Hi. I’m Tracy Algar.
I am a painter and sketcher living in the breathtakingly beautiful village of Stanford in the Overberg region of South Africa.
My tools of choice are a 4B pencil and cartridge paper for sketching, and oil paint and hog bristle brushes for painting.
I love painting outdoors, from life.
In my current series I am following the threads that connect me to this landscape, and weaving new ones to solidify the bond.
I paint plein air landscapes of Stanford village and the Overberg to connect myself to the landscape. My works are all about the light and shadow and the warm and cool colours of my environment. I go out to paint at different times of day to find the same scene I painted yesterday in a completely different light and it fascinates me how a familiar scene can look different every day.
Painting “en plein air” (outside) creates a balance between structure and looseness in my artworks. This is reflected in my internal landscape, where I yearn for structure in uncertain times, but still want to maintain my spontaneous nature. When I work in my studio (what I call my stoep these days), I find that I get caught up in being too careful. Outdoors, limited time and the ever-changing light force me to work more quickly, injecting energy and vitality into my work.
The steps of my painting process allow me to immerse myself in the landscape as I familiarise myself with the shapes and shadows of my surroundings. I begin with a value study of my chosen composition in pencil, then a paint sketch on canvas or board, focusing on the shapes and values before blocking in the general colours of the value masses. Once the basic composition is in place, I work with a large brush and big strokes to capture an impression of the scene, adding more detail and thicker paint as I refine the painting.
Ultimately, my paintings are a love poem to the land and the place that I’ve chosen to live and work.
Tracy Algar is a South African landscape painter who predominantly paints outdoors to connect better to her environment. Her painting process provides structure to her artworks, while the outdoor experience allows for spontaneity and loose brushwork as she chases the ever-changing light.
Her work can be found in collections throughout Southern Africa, as well as the U.S, U.K., Europe, the Middle East and Australia.
Tracy was born in Cape Town in 1971, has lived in Namibia and the U.K, and currently lives and works in the historic village of Stanford in the Whale Coast region of South Africa.
2021: Lifestyle Gallery, Hermanus
2020: Journey, Stanford
2016: Jeanne Retief Studio, Stanford
2015: Outside In Gallery, Stanford
2014: The Millstone, Oude Molen Eco Village
2021: The Egret + Owl, Stanford
2021: Affie 100 Fonds Auction, Pretoria
2021: The Pencil Club, Umhlanga
2021: The Corrie Scribante Gallery, Umhlanga
2020: Stanford Kitchen, Stanford
2019: Spookhuis, Stanford
2019: Sumaridge Wine Estate, Hemel-en-Aarde
2019: FLAG Art Gallery, Hermanus
2019: Winter Salon @ The Art Gallery, Hermanus
2018: Moon + Bird Art House, Stanford
2017: Through The Looking Glass, Stanford
2015: Stanford Local Art Harvest
Favourite artists who have taught me things about art, in workshops and collaborations
Janet Botes is a passionate environmentalist, land artist and visual artist based on the Garden Route. I had the pleasure of spending a day with her in 2013 at her Ink and Watercolour Workshop in Cape Town.
Niël Jonker is a sculptor, painter and artisan breadmaker based in Baardscheerdersbos in the Overberg. I went to his plein air oil painting workshop at Stanford Hills in 2018 where I got my first taste of painting with oil and painting outdoors.
Catherine Brennon is an award winning ceramacist and painter, living and working in Hermanus. An 18-month long collaboration with Cathy in 2018 – 2020, painting together in my studio and on the Hermanus Cliff Path and beaches, and making ceramics in her Voëlklip studio on alternating weeks was the most enriching creative experience with a very special friend.
Gillian Hahn is an artist in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in the Overberg. I had a lot of loose and playful fun at her creativity workshop on the beautiful farm where her studio is situated.
Ed Bredenkamp is an exquisitely skilled wildlife painter. His Lembu Gallery in Hermanus is a local landmark. Ed kindly invited Catherine Brennon and me into his studio and taught us a thing or two about painting with oil paint, and let us try out his paints and mediums. It was wonderful!
Su Wolf is the most multi-faceted creatrix I have ever met. She paints, draws, stitches, collages and stamps in Stanford. Her collage workshops are wonderful. She has all the best ephemera.
Nikki Miles draws and paints beautiful things on real skulls in Baardscheerdersbos. Going to one of her figure drawing workshops was a reviving and energising tonic for my art.