Saturday, March 22, 2014

Up the West Coast

I can't believe it's 3 months since I last posted!
I have been avoiding the computer when I can and painting as much as I can.  This summer has been a hive of activity with exhibitions running into each other. And of course, with exhibitions one needs paintings!
I have had a month's break but come Monday it's back into the swing of exhibitions again.
I do need to get back into reading all the blogs and catching up with what's going on in blogland, but until then, am posting a few paintings that I did on a long weekend painting trip to Langebaan.







Friday, December 27, 2013

The World is my Stage

Summer is here in all her glory.
That means the garden needs to be tended regularly otherwise one gets lost in mile high grass!  And summer is when we have most of our exhibitions.  So I've been painting very regularly - early in the morning when it's still nice and cool.  I also have my little TV with me so I can watch that wonderful summer sport - cricket!  India is here at the moment and we are into the second day of the second five-day test.  Cricket is definitely a game you have to understand to love.

I have work on an exhibition at the moment and then on the 1st January there is another one, followed immediately on the 13th and then again on the 23rd.  Different work for all of them!
This is one I'm putting on on the 23rd.  It's of a farm hand who works out in the Elgin area, relaxing in the evening, entertaining friends.


And then there was the death of our revered Nelson Mandela.  Everyone glued to the television sets watching the proceedings - a time of both sadness and thankfulness at what he did for our country.  It was also with great pride that we saw how the rest of the world held him in awe.  I was lucky enough to shake his hand at a press luncheon just after his release from prison.  Rest in peace Tata.
Nelson Mandela Timeline

I hope everyone had a peaceful Festive Season and may 2014 be the most wonderful year ever!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Melissa's

Today is holiday here - Heritage Day.  I still haven't quite figured out the meaning, but I do know that it's also known as 'Braai Day' - translated Barbecue Day.  So there's a lot of meat being cooked over fires with plenty of beer to help the process.

I on the other hand, have been attending to my blog inbetween doing a bit of gardening.  Spring is nearly here and the lovely green buds on the trees are out as are some of my spring flowers.  Beautiful.  So, no painting today, but I did paint yesterday.  And this painting is of one of the waitresses at a coffee shop called Melissa's here in Cape Town.  This scored highly at the judging, so I'm quite proud of that!  And thanks so much for always visiting my very under utilised blog!


Friday, September 6, 2013

Morning News

Haven't been to visit anyone, it's late at night and I'm currently between exhibitions!
On Monday there are 2 exhibitions that I need to put work on and I really don't have much work available, having sold 4 last week.  I also have to keep back 3 which were selected for our Annual Exhibition in October and thereafter need to produce another 5 for January!
Isn't life great!
This is one that was selected.


Of a weathered man sitting outside having coffee.  Sitting outside in the cold winter weather because he needed to have his ciggie with his coffee.

I will do the rounds sometime next week and catch up with everyone.  A special thank you for all your great comments.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cycling Season

I think that I just have to accept that I can't (don't) get around to blogging as often as I should (could).  I miss so much of my blogging friends' work - work that has always been an inspiration to me.

And this winter has been absolutely gorgeous here in Cape Town - a couple of weeks of rain (which is necessary to fill those depleted dams) and some lovely, lovely warm sunshine.  So, apart from the society work that keeps me out of mischief, I have been happily painting in my studio in the back garden (no heating you see!)

Inspired by le Tour de France, I have posted this painting I did a couple of months ago of a cycle tour we have here - The Cape Argus.  If you want to see some amazing paintings of le Tour, have a look at Rob Ijbema's blog - he paints the Tour every year!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

One of my Favourite Subjects

It's been a frantic, busy Summer!  And 5 months have just slipped past unnoticed.

The Art Society takes up a lot of my time these days and at this time of the year there seems to be more activity than normal.  We just put our feet up from the exhibitions before Christmas, when there's another one at the end of January to prepare for.  And no sooner has that finished when our first Art in the Park at Groot Constantia vineyards was upon us.

And just before the 'silly season' I was off to Cyprus via Paris!  My son and daughter-in-law finally decided to get officially married in church after 13 years and 3 children.  The wedding was in Cyprus because Barbara's father lives there and what a wonderful wedding and holiday it was, and being with the family and grandchildren was fantastic - Cyprus in winter is worth visiting and the people are so warm and welcoming.  Paris for a day was a pleasure as well - instead of paying for a visa for a direct flight to Cyprus, I used my Schengen visa to visit the City of Lights and spend the day at the Musee D'Orsay.  What a treat and totally recommended.

And of course, in between been doing some painting.  I had two commissions just before Christmas and this rather good looking gentleman (done in watercolour!) was one of them!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I think one of the things that keeps me away from blogging, is the slowness of our computer networks in this country.  It sometimes takes forever to download some blogs - I can go and make a cup of tea while I wait!


But that's just another excuse!  I have been exceptionally busy, but luckily the last exhibition for the year is now over (just one more but I'm not involved in the organising).  But when you've been away from the old easel for so long, it takes an effort to get back into the swing of things.  With summer almost here, it should get easier.

I did this particular painting some time ago.  It's of Sossusvlei in Namibia, the oldest desert in the world.  A lot of the sand is red/orange and very beautiful and this particular vlei is a popular tourist area.



The picture was taken by my watercolour teacher when she was on holiday in Namibia, so a special thank you to Penny for letting me use her photo.

A big thank you to all of you who continue to visit and give me that support that keeps me going.  I do visit every now and then but usually briefly and don't leave messages.


Friday, August 10, 2012

From Sweden

I think I've worked out that since I joined the art society council, my time spent on the computer is taken up with society things - hence the lack of desire at the end of the day to blog.

And I do regret not blogging when I finally get round to see what I'm missing.  The work out there in blogland is absolutely terrific and reading the blogs makes me feel connected to a wonderful art family.  All my intentions to blog regularly are there - they just don't seem to come to fruition.

We have just had our annual selection weekend and again, my job was doing the computer work and keeping track of the judges scores.  It was a hectic two days and I didn't do so well this year - only one painting was accepted out of three.  Never mind - just have to keep trying.

I am posting these two portraits of my daughter-in-law's young cousins in Sweden.  Her uncle asked me to paint them and I did struggle with Sophie because of the lack of light and shade on her face.  But they were happy, and that's what counts.  Two beautiful young people indeed.

Izak

Sophie

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Warmer side to Africa

I've been back for a while now, but as usual my blog has suffered while other more pressing things needed to be done.  And, as usual, I haven't been visiting anyone.  And it's cold in the computer room!

But I have been going to my watercolour classes and have desperately been painting for our annual selection day.  Even now I don't know whether what I have is going to be good enough - doubt raising its ugly head!  It won't be these as paintings done in a class are not eligible, but my watercolours are improving.  I thought I'd put these two together - the elephants and the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe - as Zim used to be home to great herds of these amazing animals.



Will try and visit soon, but thanks to everyone for keeping me going.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I'm off Again

I thought I would at least be able to post once a month and visit all the blogs, but of course, time has run away again and I'm off to Sweden tomorrow to visit my little family!

So, I think I will have some time on my hands when I'm there, and I am definitely going to try and visit everyone.

For my trip I've painted four portraits so that was also a bit of a rush.  At least I finished in enough time for them to dry.  Needless to say, all my other painting has taken a back seat and I'm only taking a sketch book to Sweden with me.

So, just to keep this blog alive, these are two portraits I did as a commission for a very lovely lady who comes to my fabric painting lessons.  It's nice when you get paid to do what you love, and I loved painting these.

Ashley
Ryan

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Gardener's Bicycle

I've been up since the early hours going through all the blogs on my side bar and haven't yet touched others that I visit when I'm on line!  I'm sorry if I've missed you or haven't left a message and I thank you all for continuing to visit my humble blog and leave comments.

I'm finding it's taking me longer and longer to finish a painting.  And during school term (because of teaching) I find I'm only seriously painting once a week.  Monday is my watercolour class, Tuesday to Thursday taken up with everything else, and Friday morning left for painting with the group.

As a result I found that after the last exhibition, I have very little (actually absolutely nothing that I would consider suitable) for the next exhibition which is just around the corner.  So I really have to pull my finger out and get into my little studio and do some work.

This was done in the Friday group and sold on the opening night of the last exhibition.  Bicycles will always remind me of Ramesh Jhawar who is an expert bicycle painter.  This was taken on a plein air outing at a private home - just around a corner I found this gem - the gardener's bicycle propped against the garden shed.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dry Dock

Gosh it's almost mid-Feb - time has just slipped by.

In January I seemed to be on the go the whole time, with 3 exhibitions to paint for.  And then on top of everything it's been so darned hot!  It must be the hottest January we've had in years with temperatures in the mid-30's (C that is).  The other day, I'm sure it topped 40!  But it's cooling down a little now, so the energy levels start to rise again.

I did rather well at the last exhibition which was the South African Society of Artists Merit Exhibition which I qualified for last year.  Sold a total of 5 paintings which was rather nice.  Considering on the previous 2, I only sold one.

This is one that sold.  It was done from a photo taken whilst plein air painting (or trying to) at the Waterfront in Cape Town centre.  It's called Dry Dock.


I had a quick trip around all my blogging friends, but haven't left any messages.  Will try and revisit in the next day or two.  Thanks for putting up with my tardiness!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Christmas Gift

Some time ago, I did a painting of two delightful dogs, Saffie and Lulu (will be posting them soon).  The owner's sister saw the picture and between the two of them, came up with the idea to have their mother's precious dog painted for her for Christmas.

Now, because it was a Christmas present, I never got to meet the dog or take my own photographs.  It can be a bit unnerving painting from photographs of someone you've never met, but in the end we agreed on the best way to crop the picture and this is the result.

Her name is Emmy and she is much loved by her owners.  And you can understand why, looking at that cute face!

Today is January 1.  
Today is the start of a new year that I hope will bring all the richest blessings, peace, harmony and happiness into all your lives.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

For me, Christmas came a few days early.

Sharon Wright, an amazing portrait artist living somewhere in England! sent me a portrait she did some time ago, and which I was lucky enough to 'win' in a lucky draw she had, oh, nearly two years ago!

It's taken that long to get to me, living at the bottom end of Africa.  No, the postal service was not to blame.  The cost of posting was!  We tried to think of various (less expensive) ways of getting this lovely lady to her new sunny home, but in the end, Sharon just decided to send it anyway.

And here she is, ready to be taken to the framers as soon as they get back from lounging around on the beach!

Thank you Sharon.


To everyone out there in blogland, have a wonderful, fabulous day, and may your good fortunes increase in the new year.



Sunday, December 4, 2011

So Gentle

Time on my hands!  Well, time taken out from the art room.  So the need to update my really neglected blog seemed a good idea.  I do try - I think 'now's the day I'm going to blog' - but it doesn't happen.  And it's so nice and sunny and hot, I should really be in the garden!  Ok, will get there after posting this painting I did some time ago.

It's from a photo taken from and given to me with kind permission by Marty.  I cannot sing her praises as both a photographer and an artist enough.  And she is so generous letting me use some of her exquisite images.


December 16 is usually the official start of our holiday period which lasts up until the 2nd week of January.  Lovely hot summery days with time off from my classes, hopefully giving me lots more time to paint.  And to watch cricket.  Last month we hosted Australia and this month it will be Sri Lanka.  Some great cricket action to come.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Last of the Summer Wine

It really was hectic.  Going from one exhibition to another, plus workshops, meetings and classes, I didn't seem to touch sides.

I was hoping that after this exhibition it would be the last for the year and things would quieten down and I would be able to spend more time reading all my blogging friends blogs.  I really miss them and the news out there.  But no, another exhibition has popped up, but thankfully this time all I will be doing is exhibiting, not organising.

But my news.  We ended one exhibition and then got ready for our selection weekend - a whole weekend set aside for people to bring in their paintings and for the judges to score points.  Nearly 600 paintings were entered and this year I got all three of mine selected.  After last year achieving nothing, it was great to even get a "commended" for one of them.  And I scored enough points to be able to exhibit at our first exhibition in February next year!  I must be improving!

The paintings that got the nod were firstly this one which I only finished recently,


and then these two, the two old ladies being "Commended"



Hopefully I will now have more time to visit everyone.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Max and Dad

One of the drawbacks in not blogging as often as I would like to, is that I don't get round to all the blogs I want to!  Falling behind means that I spend about a day catching up on my blogland friends and missing out on others.  So for that, I apologise.

And unfortunately the situation is going to continue for the next month at least.  We have two exhibitions coming up, one which is juried, which I am involved with, plus all the paperwork that has to go out before the events.  So, as a result, my painting has been limited to twice a week which are non-negotiable times, and very little is coming out of the art room.

This one I did some time ago for a friend.  It's her gorgeous son, Max (who was so proud when he saw himself!) and hubby.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mapping

Back to the watercolours.

One of the most amazing things I learnt was mapping.  In five years of painting lessons, workshops, art magazines and DVDs, no-one ever mentioned mapping.  It was a revelation and I discovered, when applied without that interfering left brain activity, it jolly well works!

I am now so much more aware of tonal values, something I always struggled with.  These are a few of the watercolours and sketches I did whilst discovering mapping with Penny.


           

It seems that I'm not the only one who didn't know about mapping.  Most of you do it instinctively anyway, but being tonally challenged, it was a revelation for me.  The heads of the boys probably illustrates mapping the best.  Forget the left brain stuff, simply draw a line between your dark and light areas (best done upside down) and shade in the dark side.  There are obviously differences in the dark areas, but ignore them in the initial stages.  These will work out when putting in colour.  It's that simple and it works.  If you ignore what you are drawing/painting and follow the mapping guidelines, you will get an amazing likeness, especially with portraits.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Watercolour Lessons

Only just over a week and, although it's freezing in the computer room, here I am!

I have mentioned before that I've been going once a week for watercolour classes.  Now, although watercolour is not my main medium - I am an oil lover and a wannabe pastel artist - I do love the freshness of the medium and I believe that learning about anything is good for one.  So, it's many thanks to Penny Steynor for being so patient with me and leading me through some processes to try and improve my watercolour techniques.

These are just a few I've done and am willing to put up for other eyes to see.

Rhodes Memorial which is on the slopes of Table Mountain just next to the University of Cape Town.  They are in the process of cutting down the pines and replacing them with indigenous flora so soon there will be none of these "old stone pines" left.  This was done plein air - outside on my very first lesson in March.





Done from one of Penny's photographs, she spends a lot of time on the beach taking snapshots of boats and birds and other sea sort of things.










Another of Penny's photos, this time of a trumpeter playing with his troupe during the 2nd of January Cape Town Minstrels (or "Coon Carnival") celebrations, which are a feature of the Cape Town summer.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Missing

Four weeks this time!  But what a busy time I've been having.  No, I'm not sunning myself in the Caribbean, I'm sitting in front of this wretched computer working on the Art Society Stuff!  And thank you Marian for the great words.

For some reason I have taken on the secretarial work for the society and besides learning the ropes, have had to transfer a load of information (including 450 email addresses) onto my systems.  Just when I thought everything was running smoothly, along comes an exhibition which required a tonne of paperwork!  But now I know what's what, should be easier next month.

Despite the work, I managed to finish (and sell) a painting for this last exhibition.  In winter, sales are notoriously slow, so I am very happy that someone liked mine. 

All in a Day's Work

Monday, May 9, 2011

Perlemoen

Half a painting this week, and half of a different painting last week, but did finish one this month!  I need to make some time for myself as this is getting ridiculous.  I am promising myself that tomorrow I will spend the morning at least, in my art room - I will not even turn on my computer.  (Let's see how long that lasts!)  At least I am going to watercolour classes every Monday (when Monday isn't a holiday) and hopefully am making some progress on the watercolour front.

So, no, this is not the half painting done this week, but a watercolour and pastel of abalone shells that were lying around when I was lost for something to paint.  It has a strange name, but that is what we call them in this part of the world - perlemoen - roughly translated meaning lemon pearls. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Greyton Pastures

I'm still figuring out my work load at the moment and as a result haven't been painting like I should! (or want to)!

We are having the most beautiful Indian Summer with temperatures during the day in the mid to late 20s (centigrade, that is) - the one downside is that we are lacking in rain!  But it still makes for lovely plein air weather and I have been trying my hand at that.  Nothing good to post yet, because trying is still the operative word here.

The weekend after Easter I'm off on a pottery/ceramics course in the middle of nowhere - a village called McGregor which is utterly beautiful and unspoilt and an artists' haven.  Am taking my paints with me, so besides the new venture of pottery, I am going to try and put some paint on canvas.

One of my country forays was into Greyton two years back and I finally got round to painting these cows.  I am happy with this - it is looong, 48x18, but what a great size to work on.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Busy Bee

I seem to spend my time apologising for not blogging!  I haven't been visiting or blogging these past 3 weeks - how time flies - as I'm still coming to grips with this new 'job' I've taken on.  But it's slowly coming together and I'm getting my head around what is needed.

But I'm making no promises.  I will TRY to visit more often, post more often, and in order to do so, paint more often!  That's kind of taken a back seat as well - just my two mandatory days a week.

This little painting I did a few weeks ago and it's done from a photograph, with permission, taken by incredible photographer Marty.  Pay her blog a visit -she does the most amazing close-up work, and when I saw this bee, I had to ask her if I could paint it.  Merci Marty.


Well done India on winning the World Cup!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stumps, Day One

Cricket season has hit, so I'm using that as part excuse for not blogging.  The other reason is that I've taken on the secretarial duties at the Art Society and, wow, what a learning curve.  But I'm getting there and hopefully will be jacked enough to find time to paint and blog again.  And to leave comments on your blogs!

I did make a promise to myself though, that whatever happened, I would paint with my groups every Monday and Friday mornings.  Well, I'm still doing that on Friday, but on Monday I have started with a fantastic watercolour teacher, so I'm looking at big improvements in my frustrating watercolour paintings!

But just to show I haven't been totally idle with a paint brush, I took this pic when India was here in South Africa playing the test at Newlandsof two of the South African batsmen leaving the ground at the end of a day's play.

And I thought it doubly fitting to post this as the ICC Cricket World Cup is currently on in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just Having Fun!

My favourite photographer, Shelley Smart, gave me permission to paint this from her amazing photograph!

This little boy, skipping on the beach, oblivious to everyone around him, just enjoying life was just so appealing, I had to ask Shelley if I could paint him.  I have muted the background sea and mountains significantly from the original pic - I just wanted the focus on him.

After taking this photo, I realised that his face was a bit too dark, and will be lightening it somewhat.  But here's the 'before' shot!


This is the place where you'll find the original photo.  Thank you Shelley!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Nice Kitty

Ok, I haven't been around for a while - 3 weeks in fact, but my gosh it's been HOT here!  Plus I've been working at the exhibition at Kirstenbosch, sweltering under the thatch roof and spotlights and by the time I get home, it's total melt down time.

This all sounds so strange when I look at pics from the Northern Hemisphere where there just seems to be snow, snow and more snow.  Oh for a little bit of that cool!

Early morning is the best - from 5am to 8am and I did a little bit of painting during those hours, in between walking the dogs, feeding the birds, watering the garden.....  So my humble apologies for not having visited - I am trying to make up for it now!

This is a smaller one (10x10) I finished before the exhibition and was sold, which is always nice!  A picture my sister took of a friends little black cat.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Silhouette - Sold

There is just something about Shelley Smart's photos that draw me, and she so kindly gives me permission, when I ask, to paint those ones that call to me.  

This is one of them.  An amazing photo, taken at sunset of this lone bird gave me the opportunity to put it on canvas.


Thank you Shelley and I would encourage everyone to visit her blog, A Year at the Beach - her beach, seabirds and waves bring a lovely feeling of tranquility.  But please respect her copyright!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

David

This is our friend, David.

I've known him and his partner, Gail, for some time now and see them annually on Christmas Day.  Now Christmas lunch is a festive meal and with good food, red wine and hot summer weather, lots of photos are taken of all the happenings.

I was snapping away and got this rather great pic of David listening to someone, and with his kind permission I decided to paint it and put it up on exhibition at the end of this month.

It was fantastic to paint.  I hope I caught is intelligence, gentleness and generosity of spirit.


And now my prized piece.  I posted that sketch of Indian cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar a couple of posts ago.  For my non-cricketing-country readers, Sachin is known as the 'Little Master', round the world.  He is a phenomenal sportsman having started his international cricketing career at the age of 15, getting his first Test 100 against England at age 16. 

India are in South Africa at the moment, having just completed the third and final test in my home town.  And I was lucky enough to get this great man to autograph my humble sketch.  And it is a real autograph, not a hurried scribble in passing!


 I'm sure it's going to be worth millions!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Face of Vietnam

A photographer friend of a friend took this photo of a little girl who lives in the northern hills of Vietnam and asked if she would paint it.  

I was given the great task of putting a beautiful, sad face on canvas.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Great Festive Season to Everyone!

I hope everyone out there had the most wonderful Christmas ever!  Whatever you did, I hope you did it well.

Here in Sunny SA we lunched next to the water wearing our cut-off jeans and t-shirts and didn't envy anyone in the Northern Hemisphere AT ALL!  What dreadful weather you guys up there are having - all those airplanes being grounded and just before Christmas as well!  All we see are pictures of snow and more snow!  So here's a picture of the Father Christmas who visited us - (it's actually our friend Dawne, but who cares, we had a good laugh!)


And despite the fact that I haven't been blogging or computing very much, I have done a couple of paintings.  I get up really early (5am), take the dogs for their walk, feed the birds (and the dogs) and then get into the studio for a couple of hours before it gets too hot.   This I did over a few days that way.  It's of a gorgeous young lady who lives in Sweden.  Her name is Sophie and if she sees it, I hope she likes it.


By then it's too hot and after pottering in the garden, it's time to watch cricket!  Yes, Summertime is Cricket Time!  Love it.  And for all my Indian friends out there, my small tribute to one of the greatest cricketers in the World!

Sachin Tendulkar