The talented Wildlife Painter, Wietske Smit, was born in Zambia in 1953 from pioneering parents, farming in the African bush. As their farming of tobacco and maize flourished, her dad bought a camera with which he photographed the wild life and the Zambian beauty. Together they visited many exclusive game areas, capturing the game on film, and that is where her love for wildlife and conservation started.
The family relocated to South Africa when she was very young and bought farm in the Marico district in a town called Zeerust. In school she took up Art as subject. After school she became a teacher, but had to stop teaching due to health related problems. After she got married to a farmer, she started to do her art as a side line and do pottery on the farm. She also took painting classes and realised that her love for wildlife is what still inspired her.
Her first exhibition was held during 1985 by the Woman’s Agricultural Union. During 1987 the WAU honoured me as “Artist of the Year” in the Mpumalanga region. I was also part of the fund raising auction for the Anti-Poaching Unit of the Kruger National Park. My large paintings of rhino and lion were especially popular there. She had several students with whom she shared her knowledge of techniques with during her career.
A lot of my art is commissions, since people started to provide me with their best wildlife photographs and asked me to capture that moment for them in a painting.
Wietske is now privileged to live in a Wildlife Village near Loskop Dam. She is still very active in painting South Africa’s wonderful wildlife. Visiting a game reserve and taking photos her best muse and inspiration.