Janny and I were brought up in the inland town of Queenstown, in the Border region of the Eastern Cape. We both had happy families, and although we always knew each other, in fact lived near each other, she only saw the light later-on in her youth and we became romantically involved when we left school (!).    So at heart we are 'Oos-Kaap mense' (Eastern Cape people), and this has obviously manifested itself in my painting in a big way.

Both my father Leslie, and my maternal grandmother Emily Horne, were amateur artists of note in those circles, and they gave me, along with my mother Molly, endless encouragement and support.    I painted indoors in my Dad's studio from a fairly early age, and outdoors whenever the occasion arose, and I was schooled in a home and community that had an exceptionally high regard for a host of the good conventional South African artists of the day.    The works of Errol Boyley, Edward Roworth, George Lang, Thornley Stewart, Nils Anderson Gregoire Boonzaaier and of course the renowned Wiles family hung in many homes, mostly because the town and area was serviced by a very active and professionally-run Art Society.

So it was probably a combination of environment and heredity that I gravitated towards the arts, and the combination of my father's studio and lots of encouragement led to a more than average involvement in painting.

I often went out with my Gran to paint at localities such as the one above.    This is a typical open country landscape, with all the elements one finds in the average platteland scene - sky, middle-distance, foreground and various other contributing factors, hopefully giving it extra energy.    Maybe the horizon has been placed too much in the middle, and there could have been a little less foreground.    Note the use of black and white cattle to add interest and a 'zits' of strong chiaroscuro.    I have often put in hints of flowers to settle a foreground that might be a little bland - it usually lifts the area.    Remember that the colours get cooler as one recedes in the painting. See section 5 for full details on the painting of a normal clouded sky.

Copyright 2003 Dale Elliott