About Kelly

Lockdown 2020 found us in Girona Spain, with a twelve week old baby and a box of art supplies from South Africa. Our original intention was to take a family gap year- homeschool our older kids, and learn all we possibly could about Europe within a year! In my little world- I was going to do art retreats and foodie classes in every town we visited. I was going to learn another language and become as much of a local as I could

I quickly realised that I had forgotten how much time, energy and complete self I would loose looking after a young baby. We arrived in mid-feb 2020 and 4 weeks later, complete lockdown with the rest of Spain. Even though we were completely stuck- in our little apartment, I did not get to open my art box for some time. When I finally did- I took inspiration from so many of the miniature artists I had been following.


@thisiskalvt or Kelly the Miniaturist artist posting for an article in Girona Chronicle
Why miniature? I have been completely and utterly fascinated for years by miniaturists. I admired their patience and diligence in the work, and I loved the fact that they could still leave their little mark. It made sense to work on something small. I wouldn’t have to worry about ruining expensive paints and art supplies if I literally only had a few moments here and there. Watercolours were the obvious choice. I didn’t need a large amount of space- and it was all very easily packed away. 
More importantly- small, and “teeny-tiny”, are often conversation pieces. That is what I was aiming for. I longed for people to talk about a piece- without having to talk about the artist. People tend to do that when life size becomes a mini. There is an attraction. Is it because this world is consumed by bigger must be better? Perhaps. 
I aim to re-direct to the smaller details for a brief moment. 
In the town I now live, the cathedral is the largest I have ever seen personally. It can be viewed from any vantage point within, and it attracts individuals from everywhere. The fact that it was a part of many scenes in GAME OF THRONES only adds to its WOW factor. (I am yet to watch an episode- but lets just forget I mentioned that). 
I often wonder how many of those people have taken notice of the tiny archaic-child-like carvings of faces in the door handles? Once you know they are there, and have seen them with your own eyes- the chances of you forgetting are extremely slim. Do take a look if you can.    
And so this is how much of my work evolved. Ultimately, I wanted a piece to be chosen based on emotion. 
“Your miniature
A conversation piece 
Never sad
Often nostalgic
A reminder
A time
A moment 
It’s sentimental more than anything.” 
The box of tea from South Africa was a favourite of someone’s, and not comparable to any tea in their new country. That tea reminded them of home. Something perhaps taken for granted until it was no longer available. And even though they had a life in a new place, their place of birth was still a huge part in their bank of memories. 
The front door to a specific building. The in and out daily. Not to be taken for granted. Protection from the outside world. During covid times- this was our safe place.  
A home; an insect; a mylar balloon; a stamp. These are all examples of work that I have done based around people’s treasured moments. 
Today, much of the work I am concentrating on is the individual cyclists jersey. It was an idea I had in the middle of the night, it kept me up until I could get it onto paper- and after that I never doubted it was a great work in progress. I have worked on pro-cyclists careers; and individuals who have just succeeded and wanted to have the piece to show. The thing about hanging a real-life jersey is the space they often need. They tend to overwhelm a room, and need to be very specifically placed. The miniature- is something unique and authentic. A definite conversation piece. 
My current #project2021 was to paint an individual painting for all 33 races in the UCI World Road Cycling Tour. Having these one of a kind jerseys, framed; up and ready for someone’s home or special place has allowed these pieces to become a part of everyone’s memories. It is not just the cyclist- but often the man on the street who admires them! 
I am looking forward to working on some new pieces in the sporting industry. It is something I get very excited about.  
Hopefully, sporting related or not, I can do something for you.

My cup is full!

My parents came to visit us in Girona, after such a long long time. The day they arrived, I realized how long it had actually been! I didn’t know this until that day- but I had been holding my heart together like a broken piece of pottery that i was trying to save. I had longed for family for a little long while. It was a life time for our youngest- Kimi, and half for our Franki. Our family of 5 became 7 in our teeny tiny apartment for almost three weeks! And now my cup is full!

Over the next few weeks, you going to see a lot of painting and catching up! It’s #project2022 and the #uciworldtour2022 in miniatures! I am so excited to start painting again, to start sharing and to start putting moments onto paper.

As I hustle around in the morning- I can feel an excitement growing in me! I can feel that spring is coming! She is almost here. In girona, as much as we live in the city- nature is just on our doorstep- any direction we choose. It’s wildflowers and fruit trees; butterflies and bees! It’s glorious beating sun- from morning till night. It’s tanned skin and giggles! It’s beach days that lead into beach months. It’s all just “happy”!

“”There’s many a lonesome daisy where never a child can be,
And many a lone little brooklet is dancing away to the sea;
Yet children must stay in the city with only dull walls in view,
As if there were never a brooklet and never a daisy grew! “”

By Annette Wynne

I, and I am certain at least 80 percent of all children, go through a stage where they imagine becoming marine biologists! It’s not the fish- let’s be honest. If you say it’s the fish- I think you lying.

It’s these creatures! Starting a little series here. It might end with 3, or 30 !!! 🤪

It’s almost February and YES- January has felt like the longest month!!!!

As Covid has been working it’s way though our family, it has been difficult to paint in our little apartment that sometimes feels too little. But at the same token, when the kids have rested- I have taken full opportunity!

Isn’t this gavel a perfect proclamation for the start to this year?! It’s one of the first few paintings I have to drop off this week for framing, and I am excited to see how it turns out.

🚴 | Miniature art-NFT cycling jersey collection by Girona-based artist to be auctioned

Set of 50 cent coin-sized works feature winner’s jerseys from 2021 UCI World Tour road cycling season


It’s a crazy world we live in- and I am so flipping excited to be a part of it!

Officially #project2021 (and a couple of other pieces) has been minted and is going on auction @opensea as an NFT.

I can only imagine the stories we will one day share with our grandchildren and great grandchildren (yes, because In another 30 years- I am bound to have another 30 to go!)

Press release follows.

“Artist Kelly van Tonder has painted the world’s first miniature art-NFT collection of all the winner’s jerseys from the 2021 UCI World Tour road cycling season, each measuring the size of a 50c coin, which will go on auction on November 19.

Van Tonder, a South African artist now living in Spain, has included all the World Tour races, including the Tour de France, the Classics and the Monuments, as well as the Olympics and some of the women’s winner’s jerseys in her work. Each of the winner’s jerseys has been crafted in extraordinary detail in watercolour, with the design, logos and sponsors of the different teams captured with Van Tonder’s passion as a lover of cycling and her eye as an artist.

“I decided to take on the 33 UCI World Tour races as I wanted to tell the story of a series over time,” said Van Tonder. “This was a perfect project as it was open to the person on the street, whether they be fans or cyclists. By choosing a sport and basing it over the entire season, it also spoke to the deeper essence that miniature art and cycling both hold dear, the need for patience and dedication.”

Through these works, Van Tonder has also managed to convey the emotion of the jersey, in a form that perhaps forces us to consider their true value and meaning now that they have been captured as works of art. Each work measures 30mm in diameter.

“By taking the jerseys and turning them into a miniature piece, it makes hanging them a little more interesting. Let’s talk about it. What is it? Who was it? Why is it special?,” said Van Tonder. “It’s all about stirring the emotion rather than depicting it in a bigger piece of art. Miniature art allows and teaches us to learn a little more, see more and appreciate more.

Full article on my website.


#Project2021 ...

It’s an admin day! We all get them……

#project2021 officially competed! Initially I planned on this being a “once-off” but honestly I can’t wait for the new racing season to begin.

#project2022 is definitely on the table.

Some background info…..
My #project2021 - paint the 33 race jerseys of the 2021 cycling season as MINIATURURES. All these pieces will be framed, hung AND available for purchase!

Currently you are able to visit the @velodrom.cc shop in girona, and see these pieces in person.

Each jersey measures just under 30mm in diameter and is framed (10cm x 10 cm) within a frame measuring approximately 33 cm by 33 cm which is a light teak wood.

The glass is of the highest quality- virtually eliminating as much reflection as possible and filtering up to 70% of UV rays.

Although this project is very specific- I am open for commission work- please do take a look at my website www.kalvt.com

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#miniaturepainting #miniatureartist #watercolour #watercolor #miniaturemoments #conversationpiece #conversationstarter #southafricanartist #southafricanartistinspain #girona #spainartist