Sam’s Bio


Sam van der Wouden-Diedericks, started her career as Maria CM (Ria) Diedericks.

She studied Fine Arts at one of the prestigious Art Academies in South Africa  (University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark) majoring in Printmaking skills, Etching, Screen-printing, and Lithographs, her fascination with graphic lines, ethnology and genealogy, how different genes and cultures shape human faces, all of this is visible in her Figurative and Abstract works, which are filled with Allegorical Symbolism. She now resides in the Netherlands most of the year, except for her continual trips back to the African bush, mountains, and sea. She worked as a Graphic designer, developing her illustrative skills, and her organising skills in Communication and PR (which led to a B.Comm at UNISA). At a later stage, she studied Ceramic Sculpture and taught Computer skills to 3rd-year Graphical students.

She is a disciplined and prolific artist, she works every day, motivated by a strong aesthetic exploration. she alternates figurative and abstract works, in different mediums and sizes - her dream is to make works on a monumental scale.

Since 2001, having emigrated to the Netherlands, Sam is also an Art -lecturer and Yoga Teacher. Through this work, she is close to people with the need to explore their artistic, physical, mental, and creative needs,  through her teachings she helps them find their balance through artistic and physical expression.

“The presence of line and fractals in my work is a celebration of Rhythm  between positive and negative spaces that competes in an expression of absolute emotion and ultimate form, finding balance in between the lines and spaces, building form in the negative space, the energy around a shape”

She sculpts the form - (positive space) and counter-form (negative space) with light and shadow, with energy and movement, the speed of the eye is captured in the movement of the line following Contour and Rhythm, creating a visual playground of line and emotion. A dance per se’!

“Drawing, to me, is the visible result of a multitude of decisions that happens simultaneously, generated through the background of a Graphic and photographic culture” Abstraction allows intuition to reflect in full measure the unconscious memory of shape and form of memory-consciousness. Released from figurative rationality, the graphic line follows an improvised way, forged in experience and culture that deeply inhabits the artist.”

A singularity and sensitivity are found in the continuous shapes and movement, this thread drives the artist, the play of Rhythm and form, the shape within a shape, and the magical mathematics of the visible world. Drawings by Sam are almost three-dimensional -, organic meets geometric, abstraction looks like a dance between realism and fractals, where there never is a repetition of movement, although inherently it is pattern making. It is no coincidence that she finds a connection between drawing and music, words and nature, all in the language and in the expression, a kind of visual “earthmusicpoem”

She calls herself an ALLEGORICAL SYMBOLIST, where every mark, every line has meaning derived from a lifetime of research and practice.


FACESCAPES (sound and words).

Sam almost exclusively portrays faces. “The observation of the human face is subjective, we continuously scan for information, we capture the mood, emotion, and character that emerges from it, it counter-offers an infinite range of attitudes and emotions, a reaction to it. “  We all apply emotion detection when seeing a face, it’s instinctive. This spontaneous interpretation comes from a natural state of recognition and social nurturing, the survival fight or flight mode. Sam is an observer, a mental scanner, she visually memorizes all of these clues, which in a dream state (“she dreams these faces”), leads to portraits, where you might even recognize yourself. She paints mostly from memory, but very seldom from photographs she’s made of subjects that support her quest for intensity, complexity, and continuity. Her portraits are inhabited by characters that in their two-dimensionality give them substance and soul. She strives for emotion rather than realism!




“We are of this earth! We are bound to each other in this Circle of life, nothing is eternal - it’s all an illusion, it’s all a dream”

Sam has an understanding and deep connectedness to that inside space, where dreams live and her true nature abounds, physical walls don’t confine the mind.

“ Spending time in nature awakens us to the sacred dimensions of life, and connects us to a wellspring of curiosity, compassion, and resilience within. Nature nurtures our creativity and arouses the freedom to express our true selves. “


PHOTOGRAPHY (grasses and such!).

THE CIRCLE OF LIFE - Rhythm and patterns (fractals).


Through photography, Sam can observe in an abstract way, the play of light on shadow, and the existence of shape within the form. The basic structure and rules in nature are to be found in mathematics. Basic elements are not only found in How to draw where you use basic mathematics but are the power of the Elements of Nature - for instance, Fire, Earth, Water, Wind, and Ether, which all symbolise colour and energy! Which in turn can be drawn back to the basic human experience! “Earthpoetry!”

Music and dance.

We are Rhythm and Sounds, it’s intrinsic to being human to communicate through sound, movement, speech, and art.  Communicating in these artforms can bring rhythm and harmony in the body-mind complex!

At heart, Sam is an Activist and Conservationist, a fighter for what is right and pure, for what is honest and true. Nature has its own means of balance. If you observe nature, you will see that the five elements that form its basis are opposed to each other,  eg. water destroys fire, and fire destroys air. Therein is a balance to be found! The Yin and Yang, the flow and the calm, the quiet and the storm.


MINDSCAPES and mathematics.

The practice of drawing, painting, and sculpting is a continuous process marked by the pursuit of visual balance. It is also a transposition of the search for inner balance. Matter resists us when we paint or sculpt, this resistance of a material or medium is the ultimate conversation we have with ourselves and the medium, the pleasure to form a visual conversation through the use of colour and medium whether 2 or 3-dimensional!

This communication results in a world that is ultimately Allegorical. “My representation of the human face and natural word gives rise to a quest for identity.” Everything is linked with one another, the one medium feeds the other in this quest. Drawing the natural world and faces has led her to watch and capture emotions and origins, to become sensitive to patterns and fractals and mathematical equations. By sharing these observations, she could define the workings of her own mind, her experience of loss, and rebuilding her own reality.



At a younger age, Sam survived a near-death car accident that left her still recovering after years of operations and the loss of friends and loved ones. Away from family and the way of life she grew up with, she became the Hybrid; she paints her life, integrating all her experiences into a puzzle of life, she owns this experience and she freed herself, developing a less inhibited, more direct expression. She loves drawing the viewer into the emotions she has experienced.  To her, an artwork is finished when she can draw the viewer in, let them experience their own emotions in the viewing,

“Art lies in the eye of the beholder!”




Sam defines herself as an allegorical symbolist, in the sense that her symbolism transcends representation, it allows her to reach the sacred, to get to a dimension of pure contemplation.

Always intended to make that inner tug visible (the tug of Africa), Sam no longer limits herself to try and fit in in the Dutch way of representation, at heart a South African, she has no interest yet to paint the Dutch Landscape, these are experienced through the use of Photography, a keen photographer of patterns and texture (an inherent fascination with trees and grass, shapes and colour). She superimposes her free use of line in abstract and figurative works, which with her uncanny ability the use colour and shape attain the deeper meaning and symbolism attached to colour and symbols. Ritual and Symbolism define her, where at first she was cautious of the intrinsic emotions that emerge from them, with practice and technical ease there is more freedom to combine all practices together ... Which gives more intensity, movement, and nuances to her work. Sam’s artistic journey is a symbiosis of her growing up in Africa, living in the Netherlands, surviving a major car accident, and being an Art, Yoga, and Mindfulness teacher, within all of this there is balance to be found, a certain je nais ce quas, a gift of life and the enjoyment thereof!

This is where her continuous interest lies, the colours, smells, sounds, and visuals of Africa, she is African, She is a South African Mark Maker!

Her Dreamworld continues