Featured Artists
Each month an artist is featured in the local press



Tinks started her creative career in Johannesburg, where she worked as a graphic layout artist for a publishing house before moving to the KZN Midlands, where she has worked on a variety of projects in art and education. Tinks enjoyed being the art teacher at Cowan House Preparatory School for five years, and thereafter she joined the Novalis Institute, a Waldorf-based education organisation supporting rural schoolteachers with creative lesson planning and integrating the arts into all learning areas. Tinks then joined the Midlands Meander Education Project (MMEAP) and worked as one of the “Bugs”, visiting schools in the area and bringing fun and colour into classrooms, and establishing several school libraries. She also set up and ran a successful wedding venue and accommodation business in the Dargle where her creative flair proved useful. Throughout her career, Tinks continued to draw, paint and run frequent craft workshops, as well as study art and psychology through UNISA. Five years ago, Tinks founded Silver Birch Studios, a private art education space where she paints and teaches. She has also founded Hands-On Crafts, a range of DIY craft kits, which she sells online and at selected outlets.

“I find my tastes constantly changing and I enjoy experimenting with different techniques, subject matters, and materials. I don’t think I could stick to only one medium or style. I feel that one needs to continually push oneself to learn and progress as an artist: to become complacent can end up in stagnant, unsatisfying work. As the artist, exploring what makes you happy and doing what you enjoy will bring out your most authentic expression that others will enjoy. Paint with joy, excitement and abandon, and if your audience connects with your work and experiences a piece of your emotion, then that is a special bonus!”



Kylie Buys Artist of the month for April 2024

Kylie Buys is a self-taught artist, who studied Biochemistry at Rhodes University, where she obtained a Masters degree. She taught science to grades 8 to 12, which she enjoyed. At this time, she pursued art again, using graphite and later coloured pencils, watercolour, pastels, charcoal, oils and acrylics. She practiced every night after work and slowly started to acquire commissions. She realised that she wanted to further pursue her artworks.

Buys moved back to her hometown, Howick, where she continued to work at her art on a full-time basis. She works on commissions and her own original art which has sold locally and internationally via social media. Artists Carla Grace, CJ Hendry and Lisa Lachri inspire her.

Buys’ main inspiration is wildlife. She loves the natural world, especially the animals that occupy it. Capturing animals’ beauty on canvas is a thrilling process and she hopes to educate people about endangered wildlife.

She plans to create a few collections of wildlife art paintings in acrylics and oils and to grow her social media presence.



Priscilla Allen was born and bred in Pietermaritzburg. She was educated at Russell High School, Commercial High, and the University of Natal. She has Diploma of Design and Technology metrics from UNISA.

Her studies were in science and commerce, and she worked as computer programmer in her younger years. Art, perhaps her first love, is conspicuously absent from her formal studies. However, as a girl she spent many hours drawing and she taught herself how to paint in her teens.

Making good art has always been something she has aspired to do. To create something that is wonderful, and deeply expressive has been her lifelong secret ambition. Art that focuses on the play of light especially interests her, the Impressionists being among the first that she admired.

Now that she has retired, she has the time she needs for her art. While initially her goal was to capture the image in front of her as realistically as possible, she has become more interested in achieving greater creativity with subject matter and learning how to convey mood, and emotion. Her preferred medium is oils but she is dabbling with other media.

Since joining HARTS a couple of years ago, she has found the Midlands an ideal place to practice her art skills and develop as an artist. Added to this is the warm support and stimulation that the, HARTS community contributes. It is a great place for groups of artists to develop their talents and inspire each other.


February 2024 Ceri Williams

Ceri Williams was born in Pietermaritzburg and raised in Wales before moving back to South Africa. She was fortunate to experience different cultures and a lot of interesting things that inspired and stayed with her.

At the age of eleven Ceri and her family and I went to the Saachi gallery in London where she was transported into a surreal place full of strange artworks and instillations. She had never seen anything like this before and the macabre pieces have been a great influence in her life. She was confronted with the works of Damien Hirst. Ceri tries to visit art galleries when able, feeling an inspiring and uplifting energy from visiting them and seeing what artists are capable of.

Ceri attended the Howick High school and matriculated in 2012. She pursued her love of fashion design at the Pietermaritzburg school of fashion, taking part in fashion competitions and after her diploma I was accepted into a mentorship program in Durban called the Durban Fashion Fair. It was all very eye opening, but she had not entered fashion to do competitions She wanted a creative outlet that would provide something special to someone. In the fashion school she started to explore embellishments and painting and dying her own fabrics to use in her designs. Since then, she has been doing freelance work and really focusing in on her art outside fashion. Ceri feels that she is still on a very long journey of discovering and learning about art in all its forms.

She discovered a style of art called Anime/manga, Japanese animated shows, movies, and comics. When she first started watching Anime, she wanted to be able to draw in that style; her brother lent me a drawing book and she was hooked. Over the years she has introduced techniques and mixing mediums to bring her imagination to life. She has taught herself skills in digital painting, graphic design, traditional painting, carving, and painting wood, embroidery, and patchwork. Her pursuit of developing and learning more about art has led her to taking an art class and joining HARTS. Ceri feels that these experiences have really helped her art as well as her mental health as she has found a community of artists that will give her advice and teaching her about interesting art topics.

Social media

Facebook: Firefly designs. Instagram: Firefly_designs_cjw


February 2023 Peter Croxon
Peter Croxon was born in Springs and matriculated from King Edward VII school in Johannesburg, with Art as one of his strongest subjects.
He spent much of his youth in a small mining village called Sheba. Living in the Lowveld had an important influence on his love of painting the indigenous bush, mountains, light and mists.
Peter graduated as an architect from Witwatersrand University in 1961. Architecture gave him a firm foundation for his enjoyment of space and light. He enjoyed the presentation of sketch plans, internal and external perspectives and ‘selling ideas’ drawings.
Whilst living in Durban he was tutored in the studios of: Pascale Chandler in oils; Barbara Siedle in watercolour; Dee Donaldson and Grace Kotze in oils; and the Garrett Group in Westville, a group of about twenty dedicated artists who gathered once a week to draw. He says that all four groups were run by talented artists, who possessed great vision.

March 2023 Louise Rash
Louise Rash has no formal art education and, nor qualification. She stitches together snippets and snatches she gleans from numerous workshops into her non-representational watercolours and fabric art, her crochet work and her gardening.
She currently teaches academic writing and English literature online at a university in far north-eastern China, and enjoys learning about the diversity of cultures on the Asian continent.
Art is a continuous journey of exploration for Rash. In her sketch book, Journeying through Landscapes, she explores a time of transitions in her artwork: a transition to Amber Valley and KZN Midlands landscapes, an acceptance of decreased mobility, and to seeing whatever landscape she can access as a potential art reference. For her, the resolution lies in a transition towards increasing abstraction.
Realistic paintings generally attempt to replicate or represent nature’s beauty and harmony, and depend on a particular scene as a starting point to copy. Abstract landscapes rely less on a starting point and explore unknown territories. However, they do depend on an understanding of line, composition, shape, colour and tonal contrasts. Rash mainly uses watercolours, which flow in unexpected directions, adding a further dimension to abstraction.

April 2023 Jennifer Miles
Jenny Miles grew up in East London, where she matriculated at Clarendon High School. A wonderful teacher, Miss Rose-Innes, inspired her interest in art and set her on her path of creativity. She also attended art classes with Jack Lugg at the East London Technical College.
Miles earned pocket money by painting horses on tiles for family and friends. While training as a Medical Technologist she met her husband to be, Hollis.
In 1980 the family moved to Johannesburg. On retiring, Miles began to renew her interest in art. She visited the Jeu de Paume Gallery located near the Place de la Concorde in Paris (this gallery was used from 1940 to 1944 to store Nazi art plunder). On this visit she became inspired by the Impressionists. She joined a small art studio in Northcliff, where she was introduced to oil painting by Revan Bos. Her aspirations of imitating the Impressionists were forgotten, as her paintings leaned towards realism.
When her husband retired, they moved to Howick where she attended a short course given by Liz Speight. This ignited her passion for oil painting. She joined HARTS and began exhibiting her oil paintings.

Miles is a member of MOPS (Midlands Outdoor Painting and Sketching ) and relaxes by painting in our spectacular Midlands.

May 2023 Paul Murray
Paul Murray was born in Pietermaritzburg. He went to Alexandra High school.
At seven years old, his first inspiration was his father, who was an amazing pencil artist, and while sitting with his mother – who was sewing –he would practise drawing the ‘drawn models’ found on the old pattern packets.
Murray has integrated his experiences from travelling around South Africa and Africa into his work as an extension of himself, expressing the passion compassion he has for wildlife and the understanding of the animals and scenery that he paints. His work is not an attempt at photo-realistic art, but a synergy of what each piece requires, making it a reflection of how he perceives his subject.
Having stopped painting for about three years, he reverted to pencil drawing in an attempt to hone his fine detail work, his final drawings sometimes taking an exceedingly long time!
He moved back to the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands and then set out to bring that fine work back into his oil paintings, he uses his emotion and mood to determine the amount of detail required to complete a piece. Murray feels that the ‘nature’ of an animal, the correct pose and giving respect to the subject, all contribute to creating the beautiful art that he can be proud of.

June 2023 Rose Douglas
Rose Douglas has many creative talents with art being one of them.
She started her career in banking and then moved into clothing industry.
Douglas studied Pottery at Pinetown Technicon, Photography came next, and she obtained her Diploma through the International Institute of Photography. She loves wildlife and landscapes and often venturing out into the bush to pursue her passion.
In earlier years Douglas tried her hand at painting in oils, but found that medium did suit her. She later tried acrylics but, once again, she found that this medium was not for her. She has found the freedom she needs in watercolours.
Now retired, Douglas has once again found the time to dedicate herself to her art. She discovered graphite and oil coloured pencils and loves the fine detail she can achieve. She also uses pastel pencils and achieves the realistic details that she strives for.
Douglas draws from her own photographs and it gives her gives her great joy to use her own work.. She also takes joy in drawing pets and has done a number of commissions of horses and dogs.

July 2023 Joy Preiss
As a young child living in Cape Town, Joy attended Rustenburg Junior school next door to the Frank Joubert Art school in Rondebosch and it was here that she became aware of the importance of art.
Always interested in the activity of making art, she was encouraged by the art teacher at Estcourt High School. She trained at the Durban Technikon in the 1970s majoring in Sculpture, with Painting as her minor.
Now a retired art teacher who ran the art departments in various South African High Schools over a period of forty-three years Joy has her own art studio in Howick. This studio caters for all ages, from the young who go along on a Saturday morning to the older members of the community.
She is passionate about inspiring and teaching others to be creative and to produce art, focusing on helping her students discover their own creative voice, and always emphasises that the process of art making is what is all important, as opposed to the end result.
Joy has re- discovered the pleasure of painting, and is now working towards her own exhibition this time next year. The application of oil paint upon a canvas surface has a strong physical effect on her. And the way that COLOURS respond and react to one another affects her strongly.

August 2023 Pat Thomas
At the age of six with her friend Marguerite, she created pipe cleaner puppets for shows to the neighbourhood children. They had to paint scenery, puppets faces and programmes. They also made paper dolls with clothes. This was the beginning of creative experiences to last a lifetime.
She matriculated at Pretoria Girl’s High with art as one of her subjects and went on to the Johannesburg College of Education where she obtained a diploma in Senior Primary Education.
The Thomas family moved to Kyalami where Pat met an art teacher, Pat Daly, who introduced her to oil painting and, though her encouragement, started on her path as a painter.
The Thomas family then moved to the Lowveld to farm in Hazyview. As they lived near the Kruger Park she was able to paint many wild life paintings although she does not confine her work to wildlife as she paints subjects that are meaningful to her. She now lives in Howick and has joined the HARTS Art Society and says that she is inspired by the diversity of art that she has seen, and by the wonderful artists she has met.

September 2023 Felicity Jackson
Felicity Jackson grew up in Durban North in a very creative environment. Her mother is a talented floral arranger and artist and is still painting at the age of 99. Jackson states that, genetically, she could still have a good number of years painting awaiting her!

She took Art as a Matriculation subject, but did not paint again until about twelve years ago – except for a short drawing course with Tony Strictland. Jackson’s first love is the medium of oils. She says that she has a special love for living creatures, be they human, animal or birds. She especially enjoys portrait and figure painting. Jackson feels that it is so rewarding to try and capture not only a likeness, but also the personality and spirit of a person or creature.

She and her family spend as much time as possible in the bush, especially in the Kruger Park area. Many of her wild life paintings are from reference photographs taken on these trips. She prefers to paint from her own images as they have more meaning to her – and she does not have to worry about breaking any copyright laws.

Jackson feels that she was very lucky to have found a great teacher and mentor in Shirley Howells near the beginning of her artistic journey. Howells has been a great inspiration to her and she still tries to attend a class a month with her in Pinetown. Jackson recently started painting in watercolour, mainly line and wash, and states that she is loving this medium. She believes that one never stops learning in the art world! She has taken a few short courses at Giverny, organised by Hermine Spies-Coleman, which she has found greatly beneficial.

After living in Hillcrest for many years, her family moved seven years ago to a farm in Karkloof and she feels that she has found a new art home in Howick. Jackson is a member of HARTS (Howick Art Society) as well as ‘C’est le Vie’, a small group who meet twice a month to paint together. She finds that there is so much inspiration to be found all around us.

October 2023 June Zwart

June was an only child, raised by her father and grandparents. Her formative years were spent on a farm in Mpumalanga, attending primary school in Middleburg and high school at Rob Ferreira High School in Whiteriver. After matriculating, she made the move to KZN to start her nursing training at Greys Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.

In 1963 she married Wally Zwart and they started their family of four boys – who certainly kept her very busy for the next twenty years! As the boys grew older, time once again became her friend, enabling her to attend classes in art, pottery, needlework, gardening and sewing. These were all one-off classes, rather than being continuous courses.

When Zwart turned sixty-two, she was presented with an opportunity to work in the UK, managing Retirement Homes in various places. During this time – which lasted for eight years – she was able to visit many art galleries and attended evening art classes at the local college In Newbury, Berkshire. These classes were presented by well-known Scottish artist, Neil McDonald, who had painted a full-length portrait of Prince Philip – in watercolours. She and her partner travelled extensively throughout the country and the Scilly Islands.

Zwart’s art journey only really started after moving back to Ballito and then to Howick where she joined HARTS. Two ladies played important roles in her art progress – Jann Desmond, who introduced her to watercolours and Rita Wilkes, who is still guiding and encouraging her. Her interest in painting birds in watercolours came about through a HARTS workshop on flowers and birds, given by Rita Wilks.

Zwart, who lives on a beautiful property on Curry’s Post Road with views over the Midlands hills, says that her garden is full of different birds who are around all day, enjoying the smorgasbord that she puts out for them every morning! About four years ago she had cards made from her paintings of birds and flowers. These have sold successfully from some local outlets.

She states, “One can only be inspired to be creative when surrounded by the beauty of flowers, birds, trees and picturesque scenery.”

November 2023 Anna Pettifer

Anna grew up in England during the years of World War Two and the subsequent austerity and shortages of the postwar era from 1945 to the early ‘50s. At school there was not much choice of quality materials in the Art classes, though the available water colours were those by Winsor & Newton. Somehow she managed to get a credit in Art in the then School Certificate exams.

Then there was a wonderful and interesting winter sports and summer season in Lapland at a Swedish resort close to the Norwegian border. Followed by Secretarial school and hotel school in London. Though cookery was on the agenda, she later regretted not going for the full chef’s course, which after all, is another Art form. From that time on there was work, marriage, and two daughters, and not much more art (except for visits to London, Paris and Venice many art galleries) until both girls were at school, and she enrolled for art lessons at Croydon Technical College. That didn’t last long, as the family moved to South Africa and were much involved with hotel industry, which left little time for anything but a little sketching.

In Hermanus Anna picked up her paint brush again, but it was not until she arrived in Howick in 2002, saw the end of year HARTS Exhibition at the Library and joined HARTS in February 2003 that she got seriously involved again. She was very much out of practice, her work amateurish to a degree! But she will tell you that the Society has improved her work enormously over the years with the excellent critiques from which one learns so much from everyone else’s work as well as one’s own. She has since sold quite a few at HARTS’ exhibitions and at the Tatham Art Gallery’s annual Fabulous Picture Show fundraisers for the Gallery. (Sadly this Show seems to have folded with the Covid pandemic). She has much enjoyed her many years on the Committee, ten of them as Secretary.

HARTS organises regular workshops, outings into nature and so on, members who are art teachers to whom one can go for classes if one wishes. Anna has always found the members a very friendly bunch of people, and indeed made many friends as a result.