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Van Rooyen, Elbe

Elbe van Rooyen was born in Greytown, Natal, in 1961. She studied at the University of Pretoria and eventually held an executive position in the corporate world. This demanding life, however, could not separate her from her passion for painting. As her reputation as a powerful and gifted artist grew and numerous commissions followed, she decided in 1999, to enter the arena of official art.

Elbe exhibited her work for the first time at the age of 14. As a young child she won first prize in a drawing competition of 300 competitors. Since then her ability to effortlessly capture people and surroundings, has led to widespread recognition with both local and overseas clients.

The demand among dealers and collectors for her luscious and impressionistic works came almost instantly and she has been tipped by pundits as being one of the leading oils artists emerging in South Africa today.

Elbe is a fluent and expressive artist and in her work, art appears in its most delightful aspects, bursting with vitality. She has the ability to impart a timeless quality to the contemporary scene in which she goes beyond the bounds of impressionism and attains the greatness of classicism, adding JOIE DE VIVRE. She paints in oil, using only the brush, and with bright colours often just dab paint on her canvasses, blurring details which give a lovely freshness to her images. Frequently she would abandon preliminary drawing and paint directly onto canvas with a broad brush, capturing form and movement. Within this approach lies her lightness of touch with which she attains her summary effects.

Says the artist: "...a painting should not be an official report... Personally, I like paintings that make me want to take a stroll through them! I have abandoned certain procedures of elaboration basic to academic painting and this has led me to a spontaneous approach that results in a beauty from the simplest formulations..."

She is constantly pushing ahead finding expressiveness in anything around her and says inspiration comes directly or indirectly. With enormous natural talent, self discipline, love and devotion she has mastered her art and says she is happiest in front of the easel.