My name is Ilse Kruger and I live in Nature’s Valley Forest, beside the sea. I am privileged to see the colours and moods of nature from daybreak to sunset.

I had Art as a subject at school and would have loved to study Art one day. My dad said: ‘Real work, my girl, real work.’ After school, life happened and I went to study Oral Hygiene. Later on I had my own Clothing Manufacturing Company and Boutique. I also had an Embroidery Workshop. So I practiced my Art only as a hobby and for the joy of it.

I started painting seriously in 2008. It was all because of the inspiration of one woman who crossed my path on one specific day:

I accompanied my husband on a steam train trip around Pretoria. It was a work related project reward and we were all to meet at Capital Park Station. I did not know his colleagues. Standing around, I suddenly saw a woman totally mesmerised by something in an ugly old concrete pond, overgrown with weeds. She was in her own world. While everybody were taking pictures of the steam locomotive, she was taking pictures of the pond. I asked her what she saw and she waved her arm and said: ‘Come and see.’ I saw amazing reflections in the dirty water: of plants, clouds, blue sky, steam and lastly, the locomotive. She showed me the world of art by opening a window through which I climbed on that day. It changed my life. I let her mentor and teach me for the next 5 years. We spent many hours together.

Her name was Mariki van Graan, a great artist. She was dying of cancer. I have learnt that one can escape into a world of art, colour and fantasy when life becomes difficult. I have learnt that as an artist, one should always try to look past the obvious.

I mainly get my inspiration from nature. From the interaction between light and dark, busyness and stillness, different shapes, sizes and textures, opposite colours working together or fighting one another, tension or calmness, and the relationship between shapes.

Shop Now

Follow my journey