On Monday mornings I attend a session in the upstairs drawing room at the Ruth Prowse school in Woodstock. The studio is equipped with easels, chairs and tables. Sometimes I organise a model for the morning. On other mornings there maybe a still life or simply a working session. The interaction between participants during these sessions is where the learning happens. You may come when you can and pay R180.00 The core group varies from between 8 and 12 people; we can accommodate 16. This is a diverse group of people with some who have experience in image making in various media and others who are beginning to translate what the see into images. All materials are encouraged except toxic turpentine. Please bring your own paper or canvas, pencils, charcoal, chalk, watercolour, acrylic, oil etc. the school shop is open during term time. Sometimes I put forward exercises that provide tools, tips and clues to navigate the process of image making.

The first eight session this year will be, 9.30 to 12.30

January 29, February 5, 12, 19.

March 5, 12, 19 and 26.

Please call me if you need more information.

Jill Trappler 0825588115



Familiar places

In November 2012 Trappler exhibited 8 large (175 x 270 cm) canvases at Knysna fine art. These were extraordinary still, beautiful images emphasizing her skill with the visceral, vibrancy of colour and the hovering of embedded line. The 8 oil paintings on paper now at the AVA were made at the same time as these large works. Recently Trappler has been working with a similar exuberance, libido and liveliness with oil on large canvases which relates back to the smaller work made five years ago.  This is the way that her work unfolds through time, finding threads and rhythms that revisit, resurface and explore fresh yet familiar locations.

The abstract painter often has to endure, among other suspicions, the coupled questions, “what is it?” and “what does it mean?” Most of us shy away from answering these questions directly because they are simply the wrong questions and should never, in any event, be directed at the painter. The task of the abstract painter, as I see it, is not communication. It is rather to create a space for communion as in “feel this presence and participate in it.” This is cerebral and sensuous. Cerebral in the sense that decisions taken in the making can be seen and read and sensuous in the sense that the painter’s flavours are evident and exposed. As in Jill’s case:

A bustle of wee eddies

A clutch of tiny turmoils

The scent of rose and lavender.

Ricky Burnett


2013-01-17 11.17.50-5 2013-01-17 11.19.55-5 2013-01-17 11.21.31-5 2013-01-17 11.22.26-3 2013-01-17 11.23.27-5 2013-01-17 11.24.13-3 2013-01-17 11.25.12-3 2013-01-17 11.26.15-5



AVA gallery

Oil on paper

18th to 28th January 2018

Familiar places x 8


77.5 x 53 cm

Monday Morning Sessions

Monday morning sessions at Ruth Prowse school  start on the 6th of February and continue through to 10th April 2017.  (no class on the 20th March)
Please see details about the sessions in the 2016 information.

Unfolding into Spring

You are invited to
An exhibition of new work by
Jill Trappler
Unfolding into Spring
Opening Saturday, 8 October 2016 at 11am
Irma Stern Museum, Rosebank, Cape Town

image001Jill Trappler | Eclipse

Light, darkness and depth to mull over














The fact that visual art has the ability to communicate beyond words, almost in ‘another language’, gives it almost always the emotional edge when the subject is about painful issues or about the deeper human condition.

In this regard the fine, blue stitches of surgical thread, barely visible in Eunice Geustyn’s work of mixed media, are acerbic metaphors of the injured lives of raped and murdered women that she uses as a theme.

Where the needles are sometimes still visible in the picture, it reminds the viewer of how difficult it is to heal a community where such crimes have occurred.

On the gallery floor is a strip of sand and medical jars to remind us of the many neglected and abused children, like debris from the sea that we step over. As with the thin surgical thread, these glass vials are a stronger reminder of vulnerability than words can ever be.

Her piece, “when is enough enough”, consists of old style wooden markers with names – like at funerals. Women’s lives ruined and packed away.

Although Jill Trappler’s paintings which makes up the other half of this double exhibition, looks in their abstract style as if it belongs to another world than that of Geustyn, it maintains the same argument: physical presentation as a different multilingualism. Here the title of the Exhibition. “Half- light”, is very becoming.

Deep in the darkness of her linen boards, or even those anchored in white can the viewer sense light, darkness and depth. All is not what it seems at first glance. The viewer gets tested, cerebrally mesmerized, urged to decipher the story or message.

Trappler’s art has elements that one can read as a metaphysical presence and which is the hallmark of traditional and outstanding abstract art.

These huge paintings presents some of the strongest that she had done in a while. In their blatant presence they contrast perfectly with Geustyn’s poignant and inflammatory presentations.

Unfolding into spring

Irma Stern Museum
The University of Cape Town


Jill Trappler, Eclipse, Series: Weaving and Unwoven, 2015/2016, acrylic on canvas, 160 x 240 cm

Jill Trappler
Unfolding into spring

Opening Saturday the 8th October at 11 am
Please join us at the opening of “unfolding into spring”. A solo exhibition of new work by Jill Trappler
Walkabout on Saturday the 15th and Thursday the 20th October at 11 am
Closes Saturday 29th October 12 noon

Full details on the website: click here
UCT Irma Stern Museum, situated in Cecil Road, Rosebank, Cape Town
Gated parking in Chapel Road





UCT Irma Stern Museum, “The Firs”, Cecil Road, Rosebank, Cape Town, 7700
Telephone +27 (0)21 685 5686
Fax +27 (0)21 686 7550
Event enquiries: lucinda.cullum@uct.ac.za  www.irmasternmuseum.org.za

Tuesday- Friday from 10am-5pm, Saturday from 10am-2pm, Closed public holidays


The paintings for the exhibition at AVA, “Half light and shadow” are from an ongoing series, “weaving and unwoven”.

The images are made on canvas with acrylic paint and various media and are found in scribbling, drawing, dripping, pouring, layering, scratching, polishing and painting. They are tracked into the surface and found in the pigment and handwork. Like an archaeologist finds bones and fossils in the rock and earth, the images are found in the surfaces laid down in the specific scale of format and cloth. The grids of line and colour are built as threads are on a loom; however, with water based paint the movement allows for both “warp and weft”, horizontals and verticals, to be placed at the same time. The paint responds to the media used in priming or preparing the cloth. The images are built by securing a structured scaffolding of drawing in order for the colour to be used easily, to play and move the eye into various narratives.” Light-lee” and “Leeway” are based on grids made of squares. This geometry and structure gives me mobility to layer, draw and find the rhythms. The process is similar to selecting and moving words in a sentence or sentences in a paragraph or notes in a bar of music, bars of notes in a sequence of sound.

The limited colour and use of extending tonal values slows the process and draws on the imagination. The process is meditative and dependent on time spent making and looking, seeing and thinking.

The darker work hides as an octopus does waiting to come to you when you allow your eye to penetrate the “ink” of camouflage and while we wait the light moves and we see more. You will feel included and touched by these places. This may be a metaphor for the meditative depth we may seek in our own lives.

(References from The Soul of an Octopus; Sy Montgomery)

The indigo and blues/green are for me in a lower frequency. I don’t know much about the science of sound but I feel the levels of frequency and the rhythms of colour. I hope the colour in this body of work brings calm and restfulness so that you can lose yourself as you explore and discover, quieten and open your heart, breath slowly.

The scale of this work relates to my engagement in the relationship between the personal and the collective. I look at this in context of ideas of “the anima mundi”, the concept of “as above, so below” and as an everyday task. The aloneness of my studio with my work is quite different from participating in a workshop or project with others. My work is different and the combination when found in one piece is what I look for; the large image made of many tiny multiples of colour and mark remind me of the cells, the connective tissue, the bones to the whole body of a person. The person to the friend/s, community, place; The one star with all the other stars, planets, black holes, galaxies in the deep, vibrant universe etc.

The world of shadow is one of transition where one may see more in the half light or twilight than one does when confronted with sharp colour and commentary. These paintings may feel unnerving but they indeed safe places. The images invite you into a quiet place which is usually avoided because of stirrings and arousals as in dreams, memories, reflections! It is in this zone that changes in awareness, consciousness and thinking can take place. By mobilizing our imagination, we mobilize ourselves and find others.

The reference to “weaving and unwoven” is from the book H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald and comes from a manuscript by T H White, King Arthur in the cottage. This is a reference to initiation ceremony.

Paintings have a parallel for me with Initiation ceremonies; each painting is a new beginning. This reference is also used in the work that will be at the Irma Stern gallery in October 2016. “Unfolding into spring”. Spring is the entrance to another year, a time of initiation, of waking again into the warmth of the sun after a quieter and internalised winter. Also a time of the first equinox.

The work for the Irma Stern show is based in a poem by Rudyard Kipling, “the feet of young men” and refers to the Valley of the red gods. This is place on top of Table Mountain that carries a stillness that I try to bring into my paintings. Another reference would be Michael Fried’s essay on the idea of “Presentness” that some paintings are able to share.
These new images have reference to previous work and move forward with a fresh pace and commitment to painting and object making.

Jill Trappler
August/September 2016