JUST ME :: and a stack of blank pages

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Lake of the Dismal Swamp

 W&N watercolour and coffee (Nescafé instant) on Bockingford 300gsm ██Ɔ

They made her a grave, too cold and damp
For a soul so warm and true;
And she’s gone to the Lake of the Dismal Swamp,
Where, all night long, by a fire-fly lamp,
She paddles her white canoe.
— By Thomas Moore

The Dismal Swamp has a fascinating history. If you’re not already aware of its intricacies, check it out here.

Extract: “Even though the average depth of the lake is only six feet, its unusually pure water is essential to the swamp’s survival. The amber-colored water is preserved by tannic acids from the bark of the juniper, gum and cypress trees, prohibiting growth of bacteria. Before the days of refrigeration, water from the Swamp was a highly prized commodity on sailing ships. It was put in kegs and would stay fresh a long time. People spoke of the magical qualities of the Swamp’s tea-coloured water and how, if it were regularly drunk, it prevented illness and promoted long life.”

I took a hiatus from blogging for a while, overwhelmed by everything going on in my life, but now things have settled down a bit so here's one of my latest paintings done in coffee with a bit of watercolour.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The most beautiful fairytale is the one in your dreams.

Lady in pink -- Ink sketch and watercolour

Die mooiste sprokie
is die een in jou drome.

The most beautiful fairytale
is the one in your dreams.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Crocodile River

Black Pilot FineLiner ink sketch and W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm

A bank of rocks overlooking the Crocodile River on it's way to Hartebeespoort Dam in the North West Province of South Africa. This area is a favourite spot for river rafting enthusiasts.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Hedgie, my African Hedgehog

W&N watercolour in Moleskine Notebook
Dedicated to all who love Hedgehogs!

This is Hedgie, a male Southern African Hedgehog (Atelerix frontalis) that I was lucky enough to have in my life for almost six years after I found him wandering on our previous smallholding. A couple of months after finding him, I also found Sethlong, a female, who joined Hedgie in the large enclosure I had made for them and together they raised a lovely brood of eight little babies.

You can read more about Hedgie here.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Hartebeespoort Dam in NorthWest

Winsor & Newton watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm 

A view of Hartebeespoort Dam (NorthWest Province, South Africa) with the Magaliesberg Mountains in the back-ground.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Kei-apple botanical - and a Chameleon

Ink sketch and watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm – Kei Apple tree and a Flap-necked Chameleon (Chamaeleonidae – (Chameleo dilepis)

The Kei-apple, Dovyalis caffra, is well known all over the eastern parts South Africa, common in open bush and wooded grassland, and often near termite mounds. It is a thick, shiny, spiny shrub up to three metres in height. The branches are armed with straight, robust spines up to 7 cm long. Fresh, ripe fruits are rich in Vitamin C and pectin and, following the example of the Pedi people who squeeze the juice onto their pap (porridge), they make an excellent addition to a fruit salad and to muesli and yoghurt. Nature seems to know best when to give us the right foods to boost our immune systems in preparation for the onslaught of winter colds and ‘flu.

Last year my trees also bore an abundance of fruit for the first time ever and I ascribe this to the fact that we get heavy frost here in Tarlton (South Africa). It has taken almost seven years for my trees to reach just over three meters tall and I was absolutely thrilled to have the fruit. Of course I had to try them but they really are too acidic, with a slight hint of sweetness, to enjoy on a full-time basis. And I’m therefore also not surprised at all that Torti, my Leopard Tortoise, did not touch any that had fallen on the floor. But they look really beautiful displayed in a dish!

And the Chameleon didn't seem to have any problem with the huge thorns! I was really thrilled to see him in my garden as these lovely creatures seem to be getting scarcer and scarcer.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Plant for the Planet

W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 220gsm (135lb) Smooth heavy-weight sketching paper, from my imagination, no preliminary sketching.

“One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.”
—U.S. Department of Agriculture

Plant for the planet, plant for the people. Planting trees is a simple way to protect and support the local environment, agriculture, water supplies, community development and health, as well as the world’s climate.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A gate in the Karoo

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
Many visitors to Karoo National Park in South Africa access the Park by car as this allows them the freedom to explore the park at their own leisure. Instead of heading to your destination on the main tar roads, try something different – like a drive along the gravel. But be warned – there are many gates to open en route!

The Park is a convenient stopover on the N1 route between Cape Town and the interior of the country. Cape Town is situated about 500km south of the Park. Johannesburg is situated about 1 000km north of the Park.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Euphorbia cooperi

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
Euphorbia cooperi (or Lesser Candelabra Tree, Transvaal Candelabra Tree, Bushveld candelabra euphorbia), is indigenous to South Africa. Found in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Swaziland up to Messina in the Limpopo Province, prefers well-drained soils and is mostly found in rockier places, often on granite outcrops and in rock cracks or in wooded grassland and thorny scrubland, in planes and in steep hillsides on north-facing slopes. This spiny succulent grows 4-7 m tall and produces small yellowish-green flowers in spring and summer.

I had this one in a pot in my garden, but unfortunately it succumbed to frost one severe winter.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Bushveld tranquility

Artline200 Fine-point Black ink pen and W&N watercolour in my Moleskine 200gsm Nature Journal

The Limpopo river, the second largest river in Africa, flows in a great arc, first zig-zagging north and then north-east, then turning east and finally south-east. Then it serves as a border for about 640 kilometers (398 mi), separating South Africa to the south-east from Botswana to the north-west and Zimbabwe to the north. There are several rapids as the river falls off Southern Africa’s inland escarpment. In fact where the Marico River and the Crocodile River join the name changes to Limpopo River. The waters of the Limpopo flow sluggishly, with considerable silt content. Rainfall is seasonal and unreliable: in dry years, the upper parts of the river flow for 40 days or less.
- Info Wikipedia


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