Karin Daymond is a landscape painter whose paintings raise our awareness of South Africa as a place of beauty and strife. Over the years she has become accustomed to the emotional response to her work. Many people instinctively identify with the settings of the paintings, even though they are 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 evoked could, however, be found in countless places and situations throughout the South African landscape. Land issues are not simple in South Africa. Land becomes a canvas on which people make their mark, and these marks have both visual and emotional implications.
Having lived most of her life in subtropical places, Karin has been captivated by the Free State and has reflected this in her work. "The lush areas of the subtropical, eastern regions of South Africa that I know so well are visually entertaining and forgiving. There is excess here. In contrast I am drawn to the deep attachment to the land that is written all over the Free State landscape. This province is in the very centre of the country. I love to walk there, through the vast landscape punctuated by evidence of human settlement. Several times I have found myself on a slight hill amongst the organic shapes of iron-age structures, able to see how the land below is now demarcated by straight fences defining the farms, and how each present-day farm is marked by the owner’s homestead, the homestead of the labourers, a grave yard and the occasional cluster of eucalyptus trees. It's a reserved yet polarised place, with its often sad social boundaries threaded through the gentle ground.”
In contrast, Daymond’s Lowveld landscapes capture a raw and natural beauty, exploring the energy of untouched nature. Vigorous plant growth pushes up into a sky that becomes a swirling mosaic of brush marks, suggesting 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 became an exploration of colours and marks, the patterns of which can 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 the 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.”
Born in Durban, South Africa in 1967, Daymond graduated with a degree in Fine Art from The University of Kwazulu Natal. She lives in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga and for many years gave private art classes before committing to painting full time in 2008.