Artist Interviews: Lizelle Struwig
I wanted to try something new and inspiring in the blog this week. You all have heard plenty from me, so I’d love to give another artist the chance to share her story and her thoughts on art and the path of the artist! Please give a warm welcome to Lizelle Struwig, who’s based in South Africa and does amazing work across mediums, but mostly with oil paints. You may know Lizelle for her amazing art lessons she has done recently for our CBF Presents series. You can view one of her painting tutorials here. I really enjoy seeing not just her skill, but her positive outlook and emphasis on the artistic community. Without any further ado, meet Lizelle Struwig!
When did you start making art and what has been your artistic path so far?
As most children do, I started drawing as a kid. I wouldn’t say I drew more than the average child though. Creativity runs through the family genes, and I guess it was always a part of me but it wasn’t until high school that I started to draw more. In grade 10 I decided to take art as a subject for the last three years of high school. It was in these three years that I got introduced to the basics of other mediums such as watercolor, acrylics, soft pastels, sculpting, and also oil paints. I continued doing art on and off after school -- a few commissions here and there. However, my true growth didn’t start until I decided to pursue an art career. At the end of 2017, I saw the artwork of amazing artist Brooke Cormier and it awoke a strong urge inside me to do more with my art. From this day I decided to commit to art part-time since I have a full-time job managing our family coffee shop. It’s been hard work juggling both and still having free time to hang out with family and friends, but it’s worth it. The growth in the last few years has been a tremendous improvement in my skills and knowledge, also in my career as an artist.
What made you choose oils specifically and what do you like most about the medium?
In Grade 12 we got to specialize in two mediums -- one of which must be “drawing” (for example drawing + drawing/painting/sculpting/linocut.) In grade 10 I already decided it would be drawing and drawing. I didn’t want to paint but my mind changed quickly as I briefly got introduced to mediums such as watercolor, pastels, acrylic, and oils in the following two years. I immediately felt drawn to oils for various reasons. Compared to the other mediums I’ve tried, oil paints were just so satisfying and relaxing to paint with. I can mix many colors at once on my palette with no fear of it drying in minutes and leaving me with the struggle of mixing that precise color again.
"I like the way oils feel when you drag them across a canvas and the fact that they dry slowly, leaving me to create realistic transitions by blending colors (one of my favorite techniques)."
Speaking of technique, oils have such a great variety of techniques (like glazing) to try and flexible ways to apply them because they dry so slowly. I personally also just like the texture of a dried oil painting more than, for example, an acrylic painting, but I also strongly believe that every medium has something special. Apart from the reasons I fell in love with oils in the first place, I think I came to a point where it is now the medium I practiced and experimented with the most and it has now become the easiest to work with.
How would you describe your signature style or technique and how did you go about learning it?
Honestly, I don’t feel like I have found my signature style yet; I am at a stage in my career where I am still exploring new styles and techniques every day, searching for that one thing that I feel like I can commit to for the rest of my life. The two things that are usually prominent in my paintings are a soft blending technique and a very thin “smooth” layer of paint. This is connected to my perfectionistic personality trait and the lean towards a style of realism although I don’t specify in a hyper-realistic art style. I get this effect by blending the layers of paint with a dry soft “blending brush”. You can’t quite achieve the level of smoothness with thick layers of wet oil paint, so this is why I paint very thin layers instead.
What inspires you most at the moment and how does it inspire you?
A community of artists is an inspiration by itself but then there is the greatest Artist/Creator of all. My greatest inspiration comes purely from life itself, the whole of creation because all of it combined is one enchanting piece of art. Take nature, for instance: notice all the fascinating shapes, patterns, colors, and textures. The magnificent universe, unique architecture, and human life. I frequently also find myself inclined towards emotion. I am overwhelmed by the beauty of creation and it is all around us; we just have to take time to notice and see life from a new perspective.
What are your goals for your art?
My ultimate goal/dream for my art is to touch lives. To create Godly breathed art that speaks to the soul, and touches the hearts of all people. People who are hurting, searching, or striving. Art that can be a beacon of rest and motivation to keep going no matter where they are in life. Perhaps also to be able to teach people and inspire them to create art themselves in various forms, whether visual art, music, poetry, etc. And then to be able to do it full-time will be a bonus.
Do you have any advice for beginner artists or even artists at any stage in their journey?
Enjoy the journey. If you keep your eyes only on the ultimate goal or trying to force success you will start to feel overwhelmed, burned out, unmotivated, uninspired, or even like you don’t have what it takes. This will probably make you want to quit before you even really get started. Instead, keep your ultimate goal near but focus on smaller goals and on enjoying the process. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes; this is where you learn the most. Try new styles and techniques and don’t be afraid to experiment. Like someone once told me, “art is not a sprint but a marathon”. So learn to love the journey of your growth!
Thank you, Lizelle for taking the time to let us get to know you a little better. Thank you specifically for sharing your positive energy, painting techniques, and sound advice with us!
Remember, you can support Lizelle by following her on Instagram @lizellestruwigart for painting inspiration or paint along with her on the CBF youtube channel:
|Tropical Night Galaxy Painting||Red Sailboat STEP by STEP||Purple Snowy Mountain|
Thank you all for tuning in to the blog and please let us know in the comments any questions you have for future artists, what you think of oil paints, Lizelle’s insights on art, and whether you’d like to see more interviews like this with artists from the CBF Presents series.
Until next week, Keep Creating!