Creating joy through colour
12 October 2021 | People
“Give your best, because whether you win or lose, as long as you give your best, you will always be a winner. Never give up. Get up quickly after a fall, then your success is much closer than you keep lying and pitying yourself,” says Ida Smith (52) of Ida’s Art.
“I was born in Gobabis or ‘Little Texas’ – Namibia’s own Cattle Country – went to school and matriculated here and grew up on the farm between camel thorn trees and sand.”
She had already discovered her passion for painting as a child and her school books were filled with pencil sketches of faces, animals, flowers and patterns. She never learned how to paint; she thinks it’s a talent she’s developed naturally.
“My parents were both artistic in other respects. My dad liked to do pencil sketches, but only for the fun of it. He had a furniture factory in town and designed the yellowwood furniture himself. My mother had a diligent hand in sewing and made the most beautiful creations with fabric. My three sons are all artistic in different ways. One also likes to sketch, write computer programs and create with welding. The other creates with his construction business and my youngest likes to create anything from woodwork to garden layout.”
After school Ida studied agriculture at Neudamm. Since she was a farm child, the love for the veld and animals prevailed with study choices. “My father had a large pig farm in Gobabis at the time, as well as on a plot just outside Potchefstroom. I ran the farm for him in Potch. Later, when I returned to Gobabis, I ended up in the bookkeeping industry. I was a chef on a hunting farm for a while and from there I started my own food industry, Ida Kook.”
Ida’s love of cooking comes from her mother and grandmother and their forefathers before them, who were part of the Dorslandtrekkers.
“I love spoiling loved ones and friends with creative dishes. Our family loves to cook and eat, and my children's favourite dish is games schnitzels with mashed potatoes with mushroom and / or pepper sauce, which is why I like to make it. Mixed up dishes to create a new dish with what you have at your disposal are also always fun and challenging for me.”
For a while, Ida was also the manager of Die Dam outside Gobabis. There, she did some wall sketches that prompted her to start painting and creating full-time as Ida’s Art in February 2018.
“From day one I realized it was my biggest passion and later I discovered that one can make a living from drawing pictures and painting on walls. Well, that was until the pandemic brought the whole world to a standstill and I was forced to find a full-time job again. So I started working as an accountant again. However, I still paint in my spare time and over weekends.”
The largest painting Ida has done so far was on an entrance wall of a lodge near Botswana’s border. The project of a waterhole with many different animals kept her busy for about a week.
“Another massive project was a painting on cloth of about 30 meters long by three meters high. It was an evening scene of a gondolier, boats and water in Venice last year for a matric farewell. It took me six days to complete.”
According to Ida, the Bobbelheads were the funniest project she has embarked on so far. These were face profiles with a cartoon background depicting the person’s life. She has also drawn portraits of children’s pictures on their room walls and according to Ida, it was a project she really enjoyed, although the nicest project was a huge leopard head against a living room wall.
Ida paints on canvas, wood and on stone. She is currently working on a painting on wood for a client from the Cape, while her next project is a “house name” on stone.
“When cellphones started becoming part of our lives, I liked to talk to friends in poetic form. I enjoyed it more and more, and it began to be a challenge to make my posts rhyme. I like to do my media entries on Facebook in poetic form because stories just sound better when they rhythm. It's a big dream to publish an anthology that goes hand in hand with my art.
“If I could give advice to the younger generation, I would say if you have dreams, you should not be afraid to just go for it.
“My big dream is to tour the country with my ladder and a bakkie full of paint to give colour to blank walls at lodges, in restaurants and schools – wherever there is a need. Unfortunately the pandemic brought everything to a halt, so these days I only paint on weekends and in my free time.”
Check out her Facebook page, Ida's Art, for more on her work and for contact details.