Renowned South African landscape painter, Scats Esterhuyse has enjoyed a long relationship with Avondale, and his paintings are displayed throughout our Tasting Gallery.  This year he is celebrating 20 years as an artist and to commemorate this achievement, we talked to him about his art, his connection to Avondale and his plans for the future.

Many congratulations on your 20th anniversary as an artist. Did you always plan to become a painter?

I came to art after a varied career including glazing, pottery and drumming. I had no experience in any of these but felt drawn to each at various points in my life. With painting, it was the same – I felt the urge to capture reality, not perfection. I believe it is each individual’s responsibility to use one’s talents, to push oneself and find one’s limits.

You are regarded as one of the country’s leading landscape artists. Why landscapes?

I wanted to portray the sights and sounds that I saw on my extensive travels around South Africa, and through this, clouds captured my imagination. Clouds have no structure, no straight lines; they are constantly moving and this is the challenge. In my ‘Swellendam’ piece I must have wiped away at least 30 attempts to capture the clouds before I was satisfied.

You always use oils. Why?

Oil paints are not the easiest medium as they take a long time to dry, but they allow me to experiment with different techniques such as glazing. This involves using a flattened brush to sweep away some of the top colour to reveal layers of paint underneath, creating texture and depth.

I have also experimented with impasto (the thick layering of paints) which creates an almost three dimensional aspect in a picture. This can be seen on my  ‘Her secret garden – Boschendal’ in Avondale’s Tasting Gallery.

What inspires you?

Besides the vast open landscapes of the Cape and the Karoo, I love to capture the small towns, their history and people. As a Christian I believe that we, as humans are the clay, and God is the potter and whilst I do not specifically focus on religious aspects, I do find myself drawn to churches as a focal point of many of my paintings. Perhaps this is because churches are the focal point of many small towns. Painting, for me, is a very spiritual experience.

What is your connection to Avondale?

I met Johnathan Grieve many years ago and we formed a bond over our desire to work in harmony with nature, to be creative and strive for perfection, but not at any cost. I feel that showcasing my artwork at Avondale provides a home that is sensitive to my beliefs.

Looking to the future, how do you want to evolve?

I believe that we all need to evolve; I want to constantly evolve as a person and as an artist. Until now I have travelled several times a year, immersing myself in the places I visit and taking photographs of views that I would like to paint. This method has allowed me to take my time to express my vision on canvas.

My new challenge is to paint en plein air (quite literally plain air or open air). It is a different type of pressure, to capture what is in front of me and apply my paint without pause for thought. Many artists use acrylic paints for this method as they dry so quickly but I am challenging myself to do this in oil, working ‘wet on wet’.

I would also like to hold painting classes outdoors for small groups; I feel it will be very rewarding to create an environment where aspiring artists can come together to create and share in the wonderful vistas of our country.

Scat’s latest exhibition ‘Celebrating 20 Years’ is on display in and around our Tasting Gallery, where visitors are able to enjoy his evocative pieces.

Mon – Sun: 10:00 -16:00

For more information or Private Viewing contact Caelli on 021 8631976 or