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about willie

Born in 1971 in the Karoo, Willie Jacobs grew up on a sheep farm. This quiet and rustic environment was the perfect environment to inspire, not only an interest, but a passion to create artistically. Life in the veld played a crucial role to develop in him an understanding of perspective, dimension and colour harmony. He also developed the ability to visualise and to see with his imagination, a skill necessary for a life of portrait painting. Art was never an option for a full time career. So, after Matric, and a distinction in Technical Drawing, he studied Electrical Engineering through the SAAF. It was during those Air Force years that he started to develop his artistic talent. From the start portraiture was his main interest and still is today. In 2001 Willie left the SAAF to pursue his dream of becoming a full time portrait artist. In 2003 he became a member of AUS (Artists Under The Sun), in 2007 a member of The Portrait Society of America and a member of the Portrait Institute of the internationally acclaimed portrait artist, John Howard Sanden, and recently a member of the Watercolour Society of South Africa WSSA. Portraits of high standard in oil, pastel and charcoal by Willie can be found in boardrooms of corporates, universities and embassies in South Africa as well as Australia, United States, Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, Israel and Dubai. His portraiture workshops are highly in demand throughout the country and invites have come from neighbouring countries. Willie’s instructional DVD series on portraiture, “The Foundation Series” is greatly welcomed by artists and public alike. It consists of three DVD’s, “Colour Mixing for Portraiture”, “The Features” and “The Full Portrait”. 

Subject Matter, Style and Philosophy - “Never tell the whole story. They might just get bored. Suggest a few ideas and you will keep them captivated and calling for more”. Besides being a portrait artist and a portrait teacher, Willie also regularly accepts commissions for landscapes, seascapes and still life, of which some are larger than life. Painting mostly wet-into-wet (alla prima), his style leans toward being realistic-impressionistic. His philosophy is that the viewer or art lover should be invited into the painting, into the painting process and even into the world of the model or subject. This can only be accomplished by painting impressionistically, suggesting depth, movement and mood. Willie is passionate about Portraiture, the painting, drawing and teaching of it. He is constantly encouraged by students discovering their creative abilities and finds fulfilment in helping people develop their skills in producing quality portraits. He is fascinated by the limitless possibilities in rendering a portrait on canvas. Personality, character, emotions and mood are just a few aspects that make portraiture so intriguing.

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