Ilse De Villiers

ILSE is a passionate self-taught professional artist & resides in Tzaneen, Limpopo, South Africa. She’s been painting wildlife & birds full-time for the last 22 years. She describes her studio, where she is surrounded by her canvasses & paints, as her ‘happy place’. “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be an artist by profession. Growing up I was always artistic & creative but studying art or making a life as an artist was never an option that I could consider. At university I studied to become a teacher & also met the love of my life. We got married after we graduated and with my husband being in agriculture we settled on the family farm. We started a family, but a few years later there was a tragic incident in our lives & in desperation I turned to painting as a sort of ‘therapy’ & actually never looked back. Along my journey as an emerging wildlife artist, I slowly started to realise that this was, without a doubt, what I was born to do. ’ Creating life-like paintings & portraying animals, birds (& even sometimes flowers) in their natural surroundings is a privilege & wonder I’ll never tire of. My husband & I both love nature & animals & spend time in the bush as often as we can. ILSE is inspired by the contrast between light & shadow, & also the amazing varieties of colour within these spectrums. Since 2008 ILSE has been exhibiting annually in the USA at, amongst others, the South Eastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston, SC. These shows give her the opportunity to show her work alongside other professional artists on an international platform & also build a client base abroad. Over the years ILSE has been involved with a number of Conservation projects & has used her art on many occasions to help raise funds for different worthy conservation causes. Each year she tries to contribute to at least two conservation causes, & early in 2022 Invicta drew her attention. The fact that Invicta is so passionate about not only the conservation of our animals, but also the education of local communities, really spoke to my heart. After (again) reading up on what the organisation is about, it struck me that Invicta is the embodiment of ‘help’ in whatever form it is needed. I am privileged to contribute to Invicta through my art. In the end every little bit helps & isn’t it each person on this beautiful earths responsibility to also give back? I love these words of Jane Goodall: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference & you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make”