Artist Spotlight focuses on interesting artists, upcoming exhibitions, and articles about art and those who love it or create it.

Discover new ways to stretch your imagination, be introduced to new artists, their exhibits, and books to read about them. Expect to excite your mind. Comments are very welcome! -- Rosemary Carstens

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sharing the planet—the work of Isabelle du Toit (Rouaud)

Born in France, moving to South Africa at age 10, back to France at 12, then back to South Africa once again at 16, where she completed a university education before moving to the United States, living first in Chicago and now in Texas, ISABELLE DU TOIT (Rouaud) knows a lot about changing environments. She’s learned to look piercingly at the world around her, far beyond the surface details of her subjects’ surroundings, to the beating heart of their individuality.

Du Toit paints meticulous portraits of primarily birds and animals. She is an avid birdwatcher and has spent many hours in game parks observing nature, absorbing the interaction between man and his environment, and even countless more hours researching her subjects. Every feather, every nuance, color and texture matters and is an inseparable part of the whole. Although she began painting with acrylics, she now uses oils, preparing her canvases with repeated coats of white gesso, sanding between each application—much as Georgia O’Keefe did—to create a smooth, brilliant ground upon which to create her stunning pieces. The artist is deeply engaged with each of her paintings and it is hard to let them go when completed. Until recently she signed them “Rouaud,” her grandmother’s maiden name, in honor of her earliest role model.

It is by considered choice that duToit places her subjects against minimal manmade backgrounds rather than in their natural outdoor settings. This contrast of a living creature, portrayed with infinite detail, against a background of scarce distraction emphasizes its beauty and miraculous creation. For the artist, these are not merely reproductions of birds or animals; they deeply illustrate the plight of nature in the hands of an indifferent humanity. They give the viewer pause for thought, a quiet, contemplative space for considering how empty the world would be without diversity of life.

(Upper left, American Kestral, 24 x 30; right, detail from American Kestral)

More of Isabelle du Toit’s work can be seen at:


http://www.klaudiamarrgallery.com in Santa Fe

-- Rosemary Carstens



ClaireWalter said...

James Audubon, move over.

Jerrie said...

Met a taxidermist who also got every feather and every gesture right. Not easy with birds. Always appreciate those who notice such detail. Good blog piece.

Shari said...

Absolutely stunning work. I thought it was a photograph at first the detail is some exact. There are so many amazing artists out there whose work you never hear about so thank you for getting the information out. I just checked her Web site and it doesn't look like she has any upcoming exhibits but hopefully I can find one in the future.