Heartscape paintings are created using multiple layers of paint and medium. This lost art technique was first developed by Art Nouveau postcard painters and poster makers, such as Constant Duval and Alphonse Mucha. In producing his art work, Dr. Durst works toward creating a particular composition, often with vibrant colours and a three-dimensional effect, rather than responding to the scene as it actually was.

To paraphrase art critic Rosemary Hawker, Michael Dursts heartscape paintings evidence a wonderful fusion of traditional media. They are often very engaging in their visual impact. In many of Dursts work, this combination may appears as realism, yet the viewer cannot help but be enthralled to experience a vibrant impressionistic painting. That is why he refers to the style he uses with some of this paintings as Realimpressionism. Unlike an actual image, these heartscape paintings are free to be manipulated in form, colour, and composition, evoking the most complex emotions possible. Durst works with the image spontaneously, becoming more detailed as the composition evolves into the artists rendering of the moment.

According to Durst, "Heartscape Paintings use multiple components, each bringing to the final form the best of its medium, but together fashion something that is new and refreshing. As an artist, this montage intrigues me. Texture and colour are the primary vehicles in my pieces. By combining these vital elements with the perspective and shape of the original scene, each painting is transformed over time because of the richly layered deposit of colour, texture and new form. Each piece becomes a repository for subconscious positive thoughts and feelings, allowing the viewer to feel mesmerized with a sense of internal peace and coherence. Because of this, my paintings welcome the viewer to walk into them to actually experience them, rather than just view them, making the scene better than life because it is a heart-felt journey. This is the same way that our memories create an over-lament, which enhances the original experience.

The surface of each painting shimmers with vibrant hues. He uses a systematic approach that achieves an intensity of colour and a rich deep surface that has both a physical and visual texture. "When I feel a balance is reached between the realism of the original scene, and the new visual texture and colour, the piece is complete. It is at that point that a shift occurs in how one views the painting. Only then does the new vibrational intensity connect with the static nature of the captured moment," says Durst. Thus a magical fusion between the meticulousness of his renderings and his loving sentimentality occurs, forming a sense of spiritual peace for the viewer.

Usually working with South African landscapes, seascapes and vineyards, Dursts paintings often begin with an experience of what he calls a "magical moment" frozen in time, which is re-invented into his own unique expression. He paints using an intensely fluid process to create his remarkably intricate scenes, which expand the sensory range of the viewer allowing a greater focus and providing more excitement than the naked eye. As the viewer aligns with the artists perspective a subtle shift takes place, much in the same way that a shift in consciousness creates clarity. In this regard, the objective outer reality is subject to the interior, emotional response of the viewer.  And that is why the image goes straight to the heart with more of the emotional mood than one would associate with the original scene.  


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