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’Memory of France’

Acrylic on canvas 90cmx60cm

The painting of France a tad more laboured than it would have been if we had been traveling in France, as I would be rushing to do as many paintings as possible in the limited time. However, I’m pleased that it doesn’t feel overworked. The loose canvas giving me a hard time with lines that didn’t behave as the canvas moved.

Not sure whether it’s the impact of the flu and pneumonia jabs, or the reduced lockdown exercise, but my blood sugar scare misbehaving. Even with ultra-careful eating. Wine the immediate casualty.

South African ingredient used in a starter and main course our cooking challenge. Terry did a starter of Banting Bobotie with smoked cauli ’begrafnis rys’, sweet pepper chutney and pumpkin seeds.

The main course was deconstructed slow-cooked oxtail potjie… Pulled oxtail with pumpkin fritters, glazed bones, chargrilled corn, and potjie jus.

Heading into the last week of this lockdown phase and my ultra-marathon distance has passed the 80km mark. The approximate Comrades Marathon distance of 89 km well within my reach and possibly the 100km mark. Ankles creaking in the multiple turns.

MOMA is offering a few of their courses during the COVID-19 lockdown, and I decide to do the ’Post War Abstract Painting, In the Studio’ course. Something, I know nothing about, (or appreciating) abstract paintings. However, I love Kandinsky’s work and I’m fascinated by Jackson Pollock. Probably the fault of the Hermitage in St Petersburg and the Guggenheim in New York City.

That said, I’m continually searching for simplification in my works.
Barnett Newman’s ’zips’ my first hurdle. While much of his work is in primary colours or a tad dark, it was his ’white’ paintings that fascinated me. Being in lockdown, I can only work with what I have in the studio, so none of the mediums or fancy binders. Of course, Newman didn’t use my finger painting style either!

After a primary coat of Naples Yellow Green, I sanded the canvas to smooth the background, against which to contract the pale ’zip’. A mixture of Raw Sienna and White, getting the high gloss finish I was hoping for. A second ’zip’ in white against the right edge of the painting.

Perhaps the Abstract Expressionist were right, this needs to be HUGE for impact! A commission?

’Zip’ 20cmx20cm

In his time Jan has been an electronics, nuclear and power system engineer, a strategist, a humanitarian and an artist. A career path linked by creativity and innovative thinking. Initially trained at the Johannesburg College of Art, Jan has won numerous international awards and has exhibited nationally and internationally. He can be found in his studio ‘Jandreart’ located at Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna.


  • Having looked at some of Barnett Newman’s “Zip” paintings, I’m quite impressed with what you’ve achieved, Jan! Do like the textures of the canvas, too. But do I understand Abstract Art? Hmmmm. Great artistic adventure for you, though!

    April 25, 2020

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