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Women shaping design: Meet arts creative Mariaan Scheffer

Mariaan Scheffer is a Cape Town based self-thought drawer and painting artist and has been doing it for as long as she can remember.

By House & Garden South Africa | August 26, 2021 | Category

Instagram: @mariaan_scheffer42
Instagram: @mariaan_scheffer42

The Cape Town born creative says she started being involved in the arts while she was still in high school but was too afraid to take it as a professional.

Scheffer lives in Durbanville, and continues to work as a full-time ophthalmic assistant for a well-known ophthalmologist and has worked in this position for the past 28 years.

The Cape Town based arts creative says she plans on taking drawing and painting full time in the future.

Art by: Mariaan Scheffer

“Drawing and painting are part of my everyday life. I am a romantic artist. I love to capture the softer side of life. I take a lot of photos to inspire my artwork. My preferred mediums are watercolor and oil paint. I love to paint flowers, women and animals,” says Scheffer.

The creative artist says for the past 15 years she has painted in oils but at the beginning of 2015 started to showcase her work on Facebook and later on Instagram.

She says, “My Facebook page: Mariaan Scheffer Art and my Instagram page: mariaan_scheffer42. I took part in group exhibitions with Creative Arts at the Durbanville library and Avalon Gardens in 2015.

“I also took part in exhibitions 2016, 2017, 2018 with Creative Arts Atelier. I joined Constantia Art society in 2016 and took part in the group exhibition at Kirstenbosch in 2016 and 2017. In 2017 I started with watercolor painting and enjoyed it so much.

I studied watercolor. I took part in the IWSSA competition and exhibition in March 2018 at the ARTEM art gallery and received an honorable award for my flower painting.”

In the below Q&A the H&G South Africa chats to Mariaan Scheffer about her love for paintings, drawing and about her life’s journey and creative works.

Art by: Mariaan Scheffer

What is your mantra?

Everything happens with a reason. I can do this.

What and who inspired you to start art?

As long as I can remember I love drawing and painting. I always took art as a subject in school.

I always admired the colour in nature – the green grass, the blue and green ocean, the autumn leafs, the summer blossoms.

Who is your muse at the moment and why?

My muse is mother nature and always will be. I see all kinds of art while I am driving in my car or walking around.

I see the clouds and they tell a story – a bunny hopping, a whale swimming, a lady running. I always have been a romantic artist. I see the mountains and love how the colours change from morning to night.

The trees that stand and wave in the wind or with their bare arms reaching to the sky. I love to walk in my mother's garden and take photo's to paint – the vibrant colours and the earthy tones...

Art by: Mariaan Scheffer

Take us through the journey of how you create a piece of art. Where do you find your inspiration and how do you envision what you will be creating while looking at the blank canvas?

Some times I will just sit with my watercolour book, paint and brush and just put colours down on my page and let the colour tell me what to create...

Sometimes it will be flowers or even a face. I think I must be a dreamer. I always have music in my head whilst painting and drawing.

I will always let mother nature guide me. I love painting flowers and female faces. I will see pretty flowers in a shop or in a garden and immediately take a couple of photos and the image will tell me if it will be oil, watercolour or even a charcoal drawing or painting.

If I decide which medium everything else will fall in place. When I put the first colour down on my page or canvas the ice is broken and my journey begins.

Every art piece I do is an adventure – most of the times I will not know how the end product will look like...

I let the colour and mood take me through my journey... Every artist will give a bit of themselves in their work of art...

Art by: Mariaan Scheffer

What do you do when you get an artistic block?

I never get an artistic block, because art is all around me. If you look around and use your imagination you will always find a story in colour that needs to be told and captured.

What is your favourite medium to work with at the moment and why?

This is a very tough question for me as I love so many mediums. In one week I will do oil painting, watercolour, alcohol ink, resin etc.

But I think my go to medium is watercolour, because I can carry it with me – all I need is my watercolour book, tin with my paint and my paint brush.

I will be on holiday and just sit at a restaurant or beside a pool and paint. My family and friends already know if they invite me for a braai I bring my art along.

Do you like to keep up with the latest trends in the art industry? If yes how do you do it?

I don't worry to much about art trends as I am my own person and only paint what I love.

Being a woman in the art industry do you find it challenging or that you have to provide your worth more than being a male artist?

I find it difficult to approach an art gallery or to to promote myself, but I don't think it is because I am in competition with any artists – male or female.

Art is a tough working career if you have to put food on the table. There are so many good artists out there. I paint and do art because I love it.

How do you wish to inspire young creatives?

When I give art classes and I have young people in my classes I will always first asked their view on art and what they want to achieve.

I will give them freedom to create what they want and guide them to be the best artist they can be. I always tell them not to compare themselves to any other artists as everyone is their own person and see things differently.

Never loose your inner child to create your master piece – never let other people tell you - you cannot do art – there is an artist in everyone.

Everyone needs art in their lives to see the good in live. There are so many negative things happening in the world, and I believe that art connects us and gives us hope.

Art by: Mariaan Scheffer

How has your general outlook on life changed as we find new ways to work, live and play with the current COVID-19 pandemic?

I am very close to my family and we spend a lot of time just talking and enjoying each other's company. I also socialise with a small group of friends.

I do not go out a lot and I think this is were the term comes from that some artist are hermits... lol. I can start a painting and 3 hour later I am still sitting there not realising how much times went by!

This pandemic has made me realise just how short life really is, and that we need to embrace and appreciate the people and things we love, to see the beauty in life and enjoy the small things which makes us happy.

“Lock down” made more people connect with their creative side, as they have to spend a lot more time at home – even children are painting and drawing more again.

During “hard lock down” I offered art classes via Zoom/Teams, to keep art alive. I believe more people realised that being creative through art, is a wonderful stress reliever and it quiets the mind during these stressful times.

What challenges have you encountered in the creative industry, being an artist yourself as well as teaching art?

When I teach art I sometimes will have a student that do not belief in themselves and think their work is not good enough.

It can be challenging to change a student's view of their own artwork and confidence to produce the best art they can and not to stress in what other people might think of their art.

In the creative industry there are a lot of media (especially the internet) that will tell you what is accepted as good art and what is not. You have to have an open mind to be creative.

What does your passion for women empowerment speak to ?

To ensure that every woman out there know their worth, know that they are beautiful and that they make a difference.

To realise you are stronger than you think you are. We are all beautiful unique pieces of art and we need to always remember that.

Art by: Mariaan Scheffer

Which women would you like to celebrate this month and why?

I want to celebrate all women around the world – the mothers, the daughters, the friends.

I personally want to celebrate my mother. She is the my rock. Secondly I want to celebrate the women in the medical industry. They are working so hard and see so much negative and sad things in this epidemic we found ourself in.

They are the one's looking after our loved ones when we cannot be there for them. They are the once that that comfort us when we need it.

They are the once that still have to go home and look after their families. They need our support and we definitely need to celebrate them as the strong women they are.

What keeps you grounded both personally and professionally?

I think my family and my art keeps me grounded. To look at nature and find my peace there. I live my life always being kind and respecting all people and nature.

What does self-care look like to you?

Surround yourself with family and real friends and you will always be cared for. Look after yourself by being true to yourself and loving every bit that makes you YOU.

Never let other's negativity make you feel inferior – just walk away and keep your head held high.

Take care of yourself by doing things you love – eat healthy, take care of your health, body and mind.

If there is a to in front of the word you need to step back and redesign...