Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Special Day

Tomorrow is my beautiful grandson's 8th birthday and sadly I will not be there to share it with him.  And his wonderful mother has her birthday the following day with my one and only granddaughter (whom I have never seen in person) celebrating her first birthday the next week.

Now, as is the case with all first born children, there are hundreds of thousands of photographs of Andreas, so I have plenty to choose from to paint.

But I am ultra lucky if I get one or two of Catherine!  Maybe they'll take the hint and send me a whole bunch of the little lady so I can get to paint more than the one I already have.

This was done from a photograph taken when they were last in SA almost 2 years ago, but I liked it, so I painted it, and it is one I'm going to keep!

Andreas - Just Listening

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sunshine Award

Every  now and then some enterprising person sends out an award to marvellous people in our blogging world.

The latest one is the Sunshine Award and what a lovely idea it is.  I have received mine from fellow South African and fabulous West Coast artist, Marie Theron.  I hope to connect with Marie after Easter when a group of us plan to take a painting trip to her wonderful part of our world.

I am also so thrilled and blessed to have 135 people following my little blogging patch and the first thing I would do is to pass this award on to all of you who have made my life so much richer.  So I'm breaking the rules (I think Autumn Leaves also bent them a bit), but then creative types aren't really known for being that obedient!

Please take this award with my thanks and may your days always have sunshine even when it rains.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


This past Monday I thought I would try James Parker's challenge in Watercolour!  Ha!  What a disaster.  I find that about one in five of my watercolours I'm happy with, yet I keep on trying.

So, after tearing that one up, I thought I would try it in pencil.  Only having watercolour paper with me, this is the rather 'bumpy' result.


Now I don't usually use graphite to sketch with, but this one was also done with pencil in about 10 minutes.  I had decided I'd finished the oil portrait, and did this whilst waiting.



And then finally, my favourite sketching medium, charcoal.  One of the ladies brought in this skull one Friday and it was quite a challenge to sketch.  It used to be her horse until it died.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lion the Dog (in watercolour)

In the suburb of Hout Bay there is an 'informal settlement' that goes by the name of Imizamo Yethu, which roughly translated means 'through collective struggle'.  The settlement is made up of shacks and the residents are primarily Xhosa speakers from the Eastern Cape who have made the trip to Cape Town looking for a job and a better life.  There are also immigrants (legal and illegal) from northern parts of Africa.

Imizamo Yethu is a hodge-podge of people and cultures and despite desperate hardship there are also little gems that can be unearthed.

Lion the Dog is one of them.  

He used to live on the dusty street even though his owner made sure he had fresh water and a meal of some sort.

But Lion the Dog was getting old and his joints were feeling stiff and sore, so Hilary Barclay*, a former nurse and animal lover, decided that he needed a kennel.  Through generous donations, Lion now has shelter and warmth and loves his kennel so much, he "only comes out of it to eat, pee and pooh!"

*Hilary Barclay, a registered nurse and dog trainer, started an animal sterlisation programme in Hout Bay's IY township in 2004 to uplift the animal welfare of pets in this community.  To date they have sterlised over 1000 pets and have thus gone a long way to curbing the animal population.  The original black and white photograph for this pic was taken by Mia Davila who is the publicity and liaison person at DARG.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Plein Airheads

I think I have now officially joined the 'Tuesday Plein Air' group, or plein airheads as I think they should be called.  I mean, you've got to be daft to go and sit in the boiling sun with a piddly umbrella trying its best to give you some shade, or, as we've been doing the past two weeks, sitting on top of the mountain (oh, alright, hill) with a good chance of being blown off!

My complete and total admiration goes out to people like Rob Ijbema and Rene Plein Air who actually go and sit in the SNOW and paint!  Bill Guffy in the USA tends to do that as well.  Daft, as I said.  But they do produce jolly good work.

Now I'm relatively new to this outside process and am still trying to find my way around bringing this vast panorama we call Table Mountain into a teeny weeny 14"x18" canvas.  For the past 2 weeks we've been on the top of Signal Hill which is part of the TM facade and the views overlooking the city, the mountain and the new Soccer Stadium are breathtaking.  

The first week was misty when we arrived so it was hurry, hurry, try and catch the mist before it burnt away. 

Then the following week I sat crunched under a short tree for shade and painted the right hand side of TM with the cable station sticking up at the top.  The 12 Apostles are on the right hand side with a lone pine tree that was in front of me on my little bit of mountain.

I was not that happy with the result, but the light was changing so had to stop.  I may try and do some more on it this coming Tuesday - I think the darks needs darkening.  But here is our wonderful - at least a bit of  it - Table Mountain.

I just want to add here that all the trees in Cape Town are bent.  The Southeaster, or Cape Doctor, keeps the air nice and clean, but the trees have trouble standing up to the wind.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Xena the Pitbull

 I still occasionally do the odd painting for DARG, but not quite as often as I would like.

This is Xena and DARG think she's about 5 years old.  In the blurb they say she was rescued 2 years ago after being burnt on her back with hot oil!  Amazing how people think that these poor creatures don't feel pain.  She was adopted but was returned after her new owner decided to move without her.

It is a bit of a problem when people return to places like the UK where dogs and cats have to be quarantined for 6 months before going to their new home, so sometimes I guess it is best to try and find a new home for the animal.

Apparently Xena is "adorable, super playful, super affectionate, super cuddly, loyal, protective and strong.  Belly rubs are a must!"