Ronel has 35 years experience as an artist and 20 years experience as a teacher. She attended several art schools for eight years before coming across The Art of Brushstrokes in 2002. Totally fascinated by the techniques used, she entered the certified course presented by Carol Sykes. In 2005, Swart qualified as an international certified art of brushstroke DecoArt teacher. Swart has had several projects and articles published by Craftwise magazine, the first of which was a stippled bear that won the magazine’s Readers Challenge competition. She runs a very busy and successful painting studio from her home, paints professionally, and does commission work. She also teaches art classes privately on a weekly basis to several students from pre-school, primary school, and high school as well as adults.
One project that is dear to Ronel’s heart is the “Save the Rhino” campaign that is presently going strong in South Africa. Ronel’s chalkboard rhino project is a visible protest against man’s shocking, unforgivable, merciless act of rhino-slaughter for money in South Africa. The Askari Game Lodge in South Africa is a huge supporter of “Save the Rhino” project and conducts fundraisers for the cause.
Ronel explained that during one of her trips to the game lodge, she captured photos that formed the basis of her painting project. “Creating the chalkboard focused on the cruel, heartless destruction of such a noble creature, ‘butchered for its nose’, as one of the game-rangers described this heinous crime. I asked Jannie Beukes, a photographer friend, to help me capture the rhino in their natural environment. The Askari Game Lodge immediately agreed to assist me, as they had lost two pregnant rhino recently in the space of two weeks.”
“The rhinos had been brutally killed; their horns had been hacked off while they were still alive. We set off in a safari vehicle to view the game in Askari’s peaceful and beautiful game reserve, at the foot of the Magaliesberg Mountains. Hours later we returned to the lodge, filled with appreciation for animals in the wild, having photographed rhino and even visited the two poached carcasses. This was an unforgettable day in my life; I experienced the absolute beauty of Africa’s Mother Nature and I recoiled sorrowfully at the sight of the two rotting rhino remains.”
What has been your greatest success, so far?
When the lights go on in students’ eyes and they realize that with technique, excellent products, and a bit of creativity, they too can create a masterpiece. So many students advanced from Brushstrokes to Old Masters with ease as the foundation of Brushstrokes is solid. I always maintain that your creation is as good as the products and tools (brushes) used. To shape and mold a person who has never held a brush to a “WOW!” moment, that is success. I measure my success in my students’ achievements.