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Equine art by Gerdus Bronn

- What was your first experience with/discovery of art? What made you want to become an artist?

As a youngster, I often drew pictures on the farm and my parents recognized my talent and enrolled me in an art school in Pretoria, South Africa. Here I was exposed to art from a young age and after my studies, I back-pack around Europe and studied art in all the major art galleries. I fell in love with art and decided to become an artist. I was a studio potter for 20 years and worked in the tradition of the Japanese schools of pottery. I became a well-known potter but reverted back to painting a few years back and am loving it!

- Are there any key themes, messages, or theories behind your work?
I often think about the meaning of art and I feel that art must evoke emotions and stir the viewer. The viewer must desire to come back to the painting again and again. This can only be accomplished by good composition and good technique. I paint everyday life. I paint the people and places around me. One single brushstroke can change the whole feeling of the artwork and all the brushwork have to work together to create a unified whole. The painting has to make the interior. Recently I am more and more aware of the decisive stroke. I believe an artist has to be brave and reckless to create great art. My best strokes are made when the painting is finished. I often stand back and leave the painting for a day or two and then look at it critically again and then I might paint on it again and that is when the best strokes are made. Or I might just finish all the paint on my palette on the painting and thus add elements that are instant and fresh. Great art can take so many shapes. It is like music. A good jazz song is just as important as a classical composition. Good art is good art and it takes a collector to recognize it. 

 I do not have any hidden messages in my art. What you see is what you get. I often think of this and I guess that most messages we read in art is derived from our desire to see more than what is portrayed in front of us. My theory is that my art has to move my buyers to make that commitment to want to own the work. 

- Could you tell us a bit about your artistic approach? (Style, medium and specific techniques.)

I work in watercolor, acrylic, and oil. My watercolors are meticulously planned and are very detailed. I do a pen and ink drawing which are then painted over. The colors are crisp and this work must be my most popular in the local galleries. The limitation here is size. You can only paint in the size of your paper. Lately, I have started doing larger work in acrylic and oil paints. My technique involves underpainting in vibrant blocks of color in acrylic that will bleed through on the oil painting I do on top. I block in the basic colors of the painting. There is no limitation in size here. A recent painting was almost 4 meters in size.

I work straight on the canvas and then stretch the canvas once the paint has dried. I like the feeling you get when you mix wet on wet with a painting medium or a glaze. The effects are often striking. The paintings are finished by using the remaining paint on the palette and applying that as a final layer in abstract strokes. 

Art portrays the times we live in. My art is definitely an extension of who I am and I believe that the prolific artist who creates interesting art will be the collectible artist also.