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.