I don’t even know where to start this one, but I know it’s going to be long.
Because I am in complete awe of this exceptionally talented artist. Her work is just beyond beautiful, as is her heart. She is simply divine.
Let me explain…
About 13 years ago, I was introduced to Ms. de Bliquy at her plot in Cape Town. I was a socially awkward girl in her early 20’s. I was fat and hadn’t found my own style yet. I had strange hair. Make-up was something other people could do. Basically I was a bit of a mess.
Then in sweeps this lady, and makes me feel completely at ease in my own skin for the first time in my life. I fell in love with her on the spot. Anyone who can welcome someone into their own home with such love and grace is a rare gem.
I knew she was an artist, but art past Matisse really isn’t my thing.
During the course of the day, the conversation turned to her work, and she was so kind when I admitted I hadn’t see any before. She asked someone to bring her a copy of her most famous work, Woman. I was mentally preparing to say all the right things. Or, what my simple little mind considered the right things. I was a bit worried.
Then I saw it. The most exquisite piece of work I have ever seen. I fell in love with it. I had absolutely no words, but the goose bumps gave away the overwhelming feelings I had for it. Words for once, were entirely superfluous.
Woman is in a private collection with Mr. & Mrs. King, who are incredibly lucky to have this ‘eyebrow pencil sketch’. Yep, she created that magnificent piece with her eyebrow pencil. Nope, not joking.
Let me tell you a bit about Woman. I don’t know how much you can see from the picture above, but her hair shows the strength and beauty of women.
You will see a horses head which symbolises strength, nobility and dignity.
You will see flowers – primroses actually. In European folk-law, they make the invisible, visible.
You will see a dove, which speaks of peace, gentleness, innocence, humbleness and kindness.
You will see a child which of course is the fruit of a woman, and depicts nourishment, growth, new life, new beginnings and opportunities.
I would like to say that I am skilled enough to find these words to explain Woman to you, but I am am not that good. These are Ms. de Bliquy’s words. Her work always tells stories, and she always shares those stories.
Fast forward 13 years and I was incredibly fortunate to happen to be in Cape Town at the same time there was a private exhibition organised in her honour. One of her biggest collectors had opened their beautiful beach front property to show both past work, and four new pieces which were for sale. Not only this, but Ms. de Bliquy had agreed to speak and tell their stories. Naturally we jumped at the opportunity.
For the second time in my life, I lost my ability to speak and my body gave way to a wave of goosebumps.
Die Kleinpot. Her latest piece.
Wow. Just wow. And did I saw wow?
I had to have it, and am so proud and thankful to announce that she agreed to sell it to me. I have never been so happy. I have my first, but not last, Catharina de Bliquy pencil sketch.
It was inspired by a passage from the bible, Jeremiah 18:1-6, which reads:
“The word that was addressed to Jeremiah, by the Lord, ‘Get up and make your way down to the the potter’s house; there I shall let you hear what I have to say. So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working at the wheel. And whenever the vessel he was making came out wrong, as it happens with the clay handled by potters, he would start afresh and work it into another vessel, as potters do. Then this word of the Lord was addressed to me, ‘House of Israel, can not I do to you as what this potter does? – it is the Lord who speaks. Yes, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so you are in mine, House of Israel.'”
I have to admit at this point that I am not so good with the bible. I’ve read it cover to cover, but I do not have the ability to draw this much inspiration from it. Having seen how this passage spoke to her and the result of that, I wish it did.
All I know is that I fell in love with it’s beauty and simplicity within its intricate lines. Even a non-art buff like me can appreciate the use of shadow and light. It is just perfection.
(I have purposely not put the best photo of it on here, because I want to be a little selfish with it for a while. It’s mine. I know art should be shared with the masses, but at the moment, I want it all for myself!)
We sat and listened to her talk us through the stories of not only ‘my’ piece but the other three. She also explained how she doesn’t set down with an idea, but her work just evolves and becomes someone through the story that emerges with it.
My apologies for the poor quality of the photos, but I am fairly hopeless at this kind of photography… I am much in the ‘aim, shoot and hope for the best’, category of photographer!
As you can see from the pictures above (and additional ones I have either found on the internet, or been blessed enough to see with my own eyes, below), Catharina de Bliquy is known for her female faces. I think they are absolutely stunning, and her use of colour is as unique as it is powerful. It really does take your breath away when you are standing there in front of them.
After the talk she gave, which was naturally very well received, there was a Q&A where more serious art and de Bliquey fans asked lots of things I didn’t understand, and then we all ambled about looking at the paintings with considerable awe. I cannot tell you how many people congratulated me on my purchase – and their jealousy that I had got there first was palatable! I have to admit to feeling a wee bit smug!
My favourite part of the evening was when we just sat with Ms. de Bliquy after everything had calmed down. She is as expressive with words as she is with her paints. I could literally listen to her for hours.
You can see the absolute spell she has on me here…
In case you were wondering, she absolutely does still have the ability to make me feel at ease in my own skin. She makes me, and pretty much everyone she meets, feel special. I think this is as much of a skill as her art work.
I left with a heavy heart to be walking away, but with a sense of serenity and feeling not only beautiful but like I am an important part of the world in my own right. Again, that’s not a feeling I have every day. It was all her doing. She weaves spells and blessings just as well as she wove the strength of women, in Woman.
She is honestly one of the most talented artists I have had the fortune to see the work of. She is also one of the most incredible human beings I have had the honour of meeting.
As a last boast, I would like to introduce you to the beautiful ‘wax eyebrow pencil sketch’ which I am also fortunate enough to be the very proud owner of.
My Catharina de Bliquy collection has officially started and I very much look forward to growing it in the future.
But now, just a couple more examples of her exquisite works that are in the public domain, or private collections – as most are. I don’t know the name of them, but I have credited the collector where I can.
Thank you, Catharina de Bliquy.
If you are interested in seeing more of Catharina de Bliquy’s work, or commissioning her for something specific, please feel free to private message me via Twitter or Instagram, or just leave your email address in the comments section below. I would be more than happy to put you in contact with the her representatives.