On Wednesday, as prepared to return to Somerset West from George I took some time to wander up the Half Collared Kingfisher trail to do a painting. Actually I would have been happy to sit in the Winter sunshine and watch the cormorants working up and down the river. But I found a pleasant view looking downstream from the lookout on the river-bank. The forest glistened as the sun rose above the hills overlooking the river. I took a video of the watercolour as I worked. I am getting used to working around the camcorder. So here we go:
The painting it 280x190mm on Arches Cold Pressed (300gm).
I am reading Nita Engle on how she creates forest and river reflections. Soon I want to give her technique a whirl.
So my short adventure drew to an end. On the way back I was keen to stop in at Clanwilliam for coffee and a snack but chose instead to gone on further to the Algeria road to have a dip in the Olifants river. The water was lovely and cool and I sat on a sand bank and painted this watercolour of bridge:
I was keen to get the water right which I think I have improved on. The shapes in the river bank were MUCH more interesting than I have shown. This is a kind of cross composition. Definitely one for the studio.
And then it was on through the Swartland to home.
While I stayed with Basie and Annette we watched a discussion about poetry between Andre P Brink and Breyten Breytenbach, two giants of Afrikaans literature. Andre Brink spoke with such heart about his love for poetry. It was awe inspiring in a gentle ordinary kind of way. I had been looking at the mountains all the through the Olifants valley and stopping to take photos. And when I returned, on the road between Stellenbosch and Somerset West I was struck by the great beauty of our little corner of the Boland. And I thought of the words of TS Elliot from “Little Gidding” :
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Here is a painting of a pool in Newlands forest that I did long ago. I found these 6 versions, but there were more. I was battling to show water and leaves and rocks.
Version 3 – here I got frustrated:
version 4 I like the saturated French Ultramarine in this one.
And here is version 5:
And here is version 6. The previous versions were all 12 x 15 inches and now I decided the way forward was to go bigger (double size):
I did at least two more of these but I could not find them in my tidy up. I think I painted on the other side. I think there is progress but there is a lot of the same sort of stuff. I remember sitting down to reflect on what was working and what was not – I think there are some lessons on the learning process here like Quantity has a Quality of its own and the need to look at the body of work. This was a lot of work and I suppose I worked hard. But painting never feels like hard work to me. Which is the gift – I think. I think talent takes a lot of work.