By Deryn
Jan 29, 2021

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Transformation 2

My art journey began at a young age with a red hibiscus flower drawing, thus started my botanical themes and colors. My desire to go to Art School was frustrated at the time I left school, so I started my career as a Geological Cartographer by learning to map and do calligraphy. I enjoyed this job as I learned to map with black ink on tracing linen and color up the beautiful geological prints!

I never lost the desire to paint, but family life interrupted my creative practice. It was only later, when the children were older, that I could continue studies at the local community college in Cape Town. During this period in history, Nelson Mandela was released from prison and gave his famous ‘rainbow colored nation’ speech.  At the same time, I had felt very frustrated with the oppressive and pontifical rhetoric coming from the pulpit at the church I was attending. My husband and I decided to participate in another more liberal church and found it was like a stream in the desert. This congregation was creatively inclined, and it permeated their services and the way they did things. They also used to be involved in their neighborhood and social justice issues. My artistic vision became much clearer, and I could use the metaphors of black and white blocks as integrations and transformations, so I started doing some more black and white drawings. I continued with botanical illustrations and other experimental artwork as well. I had two paintings accepted for the New Signatures Exhibition at the Bellville Art Center and other exhibitions run at the center.


Several years later, when I was working in the UK. I continued with botanical painting, but this became less satisfying as I wanted to do more experimental art. I had access to some of the most famous galleries in London, so I continued experimenting with a bit more abstract art.  When I moved to the USA, my local church was also a creative space and social justice advocate. One of the areas they were addressing was the inclusion of the LGBTQ community, and so once more, the rainbow flourished.  I now saw black and white structures that needed to be dismantled, and although there were particular frameworks, the edges were no longer sharp but could be more fluid, so I started working in blocks.  I like to have a framework within which to work; sometimes, I need some structure in my life, but it certainly is not set in stone.  Where fluidity is required and allowed, transformation can be attained.  It indeed became more apparent to me with all the Black Lives Matter and other issues of the day that this same fluidity and space for rainbow-colored transformation was needed. So, I started painting transformational symbols such as the butterfly within the fluid black and white linework.

BW Greyvillea

During my sojourn in Australia last year, I could not travel, so I spent my shut downtime painting some beautiful Australian flora and fauna. I was motivated by the fascinating shapes and colors of the tropical plants and local trees striking bark and shapes.

My art is informed by what is going on around me and how I perceive it. Any solution I may feel to the current integration and transformation of our society at this time, I will try to express through my art. I will meditate on what the Spirit is trying to convey through my artwork and hope that it inspires people to look deeper. Transformation is a process, and only when we take the time to meditate will we find the deeply embedded truths of the Spirit.

Transformation is a process, and only when we take the time to meditate will we find the deeply embedded truths of the Spirit.

Like geological sedimentary layers, we may have a lot to dig through to find the golden nugget of truth that we can embrace and use to transform our thinking and actions. I hope my paintings will be a catalyst to help you on your journey to find the golden nuggets of truth spoken into you by the Spirit.

1 Comment

  1. Betsy McPeak

    It’s great that you have found creative spaces connected to your worship spaces. The 2 are so made for each other!
    This line: “Transformation is a process, and only when we take the time to meditate will we find the deeply embedded truths of the Spirit.” reminded me of a saying from South African pastor Trevor Hudson: We don’t learn from experience; we learn as we reflect on our experience.
    I just listened to this webinar earlier today: Art + Faith: A Theology of Making, with Makoto Fujimura, about his new book by that title, and it has a lot of similar themes to your post.
    Bless you!


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