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About The Artist

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Scenes from the garden of life

Marna Schoeman studied BA Fine Arts at the University of Pretoria and graduated in 1986

She currently finds great joy in rendering finely detailed miniature paintings in the old Persian style and concentrates on subjects that instill a sense of happiness and harmony in the viewer.

She gets her inspiration from the rich diversity of life, as well as humans, plants and animals.

She tries to see beauty and life everywhere around her, even in mundane scenes like riding in the bus or mowing the lawn.

Marna uses mainly gouache and acrylic on artists board and her paintings have been taken up in private collections as far affield as the USA and Ireland.

Although I grew up in a very traditional Afrikaans household I have always been fascinated by Eastern religion and philosophy. It might have had something to do with the fact that my father must have been the only person I know to actually buy info-booklets from Hare Krishna! These wonderfully illustrated gems thus landed on our bookshelf.

When bored as a child, I would lie down on my bed with a pile of these books, and was dazzled by these highly decorative and exotic images of beautiful benign cattle and strange blue deities with rosy, upturned hand palms.

These fantastic, detailed images were imprinted into my psyche from a very early age and found its way into my artistic expression and influenced my style as an adult.

Hindu history, mythology and philosophy still fascinate me and its visual approach still feeds into my style.

When studying art at university, such a highly illustrative and decorative style, was severely frowned upon by academia, and I was sternly discouraged from working in this manner.

I tried my best to freely express myself with spontaneous brushstrokes in an expressive, loose and painterly fashion.

Failing to manage that, I returned to what came naturally soon after finishing art school: as an artist one must enjoy what one is doing, otherwise there is no sense in doing it. The joy also comes through in the work and the viewer can relate to it. My aim is to instil a sense of joy and wonder in the viewer ... and a chuckle, of course, as humour is an essential ingredient in my work.

My aim in my work is to take the term "illustrative" to the next level. My work is therefore illustrative in the extreme, highly decorative with layers and layers of detail, strong outlines and bold colour. With regards to subject matter I also follow in the footsteps of these Persian masters. Their themes covered all genres, and their paintings contained portraits, animals, botanical illustrations, landscapes and decorative pattern. I use all of these elements in my work, putting it in a contemporary and also more local setting (using indigenous fauna and flora and cultural details). I add high rise buildings, people in everyday scenes like riding in a bus or mowing the lawn while being stalked by tigers, Elvis Presley jamming on his guitar with the Lord Krishna, The elephant goddess Ganesha being stuck in rush hour traffic or maybe even a Blue Toothed Buddha!

Since finishing my training as silversmith and jewellery designer, I have been combining the two disciplines: I design and make ornate little copper stands on which my painting is displayed. Detail from the painting is embedded in resin and set in a silver brooch, pendant or a pair of earrings, which is then added to the stand, resulting in a small artistic installation of painting with accessories: so now you can have my painting at home and wear it around your neck!

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