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.
Art & Creativity - Maree Clarkson
Shhh… germination in progress. Can you hear the swish of the brush, dipping, dipping into water, gathering colour from the palette? That's the process of planting flowers in my watercolour garden. *•.¸🌿¸.•*
This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realise it is play. The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is. I’m here to tell you that the path to peace is right there, when you want to get away. When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. That is very serious!
“Even the blackest of them all, the crow,
Renders good service as your man-at-arms,
Crushing the beetle in his coat of mail,
And crying havoc on the slug and snail.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Coco, my Black Crow - Pilot Fineliner Black Ink sketch and watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm Watercolour Sketchbook
Crow – Corvus capensis. Found: Africa
Ample press is given to charismatic animals such as dolphins, chimps and the like, but few, when talking of intelligent beings, think to mention the crow or raven. It is, however, easy to understand the natural aversions some people have towards these birds: They’re lacking in any type of floral-like beauty; they have a cacophonous and sometimes incessant caw, and are cunning thieves to boot.
But if you look closer, and get to know these beautiful birds on a more intimate level, you will see not just see ‘plain black’ feathers, but beautiful iridescent colours of purple, blue, green and brown. And discover a great intelligence, and even a sense of humour, not normally associated with birds.
They are smart, ingenious, protective, adventurous, and full of engaging play; I recall my 27yr-old crow, Coco, watching intently as I planted my pansy seedlings, only to up-root them the minute I turned my back, cawing in laughter as she fled my mock chase!
How does one do it? How does one weave a hat of straw and create a finished product that serves as art upon our head? It seems magical. Or, perhaps it is the magic and the grace which carries the hat that is the thing which makes that hat seem so special.
W&aN watercolour on DalerRowney 190gsm
Summer is here and I’m back in my straw hat and brown pants, my usual summer garb. I’m by no means a hat-lover, but straw hats, watering cans and garden gloves go hand-in-hand when you enter nature’s domain.
W&N watercolour on Aqua 300gsm The beach at Zinkwazi, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
Zinkwazi – home of the Fish Eagle – is a small village of unspoilt
sub-tropical beauty. It is 85kms north of Durban, 6 hours from Gauteng
and 45 minutes from Durban International. A 7km lagoon is situated among
the lush sub-tropical vegetation of the Zinkwazi conservancy. It is
reported to have 180 species of birds and is an excellent stepping stone
to the Zululand birding route. There are endless unspoilt beaches both
north and south and a safe protected beach in front of the lagoon. I
just love sitting in the shade of the beach vegetation, listening to the
call of the Fish Eagle and watching the waves, which are quite wild on
this stretch of coast.
Sprinkle, squish between my toes, The smell of ocean to my nose. I can feel each grain of sand, It falls from air into my hand. The shells I find along the shore, Picked up by birds that fly and soar. They sparkle like the ocean’s waves, And carry sand from all the lakes. I walk along the tip of the sea, That’s where my feet leave prints to be. I walk all the way to the end of the land, The land that holds this beautiful sand. - Morgan Swain
W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 300gsm – Autumn in South Africa
George Eliot said, Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns!
How I agree! Delicious mild days when there is no hurry, no thing to
be done and no event that is out of order, when Nature seems to pause
between summer heat and winter ice, weaving this world like needle and
thread, every action a divine rhythm.