Mat Louwrens, Professional Artist, Sand Paintings, Oils, Watercolours and Sculpture

Paintings done in undyed Mineral Sand

No paint was used whatsoever

Pensive  -  my first sand attempt of a person.
Pensive - my first sand attempt of a person.

These paintings were developed by Mat and are unique collectors' items. They are incredibly durable and need no protective glass. Normal paintings have their colour on the surface but these have their colour in the translucent grains and therefore need a strong light to bring them to life. Unfortunately photographs will never do them justice but these pictures are just an indication of what they are like. They have a sparkle which is not available in any other medium because of the crystalline aspect of the grains.

The process of "painting" a sand painting

Garratt, Stage 1
Garratt, Stage 1

The principle is fairly simple in that he draws out the image in felt pen on the rough side of masonite and then paints each area with glue and sprinkles the required colour sand onto the glued area. This glue is used in the construction industry for the bonding of concrete for dams and bridges, so it is durable, waterproof and completely transparent and flexible when dry.

Garratt, Stage 2
Garratt, Stage 2

Mat also does use kalahari sand but the sands one gets in nature, which are put into bottles for tourists, cannot be used in the same way, as each colour has a different specific gravity(weight). This means that one cannot mix two colours to get a third, as the heavier one separates and settles to the bottom. So when he uses kalahari sand it can only be used in its pure state. The mineral sand he uses has a common specific gravity and therefore he has been able to mix over 100 combinations from the 8 earthy colours he has available.

Garratt, Stage 3
Garratt, Stage 3

Where one has a definite outline it is understandable that it is relatively simple but where there is an indefinite outline or where a sky changes colour over the area it is a VERY differnt story.

Garratt, Stage 4
Garratt, Stage 4

Then again, as in watercolour, the sand underneath affects the sand above, as it is done in layers and this is where skill and experience is essential.

In these examples one can see that the large areas are blocked in and then the detail is worked on top.

This is the final image of the Standard Gauge Garratt loco as depicted above
This is the final image of the Standard Gauge Garratt loco as depicted above