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Monday, August 15, 2011

10 Questions for West Coast Artist Marie Theron

Great excitement today as I have finally decided to have this blog printed in book form up to the 160th post. I decided to include this interview in the book:

Posted on PORTFOLIO Mon, 14 Dec 2009

Marie Theron (whose work was featured on our blog last month) agreed to answer 10 Questions in this month's edition of "10 Questions for South Africans."

This South African artist was so enamoured of the West Coast that she upped-sticks and moved there to be close to her source of inspiration each day.

Don't be surprised if you feel the urge to move to the West Coast yourself after reading what she has to say about this unique region of South Africa!

10 Questions for Marie Theron

1. What place (in SA) do you call home, and why?

I live in a private nature reserve with my studio 80 m from the sea. This position was full of surprises when I first moved here and I slowly got used to the intensity of Nature. Storms are so totally overpowering that I am always reminded of the ships that were wrecked all along the West Coast. On the other hand one can experience a field of colourful wildflowers starting from our garden and stretching as far as the eye can see.

Close to home...

2. Favourite place to have breakfast near(ish) where you live?

Definitely SimonĂ©’s in Darling. Our attractive young restaurateur is always there to welcome you, smiling and chatting and busy as a bee, and the food is superb. The coffee is very good (important in the morning). Edit 15/08/11:This place is no longer in existence, but now we go to !Khwa Ttu, of course)

3. How does a working day in your life look?

I wake up with thoughts of a painting I am working on. Sometimes I will prop up my latest painting in the bedroom while I drink my coffee, to make sure everything is in balance. As my bedroom adjoins the studio I will often start painting whilst still in my night-clothes. A good day will have two sessions of three hours each for painting. I rest and read between sessions. Housework, gardening and blogging are all done in the periods in-between.

Outside Marie's studio

4. What is it about the West Coast that appealed to you so much that you decided to move there?.

The absence of traffic, the proximity of Nature; and because there are no high-rise buildings and few tall trees, the openness of the West Coast has a very special appeal.

A recent painting: 'Workers in Vineyard' - (near Malmesbury)

5. Which SA artists work do you admire?

Peter Midlane’s paintings always stop me in my tracks. He has a true understanding of the South African landscape and puts it down without the sweet sentimentality one often sees.

6. What inspires you (in your work, every day, in life)?

I think to even become an artist in the first place; you have to be inspired by the lives of the Great Masters of Art. Whether they worked unrewarded and unacknowledged or found themselves prosperous, whether they died young for their country or lived to their nineties; whether weak and sickly or full of stamina and health: hardly anyone of them were idle or sat on their laurels! It was work at any cost!

Marie's latest work - 'Arriving in Piketberg'

7. When you’re away from SA what do you miss?

I determine to enjoy travelling and not spend my time longing back, but of course our ocean, our clouds, blue skies and indigenous flowers are the most beautiful.

8. Tell us, briefly, about a positive or unique South African holiday / travelling experience.

There are many of course, depending what you are looking for: the peace of the Highveld of Mpumalanga or the culture of the cities. I think Lamberts Bay is a lovely experience. The birdlife and sea and boats are magnificent. It is impossible to tire of the gannets. Who can ever eat too many crayfish? And for a Saturday evening with the sun setting way past eight, the Muisbosskerm is such wonderful and relaxed eating experience!

Lambert's Bay - a lovely destination

9. Who is your South African hero, and why?

Can I change that to a town I admire? Then I will choose cheeky Darling, full of breezy confidence. They are as hard hit by the slump in the world economy as anywhere else, but there is no letting up, no slacking. A visitor can find something pleasant to do, somewhere to go almost any night of the week! You will always find smiling, positive people there.

10. Once you’ve run out of inspiration along the West Coast where will you be heading?

It is impossible to run out of West Coast material. I have hardly touched the sea and all it has to offer in critters, birds and boats. There is the San history and the Moravian missions. There are so many fynbos species (a painting of a special plant is coming up on my blog on Christmas morning.) The more I speak with people the more stories, places and legends of the West Coast are revealed, so hopefully I will just paint on and on…….


  1. Marie, wishing you great success with the book!

  2. How wonderful! Good luck with the book.

  3. Hi Marie,

    Really enjoyed visiting your blog. Lovely work by the way!

  4. I cannot remember if I read these questions before, though I do remember reading interview questions in the past. Still, such a lovely post and so fun to know more of your thoughts. Your home truly sounds a dream being so close to the ocean.

  5. Thank you, Cathyann. It is an online book which I think all bloggers should do! I will order one copy at first!

    Thank you, Cissy, I'm very busy editing 159 posts!

    Wonderful to meet you, Gisele! And thank you for the comments!

    I think you saw it and commented, Sherry. I had a link before but old as I am, I figured how to move the whole article into my blog!

  6. Hi again Marie! I think you clicked on the wrong blog of mine to follow. I have a fine art one where I post my daily paintings. You can visit it at and follow there. Hope you enjoy!Would love your feedback! You clicked on my children's book one.

  7. So lovely seeing all those things about you!!!

    What fun!!!

  8. I can totally understand why you chose to live where you do, It's so lovely and I know you never run out of painting subjects. Thanks for sharing Marie.

  9. These photos are beautiful. I just met a young woman who works for Reebok International and had cause to travel to your area recently and FELL IN LOVE with IT!
    How I would love to see this place.
    I look forward to your blog book, Marie and appreciate your comments and encouragement always>
    Thank You.

  10. Great interview to include in your printed blog book. I love the book idea, also. You do such a wonderful job of chronicling your area of the world.

    Nice to hear from you on my blog.

  11. Thank you, Mikko!

    Barbara, it is so nice of you to say that! We think it was a good choice to settle here!

    Ah, Mary Sheenan Winn, she must be a special person! This place is very simple and without the shopping facilities city people would prefer!The pace is slow! Thank you for the nice comments! I am doing the blog-a-book type of book. They print on command, so no big costs for me. You must do it too!

    Hi Mary, I still remember that you left a lovely comment on the Portfolio site when this interview first appeared! Thank you for stopping by and commenting this time!

  12. A lot of editing to make the blog a book, or are you just doing a little gentle tweaking? I would miss being able to click on the links. Do you include the comments, or strictly Your Posts?

  13. Hi Marie , I had my blog printed too . It is beautifully done and sits on my coffee table for visitors to read . I enjoy reading your blog and seeing your lovely paintings . thanks so much for your comments on my blog

  14. Hi Diana, I do a lot of editing! Being Afrikaans-speaking the odd mistake slips through. But worst of all are my early photos with their bluish tinge. So I work on that too. I must be wide-awake as a blog post can be lost forever if I am not careful in editing. I remove the "click here" bits and leave out all comments as those can run into many extra pages. My blog will be untouched and will be continued. Like Kathy, I want the coffee table book for older family who do not use computers.

    Kathy, hearing this from you is so reassuring for me. I am now really looking forward to having my book printed!

  15. What a great interview, Marie!
    It is so pleasurable getting to know a little more about you!

  16. Great interview, Marie. So good getting to know you this past year, since we share an interest in art (as you know, my late father, Henk van den Berg, was a very capable artist as well), but the above questions and answers don't reveal that you're also exceptionally well-read and knowledgeable about literature, and that your late husband, Philip, was the author of a book for young readers (between the ages of 5 and 95, I believe). How proud he would have been to see the above in book-form. Regards, John van den Berg

    1. Thank you for the kind words, John. I must just set one thing right, my book is not "out there". We bloggers make use of an application where we print a single book or 10 books or so and the process is very expensive. But yes, I have my book and am busy editing it. Once a thing is in print, you pick up all the mistakes as you well know from being an author!


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