New gallery opens in the Valley of a Thousand Hills
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KZN ARTIST Hannah Paine “hated school and doodled her way through classes” ‒ and that love of doodling led her into a life of creating artworks, from ceramics to large oil canvasses.
Paine, who lives in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, just outside Durban, launched her gallery this week showcasing her oil paintings, particularly florals which capture exquisite detail so often missed by the eye, and her mood portraits.
She grew up in Kimberley and studied art after finishing school, which led her into ceramics and her own business.
Supplying her own retail outlets, her work expanded into interior design and crafts. She travelled extensively in south-east Asia for sourcing, designing and manufacturing products for her business.
In 2010, she took a sabbatical to Bali where she joined an art group in Ubud which met twice a week at the studio of renowned artist Pranoto. It was this experience which reignited her passion for fine art, particularly oil painting.
“I’m not a religious person, but when I’m working it’s like worshipping. It’s a creative force and it feels good. I suppose it’s a bit of a high and brings joy. I paint emotions, moments and things which talk to me, I capture a mood. Art is not something you have to try to do,” she said.
One of her large artworks can take up to six months to complete and requires multiple layers.
“I’m not a purist, I love everything and I like variety. I have always loved flowers and my favourite is a rose,” she said.
While she holds art classes at her home, Macnut Farm, it was during lockdown that she decided it was time to open a gallery, adding to the offerings of 1000 Hills Tourism, known for creative outlets to visit on a day out.
The official launch of the gallery was on Wednesday evening and, as with every artist who shows to the public, Paine said: “Your art is a window to your soul, so it is a brave step to take and you feel especially vulnerable as everyone will have their own opinion. But it’s such a pity when we don’t show the creativity bestowed on us which comes from a deep place and which should be seen and not hidden in a cupboard.”
She also has created cushions with the same artwork as her paintings.
Paine has also worked with stained glass and loves chapels. She has her own quirky take on chapels with a Chapel of Abundance established on the farm where she grows loads of fresh herbs for use at the farm’s wedding and functions venue and for sale to the public. Her dream is to construct a chapel entirely made out of stained glass.
The gardens are a fusion of flowers as Paine has a great love for nature and spends hours taking in the detail of birds and flowers for her work. There is also the tiny Macnut chapel which is used for signing the wedding registry and which has a small antique organ, along with a bell at the door for newly-weds to ring in celebration.
The gallery will be open from 9am to 4pm on a Sunday.
Only 45 minutes from Durban, the area has a host of things to do from the Phezulu Crocodile and Snake Park to the Umgeni Steam Train trip, with lots of arts and crafts and loads of places from delis to shisanyama and a brewery for a cold one.
For more information, go to www.1000hillstourism.co.za
The Independent on Saturday