Karin Daymond is a landscape painter whose paintings are a lot deeper than the thickness of the paint that she applies to the canvas. Over the years Daymond has become accustomed to emotional responses to her paintings. Many identify with the setting of the painting, even though the viewer is unlikely to have been to that particular place. It is this ability to capture the spirit of a place that makes her work so powerful.
Daymond’s paintings are actual places. The emotions that they evoke could, however, be found in countless places and situations throughout the South African landscape. Land issues are not simple in this country. Land becomes a canvas on which people can make their mark, and these marks have both visual and emotional implications.
Having lived most of her life in subtropical places, Daymond was recently captivated by the Free State and has reflected this in her most latest work. “The lush areas that I know so well are visually entertaining and forgiving. There is excess here. In contrast though, I am drawn to the deep attachment to the land that is written all over the Free State. I love to walk there, through the vast landscape punctuated by evidence of human settlement. There are old stone walls, new stone walls, new and derelict fences, clumps of gum trees, and in the middle of nowhere, graves piled high with stones collected off the land. It is a reserved place, with its often sad social boundaries threaded through its flat veld and undulating hills.”
In contrast Daymond’s lowveld landscapes capture a raw and natural beauty, exploring the energy of untouched nature. A sky becomes a swirling mosaic of brush marks that suggest events beyond our immediate world. A triptych titled “Bush Rhythms”, begun as a study of small areas of bushveld vegetation in the late winter, quickly becomes an exploration of colours and marks, the patterns of which could be found in outer space or under a microscope. Aloes stand like sentinels on a hillside in the Schoemanskloof valley, and trees jostle for space as they tumble down a kloof in the Blyde River Canyon. “As we methodically erode and invade environments, recording pristine landscapes feels increasingly urgent to me. We are moving closer to a point where untouched land no longer exists, and so my work sometimes has a sense of nostalgia. Working on these paintings, applying thousands of brush marks is akin to meditation, a respectful process with which the viewer can identify.”