Stretching my Art Skills at the Ruth Prowse School of Art

It is only when we try something new that we can expect to learn something new. I have been doing Art now for many years now, going to classes with a great teacher. Recently, I decided to push my boundaries and do a course at the Ruth Prowse School of Art. Talk about going out of your comfort zone, but that is how we grow isn’t it? So there I am, part of a group of youngsters in an unfamiliar space and they accept me regardless of my age.

Again I am lucky to have a lovely positive teacher who is great in supporting and teaching us new skills. The first class was a bit scary, but I enjoyed it and knew I had made the right decision. We started by doing a very realistic drawing, which is not my style at all, but I did learn something! Every class, the theme is about using new tools and developing new skills.

To see everyone else’s art is an inspiration and the positive encouraging atmosphere creates such a wonderful experience. I come home every time feeling energized.

It is important to be always true to yourself and your style but stretching your ability is very rewarding!

The Joy of Sharing your Art

Last week I had the joy of seeing a serious lover of art, collector and connoisseur; Niel Le Roux, making one of my photos part of his collection.

I was invited to visit his house to see and enjoy his vast collection of art that covers all the walls in his house. It was such a joy, every art piece unique, each with its own story and it was such a honour to to be able to engage in and enjoy his collection. Adding a print of a photo of mine made it even more special. He liked the photo from the first moment he saw it and had just the perfect spot for it.

Being an artist and doing art is such a joy but seeing someone else loving a piece of your own work and adding it to his collection is a real privilege.

‘Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.’

Thomas Merton

View more of Hetsie’s Fine Art Photography

The Emotion of Pain in Art

Pain is part of being human but also part of growth.

In this painting, I explore the emotion and personal environment of being in pain. Feeling pain can cause feelings of helplessness, desperation and aloneness. How much of that can you share with others; how much can they share with you? Yes, for a fleeting moment in time you are not alone, but in the end it is your pain, your experience and as such nobody can really touch it. For a moment they can make it lighter, easier, but you are still alone. It is your pain.

In the painting, the emotion of pain is real and the connectedness while also the disconnectedness with the other person.

‘People are never helped in their suffering by what they think for themselves, but only by revelation of a wisdom greater than their own. It is this which lifts them out of their distress’

Carl Jung

An Artist’s Inspiration

I call it triggers – the stuff that inspires you. It’s all around you all the time, but you have to be open to receive it. I will see a photo, colour, texture, hear a story, listen to a song, feel a mood or even see something in someone else’s art that triggers the creative process in me. It gives you the urge to be expressive. Whatever it is must talk to you and very strongly so, you must feel it in your gut. The more you are open to it, the more it will come to you.

“You can’t use up creativity,
the more you use the more you have”
Maya Angelou

So, yes, some days I am not open to it, but there is this world out there…all inspiring and exciting, talking to me. Sometimes you may have to go and look for it, visit art galleries and be inspired. Discuss ideas with other creative people, watch other artists at work (Youtube is a good resource for this). Mostly remember its all about having fun and being fulfilled!

Finding my Creative Space

Finding a place to work was very important to me. I need space; I need light. I don’t want to feel enclosed. I must be able to scatter paint tubes and brushes around me.

I take over my creative space in the same way I paint – expressive and big – like my large canvasses I love so much.

I don’t like to be contained.

After a lot of planning, I decided to use my deck. Where I can open the doors onto my garden and see and hear the water features. This area has lots of light, texture and sound of wind chimes which inspires me.

A place of peace and freedom. Where my art can flow.

A happy space for me.

Where do you like to work or create?

How to Choose a Piece of Art

Art is about emotion; the artist’s emotion, yes, but the emotion of the viewer/buyer is just as important!

To buy art, you have to feel and listen to what it is telling you. How it makes you feel. Do you want to explore that emotion? Do you want to spend time discovering new parts in the art that talk to you? Does your emotion and reaction vary according to your mood of the day, time of the day, colour of the light falling on it or the energy of the room where you choose to hang it? Or, does it change the energy of how you feel or how the room feels?

It is about getting involved with the art and how it makes you feel. It is not about the colour scheme of the your house or room, but the emotional response you have.

Above all else, it mustn’t bore you! You must not be able to give it one look and then you have seen it. No, you must want to go back again and again. You must want to explore how different colours, textures, shapes and lines affect or interest you.

So choose art that feeds you and carries the energy that talks to you.

Below are two paintings I did with very different energy, the one calm and peaceful and the other full of energy and movement. Different paintings will appeal to different people, it is about choosing what speaks to you.

If you are interested in purchasing any of Hetsie O’s work, please fill in the form on the Contact Page or email


My Favourite Painting – Acrylic paint, Paper and Silver leaf

We all live a life of reality, daily demands and routine. We rely on our senses for seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling and tasting the world around us. But there is another dimension, the world we cannot use our normal senses to explore but it is real and, I believe, more so than we realise. That is when we tap in the world of intuition, serendipity, synchronicity and I think it is magical and powerful.

I love to explore that realm with my art. Sometimes it is more real to me, more important to me, than the living world around us.

In this painting, I connect with that magical world; maybe that is why I enjoy it so much. I struggled when creating it, which is my usual journey, and when I thought it was done I saw a painting incomplete. By listening to my heart I started covering the whole painting with a watery acrylic paint and pieces of silver leaf and then there it was , the magical world I wanted to explore.

This painting delves into my emotions, my sensory feel of this magical part of life. It speaks of memories, dreams and reflections and talks about an inner world of connectedness.

‘Intuition gives outlook and insight; it revels in the garden of magical possibilities as if they were real’

Carl Jung

What I See, What I Feel

When I see something I want to paint it has an essence that I want to express myself. But I want to also express who I am, what I feel, what emotion I want to explore. Get insight into my own reality and the way I can grow more as a person or artist. I also have to go beyond my boundaries to set new ones and to find the alternative realities out there. That is why my paintings and photos are mostly expressive and abstract. Using a camera as a creative tool is exactly the same process.

My Tools

The tools used for a specific painting is part of my own expression. Charcoal I use in black and white and at times love to smudge it. It allows all sorts of textures and being a very tactile person I love textures. It allows for such a release of emotion! Of course to work in black and white is a favourite way of mine. It strips everything down to a honest emotion.

If I use brushes I love big ones because I can use my whole body while making a stroke, especially on a large canvas. Using a sponge, pot scraper, paper or whatever else I can find make it more of a journey of discovery. Using thick layers of paint again allows me to work with textures. At times I like to use more water with the paint because it gives it another quality.

Pastels like charcoal I can smudge and use my fingers to blend colours on the canvas. Even mixing all the mediums allows for a different expression. So with every painting I play I explore I express and I grow.

Creative Block – A Stage of Growth

Creative Block? Yes that I get. It is quite a uncomfortable place to be. I feel insecure, unable to create. I feel frustrated, not good enough, I question myself and my ability. It makes me want to run away, avoid doing creative stuff, feels like what is the point?

But in my art classes I have learnt this is such a important stage of growth. This is where stuff shifts inside myself. So I don’t walk away from it, I stay with it. This is where in its own time something new will be born, a new way of being creative, a new way of thinking about my art, a new way of using a tool or even finding a new unusual tool, a new growth to my style or even new subject or theme that suddenly interest me.

This is a healthy and very important part of being creative. This takes you to a new level of expression. When I get that breakthrough it makes me excited, full of energy, gives me passion all over again!

So I have learned to embrace this process, not enjoy it, but stay with it and respect it. It is always the new ‘child’ waiting to be born.

This is my experience in both painting and photography but this is what makes me love doing art in the end, it is always a journey!!

The Process of Painting

To paint or to be creative is for me like giving birth to a new baby.

First you get the inspiration, the idea and you feel all excited and energetic about it. Then you have to plan how to use the space on the canvas. The work starts and you have fun.

Next the struggle begins and you don’t know where the painting is going, you seize up, you feel like giving up or starting all over again. But you have to break through that boundary in yourself. The painting starts to flow and becomes a joy. It is getting shape, form, mood, character and you love it. Now it is precious and you are scared to touch it. You know you it needs more work but what if you spoil it!! Finally you get through that stage, complete it and you are happy with what you see.

That is always my process when I am painting. Sometimes I ask why do I put myself through this? But the end result, your new baby is always worth it. It is part of you.

To me that is what gives a painting a soul.