Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas in Cape Town

Well Christmas 2008 has come and gone and in Cape Town, we had glorious weather to enjoy our usual outdoor Christmas lunch. This is a picture of our friend, Dawne - nuclear physicist turned cello maker - relaxing after a rather large meal.

And I have discovered the person who belongs to my painting. Her name is Jo Ann Elig and she lives in Rhode Island in the United States. Check our her blog. This is the original picture and I've posted my painting again as a comparison.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

DSFDF - My Challenge

Ohmygosh I was so nervous about entering Karin's challenge, but thought if I don't do it now, then I'll never get past my misgivings about my abilities. So here she is, the artist I was sent to paint. It was certainly a challenge as I have no idea what she is like as a person. All I could see were those stunning eyes, and what an amazing mouth. I hope you like it, whoever you are.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Lion Kings

I have been corresponding with an amazing artist in Austin, Texas. Her forte is sketching but her paintings are magnificent. Virginia's blog, V ... Vaughn is an incredible collection of wildlife and domestic animal artwork. Because she's so good at it, I sent her a picture of a lion taken at the Kruger National Park and she's already done a pencil sketch prior to painting it.

Before I started writing to V, I had done my own little watercolour of two lions, also taken from a photo from the KNP. Although I don't have V's ability, I thought I would post it just for interest sake.

Check our her blog and website. She's really good.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

After the Fire

As Cathy Gatland noted in her post, yesterday was a holiday here in South Africa. Now known as Heritage Day, it was originally known as Dingaan's Day in honour of the battle of Blood River when the Boers and the Zulus came to blows and so many thousands died. It has gone through a few changes - from Dingaan's Day to Family Day, Day of the Covenant and finally now, Heritage Day. But more importantly, it is still viewed as a day of peace.

It also heralds the start of the 'silly season' when we get hundreds of visitors from upcountry to our lovely beaches and mountains, where the beach parties are in full swing, sun drenched bikini clad bodies soak up the sun on Clifton Fourth Beach, tanned muscular bodies play beach volleyball, surfers in Muizenberg, hikers on Table Mountain, sometimes losing their way - and of course, everyone eats too much on Christmas Day.

But the summer 'silly season' is also Fire Season. The wind blows, someone throws out a cigarette butt and, whooosh, the mountain starts burning. It's just taken some very brave firefighters five days and nights to bring the fires in Gordon's Bay and the Strand, just outside Cape Town, under control. It wiped out three houses in the process. Out of control fires are also the nightmare of the informal settlements where not just one, but usually up to 20 shack dwelling
s can be destroyed.

The fires also have their uses. The king protea (which is the national flower of South Africa and the official emblem of our cricket team) and all the other species of protea, need fire to germinate. This also applies to a number of indigenous flowers in the Western Cape. Whilst walking near Greyton, I came across the result of a fire. These burned out proteas were so stark against the new grasses growin
g nearby.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Karin's Boots

For the first time I decided to try Karin Jurick's project on 'Different Strokes for Different Folks' and this is the result. Her boots are delightful - full of character, and if you go to her post you'll see all the recent submissions of the same footwear!

I did, however, have endless trouble trying to photograph the painting. Maybe it's my colour choice of background, but they always came out so yellow. In the end, I used photoshop (which I'm a complete novice with) to try and get the colours more or less as the original painting.

I enjoyed painting them. Thank you Karin.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Another portrait in watercolour. This one I'm quite proud of, as I stopped before I fiddled and overworked it.

I love painting these guys. He was also in Greyton and came to fix some plumbing job whilst I was house and dog sitting. He and his workmate (colloquially known as 'handlanger') sat on the edge of the verandah in the winter sunshine fiddling and fixing whilst I took photos. Marius has the gentlest of faces I've seen for a long time - such a gentle soul, and I tried my best to capture that. I am currently doing an oil of him as well and will post that when it's
finally finished - no 'painting a day' in this neck of the woods! Not just yet, anyway.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Brown Eyes

I have discovered I love painting portraits, even though they don't always turn out the way I'd have liked them to. The expressions and character on faces shines through, especially when they think you're not watching. A photo taken when someone isn't watching can be priceless, but I guess the best is painting with a live model. I have done that once, wasn't happy with the result, but need to try it again. During these December holidays with the nice warm weather, we'll be going out into the forests and onto the beaches to paint 'plein air', so maybe I can catch some of my fellow artists unawares!

That's for the next few weeks. In the meantime, this little watercolour was taken from a pic and done in our watercolour Monday group. I feel, again, that I've overworked it, but I will get better with practice - that's what I've been lead to believe, anyway!

Check out Sharon Wright's, Susan Carlin's and Susan Martin's sites for some exceptional specialised portrait work.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I seem to be doing more watercolours lately than oils - when I was in Greyton I only took my watercolours with me. The red rose and the bud come from the garden there - I had them in a vase in front of me, sitting on the verandah in the warm Spring mornings, watching the birds and trying my hand at still life flowers. I was quite pleased with the result, but felt they were a little overworked.

On my way home that Sunday, I stopped off at the Houwhoek farm stall and bought a Hanepoot vine for my garden - (I've always wanted a grape vine!) - and th
e rather gruff elderly lady who looks after the nursery saw the painting, loved it, so I gave it to her.

The second painting of the pink roses was done last Monday in our watercolour group - it was a 10 minute exercise and I rather enjoyed stopping when I had to.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


This is Roland. He is a gardener in Greyton. I hope there are some gardens left for him to garden after these floods that hit the Overberg. This is an oil I did of him and when I took it down for him to see, I had to take his photo with it. Unfortunately I don't have the combined photo, but I have the memory of his face when he saw the portrait. So I also did a watercolour of the same picture and gave that to him.

This first one is a work in progress, which I thought I'd inc
The final picture. I was never absolutely happy with it, but decided to leave it as is, anyway.

And the watercolour, which Roland took home with him.


I have been tagged by Dianne.
I have also been tagged by Carolann.
And yet again I have been tagged by Sharon.
And now I'm supposed to do the same thing to 7 othe
r unsuspecting artists! Oh dear! I hope no-one minds if I combine all these and just do 7 and not 21.

There are also rules -

1. Put a link in your posting to the person who tagged you.
2. List seven (7) unusual things about yourself.
3. Tag se
ven (7) other bloggers at the end of your post and comment on their blogs to let them know.

It has taken me this long to do something about
it, because I didn't have a clue on how to link names. Thank you Di for that.

7 things about myself? Here goes -

1. I finally got my pension card so I can go to Kir
tenbosch for free on a Tuesday.
2. I slaved in the advertising industry for 33 years
and was relieved to finally stop. Ad agencies are heavy work - I was on the media side.
3. I have a son who is 34 years old and lives at th
e top of the world in Sweden with his wife and my grandson (and a granddaughter on the way).
4. I teach fabric painting to a group of people in a
church hall in Maitland - it's a great way to introduce people to some form of painting, and I love their reactions when they finish a piece - they feel so proud.
5. I have season tickets to Newlands and am a staunch Western Province and Stormers rugby supporter. I also love cricket and am a member of the Western Province Cricket Club. Watching a 5 day test with Australia or England - just the best!! Especially when we beat them!
6. I have never done any fine arts or artistic courses of any kind. The last time I did any form of art was in my matric year. I have been painting now for just over 18 month
s, started off with acrylic and now am sold on oils and watercolour.
7. I love my garden, especially in summertime, and share
it with the birds, moles, snails and caterpillars.

Here are some pictures of my garden!

And now, please forgive me, the following artists whose names I have included.

Carol Hadfield
Thea Burger
Heather Selby
Carol Schiff
Sylvia Jensted
Susan Carlin
Dianne Mize

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


It was back to Greyton this past week for me. Gosh, I really love the place - to wake up to the birds, no traffic noise and pollution free air is absolute bliss. Maybe one day I'll get to live in the country.

Some time ago, before I started my art lessons, when I was struggling with the beginnings of oils, I painted a picture of a Rasta who lives in the Imizamo Yethu settlement in Hout Bay. His name is Donavan and he feeds a colony of about 8 stray cats in the area. To feed them, he makes a fishing line and goes down to the harbour in Hout Bay to catch fish. I did a pencil drawing of him and then I tried my hand at an oil.
The last time I was in Greyton, I met two Rastafarians who live and work in the area. Of course I had to paint them. I will be posting them in the next week or two, as a comparison to Donovan!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jemma in Watercolour - Sold

I'm really getting into my watercolours now. I painted this one last Monday. It's of Jemma, the dog I doggy-sat in Greyton. She has such lovely expressions, but I guess that comes with age - much like wrinkles! For this pose she was sitting in her favourite chair on the stoep, wondering what I was doing - a "now what" look!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Joan's Watercolour

No, this isn't mine, but was given to me by a friend and watercolourist, Joan East. She doesn't think she's very good, but I think totally differently. I just had to let everyone who is interested, see this piece.She inspired me to retry my hand at watercolour, and I have rejoined the "Monday Group" at Frank Joubert in Newlands. This was done quite quickly, and although the guinea fowl are not all that recognisable, that's what they're meant to be!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lion's Head from Table Mountain

Oh I have been very lazy these past few weeks. I seem to have started three or four paintings and then stopped. Maybe it's that time of the year, what with the weather finally warming up and the promise of summer on the way. The exhibition also seemed to take up so much time even though I only had one painting selected. I volunteered to help out at the show and that gave me a lot more time to actually look at the artwork on show - and what an amazing amount of talent we have in this little corner of Africa. I feel quite honoured that I was included!

With the advent of summer, I have also decided that this winter weight must go, so it's off the gym for me. I am going to try and do at least three mornings a week at 30 minutes a stretch so I don't have to buy a new summer wardrobe! Also teaching Tai Chi once a week will get those under-used muscles a bit of a workout. One thing I won't be doing, is climbing Table Mountain. This is from a picture taken by my cousin from Kwa-Zulu Natal whilst on holiday in the Cape. I have loosened up my technique quite a bit - I was trying to get too picture perfect. Comments would be most appreciated.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jemma - Sold

During my housesitting week in Greyton, I had the privilege to get to know Jemma, a really gentle, kind, elderly Boxer. Her greatest pleasure in life was to go for her daily walk which also did me the world of good. The wonderful thing about staying in a village like Greyton, is that they don't have burglar bars or alarm systems or anything that makes you feel fearful. As a result, Jemma's job of guarding the house was a very easy one. I enjoyed painting this picture of her, and hope you enjoy it too.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eye to Eye 18" x 24"

Another painting of my grandson, this time at Spier in Stellenbosch. I know the purists don't like to paint from photographs, but the unposed nature of the picture appealed to me. And besides, to get a child of 6 years old to stand still for 20 seconds would be a major feat!

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Views - Selection Day

Thank you to both Carol Hadfield (The Art of It) and Di McNaughton (The Art of Intuitive Painting) for their insights into the vagaries of the Selection Day. I must admit I was a little taken aback by the selection - some magnificent paintings were given very low scores and therefore did not make the 'cut'. Although I was lucky enough to have one painting chosen, I thought that I needed to give up art as I simply wasn't good enough. But then (thank you Di), I paint for me and how I feel and not for judges who, because they are human after all, must judge what they see from their subjective point of view. This is the one they chose. It's called 'Penguin Spotting'

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Had a very relaxing time in Greyton. My first visit to the town and I thoroughly enjoyed it, not knowing what to expect and despite the negative comments of some old time visitors who believe the upsurge in housing developments has spoilt the place. Needless to say, I took all my painting paraphernalia and did very little actual painting. Took lots of pictures though and thought I would post a few. Here they are -

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Aquarium 18"x24"

My grandson has become a model for me. When the family was here in Cape Town in December, they went all over the place, and the reference for this painting was taken in the aquarium at the Waterfront.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Cake Mix

At the end of June, armed with a small 10"x12" canvas, I took myself off to class and asked my teacher, Margie Johnson, to please guide me through a still life. My mind always went blank when the words 'still life' were mentioned - I never saw the point of painting a couple of old pots, cups and a bunch of flowers! But I thought I had to try and the little brown one, which has never been named, is the result.

Since then I have done another one of which I am quite proud. This one does have a name - Cake Mix - and was done on a slightly bigger canvas 12"x16". Every item was white, but mine didn't quite turn out that way.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Beaded Beads

I have always loved working with my hands, whether it was knitting, potting or just digging in the garden. Painting has always been there, but I never (a) had the time, or (b) thought I was good enough. Now I've realised, you create because you want to, and not for what anybody else thinks of you. One of the elements of creating that I really like is beading. I do it simply because I like it - I never wear jewellery, so I now help my teacher, Maré Abbott by putting together the work she visualises. If you would like to join her classes, e-mail her at Classes are held in Cape Town, but she does teach in Johannesburg and Durban. Here are just two examples of firstly, beaded beads and the second is based on a Zulu rope design.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Blue Jeans 18"x24" - SOLD

This Thursday past, the SA Society of Artists had their annual Eleanor Palmer competition and it seemed that hundreds and hundreds of paintings were entered. This was my contribution - a portrait of my friend, Carol Hadfield's daughter, Tracey. I called it Blue Jeans.

Seagulls & Lobster pots

I love the sea. To paint, that is, not to swim in. I'm an earth sign and like my feet on the ground, so swimming in the sea is not my favourite thing. Needless to say I have done quite a few seascapes in acrylic, watercolour, but, so far, only one in oil. These are some of them.

The top one is the watercolour of the lobster pots, a project taken from Leisure Painter magazine, the acrylic of the two seagulls is from a photograph taken at Muizenberg here in Cape Town whilst the 3 gulls come from a ma
gazine. The last one is the oil - taken from my head and number of other sources.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Moonrise, Misty River, Boots

When I first started painting last year, my medium of choice was acrylic. I loved the ability to use lots of paint and get texture with huge dollops of paint on the surfaces of my paintings. I gradually learnt to temper my enthusiasm and to moderate my painting techniques.
And then I decided to do watercolours. I have always loved watercolour work and decided to try my hand at it. The first results were the little pics of the archway, harbour and window box, plus the two just posted. The seascape of the moonlight (3rd pic) is possibly the very first watercolour I did. I then discovered oils and that certainly took up my time and effort just learning to deal with the medium.

My efforts with watercolour went by the wayside. Until this year when I scratched through my watercolour box and decided to try my hand again. The two pics at the top are the result. The boots are Margie Johnson's, as part of a still life, and the water one comes from a pic from a magazine.

Peony Posy, French Village

Whilst doing an early spring clean of my painting/ sewing/ beading room, I came across these two little watercolours that I had done at the same time as the Harbour, archway and window box, so I thought I'd put them up as well.