are less known, therefore I am always on the lookout for them.

4.  What is your most dreaded job, or aspect of being a botanical artist?
A really frustrating painting day for me is when the air is so dry and warm that my 0 brush dries out even before it reaches the paper.

5.  What is your favourite brand of paints, brushes and paper?
I use only Winsor and Newton paint on Arches 300g Hot Pressed paper. The kind of sable brushes that I use depends on what is available in Pretoria’s art shops.

6.  Do you have a particular artist whose work you particularly admire and receive inspiration from?
I find it fascinating to look at the Old Masters’ work and to see what techniques they used with the material at hand, but overall I find it inspiring to look at the great variety of styles that emerged over the past 1000 years and still differ with each new artist.

7.  Do you have a favourite botanical ‘art tip’ that you can part with?
When you are spending a lot of time on a painting, it sometimes helps to get “fresh perspective” and identify problem areas by looking at the painting at different angles (flat vs. vertical), reflected through a mirror, from a distance, or under different light (electrical vs. natural).

Scadoxus puniceus by Daleen Roodt
 (To be exhibited by The Orient in 2012)
Click to enlarge!

Cotyledon orbiculata by Daleen Roodt
(To be exhibited by The Orient in 2012)
Click to enlarge!

Click here for more information about The Orient - Francolin Conservancy.