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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Michael Tancrel - Sharon Tancrel and Nicola Tancrel

Michael Tancrel and Sharon Tancrel, specialists in South African wildlife paintings, have been producing fine art professionally for over 30 years. Nicola Tancrel, their daughter, has joined the party and is also pursuing a career in the world of fine art. They work in many mediums including oils, watercolours, acrylic, pencil, pastels and airbrush. 

Michael Tancrel
Born in Cape Town in 1952

My passion for art started at an early age. Copying from comics and magazines helped a lot in developing my ability to draw and colour. I have a great respect for comic book and pulp magazine artists.

During high school I took to sketching. Trying to reproduce photographs using only pencils was my first move towards realism and my affinity for portraits.

After completing military training in 1970, I started working for an art studio that specialized in portraits. I progressed to become “Head Artist”; responsible for employing and training young artists. Sharon, my wife, was one of the artists I employed.

In 1980, Sharon and I decided to tour the country in an old Bedford bus we converted into a mobile home. For a year we enjoyed discovering South Africa while supporting ourselves by painting portraits at small town agricultural shows.

Shortly after returning to Cape Town I was commissioned to do the artwork for the covers of a veterinary journal. As this entailed mainly birds and animals I was naturally pushed in a different direction as far as my art was concerned.

1990 saw us move to Nieu-Bethesda, a pristine village in the Karoo. At that time the village did not enjoy the comforts of electricity. It took some getting used to, but was also very enlightening (excuse the pun) After nine months we moved to Graaff-Reinet as our children were in boarding school there and we missed them far too much. This was also the start of the journey into wildlife painting.

Sharon and I returned to Cape Town in 2004. We presently live on a farm about 130 km from Cape Town.

Besides wildlife, I also enjoy painting landscapes and life studies. My preferred medium is oil on canvas.

The late Prof Chris Barnard bought one of my first wildlife paintings. Buyers of my work include; corporate business, private collectors, international buyers from France, Germany, UK, USA, Russia, Australia, UAE and Japan

Sharon Tancrel
nee Melson

Born in Cape Town in 1958

Being a painter is not something I consciously decided to spend my life doing. Except for a very brief flirt with the idea of joining the field of nature conservation, I just did what I had always done; paint. I love it, it’s who I am; it’s also the only natural high I know of.

I started drawing and painting when I was very young. The only formal training I received was in high school.

I met Michael at a portrait studio where we were both working and two years later we were married. For the last three decades we have shared studio space, thoughts and ideas, techniques and even inspirations have been assimilated. Needless to say, our styles are similar.

It was while living in Graaff-Reinet (a game reserve enclosed Karoo town where it is not unheard of to see a kudu walking down the main road) that I reverted to my first love and again concentrated on painting wildlife. The intervening years were dedicated mainly to portraits, including one of a former mayor of the town. My first two wildlife paintings were bought by Prof Chris Barnard.

It was though Prof Terblanche, an avid supporter, that Michael and I acquired an agent in Johannesburg. Many corporate businesses and personal investors’ commissioned works, individual paintings of the big five being especially favoured.

During this period some paintings also started travelling, namely to England and Australia.

In 2004 we moved back to Cape Town and more paintings went even further a field; America, the Middle East and Europe.

Michael and I are currently living on a farm, 130 km from Cape Town. It’s very beautiful. The surrounds throng with bird life, the fish eagles being my favourites. We have owls in the roof and guinea fowl and pheasants in the garden. Hares and small buck are also occasional visitors.

Nicola Tancrel

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Nicola Tancrel was born in 1978 and grew up in Graaff-Reinet, South Africa, a stark oasis in “The Little Karoo”, a beautiful part of the world where the surrounding landscape inspires an affinity with nature. Nicola’s parents, Sharon and Michael Tancrel, acclaimed South African airbrush artists, were her teachers; her first group show was at the age of 16.

Nicola studied Art Direction, Graphic Design, Public Relations, Event Management and Photography; and has practiced Interior Design. Nicola is a well-established representational artist; her preferred mediums are gouache, an opaque watercolour, and acrylic.

Nicola currently lives and works in Dublin, her paintings reflect the Irish landscape and her influences are that of traditional European Fine Artists. Nicola has exhibited in multiple venues internationally, some of which include Combridge Fine Art Gallery, The Kennedy Gallery, Carysfort Gallery and DeVere Art Auctions in Dublin; the Henry Tayler Gallery in Johannesburg; and The Cape Gallery, The Clock Tower Gallery, Framecraft, and Kirstonbosch Gardens Gallery in Cape Town.

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