Portchie - In only 5 years this qualified transport economist with Spoornet turned artist, has made his mark. A prolific painter, the staggering number of paintings sold is clear confirmation of the popularity of Portchie's special brand of artistry. The reason for the popularity of Portchie's work probably lies in a childhood spent in Tweeling, a Free State hamlet where the world stretches to eternity and life is simple, but colourful. All his paintings depict ordinary people doing ordinary things. It is this very simplicity that is the heart and soul of the man and his work.. He's unassuming, articulate to the point when he speaks with a staccato burst of words and just plain plucky. For Portchie is that rarest of people, a man who discovered his calling fairly late in life and then there was no holding him back. There's a saying that the test of courage comes when you are in the minority, the test of tolerance comes when you are in the majority. Portchie took his courage in both hands in 1992 when he decided to stake his name on his quick and undisputed ability with a brush and canvas. A painting by Portchie is always intensely colourful - he seems to see the world in terms of warm yellows, vivid blues, bright reds, and intense greens. He says that part of the secret is that he uses Grumbacher acrylics - "the finest pigments of all paints in the world". What is equally true is that his equable nature seems to have no room for twilights, for half-shades or for shadow tones. For Portchie the world is a bright, cheerful place and this contagion communicates itself immediately with the viewer. It is very obviously a universal appeal and Portchie has known success ever since he started painting.
"Years ago they started what was known as the Randburg Rumble," he says. "This was a son of stroll around that took you to all sorts of interesting places and I decided to put a few of my paintings on exhibition. I put nine paintings up and sold five. Then 1 put 15 up and sold nine. Then 21, with 14 sold. That gave me tremendous encouragement."I then started exhibiting in my flat in Cresta (a Johannesburg suburb) and a few years later I really took the plunge. I was living in nearby Windsor and I had accumulated about 100 paintings I wanted to show. I went to all my neighbours and asked them if I could use their apartments as well as mine and they all agreed. It was fantastic. I had up 100 works and everything was sold in the first night!" Portchie says he printed flyers to promote his "in house" exhibitions and that first big showing attracted more than 500 people. It was sufficient to help him decide to become a full- time painter but now he needed a gallery, as obviously neighbours would not always be so accommodating.The trees in blue that populate his paintings have become his trademark. Trees and the colour blue being symbols of strength to Portchie. He has been exhibiting at the Klein Karoo Kunstefees since its inception. He has participated in 38 group exhibitions and has held 21 successful solo exhibitions. His work forms part of private and corporate collections throughout South Africa as well as many private collections abroad.