Avril Hattingh

I was born in Springs, Gauteng, South Africa on 27 April 1958. I studied at the Johannesburg School for Art Ballet & Music, and later completed a Diploma course in Ceramics at the Technicon of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

I have done several art-related jobs including painting giant cinema posters for Ster Kinekor. I worked for fifteen years as a freelance book illustrator doing children's educational material; illustrated the Roland Ward hunting and fishing catalogues and have also done an extensive number of private commissions - mostly portraits, which I still do.

I have always loved figurative art and for the past few years have been particularly enjoying doing a large series of classical musicians. I am captivated by the musician as a subject - with its graceful elegance and elevated quality which I find visually exciting and uplifting. I try to work with a direct, spontaneous approach, in a 'painterly' way to create a lively surface, which gives the image freshness and life. When planning my compositions I begin by blocking in the basic motif using tonal value and colour, while simultaneously trying to arrange the physical elements in a way which will visually best express a specific emotion or idea. When I am not painting from life, I use photographic images as a reference, usually combining various elements from different pictures, to create my own expression of the subject.

A few of my favourite sources of inspiration are the work of Rembrandt, Delacroix, John Singer Sargent and Monet, amongst many others, as well as many wonderful contemporary figurative and portrait artists.