Meet the Artist – Samantha van der Westhuizen

Artist Samantha van der Westhuizen was featured in Tomorrow in June 2020, telling the story of how she and her family fled South Africa in fear for their lives. Now, three years on, Alyson Sheldrake catches up with her to find out about her latest artistic projects.

Samantha and her family now appreciate every day in a country they now call home. On moving to Portugal, her husband encouraged her to take up her painting again. “My painting murals came about because a friend asked me to paint their ‘vacation view’ on a wall of their home. From there, one mural turned into two, then three, and two-and-a-half years later, this is what keeps me busy.”

Samantha explains that painting produces a relaxing, open environment where she can explore her creativity. “The reward of growing and expanding my artistic skills creates a sense of accomplishment and allows me to produce something that is visually appealing. I find painting extremely inspiring in itself. For me, it’s a practical reminder that I can create with my own two hands.”

Interestingly, Samantha paints with acrylics, but she only works with the three primary colours, black and white. “I think the colour mixing is my favourite part. I’m a fast painter, and I think that’s also why I enjoy acrylics because they dry quickly. The subject matter, size, and surface texture determine the length of time it’ll take to complete a project.”

Her inspiration for her art comes from her surroundings. The inspiration for her murals depends on the criteria she has been given by the client. “Then it’s about creating someone else’s vision. I think the best compliment is when you’re told you’ve surpassed what they imagined.”

She considers herself very lucky to have an ever-changing studio. “With each mural, I get a new studio. This is how we’ve got to see and explore Portugal. I’ve completed numerous mural projects in the Algarve as well as the Silver Coast. I’ve also been lucky enough to fly to Bremen, Germany, and Madeira for commissioned murals. My space has ranged between working upside down on a double shipping container to sitting on top of a jacuzzi painting the ceiling.”

Ultimately, she wants people to feel the same amount of pleasure looking at her work, as she had creating it. She believes that murals aren’t only about taking a blank wall and creating a focal point, it’s also about creating somebody else’s vision. “I want to create something for them that each time they look at it, they get that same initial feeling of joy.”

Her advice for an aspiring artist is very sensible: “Just start and have the open mind of a child. You can never make mistakes in art, just change your direction of thought, enjoy the process and the end product will fall into place.”

This year Samantha will be continuing with her murals and has some exciting projects lined up where she’ll be painting new scenes or designs that she hasn’t done before.

She is also taking part in the Algarve Art Expo, which is taking place in Portimão on the 10–12 February, and she will be exhibiting in São Brás de Alportel at the Amigos do Museu in April.

Samantha paints her murals on a commission basis and happily accepts commissions for her art too. She also does live wedding portraits where she paints the bridal couple and wedding party during the reception.

She offers acrylic workshops for adults twice a week, morning and afternoon classes, and a children’s class once a week. 



You can read about Samantha’s dramatic past here:


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