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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
ABOUT ME | Lisl Barry (neĆ© Boonzaier)

Born Lisl Boonzaier, I grew up and completed my studies in Cape Town.
On meeting my soulmate, Tom Barry, I found myself settling into a rural life on Gamkaberg Nature Reserve in the Little Karoo, in 1993. I immersed myself 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 Tom and I would evolve into a family with the birth of our two girl children: Jade, 2002 and Kai, 2004. And once again we would be set along a new journey of discovery.

I began painting watercolour landscapes in 1985 while still in high school.
After completing my Graphic Design diploma (majoring in Printmaking and Photography) in 1991, I designed and illustrated for Jacana publishers for seven years, working 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 I continued to explore watercolour techniques and to share this new world around me through paint.

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

By this time I had developed a great interest and love of nature and the different South African cultures and its people. My growing understanding that everything that exists is connected on all levels led me to explore this within myself as I painted and as I taught my children. And my consciousness grew.

My awe of the wondrous effect of light, perhaps born out of my love of photography, also greatly influences my work.

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

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

In 2008, an account of our family's life experiences and my creative learning as a mother, took the shape 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 our lives. Our children's growing need to interact daily with their peers meant a change to conventional schooling. Our 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, in 2017 we finally took the decision to relocate to Oudtshoorn.

Presently I continue to work from my studio in Oudtshoorn. Situated in the heart of this small town above a vibey restaurant MAMASH, it is now a mere bicycle ride away from home!

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

I believe 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 my own work specifically, to reflect upon our relationship as humans to the environment - on a local and global level.

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

Should you wish to visit me in my 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