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Hilli le Roux

Hilli le Roux was born in April 1956 in Pretoria.  She studied Fine Art at the Pretoria Technicon from 1975 – 1977, majoring in painting and drawing.  For more than 20 years she lectured part-time in painting and drawing, amongst others at the Pretoria Technical College and various private art schools.  Hilli also regularly led workshops to transmit her rich experience.  Furthermore, she engaged in extensive on-site projects, and executed bespoke painting assignments such as murals, often on a large scale.  Her largest commissioned work was 4m x 6 m and was done for the entrance hall of a state owned entity.

Some of Hilli’s Clients include De Beers Diamonds, Ichor Coal, international lodges, numerous other corporate clients and interior decorators; and collectors in South Africa, New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland and the USA.

I use oil paint and an infinite variety of techniques, whatever springs to mind. This includes using all sizes of brushes, thin pointed brushes, large block brushes, as well as palette knives and rolled-up cloth. I often add layers of paint and then use a solvent to remove or partly remove sections. I might use a small dash of acrylic paint to create that specific effect one gets thanks to the interaction of water and oil on segments of a painting.

When I start a new painting, I am literally driven to make it better than the previous one. Sometimes I start to work immediately on a white canvas; at other times I might paint the whole canvas black or – as I have done recently – I used a dark teal background that bleeds into an acid green. I had been walking around for several days with these colour combinations in my head…

I always have a mood, feeling or message that I want to convey. Sometimes, however, the colour palette morphs into the main actor. Inspired by my experience of creating textures, I mostly ‘construct’ a painting, using multiple layers and colour hues. Sometimes I apply undiluted paint straight from the tube or tin and daub it with a palette knife. I might add some solvent to thin the paint so that I can play around with it. I love throwing the thinned paint onto the canvas, either to let it run or to obtain a splattered pattern. The movement is all in the wrist… After the paint has dried, the final touch is a sealer to prevent the colours from fading.

I put my tools down the moment that I fall in love with the painting. Only then do I release it to the world.

Nomen est omen. I choose the titles of my works very deliberately. I want the people looking at my paintings to delve into their mind and relate the images to their own story, to their life experience. As students of Fine Arts, we were taught not just to look, but to look and see. This made us visually and mentally curious and led to a heightened perception of the world around us. For me, therefore, in order to create, one must have an enquiring mind. Hence my choice of the title of a hexaptych I recently sold to a Swiss collector: ‘Pieces of an Enquiring Mind’. Here, ‘pieces’ have both a metaphysical and physical connotation: Slices of my own consciousness and the six tangible paintings uniting into an inter-related ensemble.

For most of my life, I have been on a spiritual mission, questioning, seeking and sometimes finding. I cannot stay in my comfort zone for too long because my inherent restlessness and ‘acquired’ curious mind prod me to move on, to find more, to see more and experience more.

The quest to find answers and a deeper meaning is universal. The artist in me is intensely aware of this journey, which finds its expression in my works. Those who look at, appreciate and purchase my paintings are also asking their questions and finding their answers. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than to be the catalyst starting and nurturing this process of introspection and revelation.

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