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


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


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


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


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.