Lisl Barry, fine artist based in Oudtshoorn, Klein Karoo, Western Cape - South Africa Lisl Barry, artist and author based in Oudtshoorn, Klein Karoo, Western Cape - South Africa
About Lisl Barry
ABOUT ME | Lisl Barry (neé Boonzaier)

Lisl Barry (neé Boonzaier) grew up and completed her studies in Cape Town.
On meeting her soulmate, Tom Barry, Lisl found herself settling into a rural life on Gamkaberg Nature Reserve in the Little Karoo, in 1993. She immersed herself in this inspiring landscape, exploring a new-found fascination of natural science and in the interactive experience of backpacking to near and far flung destinations. It would be almost ten years later that she and Tom would evolve into a family with the birth of their two girl children: Jade, 2002 and Kai, 2004. And once again they would be set along a new journey of discovery.

Lisl began painting watercolour landscapes in 1985 while still in high school.
After completing her Graphic Design diploma (majoring in Printmaking and Photography) in 1991, she designed and illustrated for Jacana publishers for seven years. She worked solely on their "Discover the Magic" series - each book covering a different geographic area of South Africa, sharing an account of its geological, natural and social history and how this shaped what is seen there today.

Alongside this work she continued to experiment with watercolour techniques and to paint that which inspired her in the new world around her.

With the arrival of their first bush baby in 2002, she became a full-time mum. A year later she began working in oils in earnest.

She had by this time developed a great interest and love of nature and the different South African cultures and its people. Her growing understanding that everything that exists is connected on all levels led her to explore this within herself as she painted and as she taught her children. And her consciousness grew.

Lisl's awe of the wondrous effect of light, perhaps born out of her love of photography, also greatly influences her work.

On a sensory level she paints that which resonates with her eye and steals her breath - mostly quite ordinary moments transformed by the changing of light. On a soulful level the intrinsic connection she feels with every creature, as well as our ancient connection to the earth, she weaves with every layer of paint.

Lisl and Tom home-schooled their children until the end of 2012, based on the Waldorf system of learning, which allowed for a greater freedom of creativity and movement. They believed that their children would also learn awareness and understanding by the very nature of their lifestyle. The family explored not only their immediate surroundings as a learning space, but travelled to different parts of South Africa enabling the children to be exposed to many heartbeats of life and its' stories. They believe in keeping things simple and embrace the lifestyle they have chosen for their family, with appreciation.

In 2008, an account of their family's life experiences and Lisl's learnings as a mother, took the form of a small book titled "52 Ways to Grow Creative Children" (initiated and published by Jacana). The book serves to inspire parents to spend time connecting with their young children doing simple, creative activities and gives ideas that encourage a greater opportunity to experience nature. Using easily accessible materials (and encouraging reusing and recycling wherever possible) these different activities work with a child's natural desire to create and connect with nature.

2013 bought about an altered state in their lives. Their children's growing need to interact daily with their peers meant a change to conventional schooling. Their nearest town, Oudtshoorn, 35km away, is one hugged by rugged mountains and canopied by an expansive, clear sky. After 4 years of inspiring but hot commuting along the back roads of the Karoo to travel to and from school, the family finally relocated to Oudtshoorn in 2017.

Lisl continues to work from her studio in Oudtshoorn. Situated in the heart of this small town above a vibe restaurant, MAMASH, it is now a mere bicycle ride away from home!

And although her backyard is somewhat reduced in area and inhabited less by free, wild animals and more by domestic cats and town birds; her home life and her work continues to be influenced by her passion for conserving the environment and living lightly.

She believes that art, in any form, is vital to opening our eyes anew to the world around us; to make us see everyday things or situations in a way which we may not have previously experienced and, with regards to her own work specifically, to reflect upon our relationship as humans to the environment - on a local and global level.

Exhibiting since 1993, her work forms part of collections locally and abroad.

Should you wish to visit Lisl in her studio-gallery in Oudtshoorn please call 082 769 6993.

"To develop a complete mind:
Study the science of art;
Study the art of science;
Learn how to see.
Realise that everything is connected to everything else."

Leonardo de Vinci