A professional artist and an art teacher from South Africa loves sugar birds, bee-eaters, pincushions and Proteas. These birds and flowers are indigenous from where Estelle Kenyon hails from.
Her love for nature also extends to the beautiful Omani landscape where she spends most of her time when she is not teaching or painting. Her love for the beauty which nature has to offer is clearly evident in her technically proficient and visually opulent paintings.
Estelle is constantly painting. When she is unable to paint physically, her eyes serve as a paintbrush and her mind is the palette.
The lockdown last year saw her totally immersed in her work. She produced about five large canvases measuring 1.2x1.5 each which took her almost two years to complete them. The works all reflect the abundance of life, a stark contrast to the reality of being confined during the pandemic.
Estelle’s works are complex and the imagery found in the paintings can be connected to other cultures. She incorporates aboriginal patterns, Chinese dripping techniques, the approach of Renaissance masters as well as many other foreign elements into her work.
“Art is a compulsion. What I create is something that lives in the ether. It is there but one cannot see it. My imagination connects with that place of mystery and that is the point from which I create. My technique touches on more than one specific medium. I combine the teachings of the old masters with the use of more contemporary mediums using acrylic gels, spray paint with stencils and gold leaf. When I approach the canvas, it’s like stepping into the unknown. It’s a process of surrender. I begin with a ‘no mind” approach and function instinctively. The painting emerges through a collaboration of surrender and control,” she explains.
Estelle loves to visit new places and meet people from different cultures as well as enjoying sports, outdoors, camping and taking challenging hikes.
Estelle has been teaching art at the Al Sahwa International School Muscat since 2016. Her IGCSE Omani art students received the highest grades in the Sultanate of Oman for art five years in a row and were officially recognised by Cambridge.
“Working with students is a privilege. It is important for me as an artist to be part of a community, to be able to contribute to the students’ learning and to be able to learn from them. Working in isolation is not a realistic reflection of life. ”
Estelle along with her friend Marion Reschreiter plan to host a painting workshop and art tour for Omani students during summer. Barcelona and Vienna are the destinations. They will visually investigate all the characteristics of Antoni Gaudí’s work, art deco, Picasso and Gustav Klimt. The students will then produce a piece of art inspired by the visual information they have gathered on their art journey.
She has also worked in South Africa, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Siberia. Her childhood was spent in Belgium where her father served as Consul General for the South African government.
A passionate lover of life, Estelle loves living in the Sultanate of Oman which is her second home and she feels similar to South Africa in many ways. Estelle is also working towards a collaborative exhibition in Muscat with some of her ex-Al Sahwa pupils.
Her works can be seen at www.estellekenyon.com and her Instagram handle is estellekenyon.