Well – this is what I am taking for framing tomorrow:
Painted on Arches 600gm cold press – 1530 x 1020 mm – phew – what a mission.
This is from the road between Uis and Brandberg West, looking across one of the dolerite dykes in the plain, North towards the Brandberg.
I spent the morning preparing for the wedding project and arrived in the reserve will all my stuff packed up neatly. And just as well – the forest glade had been transformed with chairs, flowers and a bower. And the position I chose no longer worked so I moved back a little and other side a tree. When I set up I had a Metalasia (Metalasia muricata) bush prickling my back – but OK. I started the painting about an hour and half before the ceremony and after the first wash help attach the last few rows of cushions to chairs – and then the guests began to arrive. I adopted my “focus on the job at hand” attitude and people came in and settled down.
It was a beautiful wedding, short and simple. too short to finish but I stayed for another hour, completing the painting. It started raining and I escaped under a ‘Bedouin tent’ where they had signed the register. Here is what I gave them:
This is on Arches 300gm Rough 570x780mm (the 600gm sheet was Fabriano rough and I was not keen to take chances).
I suggested they crop the paint to something like this:
Here is a photo taken by the wedding photographer, jac kritzinger, of me painting:
I have to get a smaller palette! Actually I was concerned about being able to mix large washes fast as I was working full size. An interesting unexpected was that I have never painted in a tie before and had to be careful not to get my tie wet in my water-jar.
Here are some photos taken by the groom’s sister:
Here is how my latest Brandberg painting is looking – still lots to be done but this is a nice way to look with a different eye.
What do you think?
The sky is way blue – I will have to find a way to tone that down. But it is slowly taking shape.
these big paintings are a mission – 1500x1020mm
I have been asked to do a watercolour painting of a wedding. Cool project hey? I have spent the afternoon up at Helderberg Reserve with Phil and Lara and family, practicing the scene. This is Phil talking to his father, who will be marrying them, in the spot where they will hold the ceremony.
I did this painting and took some photos to prepare for Saturday:
This is 22×30 inches which is a lot of paint to put down. That is a little sketch of the mountain and trees at the bottom. I have to think quite carefully about the strategy for the painting.
I will have a little more time on Saturday to do the whole painting. And I have lovely sheet of Arches 600gm Cold Press waiting for just this occasion. It will be interesting painting through a service – but wait – that is what I have been practicing (o:
Ethan had a paint-ball party with his mates at Helderberg Farm today and I used the time while I waited for him to sit in the sun and do a painting. This was the same view I did months ago. I was keen to paint bigger but did not have my squirrel hair mop so there was a lot of picking up colour.
This is on 300gm Arches 15×22 inches. It was quite a windy afternoon but I found a sheltered nook just below where I sat in May. Unfortunately the horse-flies found me there. And at least one tick. And this guy who came cruising over my kit:
He really must find a new hairdresser
here are two watercolours of the beach at ‘toti where I am working with a client and stayed overnight. As I got to the beach a ski-boat was circling in the waves, which dwarfed the boat, waiting for a gap to go out to sea – round and round and then zoom – out dodging the breakers. The first painting is captures the colours:
then I thought the composition a bit tame so I did this one:
After this I ran down the steps in the painting and had a swim in the gloriously warm Indian Ocean, pausing to check with a passing local that I was not going to eaten alive (“I don’t hope so..”) heh heh.
Sorry June – I just could not resist this. Isabelle suggested we paint the spiders in our lives – which I think is a good idea. I took a break earlier to lie on the deck in the shade and read the text I need to summarise now. But as I lifted the mattress I have out there this mama came running out. So I got my stuff and shooed her to the edge of the concrete tank behind which she was hiding. And she sat very nicely while I did these:
She is a Wandering or Lizard-eating spider family: Sparassidae: Palystes natalius. She is probably hanging around to eat the little frogs who are now emerging from the swimming pool which is the neighborhood breeding ground of choice. As she sits on the wall she is 100mm from back feet to front or four inches.
Or maybe it is the paper. I started this watercolour on Saunders thingy at the Pipe. The boys were waiting in the car so I thought I would do a quick sketch without a drawing. Some kids came up from surfing to have a look at what I was doing. While they were standing there, a seagull flew over and shat on my painting. First time that has happened. And it was from a proverbial “dizzy height”. I looked up to see it flying off in the rather pompous way of some art critics. heh heh – had to put that in. One of the comments I got was “brave to attempt subject matter” - mmm “patronising to say that”.
So I took off the page and put on some Arches 185gm cold press and did this. The sky was cloudy but the wind dropped and as I finished the sun came burning out. The mountains were clear with deep colours from last nights rain and no shadows. While I painted, a few drops of rain fell. And I was bitten twice by a horse fly.
Some guinea fowl have perched in the tree outside my studio and are making a racket – I wonder if they are discussing my work and waiting for an opportunity to leave their own stamp of disapproval too. heh heh.
My first watercolour class was with Nicholas Galloway in Swakopmund. I remember the first night when he sold me paints, brushes and a sheet of 185g Arches cold press and got me going doing washes and colour mixing. It was frustrating and exciting. The world disappeared. I was enthralled. Once a week I would cycle over to his house over the road to the brewery and paint a watercolour from one of his Namib picture books. Here is one of my first of the sun-baked hills common to the area:
Here is another one:
I did this painting on our bread-board. We would sit around a big table and Nicholas would play this lovely music on a reel to reel tape. There was one song about Autumn Leaves that sticks in my mind though I don’t know who sung it. There were two blonde girls who painted opposite me and whispered with each other – one of them did lovely sky washes, though I never saw her work in galleries. And there was a carpenter called Hans who worked on the same oil painting the whole time I attended the class. It would get dark and misty outside and the sweet smell of the brewery would waft into the room. Nicholas was kind of gruff and put me ill at ease. But I didn’t care – I just loved painting. He would serve coffee after an hour or so and we would continue workinig. While I was doing this painting I was feeling very self conscious and as I worked I dipped my brush in my coffee instead of my water-bottle. Ai – ! At around we would pack up and I would cycle home through the misty slippery streets, on an absolute high.
Here is painting of the mountains at Sesriem, at the edge of the sand-sea just East of Sossusvlei:
We once went there with friends for weekend. We camped under this huge Camel Thorn tree near Sesriem, a ravine where the early visitors had to tie six wagon-cords (ses – six, riem is a rawhide cord) to reach the water. The river goes under ground and when there is enough rain, surfaces in the middle of the dunes. We drove through the dunes and suddenly saw a sail from a sail-board moving through the sand. And over the next dune there in the middle of the driest area you can imagine – a lake where we had a mud fight that lasted hours.
Here is a painting I did in the class, of the rocks at Spitskop, from a photo I had taken:
And finally, here is a painting I did of a photo I took in the Swakop river valley.
We worked on a Uranium Mine (Rossing) 70km inland from Swakopmund. A couple of times we took mountain bikes and a support truck and rode home down the Swakop river valley after work on a Friday, sleeping in the river valley. I was dissatisfied and splattered it with something but actually it is not a bad little painting.
This morning I submitted three paintings for the Western Cape Watercolour Group annual merit exhibition. It is unfortunate that they are holding this at the same time as my show in the Nature Reserve but it worked out OK because I was keen to submit the figures I have done.
The first was the two girls looking at photos shown here with a midnight mounting job:
In the end I decided not to crop the painting. This was accepted. The other two were not. They were quite tough in the evaluation which is really great. Prof (I think) Louw Erasmus who ran a top art school, gave me feedback.
I submitted this nude, painted from a photo, which I have shown on my figures page:
Louw said that the colours were great. He liked the saturated colours in the figure. But the background should have also had strong colour to support the figure. As it is it has a ‘pasted-on’ look that I have read about in Charles Reid’s books. Good feedback. One of the other judges said the scarf should be blowing the other way, which is neither here nor there I thought.
I also submitted another nude that they liked but took out in the last round of judging:
Louw said the painting was technically excellent but the pose was too stiff. A model would not be able to hold such a pose long enough to paint. Also comes from painting from photos. Useful feedback all round.