At Face Value

By Natasha Fortuin

It might be Marittie’s first time collaborating with Youngblood as a featuring artist in our April First Thursday exhibition entitled ‘Visage’, but she’s been painting for quite a substantial number of years.

When looking at Marittie’s work it is easy to recognize the amount of passion that easily balances with the amount of creativity oozing from her hand.  Striking images communicates the clear understanding that she’s fascinated with the human face in plain language portraits.

The energetic bubbly artist brings to life what often seems dead if not painted in the right mind set. As she envisions the finish product , she focuses to bring her model’s emotions to life on a canvas. Her work speaks for itself, but the words that might come to mind … strong, bold and absolutely outstanding!

Marittie de Villiers

Get to know Marittie de Villiers.

Who is Marittie de Villiers & what do you do?

I am a mom of two teenage girls, Shana and Leah, six pets and we live against the Mountain in Gordon’s bay where I paint full-time.

Why do you do what you do?

There is no other ‘thing’ that drives me so much and get me out of bed so early like painting.  I never tire of all the possibilities of painting and that freedom I have as artist in life and on canvas.

Give us some insight into where this all started for you?

I have a Communications degree and spent some time in the corporate world, always looking out the window, wishing to have more freedom and creativity. I was not sure what it was….. Until I returned from sailing in the Caribbean with my ex-husband and two girls. On returning I started painting and exhibiting full time all at once. I guess the time was right.


How would you describe your artistic journey?

Every person knows what makes them happy when they are born.I already painted as a three year old. I somehow got lost by listening to others and trying to conform. I ended up trying so hard having a career that pleased everyone else, but me. The sailing years freed me of convention. That made me ready to do exactly what gives me joy.

What themes do you pursue?

My art consist mostly of portraits that I use to express emotion and my experience of life with brushstrokes, colour and composition. It is raw emotion and passion I feel for life.


What’s your favourite artwork?

I love all paintings by Picasso. I see the emotion and his experiences in his artwork.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

I am greatly inspired and grateful when a client phones me when receiving the artwork and tell me that they were in tears. Recently I was commissioned to paint a deceased guy as gift to his wife. I only had a very small photo that was very pixelated. It was a challenge to make out his features and his favourite dog with him. When his wife received the painting she was in tears.


What memorable responses have you had to your work?

Proud buyers that send photos of the painting hanging in their place, people that send messages three years later to tell me the painting bring them joy every day. Proud buyers that show the painting in magazines and on television.

Do you prefer working in silence or loud surroundings?

I prefer to work with my own music, no speaking, and no people around. Only the pets.


Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

Yes it can be very lonely. I try to focus on the freedom of my day and the responsibility I have to please myself and keep on creating. I am free to organise my day to meet clients and friends anytime, and spend time with my kids.

What superpower would you have and why?

I know that every human being has the power of visualization.I have learnt to use mine in paintings and in my life on a more practical level. Laser focus is the other one.  I try to stay focused only on what I want, not the things I don’t want.

In your opinion what is the most common misconception of an artist?

I don’t really know what people think of me or as artist…. I would imagine that people might think doing art for a living looks like a fairy tale and that we just play. Art takes dedication, hard work, commitment and lots of tears of frustration sometimes.

What would you tell a young aspiring artist not to do, that’s trying to make it in the art industry?

Do not give up on your dream. Keep at it, and push forward.