Nola Muller taps into the abundance of the natural world with an energy that never ceases to astound. Her paintings are the physical and permanent manifestations of an event. They are the visual realisations of a process that starts from a journey through the remote parts of the Kalahari, a surfing trip to the Maldives or a trek in the Nepalese Himalayas. The delight she derives from ‘knowing’ her subject is clear in her work. The inspiration for this particular series of paintings was plucked directly from the artist’s garden, which was recently recognised as the best indigenous garden on the open day in the Noordhoek Valley. – Gail Dörje, owner and curator of The Cape Gallery.
Visiting Nola’s Garden
Nola’s home is full of life. Upon first sight, Nola greeted us with a friendly smile and a wriggling poodle in her arms. While enjoying cake and coffee, Nola spoke fondly of her journey over years nurturing the garden into its current state, collecting specimens that would become residents and experimenting with trial and error methods, as though she had grown with the garden. She proceeded to pull books from shelves to show us various plant species indigenous to our region and recalled rare discoveries, such as stumbling upon a Protea that had bloomed for the first time in 40 years while hiking.
Naturally when the time came for us to enter the garden, we exhibited the same enthusiasm, excitement and curiosity as Nola’s poodle. The garden not only bursted forth with fresh life and colour, but teemed with Nola’s creativity as well. Whale bones, stones collected while traveling, homemade arches and waterfalls had been carefully placed, awaiting eager viewers, humans, birds and bees alike, who would marvel at the space.
Nola’s artworks have always been rooted in her experiences – her thirst for adventure and greater knowledge of the world; its varying cultures and landscapes. This exhibition, however, is closer to home. For the first time, we get a glimpse of the life and serenity Nola has surrounded herself with. As she spoke, an image of the woman who pauses to revel in the fine details on the road to great adventures began to emerge – the variations in light; the fleeting visitors who cross her path throughout the day. This collection of paintings looks at those finer details through Nola’s eyes with the same bold, fresh energy.
Nola has exhibited in France and throughout South Africa, including several solo and group exhibitions throughout her career as an artist. Her work has been featured in a number of exhibitions at The Cape Gallery.
“When the March Lilies started appearing in February this year, I began to feast from my garden. I’ve spent these six months savouring the growth, observing the magic of colour emerging every day. From the blue Agapanthus, the pink Giant Proteas, the red Fire Ericas to the orange Aloes, I’ve been fed with inspiration that has culminated in this collection of ‘Nola’s Garden’.
Now that the Leucospernum (Pincushions) are popping my canvasses climax in colour and my appetite is nearly fulfilled. How lucky I am to plant, nurture, enjoy and now gorge my canvasses with brush strokes of love for my own indigenous Cape Floral Kingdom.”