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.