Life on canvas

November 26, 2012, 8:00 am

art is a window to an artist’s soul and opens doors to a world of their memories. Through it, you see what they have seen during their adventurous journeys, all put down on canvas (say for paintings).
Starting this week till 14th December, Carina van der Merwe gives us the chance to pick parts of her memory bank through ‘Life on Canvas’.
I would like to think that she used her imagination in creating the stories in most of the paintings that I could not recognise. Some are of buildings, dunes and objects I have seen before. The painting of the church at Windhoek’s Fidel Castro round-about, the dunes in the Namib Desert and the Welwitschia mirabilis are just the way I remember them from my geography book.
On your left as you enter the gallery, you are met with the invincible woman in a long bear-back gown - you can see right through her.
She stands on the beach somewhere, watching the calm waters. She has a sister, invincible woman two, sitting on the beach too. Invisible woman two is naked but with her back faces the viewer. She sits on what looks like a blanket made from red roses.
The paintings look more like pictures than paintings because they are perfectly detailed. Just like the sisters, there’s a red wrecked Ford left in the middle of the desert to corrode after an accident, I’d presume.
I was more intrigued by the painting of a blonde girl, about three years old, looking out a window in her pink flats and a flowery nightdress. The room in which she is has peeling walls. The original wallpaper is deep-red with brighter flowers; an old country house, maybe.
There is a painting of a rather angry-looking “rooikappie” - red-ridden hood as you may call her in English. She has green eyes, with golden strands of hair covering her face. Yes, with her red hood!
There are more children in the paintings. The artist must love children or find them inspiring, I should think. Well, it’s evident with three paintings of children next to each other titled, “NO EVIL”. In one of them, a little girl covers her ear while one covers her eyes as another covers her mouth.
The colours are a perfect combination and because the paint is thick, the paintings burst with life.
Painting collectors will love this edition, not just to cover their crap on the walls before Christmas but because it’s an edition that would conveniently compliment the walls.