I was born in Cape Town,
South Africa, on 25 May 1970 - I have a sister 2 years older than me whose name is Gallia. Our parents – Dad Dr PW
Ashton, a doctor of Psychiatry, and Mom Rose Geyer, a teacher, (both now
remarried) helped to shape us into the women we are today.
A large part of that shaping took place as a result of a dream, which my
parents turned into reality: To circumnavigate the world on a yacht built
by themselves. The yacht was a 39ft sloop named New Morning (Bob Dylan was
always a favourite).
We set sail from the Royal Cape Yacht Club early in
1979. Sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, up to the Caribbean
and through the Panama Canal (Central America), exploring the South
Pacific islands before we headed across the Pacific Ocean to Northland New
Zealand, where we docked for 2 years.
The earth is the Lords and
all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein,
For He has founded it upon the seas
And established it upon the water.
Psalm 24 vs 1 & 2
Another experience that shaped
me was a short time of education at the Michael Oak Waldorf school in
Kenilworth before we set sail. The school was very encouraging of any
artistic ability and even then, at the age of 6, I knew that my career
would be defined by my creative ability.
Due to the fact that we traveled extensively our education was fairly
disjointed. From Michael Oak to home schooling on board New Morning to
primary education in New Zealand and then, on our return to South Africa,
Sans Souci High School in Newlands and Rosebank House College where I finally
Art has always been my first love besides horse riding, polo cross and
competitive swimming. I therefore chose to study Fine Art (although I only
completed one year) at Michaelis UCT. I met my husband,
Lorne Mason, at Rosebank House College and we were married 2 years later. Lorne and I have 2 daughters
– Jesse born in 1989 and Kerry in 1999.
Commit your works to the
And your thoughts will be established.
My career as an artist got off
to a fairly slow start due to my addiction to golf at the time and I
finally had a couple of exhibitions towards the end of 1991. In 1993,
inspired by my love of the ocean, I started painting whales and dolphins
from an underwater perspective. I then added sharks to my underwater
subjects, particularly my favourite - the Great White Shark.
In the early 1990’s, Corne Pienaar and I designed, carved and painted
Jelutong wood carvings. Working on a textured panel not less than 1.5 m in
length was a great experience and was interesting from an interior
decorating point of view. We mainly used water based paints, aerosols and
enamel paint. Exhibitions of these works were held at Bellingham Wine
Estate, Strand Pavilion, and The Baxter Gallery.
My first exhibition of traditional oil paintings was held with Namibian
artist Hein Van Huyssteen at the Somerset West Country Club. It was great
fun and we sold about 2/3 of the paintings.
In 1996 a group of my underwater paintings were accepted in the famous
Lassen Gallery in San Fransisco USA.
During the next few years I held more solo exhibitions:
1997 - Solo Exhibition at Neelsie Centre, Stellenbosch - Whales &
1998 - Solo Exhibition at Fisherman's gallery of Hermanus - variety of
1999 - Commenced work on large abstract figure canvases.
2000 - Solo Exhibition at the Library Hall of Hermanus - variety of works.
During this time I started to experiment a lot more with texture and mixed
media. My subject matter included more of the human form, often painted in
a simplified or abstract way. I concentrated more on colour and contrast
using a lot of black enamel paint and oils in an impasto manner.
This was a break through in certain areas for me; I found expressive
freedom in creating abstract works.
2001 - Solo Exhibition at Gallery No. 10 in Hermanus. Consisted entirely
of large simple, abstract work on textured canvases. Three paintings were
created in direct response to the September 11 disaster.
2002 - Solo Exhibition at De Stijl Gallery in Onrus – a very mixed
exhibition – underwater, abstract and wildlife.
My grandfather – Dr EH Ashton, an anthropologist who had worked in
Basutoland, left a wealth of photos and written material which I found
extremely valuable as I started to work with the African theme. I used a
lot of natural matter glued onto the canvas for extra interest like sand,
beads and twigs; which gave a very pleasing result.
And the Lord God formed
man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of
life and man became a living being.
2002 – Invitational Exhibition
at the Western Cape Hotel & Spa in conjunction with the Abdullah Ibrahim
Later on in the year I
participated in a Group Exhibition at De Stijl Gallery during the Kalfie
Fees with other local artists including Shelley Adams and Nico van
2003 – I dived straight into completely abstract work, which I sometimes
feel was a bit of a cop out. However, it was obviously what I needed to do
at the time and probably a valuable stage in my career as an artist. Often
the intricacies of balancing and giving structure to an abstract painting,
where no obvious form is evident, is quite a daunting task.
In the beginning God
created the Heavens and the Earth.
The earth was without form and void,
And darkness was on the face of the deep,
And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
2004 – Solo exhibition at the
Whale House in Hermanus included very large to small canvases and a
self-portrait. I had great fun creating this reflection of myself sticking
clumps of my dark hair onto a bright orange oil painted canvas.
2004 – Received the wonderful honour of having one of my paintings of a
Himbo Woman used for the front cover of a book named Sadie. Sadie is an
historical novel written by Barry Cole that revolves around the life of a
slave girl who became a minister to her people in Northern America 1700’s.
2005 – After becoming very interested in hiking and the great outdoors I
found it irresistible, and a real calling to glorify God through painting
His incredible creation. The patience involved in painting landscapes is
character building, yet highly rewarding.
I also enjoy the challenge and change of doing mural work. Commissions
include two for the Western Cape Hotel & Spa and another that a Dutch
businessman commissioned for his guesthouse on the sea front in De Kelders.
Living in a holiday town has made my work accessible to foreigners and a
lot of my paintings have found their way overseas to private collections
in The Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Japan, the UK, Ireland,
the USA, Australia, Namibia and Mozambique.
A handful of artists who have influenced me over the years include
Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Degas, Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso
and Jackson Pollock. South African artists include Cecil Skotness, Judith
Mason and William Kentridge.
Other art tuition has included Life Drawing and Painting classes at the
Hermanus Art Centre under the guidance of Shelley Adams. Some very
valuable lessons in composition, form and the dynamics of a painting were
learned with her, although my first experience with oil paint was at the age of 11
taking private lessons with a Dutch artist in New Zealand.
Please feel free to
with regards to prices, commissions or any other information.