“To develop a complete mind:
Study the science of art;
Study the art of science;
Learn how to see.
Realise that everything is connected to everything else.”
Leonard de Vinci
Every time I visit in England, my final two days are spent in London. I say goodbye to family and friends and… a whole morning is spent at The National Art Gallery. I love my time there. Fresh from the hustle and bustle of Trafalgar Square, ‘B’ and I tumble into The Gallery. And give a happy sigh of contentment. I think after a four frenetic weeks, the quiet and stillness of the National is a heady experience. ‘B’ and I happily meander from room to glorious room.
I know so little about art. But I like it. A lot. I was visiting a friend of mine when I saw the most beautiful painting on her wall. “What a stunning painting! And it’s an original.” I observed as I got closer. I read the artist’s name and drew back in surprise. “Lisl Barry! Your daughter. Shytenhauzen!” I exclaimed. I knew that Lisl painted but I had thought that she merely did the odd bit of hobby stuff. More advanced than paint by numbers, sure, but not much! I was obviously very wrong. Smile. VERY WRONG indeed.
Let me tell you about my friend, the artist, Lisl Barry.
On meeting Lisl, one is instantly struck by her eyes. They are this mesmerising blue and they seem to take you in, all of you – a good thing for a painter.
Looking around her beautiful studio, which is in an old waenhuis (wagon house) located in the grounds of the Rosenhof Country House at the foot of the Swartberg mountains in Oudtshoorn, one is surprised by the sheer diversity of her work.
Yes, there are paintings that you would expect from someone who lives in the heart of the Karoo: pictures of wide open dusty plains with huge blue skies, rusting water pumps, men herding goats and sheep, and children playing games in the dust.
But as Lisl says herself, “she now paints that which resonates with her eye and steals her breath – mostly quite ordinary moments transformed by the changing of light.” Looking at her paintings it is obvious that Lisl’s awe of the wonderful effect of light greatly influences her work.
Some of more recent works were inspired by an incident with her two young daughters standing on a bridge looking at the water running and tumbling below them. It swirled, puckered and foamed, leaped into the air as it hit a rock and continued on its way. The water fascinated her and she wanted to portray the tumult of what she saw.
I love the paintings that she does from her artistic imagination.Childs Peace is definitely my favourite. It has an innocence and a childishness to it that I find utterly entrancing. Last Christmas I was given African Dream Tree. The painting seems to vibrate with a colour and mirth all of its own. It also seems to echo my enchantment with rainbows.
In Lisl’s studio there is a painting of a Moroccan looking church.Standing outside the church is this goat. Lisl told me that there were also chickens, people, the odd cow ambling past. And yet here was this place of refuge amidst the vibrance and tumult of village life. It was kept beautifully. There might not be that much money for food and yet the door was painted regularly – green! I fell in love with the paintings name: God’s Green Door.
At the moment Lisl is working on a painting that I would sell my body for! It is of a grove of Silver Birch trees. They look other worldly in their delicacy and strangely enough, their strength. It is captivating in it’s gracefulness.
Tucked away on a shelf was a pile of books, 52 Ways to Grow Creative Children. I love this book that Lisl wrote. Lisl studied photography at Cape Town Tech and it is put to such good use in this book. It inspires parents to spend time connecting with their young children doing simple creative activities.
One’s art changes with oneself. I asked Lisl “where she saw herself in five years time?” and she replied: “I take each day as it comes.”
“And her best critic?” There was no hesitation in her response: “My husband, Tom.” She laughs. “He is my best and worst critic!”
Jacana have kindly given me a number of copies of Lisl’s book to give away to my blog followers. If you would like to enter a draw for one of these, please post a ‘Reply’ at the end of this blog saying why you would like a copy! I will contact the winners via email for postal address details. The draw will take place on Friday 15th November. I am afraid because of postage costs this ‘giveaway’ is only open to SA residents.
I want the silver beech trees too!!!!!!! Just LOOOOVE trees “in paint”
HOT OFF THE PRESS …Gaynor! And everyone who is interested, my newly-design, updated website has gone live : http://www.lislbarry.co.za …’Shares’ would be most welcome! Thanks Lisl
Gaynor, as I’ve said so many times before, you are truly an inspiration. It was so lovely to share my studio space and work with you and your Mum and B. And wow, I’m bowled over by these words in response to yours! Thank you to you and everyone. Lx
liesl….such an inspiration…..I need your book x x x su juta x
Laugh! Right, su juta, you’re in our draw!
With a grin I kiss your eyes
yes… her work is beautiful.. i enjoy the way she she sees… with the apparent wide eyed innocence of a child, although the skill i see in her work is fairly sophisticated.
the book sounds delightful… i would so enjoy a copy because i am often involved in creative endeavours with different people… i would love to have some fresh ideas for things to do with children and with my grandchildren. it’s strange…, because i’m an artist, people imagine that i will always have fresh ideas… but i tend to be rather blinkered, and my ideas focus narrowly on what i do in my own art making. i find his very frustrating, and often long to be able to inspire the little ones by getting involved in doing lovely and creative activities with them… 🙂
it’s a beautiful article… you write so well…
much love, darling!
Paula, I just love your inclusion of art on FB. It was through you that I saw that wonderful work of Monet’s on a garden and the colours in it were so rich and deep. Imagine seeing that one “live”!!! Yes, Angel -Face, you will definitely be included in the draw!
And thankyou for saying that about my writing. With a smile I kiss your eyes
What a talented and versatile artist Lisl is, she really brings her subject to life. Your descriptions are so very apt! Thank you for sharing this with us.
Our daughter is a Grade R teacher in Nelspruit at an English 2nd language school where most of the pupils’ home language is Siswati. Bron would have such fun with this book and her 25 pupils.
Thank you for your inspiring lessons you share with us so regurlarly.
Peter and Romary.
Yes, Peter and Rosemary, Lisl’s art certainly makes you stop and look and that’s what all art should do, not so?
And of course you will be included in our draw. Bron would indeed have fun with that book!
With a smile I kiss your eyes
What a creative and talented Artist. All her work is stunning!!! I would really love to have such an inspirational book.
Yes, Hle, I had such an inspiring morning with her. Sure, your name will be in the draw.
I kiss your eyes
Love her work. was at school with her.
Glory, small world, Deborah? Bet her work has changed since school days!
With a smile I kiss your eyes
Thank you for introducing Lisl’s art to me. I will definitely make a point in viewing her paintings in person. Love Maureen
Yes, keep your eyes open in the galleries, Maureen. She’s great, isn’t she?
Wow those pictures are amazing what an artist! Thank you for sharing that with us. Lots love
Aren’t they amazing, Caroline? They are even better “live”!!!
Very inspirational G. I must go to the gallery and see for myself:)
Yeah, Sharon, she’s great. I have a better idea – I think that we must pop round to Jean’s for tea than you can see the first painting of Lisl’s that I saw. It’s beautiful!
Brilliant pictures – what a talent! Would love to have a book for the Eduplex Pre-school. Thanks for thought provoking blogs Gaynor!
Hi there, Nico!
Yes, isn’t her art wonderful? Will put your name forward for the draw, Nico. With a smile I kiss your eyes
Well done Gaynor,I love it. You have captured her art and herself in your words,and it was great really looking at her paintings again. Xxx love you Mums.
Yes, Mums, it was so wonderful seeing her paintings together. Such a special day!
Comments are closed.