We spent the morning at a winefarm near Stellenbosch where I did these three watercolours. The first painting is of some of the people sitting around the picnic. Heh heh – if they are looking a bit stiff, it is because I wouldn’t let them get up till I had finished ‘them’ in the painting. The mountain in the background is Drakenstein which means ‘Dragon rock’ one day I want to sit and paint this mountain, which looks just like the spine of a dragon.
The second watercolour is of Nicole, the daughter of the friends I painted at the first adventure race.
I think my people paintings are coming along.
After I had finished the second painting my friends started telling stories. One lady grew up in Kakamas in the Northern Cape and went back to teach there after her training. She told hilarious stories about life in a small town community. While they were chatting I sat and painted this watercolour of the mountain and the vineyards on the hillside. I wanted to capture the Autumn colours in the vineyards as the vines are turning.
I was pleased with this painting even though the reflections in the dam in the foreground could be improved. I loved sitting and capturing the colours in the hillside with the row of trees cutting down from the skyline.
A lovely afternoon. The grass in the foreground really is grass. I took a photo of each watercolour and gave them to my friends.
This morning Calvin went for an earlyish surf before church. We met Mikhail on the water who told us that we had made final of the parent-child tag contest – whoah! So we went down this afternoon to do our thing. I surfed like a bit of a moegoe so we didn’t get a place. But it was quite fun and anyway I have been surfing for a year now so I was happy with what I did. And it was sunny. I was keen to paint today and started a new watercolour before we rushed off. At the end of the afternoon I was so keen to paint – that I sat with my little kit and did this painting of the buzz around the contest control area. Oh and I donated a watercolour I did of a family watching the surfers for the lucky-draw.
Its OK I guess – I wanted to paint more of the people but a chilly wind blew up off the ocean and I was sitting in a wet wetsuit without a shirt and then they called for the prize-giving to start – so there it is.
Here is the start of my watercolour for today. Check the damp patch on the right – as I write there is a big crawler going up the page – mmm – too bad. I could have avoided this but watercolour will have their way!
OK – now I MUST go to the surfshop in the mall (the mall on Saturday – oh rapture oh joy)
Since the last version I have done battle with the monster in the mall (but did not get a wetsuit) and went with the family to look in at the local long-board competion at the pipe. It was raining gently but the waves were really great. Then Mikhail asked me if I wanted to put a late entry in the father and son tag event. It sounded like fun and it would be a way to have surf. Calvin went in first and did OK though he is not used to a long-board then I went in and had a few great waves even though I could not nose-ride or do other tricks. So there.
I found ‘The Rite of Spring’ at the mall (not in the shop where they asked me “how do you spell Stravinsky?”) and a CD of Joshua Bell playing Mendelssohn’s violin concerto in E minor. So the painting is progressing under two vastly different influences. Here it is so far – as it dries a little:
As I have been painting I have noticed how the turquoise sea reacts with the orange mountains – there is a real buzz there that I would like to capture. I have just added Cobalt Turquoise to my pallette.
So this is how it looks now:
I don’t know – it seems there were lots of fiddly bits – eventually I did the last washes with a big brush – I think I am working too big – the sheet is 38x57mm.
Well, winter is here – the sea temperature is freezing and the winter waves are rolling in. I have a rip in my wetsuit so after some great waves last night I was frozen to the core. So i sat on the dune at the path and did a watercolour of the mountains to the east of False Bay. This was the same scene I did the last time except we have had our first winter rain following a howling South East wind. The South Easter threw up some sand dunes on the beach and the rain painted them in different shades of green and brown. It was early evening as I sat and the sun was sinking below a bank of cloud over the Western hills. So the scene was full of colour. The painting started well but the first washes would not dry so when I went back to put in detail the colour just ran. This is where Charles Reid’s watercolour technique would have been better. Anyway the resulting painting is quite fun and captures the mood. The mountains at Rooiels, down the coast, were showing but when I tried to put them in the watercolour just ran down into the sea.
I want to do a studio version of this painting. There is a light but consistent rain falling and I want to spend time painting today - after I have bought myself a new wetsuit, and if I can, a copy of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
this afternoon i took the boys down for a surf. the waves were great but the water was so full of (bad-mannered) surfers that i left in mild disgust. i sat at the path to the pipe and started a painting of the usual scene. then i looked over the dune and decided to paint the view up the coast of the bay. the south-easter usually makes this really difficult. so here we go:
as i sat with the second painting i kept in mind the suggestion K has made to saturate more.
Feet make such beautiful patterns in light and shade, especially toes. This has to be an ideal subject for the lightness of watercolour. But the shapes in feet are quite intricate. So this is definitely something worth working on. The other night after a hectic day I was reading Claudia’s post about feet and decided to do a painting of the feet of these people lounging around after an adventure race. This is always such a pleasant part of competing in these events.
I think this is making progress since the last one I posted. The feet work. There was dappled shade from the trees we were lying under and I would like to have a technique to capture the shade in a way that pulls the painting together. Like that impressionist painter who painted the people drinking and chatting in the dappled light. Who was that? I have too many different shades of green. I read that as humans we can distinguish between a far broader range of greens than any other colour. (And women can percieve more saturated reds than men) – I suppose this is a red-herring on this post (groan). I also have a sense that I should put in some more dark darks. I will sleep on it some more and see what comes through. The overwork alarm is bleeping.
And here is a final version:
this is as far as I have got for now – it is almost 01:00 and I should have been snoozing ages ago – I thought I would just start this painting but well… that is how it goes
This was supposed to be a watercolour about feet – but the feet didn’t go as well as I wanted. Maybe I will crop this and start again – lets see what tomorrow holds.
This weekend I went hiking with family and friends in the Hottentots Holland mountains above our town. It was a great to be out even though I was feeling a little under the weather and not at all fit. Towards the end of the walk in I told the others to go on and I sat and did this sketch. Our whole area has been ravaged by veld-fires this summer, many of them believed to be as a result of arson. There have been some days when our whole valley has been filled with smoke. So the landscape was all blacks and browns – with a tint of green as new shoots begin to appear. I thought of Carol’s story about needing a pallette of 64 shades of ash for the post-apocalyptic artist.
The mountain hut was under Landroskop. A ‘Landros’ is a Magistrate and ‘kop’ is ‘head’ or ‘peak. (is dit reg Cecily?) ’That evening after sitting around a fire in the mountain hut I slept under the stars. We had a few drops of rain and I moved to a spot where I was sheltered but was eaten alive by mosquitoes so I went out again. At first I could not sleep and I lay looking up at the heavens. Then I realised I had been asleep and the Southern Cross rotated in the sky. And the next I looked the stars were fading and there was light in the eastern sky.