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.
"And God took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it and created the horse."
- Bedouin Legend
Pencil, Black waterproof Pilot Calligraphy Lettering Pen sketch, candle wax and W&N 'Sepia' watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
The historic mining village of Kaapsehoop is situated about 25 kilometers from the town of Nelspruit in the South African province of Mpumalanga. It is within this paradise-like setting that the legendary wild horses of Kaapsehoop roam freely. Kaapschehoop has the only wild herds in South Africa, whilst the other nearest known wild horse occurrence is in Namibia.
W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm Black Sunbird feeding on the Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker) flowers in my garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa).
The Amethyst Sunbird, also called the Black Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystine) mainly occurs in Africa south of the equator. Its natural habitat is dry savannah but it is extremely fond of gardens.
It goes out of its way to visit a large clump of nectar-bearing
plants. Here in my garden, it feeds on nectar from the Aloe, Kniphofia,
Halleria lucida (Tree fuchsia) and a nectar mix in one of my bird
feeders. It’s diet is supplemented with insects and often hawks flying
insects from the trees or bushes, also gleaning them from leaves and
branches. Nectar is obtained either from flowers or from garden feeders,
which it uses readily (note that in feeding experiments it was found to
prefer sucrose rather than sugar).
This Sunbird is not threatened, in fact its range has increased recently due to the spread of wooded gardens.
A familiar sight in South Africa – a windmill drawing the life blood from the earth.
availability has shaped life and society in many ways, with aridity
shaping the landscape and soils and determining where we live, grow our
crops, raise animals and build our cities. Without these wind pumps,
farming, and life in general, would not be possible in the more arid
parts of our country.
The colour of springtime is in the flowers, the colour of winter is in the imagination.
W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
A winter scene in South Africa.
Clear blue skies and trees scorched by veld fires is a familiar sight here in South Africa in winter. With just a few more weeks of cold, the August winds have already blown in Spring, bringing everything to life again.
Winter is always depicted in cold colours of blue and grey, but here in South Africa, cold as it is, the sun is shining on a bright brown, yellow and green landscape. The only time we have blues and greys is in summer when it is raining!
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.
Redbubble’s new Throw Pillows are really something to get excited about!
As soft and comfortable as an alpaca full of marshmallows but
considerably better looking! The super soft 100% spun polyester pillows
come in 3 sizes to suit even the most extravagant of couches. And with
such a vast range of excellent designs to choose from it’ll be a breeze
to personalize any room.
Selected design printed on both sides
Three square sizes available: 16”, 18”, 20"
Concealed zipper for aesthetic wonderment
Soft yet hard wearing 100% spun Polyester Poplin fabric
Available with or without 100% recycled polyester fibre insert
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!