Roelof Rossouw

I was born in Benoni, South Africa in 1957. My parents took me to every airshow and at the age of four I knew all the aircraft and made drawings of them. Aircraft and flight was my first passion then came comic heros like Tarzan, Cisco Kid, Flash Gordon and later Tintin. Inspired by the excellent quality comics and their artists of the sixties, I made my own comics instead of studing my school lessons. I started painting in oils at the age of 14 and the subject matter were landscapes and portrait studies.

At the age of sixteen our family of six moved to Kathu in Northern Cape Provence. I completed my last three school years at Kimberley Boy’s High. When I was seventeen my art teacher took us on an European Art Tour and I fell in love with Europe and travel. Between 1995 and 2008 I have visited a foreign country every year mainly England and Europe. Some years my overseas trips become well planned painting vacations. I have painted in Italy, Kiev, France and USA.

After school I spent two years doing my military service in Potchefstroom. During one parade we were asked who wanted to go to ”Art School” and I raised my hand. So after basic training I found myself at The Artillery School, not art school. Ironically I became the regiment’s artist after I failed the officer’s course. My talent afforded me many privileges and comforts and I became the second in command’s right hand man. I did general art projects and also oil paintings for the mess (dinning hall).

Three years at Wits Tecnikon followed where I gained a National Diploma in Art and Design (Graphic Design). During these years I realized just how little I knew about art and that raw talent was just not enough. Today I’m grateful for the discipline I gained there. I was introduced to examples of the world’s best illustrators and their techniques inspired me very much. After college I painted in acrylic but soon returned to my favourite medium of oil.

In April 1982, I started my first and last salary job working for MEDUNSA (Medical University of Southern Africa) as a graphic artist and medical illustrator. During this time I discovered modern impressionistic painters such as Ken Howard and Bernard Dunstan of England and Max Agostini of France. I began studying their wonderful work which appeared in art magazines. I dreamed of the day that I could paint as loosely as they. That dream was fulfilled about twenty years later.

Other artists that continue to inspire me are: Van Gogh, Monet, John Singer Sargent and Sorrolla. Pierneef and Hugo Naude, Gregoire, Terence McCaw and Adrian Boshof of South Africa to name a few old masters. Wolf Kahn, Richard Schmid and Everett Raymond Kinstler of USA. Norman Long, Aldo Balding and Edward Seago of England. Vietnamese artist Quang Ho is my current favourite.

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