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

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pensioners Tea, Kistenbosch

My blogging has seriously been off lately.  Have just noticed it's two weeks since I posted.  In fact, I've been avoiding the computer just lately - spending more time in the garden which needs tending to more often now with all this new growth!  Plus it's kind of nice outside in the Summer Sunshine.

I spotted these two lovely older ladies at Kirstenbosch one Tuesday (pensioners get free entrance on Tuesdays) having a cup of tea from their picnic basket.  Note the elegance of the china cup!

I so enjoyed painting this one, and for once put in a background of trees!  Hope you enjoy it too.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holding On!

This is another painting taken from one of Shelley Smart's blog, A Year at the Beach.  Thank you Shelley!

As usual I've not been blogging or visiting this past week, for which I (yet again) apologise.  And with Summer and looming holidays and sports fixtures, I keep falling behind.

But to celebrate Summer (although it's very peculiar weather we're having at the moment!), I thought I would post this one.  I loved it when I started it, but was not all that happy with the end result.  Oh well, another learning curve!

And on a final note, and I KNOW it's late, but I hope all my American and Canadian blogging friends had a great Thanksgiving.  Because it's not an event we celebrate, I tend to forget.  Sorry.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Watercolour Dabbling

Would you believe that not painting that much also means not blogging that much?  No?  Oh well, have to rethink that one!

I've been a bit hassled since I've been back - all sorts of things like my garden which is now going crazy with the start of Summer, Art Society meetings and extra teaching slots at the fabric painting place I help teach at.  Plus there's been cricket and rugby and tonight, our national soccer team, Bafana Bafana take on the mighty USA in a friendly down here at our all new Cape Town Stadium, specially built for the World Cup!  So have to watch that as well.

What has saved me somewhat, are my two art groups that I go to every week.  Even though what I've done does not please me, it's at least a start and I think I'll be getting back regularly pretty soon.

To all my blogging friends, I have visited you and forgive me if I haven't left a message.  I will be mending my ways!

These are two watercolours I did before I went away.  The first was done at a workshop and although a bit static, turned out ok.  The second I loved doing as I got both my fellow art group artists perfectly.  Totally recognisable, lost in their own painting worlds.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Back in from the Cold

Cold it was, but I had the most marvellous time meeting my two new grandchildren and catching up with the oldest one.  And it was just wonderful seeing the whole family again.

But confession time.  I haven't done any painting!  Started one or two before I went to Sweden, and have done next to nothing since I got back last Monday night.  I think I'm having an 'art-down-time' !

But what I did do was go to the National Gallery in Stockholm and these are a few of the gems that I was lucky enough to see.

Claude Monet - From the Mouth of the Schelde
Paul Cezanne - Landscape

Camille Pissarro - Landscape from Pontoise 1874

Eduoard Manet - Young Boy Peeling Banana
and a little gem almost hidden away -
Vincent van Gogh - Acacia in Flowers

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kalk Bay Fisher Folk

Life has suddenly turned a bit topsy turvy!

I spent last week at the exhibition doing duty and in between have been running to and from the city to  get my visa for Sweden.  I am off on Thursday to visit the family for 10 days, the main reason for going is for my grandson's Christening.  I will also see my year and a half granddaughter for the first time (outside of Skype, that is).

So, if I haven't visited you, I beg forgiveness!

This painting was done a few weeks ago and is of two youngsters who frequent the fishing village of Kalk Bay, helping their dad market the day's catch.  For a lot of these people it is their sole source of income and the whole family come out to help.  

I am donating this one to a fund raiser Art and Wine auction.  It is run by Rock Community Care which is continually looking to raise money to help the local crisis centres.  Hope it gets a few bucks for them!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Black Shouldered Kite - Pastel

I was going to post a different painting today, but was woken up in the early hours of the morning with the wind howling from the north-west, a wind that usually brings rain - so far, nothing.

But with this wind (which is par for the course living in Cape Town) comes the worry of a little sparrow's nest which I can see being whipped around in the branches of the tree.  It has already blow down once, and those industrious little feathered friends re-built it.  Being Spring, I also think there are chicks in there as both the Mom and Dad are constantly popping in and out.

Now I know this is not a painting of a sparrow, but a pastel of a Black Shouldered Kite which is another of John Kennekam's marvellous photos.  Just watching and keeping an eye on that nest, made me think of this one.

and this little nest is the one battling for survival in the high winds.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Missing again for a week and this time I wasn't even painting!

I have been trying to catch up with mundane things though, like all this blasted administrative work I seem to be surrounded with lately.  But I've promised myself, it's painting tomorrow, come rain or shine!

This painting was done a few weeks back and submitted for our Annual selection day.  Unfortunately the judges didn't like it, so it didn't make it.  But I was quite pleased with it, and after the initial disappointment, am still happy with it.  Hope you like it too.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


No time!  No time!  Isn't that what the White Rabbit said in Alice in Wonderland?  Or maybe it was We're late, we're late!  Well I've felt like that this past week and a half.  Down a hole!

We had our annual selection day and I seem to get involved with loads of administrative functions which eat away at Time.  So I haven't been visiting anyone in blogland and haven't done any blogging myself.  What little time I had, I did some painting!   Isn't that what we're supposed to do?

One of the smaller paintings I did was of Buddy, a cute looking, short legged Cocker Spaniel looking for a home at DARG.  Carrie Jacobsen who runs the blog of Art for Shelter Animals, wrote a lovely piece on DARG and put Buddy's picture up as well.  Have a look at the site.

But here's Buddy, a little fellow unable to be kept by his owners.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Signs of modern times.

This young fellow was enjoying the sunshine outside The Gardener's Cottage, a popular place to have breakfast in Newlands here in Cape Town, and I couldn't resist sneaking this pic of him while he wasn't looking at us.

Only when I uploaded it, did I realise what he was doing - sending messages on his cellphone!  I hope he got a great response.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Dog Challenge

How can I resist challenges like last month's one on James Parker's Windows to the Words blog?  Especially when it involves DOGS!

This is a beautiful dog owned by Laura Rowe.  Unfortunately I don't have her details or a blog address for her, or the name of this beautiful dog, but she did one of my Katie in return.

Here they both are -

Laura Rowe's Dog


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Donkey Sanctuary

Outside Cape Town, on the road to the Eastern Cape, there is a sanctuary specially for abused and neglected donkeys.

These humble animals have been used and abused for centuries, worked to death and because they are so unglamorous, not much attention is paid to their plight.  Thank goodness for places like this one.

A friend took this picture whilst travelling through the area, a wonderful composition which I have tried to do justice to.  Landscapes again!  Oh dear!

A close-up of the three.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lunch at Camps Bay

In every corner of every city all around the world, there is a group of people we label - hobos, tramps, homeless - here in Cape Town, anyone who lives off the pickings of the street is called a 'Bergie'.  This is a derivative of an Afrikaans word, Berg, which means mountain. 

Now the mountain that is referred to is Table Mountain, that flat topped edifice associated around the world with our city.  The original homeless inhabitants used to live on the slopes of the mountain, finding caves and rock shelters, hence the name.  

Of course, they no longer live on the mountain, instead taking shelter in doorways. There are a number of houses that have been turned into hostels for overnight stays, but not that many take advantage of them except when it gets really cold or when the rain comes pouring down.  They are fiercely independent and very rarely beg.

This gentleman is a resident of the Camps Bay area, a quiet, well mannered person who, for reasons unknown to us, lives on the streets.  He had no trouble with having his picture taken, asking for nothing in return.  Someone had given him a piece of fried fish for his lunch.

 I have included a google map of Camps Bay if you feel like gazing out at the Atlantic Ocean!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Waiting for the Tide

One of the last things I'd do right now, is go down to the beach.  

It's been raining and the temperature is still pretty chilly - but there is a slight increase so that possibly means Summer is trying to find us here in the Southern Hemisphere.

Up til now we've had the most amazing Winter.  All in all only about one month of seriously cold weather - a 6deg Celsius minimum early morning is Cold!  Which also means that I've only had to light the fire about 5 times so far.  But it's not over yet.  August can be colder than July sometimes.

But back to the beach.  

This is from one of Shelley Smart's photographs from her blog, A Year at the Beach.  She's from California and from her photos, she lives in an amazing place. She very kindly gave me permission to paint this one - I loved the composition (yes I know it breaks all the rules) and it took me a lot longer than I thought it would.

Thank you Shelley.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Little Green Frog

Every time I go to the Art Challenge blogs, I think, oh I must try that.  And I just never seem to get there!  

But James Parker's Windows to the Words challenge blog is the one that I do seem to manage!  Maybe because most of the others are landscapes, which terrify me, and James' blog posts wonderful images like this Little Green Frog which I can manage to do in one session.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Life Drawing

A big thank you to all who gave me advice on my last painting.  I rather like it now - just need to take a decent photo.

For something completely different, during the school holidays, which coincided with the FIFA World Cup, we had our annual Winter Life Drawing.  Although there are other venues that arrange life drawing, they always seem to be on the 'wrong' day or on the other side of the mountain.  So I commit myself to going to these Winter ones every year.

Here are a few of the sketches I did.  I struggled a bit - just couldn't seem to get into my stride, so I guess I need to practice, practice, practice!

Khadija was superb.  I used some watercolour on this and quite liked the effect.

Alan has the most amazing physique which was a struggle to draw at first.  So different to the soft curves of the female form.

Alan again, this time using far more watercolour.  Not quite what I wanted.

And Khadija in a longer pose.

Lizzie who had some amazing tattoos!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Revised Kirstenbosch

Thank you, thank you to all for your input on my painting of the kids at Kirstenbosch.  I really appreciated your input and took Celeste's advice about the orange wash as well as comments on the background.

So, far fewer bushes in the back and an orange glaze, this is the best pic I could get, so please excuse any glare.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our Visit to Kirstenbosch

At the end of our Summer, I took some photos whilst sitting at the exhibition at Kirstenbosch.  There was a group of pre-school and school children out for the day being shown the sites and sounds of our wonderful botanical gardens.

I posted one painting I did of three of the little ones sitting on the steps, and this is another one, this time of five of the youngsters resting their weary little bones after traipsing around the gardens.

I took me a long time to finish this.  I did a lot of scraping off and repositioning, but finally got it more or less where I wanted it.  Not 100% happy, but can't figure out what is lacking!  Any help out there?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Saundra's other Duck

Some time ago, Saundra Lane Galloway of Art for Life posted pictures on her blog for others to paint.

Saundra is incredibly generous with her beautiful pics, she loves life and takes all those hardships in her stride - something we could all learn to do.

I loved painting this.  Saundra's other Duck.  She has posted all sorts of ducks and I know there's another one somewhere in the pile waiting for me to get to it.  This was also done with the three colours of cad red, cad yellow and ult blue with white.  Having discovered a limited palette, I'm so enjoying it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

World Cup Fever

Couldn't resist this one!

As you know, the World Cup is in my neck of the woods.  And we are having a great time and I'm slowly being converted to becoming a soccer/football fan.  So watched Ghana lose to Uruguay on a penalty shootout (sob, sob), Germany thrash England and then this - another big upset.  The Netherlands beating Brazil!

This fan echoed it all.  Sketched in pastels (not my medium) quickly at the end of the game in my brand new Moleskine!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Man's Best Friend

I think my favourite subject to paint is still dogs.

I love dogs.  I love all animals, but especially dogs.  There is something so special and wholesome about them especially when treated properly.  Their inherent goodness comes through when you are good to them and even when badly treated, like the dogs at DARG, they are still so forgiving.  And I believe the same is true for an organisation in America, the Port Jervis/Deer Park Humane Society who sent an appeal through the Art for Shelter Animals blog for artists to paint portraits of their shelter animals to help raise funds. This link is to Sheila Tajima's blog, and Carrie Jacobson who also plays a major role.  Please have a look - maybe there's a face there that you'll want to paint.

I did a portrait of Cocoa - the chocolatey/reddy brown coat was a definite appeal, plus that gorgeous face!  Even Pit Bulls are special.  Ask Cocoa!

and some time ago, I did this small one for DARG.  This is Tammy who was abandoned by her owner, but fortunately has recently been adopted!  Bless you Tammy, enjoy your new home.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Portrait of Amy

I think I am getting back to normal now with a new computer, no 'flu and school holidays.

The school holidays are nearly two months this year because of the World Cup (though why the two are connected, I don't know!), so I'm not teaching and there are no art groups.

I have, however, taken advantage of all the workshops that our society organises during the Winter months, and last Tuesday did an oil portrait workshop with one of our top portrait artists, Lesley Charnock.  For the first time I worked with just 3 colours and white - it was a revelation and something I realise I should have done 3 years ago when I first started painting.

Amy was a superb model and I think I caught her likeness quite nicely.  So here she is - in ultramarine, cad red, cad yellow and a bit of titanium white!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Birds of the Gulf

I honestly think that if I couldn't connect with the blogging art world, I would be lost.  And lost I was for over a week when my computer totally died.  Dead.  No more.  And with it went all my information; email addresses, pictures, photographs, documents - ja, well, no, fine!!

So a new pc has been purchased, new (updated!) programmes installed and I am now trying to find my way around them!  My gosh, but the latest Microsoft Office is complicated!

So dear friends, that is why I have been missing in action!  I now have a lot of catching up to do and will eventually get to read all those back posts that I've missed.

And because it's been quite cold here, plus the week at Kirstenbosch and the touch of 'flu, my painting has been curtailed.  The World Cup has also run interference - tonight England is playing here in Cape Town and the town is full of Barmy Army people.  Our own Bafana Bafana didn't do too well the other night and probably won't qualify, but we're enjoying having the world in our little corner of Africa.  Who are you supporting??

So, the last thing I painted during my 'down' time, was this heron and it is part of the tribute to the Gulf Crisis Challenge that Suzanne McDermott has started.  Read all about what she is doing on her blog.  She is a truly wonderful person who cares totally about the environment and what we are doing to it.  Bless you Suzanne.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I haven't been doing very much just lately - the 'flu did knock me sideways and now I'm sitting at the Members Exhibition at Kirstenbosch every day for this week.

So I've been seriously missing from blog commentaries, but, like Arnie, I will be back.

In the meantime, this was done for James Parker's Windows to the Words blog last month - butterflies - those beautiful insects that are disappearing fast because we insist on killing caterpillars!  Thank you James, for those lovely pics.  Am looking forward to this month's challenge.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Roxanne in Watercolour

A great big thank you to all of your for your get better messages!  I am much better, but missed the Important Rugby Game last week!  Oh well - watched it on television and we won!  So there is a semi-final today and I'm definitely going even though I have to climb up thirty thousand steps - ok, maybe not that many, but there are a lot.

And the last time I did a watercolour, dear Dean of Deano's Den, an artist I so admire, said I mustn't be so hard on myself.  So Dean, I am really quite proud of this one!  I did it in stages allowing it to actually dry, and I think my patience paid off.  Her name is Roxanne and she's the granddaughter of a painting friend of mine.  All that gorgeous wavy red hair!  Hope you like it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Swallow Tailed Bee Eater

Birds again.

I did this last week while I was still 'alive'.  At the moment I'm half dead with the dreaded winter 'flu!  Serves me right for always opening my mouth and saying 'I never get sick!!'  Cough, cough, splutter, splutter, not fun.  Must get better by tomorrow as there's a really Important Rugby Game on!

But back to birds.  This is a Swallow Tailed Bee Eater which is indigenous to my part of the world, although you don't see them in the Cape.  Another of John Kennekam's beautiful photos - thank you John, I loved the colours and the 'evil eye' the bird gives you.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The G&T Ladies

It was still in Velddrif for this one. 

Barbara and Jinty, two fellow artists, came along as well.  Two wonderful women originally from England, they were pottering around discussing the various garden plants that don't do too well in the salty, hot, dry atmosphere of Velddrif.  It was almost as if they were posing for this pic it was just so perfect!    I've tried to do them justice and I've achieved quite a good likeness.

The reason for the title?  Wherever South Africans go, they usually take a bottle or two of wine with them - Capetonians usually have the red variety on hand in the evenings, but the two of them had to have their evening gin and tonics before supper!  Very Colonial!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bokkom Lane Pelicans

I love my new digital camera!

When we went up the West Coast last month to Velddrif, I took picture after picture after picture!  It's quick and easy, not like my old one which seemed to take an age between photos and then run out of battery before I could get into my stride. 

So while we were ambling around Bokkom Lane in Velddrif, I was happy snapping this group of pelicans.  They suddenly seemed to take off down river to inspect something, and this painting comes from after their inspection, before returning to point A.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Big Beady-Eyed Bird

Another bird - this time one of Saundra Lane Galloway's ones from her visit to her local zoo.  You can see all her animals from her Surprise Day at the Zoo, here.

This I did in watercolour,  a medium that I still battle with.  Only one in 4 or 5 of my attempts at watercolour am I satisfied with.  Note the word satisfied - not thrilled, over-the-moon or ecstatic about, just satisfied.

This Winter we have a number of workshops arranged and I am determined to take at least one on learning to use watercolours.  I wish I could visit all those wonderful watercolourists in India and the USA for lessons, but no can do, so have to find someone from our local awesomely talented artists.

In the meantime, meet the Beady Eyed Crane!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kirstenbosch Visitors

Whilst on duty at Kirstenbosch during the Merit Exhibition, a group of pre-schoolers came for an outing through the gardens.  

This is a regular occurrence during the week with all sorts of school groups coming through to learn about the gardens, how they are run, and more importantly, to respect the natural order of nature and not to just pick and destroy.

This little group was part of a very much larger group who gathered together on the stone steps waiting for instructions and direction from their teachers.  They were also the cause of much photographing by the adults, including me, as they presented such a cute picture.  I am hoping to do a few more of the kids as they sat on the steps, but this is the first.

and a close up of the three

I have also been given another award - Martine Alison who does the most amazing paintings, writes in French, a language I have had no connection with, and consequently have to rely on Google translate to understand fully what she says.  She is a lovely lady who never fails to leave a comment on my blog.  Martine, bless you, and thank you.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Swallow

I've decided I like painting birds and am going full steam ahead (well, full steam in between everything else), and putting together some good old South African birds.

This is a Swallow.  He lives somewhere around here because the picture was taken in the Paarl area just outside Cape Town by fantastic photographer John Kennekam.  John has kindly given me permission to paint some of his birds and boy, does he have a lot to choose from.

Hope you like this little fella even though I picked up a bit of glare on the blue!

Maree, who is totally knowledgeable about these things, has pointed out that this is a Swallow, not a Sparrow!  Oops!  Thank you Maree, I just know he is a really pretty bird!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Velddrif in April

A group of us went up to Velddrif this past week to do some painting.  Hah!  How can you improve on nature?

It is such a beautiful time of year here with Autumn peaking round the corner.  The days are still lovely and warm and the nights are starting to hint at the chill to come, but it's still t-shirts and shorts for a few more weeks.  There were no mosquitoes, the wind was just a breeze and the company was wonderful.

In lieu of posting any scribbles that I did do, here are some of the scenes we were subjected to from the front stoep of the house we were staying at.

Our early morning flamingo view

The pelicans came gliding past late afternoon along with the spoonbills

And at sunset

On our way back, we popped in to meet wonderful West Coast artist Marie Theron and saw her wonderful paintings in real life!   And we were treated in true Afrikaans hospitality with coffee and cake in their really beautiful home.  Thank you Marie and Phillip.  We will be seeing you again.