I am a self-taught artist, and prefer working in oils. I enjoy the focus and simplicity of a study, be it human or animal. I am a widow and have three adult children. My eldest Daughter lives in Cape Town and my Son lives in Port Elizabeth South Africa. Recently I came to Perth Australia, and live with my youngest daughter, her husband and my 15-year-old grandson. I was born in South Africa and lived approximately an hour away from the gates to the Kruger National Park, which lies East of Johannesburg and West of Mozambique. I am a permanent resident in Australia now.
As the middle child in a family of three brothers and one sister, I always felt like the ‘black sheep’ of the family while growing up. Because I loved poetry and art and was hopeless at all forms of sport with absolutely no knowledge of any of them or any ball skills of my own I was the odd one out. While at school I was mocked for my lack of interest in any games. During a game of rounders, which was compulsory during our physical training period, I was so busy looking at a grub in the grass or a little butterfly flying by that I would not notice as the ball whizzed past me. With everyone shouting ‘wakey wakey.’ I was rudely awakened from my reverie. I definitely was not a popular team player.
Neither of my parents understood my passion for art and often reprimanded me for being a dreamer. From as far back as I can remember I scribbled faces on every page of my Father’s writing pad. Drawing on every piece of paper I could find was the bane of his life. Whenever he needed to write a letter I was in trouble. Back in the mid 1940’s it was the only means of communication, so I was not popular at all.
I have done some work, in watercolours, pastels and pencil. I prefer studies especially of the indigenous people of Africa and wildlife. I paint realistically and enjoy doing detailed work. I drew a lot of my inspiration from the artist of Russian origin Vladimir Tretchikoff. His work was never recognised by many of the South Africans Artist because he was Russian and not considered a South African. I would sit and look at his paintings for hours and drink in every aspect of his work and longed to be able paint like him.
Once I learned to read I developed a love for poetry, and to date have written many poems, mostly inspirational poems of which several have been published. My greatest joy is to write a poem or prose in a handmade card, I myself have made for a friend or family member for a special occasion. In my first year at school I made a clay model of a steam engine, with trucks loaded with wood and coal and a couple of coaches. My teacher was so impressed she entered it into the local Agricultural Show. I won first prize. That was the first piece of work I received recognition for.
I was encouraged by my various art teachers to pursue a fabric-designing course. As I have mentioned before, I was one of five children and I know my parents were not able to afford a college education for me and bursaries were not available when I was growing up in the post war years. Instead I did a typist and bookkeeping course and ended up working in a bank. I married young and there was not much time to follow my dream, but I did manage to do some oils from time to time.
In 2003 a year after my late husband’s death I visited my Son in Ireland. During my visit there I did portraits and wild life paintings for all his friends. It more than paid for my airfare and my holiday. I was then asked by an organiser of their local Christmas Market to do some paintings for the market. I managed to do 12 studies and they were all sold.
In spite of the fact that I am a dreamer, and I can go into a world of my own from time to time, I do have my feet on the ground and I enjoy being organised and do not fit the profile of a bohemian artist. A number of years ago while on a low, I know I received inspiration from God and through a series of events He gave me a new name under which to paint. Tirzah, which means beautiful. That was a very special moment for me that the great Creator of all could take the time to comfort me and give me such a beautiful name. I consider myself just a very ordinary person with a passion for beautiful things but truly blessed of the Lord.