Known for its professional art pieces, the Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery is once again exhibiting the charismatic and inspirational works of South African Masters at 37 Willowton Road in Pietermaritzburg.

Local artists Tim van Vuuren and Rob Leenhouwers have been professionals for several years and their works are on display at the exhibition as they continue to pursue their careers with passion.

Originally from Holland and managing his own graphic design studio for more than 25 years, Leenhouwers immigrated to SA in 2005. Specialising in art impressions and graphic design, this gifted artist has won various prizes for his work. He prefers using colour pencils, ink and pastel focuses mostly on ngunis and horses.

“I reside in the Himeville village in the magnificent surroundings of the Ukhahlamba/Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site, which has gorgeous Nguni cattle and polo horses. I only draw what really inspires me,” he said.

Leenhouwers began to draw on the school board from the age of 10. Thereafter, his teacher asked him to draw something he liked on the board every week.

“I became more interested in art, reading books about art and artists. My passion for this line of work developed from there,” stated Leenhouwers.

He has always looked up to the Dutch painter Albrecht Durer as well as Salvador Dali and Vincent van Gogh.

“When I moved to SA, I became a member of the Southern Drakensberg Art Society in Underberg, which truly motivated me. My drawings reflect my love for the Nguni cattle,” he said.

Leenhouwers has a studio in Himeville, at 29 Thomas Street, where his art can be purchased, as well as Pucketty Farm Art Gallery, and his website is www.justartstudio.co.za

Van Vuuren, the other influential artist, was born in Underberg. After 35 years in the financial services industry and working part-time as an artist, he decided to pursue a full- time career as a painter and ceramicist.

He became involved in art at the age of 24 and joined a pottery school in Pinetown in the 1980s where he learnt the basic skills of ceramics. With a preferred medium of acrylic for painting and white earthenware clay for ceramics, his themes for both art forms are the landscape, still lifes, interiors and the occasional figure or face.

According to Van Vuuren, his art is about the beauty of the ever-changing nature that is inspired from life or imagination.

He was inspired by the late Tony Strickland, who mentored him in drawing, composition and colour. His good friend and sculptor Gert Swart also guided him in the creative process.

“As a father and husband supporting my family, it was sometimes difficult to find the time to draw and produce art. Also, it can be challenging to draw works of art that are creative, original and intriguing,” he said.

Van Vuuren’s work can be seen at the Blue Caterpillar Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg, Artisan Contemporary Art Gallery in Durban and the Pukketty Art Gallery in Underberg.

• The exhibition ends May 6. For info, call 033 387 1356.