What did you dream of becoming when you were a young girl?
I fantasised about being a famous singer or actress, but I couldn’t sing (Sandra laughs), so I had to choose something else. From a young age I loved to draw. In primary school, art was my favourite subject and I remember looking forward to art class the whole week. But I never knew I could do art as a career, I only realised that much later in life.
Do you think being a woman has affected your career?
Absolutely. I think in some ways it might have slowed down my career. When I started selling my work, I changed my signature from ‘Sandra Pelser’ to ‘S Pelser’. I didn’t want people to know that I was a woman. In the 90’s there were many famous male artists and most of the Masters were men. I thought you wouldn’t be taken seriously as an artist if you were a woman. Art always felt like a hobby to me, until people started to buy my work. It took me many years to realise it could be something more.
Why do you paint females?
I didn’t plan to just paint females. I enjoyed painting them and when the first one sold, I decided to paint another one. So it went, until one day I received a ‘message’ from the universe to paint 300. I painted all of them and I just haven’t been able to stop.
There is an indescribable beauty about women which cannot be explained in words. I think to some degree I am able to capture it in my work.
Do you know how many women you have painted?
Yes, I have kept a record of all of them. The last one that I signed and completed was number 1608 and there are many more in yet to come.
Why do you think people are so fascinated by your work?
I think people can relate to my ladies. Their eyes are big for you to see inside their souls. You can see the stories of love, pain, endurance, serenity etc. that they carry. People recognise themselves in those stories. I think I’m painting an emotion rather than a person.
What message do you want your work to convey?
I just want people to stand back for a moments and feel love, joy and serenity in this upside-down world.
Compiled by Simone Pelser for 'Thoughts from the Studio' Art Blog