JUST ME :: and a stack of blank pages

:: Living creatively ::

About me

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!

Friday, February 19, 2010

South Africa's King

Rinkhals in my garden

In the past couple of weeks I've had to temporarily give up my sojourns into our Blue gum forest at the bottom of our property where I go to sketch and paint, due to all the rain we've had, which has resulted in a larger than normal number of snakes that I encounter while trying to settle in to sketch.

While you're concentrating on a specific tree, it's rather disconcerting hearing the leaves rustle and then seeing a Rinkhals (Spitting Cobra) nonchalantly sailing in your direction. It means either sitting dead still, hoping he's not going to notice you, or it's a mad scramble trying to get out of the way (and then alerting him to your presence), sending easel or sketchbooks and water flying through the air!

In the past 2 weeks I have already rescued and evicted two Rankhalses from my garden (the pleasure of my garden only to be enjoyed by Mollie, my resident Mole Snake or the Brown House Snake - all others like the Rinkhals and the various Adders are summarily evicted!). Chrissie, my gardener, immediately takes a short-cut home when she sees I'm busy catching a snake for safe delivery to a dam nearby us.

Rinkhals - Hemachatus haemachatus

The Rinkhals is a member of the Cobra family and is also a spitting cobra. It is the smallest of the cobras reaching only about 1.2m or about 4 ft in length. It is a venomous elapid species found in parts of southern Africa. It is one of a group of cobras that has developed the ability to spit venom as a defense mechanism. Rinkhals are unique amongst African cobras in being ovoviviparous. They give birth to 20-35 young, but as many as 65 babies have been recorded. The Rinkhals is unique also, compared to cobras, as it has keeled scales.

If you would like to read more about the Rinkhals and how he feigns death when faced by danger, you can go to my NATURE JOURNAL.

One of the sketches I did of our blue gum forest in my Moleskine watercolour Sketch-book


  1. A lovely sketch of the bluegums, Maree - but to think those rinkhalses are roaming around in there makes my blood run cold!

  2. Thanks Cathy. They REALLY are trying to keep out of our way...

  3. Oh dear.... I'm sure glad I don't have to worry about these in my back yard!

    'Course, we do have rattlesnakes, copperheads and cottonmouths to watch out for :-)

  4. Oh, so cool! I was hoping you'd paint from that photo of the rinkhals. Such an excellent shot. I painted a couple of snakes last year, but neither was venomous. I love snakes, but would be a bit wary around those fellows of yours. Would love to watch you catch one, though.

    Great colors in your blue gum forest sketch!

  5. Hi Melissa, just had to do him! I should get someone to play the flute while I sketch him from real life...! The catching is always a mission and I'm very, very careful. If I have any doubt, I rather let it just go. But the only alternative is to find a safe place for them because people are very quick to just kill and not consider the consequences.

  6. Wow this one is amazin, you have wonderfulls works on your blog :D

  7. Thank you Jronson! And thank you for visiting my blog!

  8. i love these trees. how you go back and forth with the negative painting.

  9. Hello Maree.
    Winter is my favourite time for snakes as they're not active! We get the Mozambique spitting cobra at our White River home - mambas too, and brrrr! I'm pretty sure I will never be able to catch (rescue!) one. I'm an ophidiophobe.
    Love your site, and your art.

  10. Thanks ever so much for your lovely comment Barbara! We do not get the Mambas here, mostly the Rinkhals and the various adders, as well as the Mole Snake, Brown House Snake (2 lovely harmless chaps living in my garden!) and Egg Eaters, also gorgeous!


Your comments are welcome! And thank you for visiting my blog!