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A childhood fascination with Johannes Vermeer lead Tanya Swiegers-Loots on a path of discovery. Teaching herself the techniques of the old Flemish and Dutch masters she uses centuries old painting methods to create works that are thoroughly modern.

“There was a book on Johannes Vermeer in my primary school library and I spent hours looking in wonder at reproductions of his paintings. The way he managed to paint the light falling so beautifully on the objects in his paintings intrigued me. It felt like a mystery I needed to unravel.

Other than taking art as a high school subject at the Hugo Naude Art Centre in Worcester, I am largely self-taught. Drawing was always a natural ability, but I had to teach myself to paint.

There are contemporary artists who are truly inspiring like Paul Emsley, Jacob Collins, Sadie Valeri, Serge Marshennikov and Carlo Russo. Locally, Andries Gouws and Hanneke Benade are two artists whose work and technical skills I admire.

I always wanted to be an artist. As a child, I was fascinated by the details of objects and people and I wanted to capture and reproduce these images in different ways. In 2001 I started painting fulltime. I can thankfully say that I have never regretted taking this step and have kept going with it.

I had my first small solo exhibition at the Jean Welz Gallery in Worcester. I sold some paintings which hardly covered my expenses, but it was still a wonderful experience. The fact that people bought my paintings was confirmation that I was on the right track. It motivated me to carry on painting.

My still life paintings do not contain obvious beauty. The challenge for me is to use sensitive light-play and to reveal the beauty of everyday objects. My works have no ‘deeper meaning’, I prefer to evoke contemplative stillness and calm in the viewer. It is more a feeling rather than a message.

Through the years I experimented with several different mediums and eventually found that oil paint would give me the most freedom by being best suited to my techniques and what I wanted to achieve. I find oil paint is much richer, more vibrant, malleable and luminous than other mediums.” – Tanya Swiegers

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Title: Two Swallows
Size: 20 x 20 cm
Media: Oil
Price: 7 800
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