What is this? A painting for ants?! SA artist creates super miniature paintings

By admin
09 January 2014

SA artist Lorraine Loots creates delightful miniature paintings in painstaking detail.

This is definitely a labour of love! Lorraine Loots (28), or Mierneef, as she’s been dubbed in a play on the name of SA master landscape artist Pierneef, devoted 2013 to painting a miniature watercolour each day.

Three hundred and sixty-five miniature paintings make up a novel collection of artworks, titled 365 Paintings for Ants, which is due to be completed on the last day of 2013 and go on display soon.

Her project offers prospective clients the opportunity to book a day and select some options for what they’d like her to paint on that day. They also have to give a brief description of the person for whom the work is intended. The only proviso is that the subject should be universal and not something personal like a picture of a loved one.

“I get some strange requests,” Lorraine says. “Someone even asked me to paint the internet. I just laughed. Some things just are impossible to paint.”

She says people like the concept because it means they can buy art that forms part of a bigger collection and contains personal memories and interest.

The paintings, which go on display in the first week of January, are all between 15 mm and 30 mm in size and costs R500 each. Among the completed works are images of a hot-air balloon, roller skates and a sea urchin. Each month’s works are in frames of a different type of wood.

Lorraine, who’s orginally of Somerset West, has an honours degree in visual communication from the University of Stellenbosch and a masters degree in film and media from the University of Cape Town.

The road to this successful project hasn’t been easy though, Lorraine says. After resigning her job as social media manager for an events company, she at one stage had 14 jobs to keep herself going. She’s managed film productions, worked as a waitron, decorated bicycles and done proofreading.

At the end of last year she found a business course in the UK that helps artists with making good business decisions, analyse financial statements and do tax and marketing.

During the course she realised she didn’t want to make a living from art but would rather pursue it as a hobby. But the course wasn’t over yet and her dummy business plan was due.

“I started thinking what I could do in a year. I’m inclined to be slightly obsessive compulsive so I knew I’d have to do something every day. Then I started thinking about what I’d be able to accomplish in an hour and I decided on the miniature paintings.”

Turns out it was a good move – after her presentation of her business plan one of her lecturers came up to her to book a painting for 12 August.

- Marelize Potgieter

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