Home is where the he art is…..

Jonel Scoltz’ resume does not read like that of a prolific and profound artist. But, like many artists, Jonel spent years quietly developing her true artistic passion – a desire to paint that, in her own words, “can only be put out by death.”

Jonel was born in 1972 in Lichtenburg in the northwest of South Africa. She moved to Johannesburg shortly

afterwards, where she attended Fairlands Primary School and Linden High School. She obtained a B.Sc. degree at the Rand Afrikaans University, majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. After her studies in 1994

she worked as a chemist. Like all kids, Jonel loved to draw. When she was fifteen she started taking art

classes with the renowned American artist, Louise Goudemondt. Louise taught her the fine art of painting, focusing particularly on figures and portraits. This early training ignited a prolific career, and it was not

long before Jonel attained her first major accolade - first prize in the 1989 Women for Peace and Christie’s of London art competition in the 15 to 21 years category. Years later, in 2003, Jonel finally decided to pursue a career in art. Jonel describes herself as an expressionist impressionistic artist. Her paintings create domestic scenes in hues conveying intensely subjective and evocative interior spaces. Her works – dominated by reds, browns and yellows – depict intimate rooms and worn furnishings that seem

to emerge from some eternal dream of rural tranquility. The warm interior scenes

always include a frame of some sort, often doors and windows, occasionally picture frames. This recurring theme calls attention to rites of passage and socialisation (many paintings include young children) and the

gendered organisation of space. “The homes in my works are distinctly feminine, with women and young girls often gazing out windows and through doorways. These visual cues also draw your eye to light, as it

passes across thresholds and over surfaces, casting an inviting glow. While clearly figurative, my paintings’ expressive qualities evoke the safety and comfort of the ideal home in our collective imagination.”

Jonel always starts a painting with under painting, which focuses on lifting out the light and shade, reflecting the chiaroscuro of the image. This has become the blueprint of her painting, and she believes the highlighted contrasts depict the light and dark sides of every person, every space and every situation.

Jonel describes her paintings as her words and feelings – “I do not talk a lot, instead I paint.” These feelings are not static, and Jonel hopes that something changes inside viewers when they look at her work.

Jonel draws inspiration from nothing simpler or more complex than life itself.

“I live with my husband and daughter on a farm, and that is where the light in my paintings comes from.” Her paintings are inspired chiefly by the simple life of a mother and wife, and develop into all the complicated aspects that make up a soul. She sees painting as the most honest depiction of life, pointing out that “you cannot lie on a canvas. If you do, the whole word will see it…no pretence can survive on a canvas.”

The ability to create with unabashed honesty is, according to Jonel, one of the most essential qualities of an artist.

Jonel has appeared in a number of publications, including Tophuis, Tuin Pales, Rapport Tydskrif, Arttimes and NY Magazine. She has been interviewed on radio and has presented a master class on TV. She has participated in numerous exhibitions abroad, appearing at the Art Fusion Galleries in Miami and the Agora Gallery and Javitz Centre in New York, to name a few. A particularly memorable appearance was in the UN’s Africa-Haiti exhibition, also held in New York. She was invited to exhibit on Arttango.eu, a European

website, and gets regular commissions from international clients. Locally, she exhibits at venues like the Alice Art Galleries, Rosendal Gallery, Art2Heart Gallery, Stuido 1 and the Artscape Gallery.

The spirit of Jonel’s work is best captured in her own words: “Everything I paint comes out of the deepest being of my soul. My interior paintings are not just rooms, they are dwellings of the soul and feelings”


“While clearly figurative, my

paintings’ expressive qualities

evoke the safety and comfort

of the ideal home in our

collective imagination