Local artist Charles Small has created a body of work consisting of over 700 pieces of art and is currently working on a new solo exhibition inspired by the beautiful Boland town of Paarl.
Small is one of the protégés of the recently launched artist development programme facilitated by the Drakenstein Local Tourism Association and funded by the Drakenstein Municipality. His career as a painter can be traced back to a love of art and sketching when Small was still in primary school.
Although he works in pastels, water colours and acrylics, oil remains his favourite medium for his evocative still life and landscape paintings. He also builds scale models from match sticks, which are displayed at the Paarl Museum and McGregor Museum in Kimberley.
“Art and woodwork were my two main subjects at Klein Nederburg Secondary and I have always been inspired by the techniques of Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci as well as the beauty of my surroundings and the people around me. Working in oil is very time consuming and it can take days to complete a painting. I can spend up to six hours a day trying to capture my subject,” explains Small.
He recently sent a canvas overseas after someone saw his Charles Artworks insert on YouTube and some of his works have been exhibited at the Rhebokskloof wine estate, Paarl Museum and the Cape Town International Convention Centre and Boland Park. He is an enthusiastic user of the Paarl Tourism app and utilises it as his private website to keep followers updated on his latest works.
The soft-spoken, 56-year old artist was recently part of a group of identified talent, who attended the “Product of Place” course presented by the Craft and Design Institute of South Africa. During the workshop, Charles saw some of his work converted into postcards and realised that creating work with a local theme could significantly boost his marketability and will be incorporating a proudly Paarl theme for his upcoming exhibition.
“This is one of the reasons why we are supporting this development programme. If artists such as Charles can create pieces focusing on local content, it would appeal immensely to visiting tourists. Imagine that you can purchase a painting or post card picturing the magnificent beauty of Paarl and its people to take home after a memorable holiday in our town.”\
“By creating works of art that are marketable, these artists can build sustainable businesses for themselves, which is one of the objectives of this development programme,” mentions Annelize Stroebel, general manager of the Drakenstein Local Tourism Association.