I am a watercolorist living on my little piece of African soil in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa. The inspiration for my art is the wonderfully rich variety of Fauna and Flora to be found throughout this beautiful country.
For the first time in many years (except for a brief visit in December 2013), I've had Guinea Fowl visiting my garden again. They even stopped to have a quick snack of corn which I put out for Solly's chickens.
It's winter, which means it's once again time for our annual veld fires (wild fires). A couple of weeks ago we had one rushing through our property, but luckily the grass had already been cut in preparation of the event and the damage was minimal. But with strong winds, it is scary the speed at which these fires can travel.
A couple of years ago I decided to try out a new technique (probably not new to many of you!) - I used a candle to draw some random lines on watercolour paper, gave the whole sheet a soft wash of ochre, which made the tree trunks stand out and from there I could complete the scenery, darkening the main trunks, adding more trees in the back-ground and then doing a fore-ground. Since then I often use this method and it's amazing what results one can achieve.
Below is another painting I did using the same technique using the waxed areas as highlites.
Winter has hit us here in South Africa with a vengeance and it's snowing in many parts of the country. Last night we experienced -6℃ and all the bird baths and water bowls had a quarter inch thick ice on top. I'm sure if it snowed here in Tarlton it wouldn't be this cold...
You may be interested in purchasing some of my art printed on throw
pillows, the perfect décor accessory for any home, with a wide variety of colours and themes. You can head over to
my site at RedBubble and on any artwork, click on the THROW PILLOW option.
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W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm – Marigolds in a pot in my garden
Marigolds (Tagetes patula) are easy to grow and they help keep the away aphids. The relationship between plants and insects is known as ‘companion planting.’ and it’s by far the safest, natural way to garden organically.
Annual Marigolds can be used anywhere to deter beetles and many harmful insects. They are also known to repel harmful root knot nematodes (soil dwelling microscopic white worms) that attack tomatoes, potatoes, roses, and strawberries. The root of the Marigold produces a chemical that kills nematodes as they enter the soil. If a whole area is infested, at the end of the season, turn the Marigolds under so the roots will decay in the soil. You can safely plant there again the following spring. The flowers are hermaphrodite (having both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. They are noted for attracting wildlife. The leaves of the marigold are coated with oily glands that produce a pungent scent.
Did You Know? Marigolds, which are from the Aster family and the Calendula genus, were first discovered by the Portuguese in Central America in the 16th century.
Some interesting info :
In addition to colouring foods, yellow dye from the flowers is also used to colour textiles. The whole plant is harvested when in flower and distilled for its essential oil. The oil is used in perfumery; it is blended with sandalwood oil to produce ‘attar genda’ perfume. About 35 kilograms of oil can be extracted from 1 hectare of the plant (yielding 2,500 kg of flowers and 25,000 kg of herbage). The oil is also being investigated for antifungal activity, including treatment of candidiasis and treating fungal infections in plants
This info from Wikipedia
Looking back at my art since early 2009 when I started this blog, I've come to the pleasing conclusion that my art has improved, I have grown and I seem to have developed a "style". Style comes about by our preferences - preferences of the colours we use, preferences of subjects and preferences of how we look at things. I think every artist's fear is stagnating and getting nowhere, doing the same thing year in and year out.
My subjects have stayed the same - landscapes, birds, wildlife - the things in nature that I love. I did branch out into portraits, and there was a slight improvement, but I found that portraits were not really my forté at all, so I don't do many of those. I also now and then try acrylics and oils, but unless I spend a LOT more time practicing in those mediums, it's not going to get very far!
What do you find when you look back at your art? I hardly ever throw anything away. Even though I cringe at some of the older paintings, it's a reminder of where you were. I love scratching through some old pieces, finding something that might have some potential and adding to it. Often something of value appears, if not, it's then destined for the dustbin. It's amazing what a feeling of freedom arises from the fact that it doesn't matter whether you botch it or not, it gives you a free hand to really go for it!
The first signs of winter are already showing amongst the bluegum
trees on our smallholding (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa). Yellow
grass, fallen leaves and longer shadows accompany me as I take my (now
cold) early morning walks. The lizards and snakes have all but
disappeared or only come out much later in the day as it warms up. Even
the birds seem to be more quiet, preferring to sit in the top branches
of some dead trees, basking in the early morning sun and warming up
before taking on the day.
Two years ago I visited a friend in Tarlton and sketched the road leading to their farm (above). When I visited them again this past weekend, I noticed a few changes along the road and decided to sketch it again (below).