I am dreaming dreams of painting in the desert as I prepare a portfolio of work for my gallery in Namibia.
Here is a watercolour of Spitskoppe – Grosse Spitskop in the background with some of the granite boulders that dot the plain around the peak.
This is on a full sheet of Arches 300gm Cold Pressed
Well I am trying to finish off a version of Animus – someone is keen to buy it but I found a blemish in the sky so am doing another version. Here is how it looks now:
The painting is 1000×700 mm on Fabriano which as an interesting horizontal grain which picks up dry brush strokes. This would have been a good sheet to stretch I suppose but anyway -
Oh yes and I have a great idea for a series of paintings for which I need surfers to model for me. The first will use something like this – modelled by my son Ethan in our verry grrreeen pool and taken by me standing on the roof of our house:
watch this space – heh heh – all I need is to make some time and practice a bit with my airbrush – oh oh oh now I shouldn’t have said that…
Here is how the Animus painting looks now – time to take the dogs for a walk up the hill:
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.
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
the first wash was a little more difficult – i think I should have use staining blues rather than French Ultramarine – I was keen to have a smooth wash – but I will see how I feel in the morning:
I had to stand on top of a step ladder and hold a camera over the painting to take this.
I have just had a wild evening – heh heh – I remember once doing the Comrades Marathon from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. I called an old friend of mine, who was a party animal and asked if she wanted to join me at the pre-race “carbo-loading” party – sponsored by Nike. ”Oo yes” she said “I feel like going to a party”. So we picked her up and it was all these guys eating pasta and talking about shoes and time splits. Well it was a short evening.
My wild evening tonight has been spent preparing my next Brandberg painting. ”And why” I hear you ask “are you doing another one?” Why thank you for asking.
I have been given an opportunity to hold an exhibition in the info-centre of our local nature reserve. Which I think is quite fun. And I think two large Brandberg paintings would make a great centre piece. So – there you are.
AAAnd more news
I have bought two brushes I would like to use to replace my horse-hair travelling brush which sheds hair on each stroke. These are goats-hair brushes. I was trying them out on some old paper – they are quite soft – not as stiff as my sable brushes – but they seem OK.
And, while I am on a roll, here is a visitor that I am still trying to get used to.
It is a lizard-eating spider – though the locals call them rain spiders because they come indoors when it rains – this is a male and they get rather aggressive though they are not poisonous. A while ago I picked up the hose in the dark outside my studio and my grabbed one.
Here is painting I have been wanting to do for ages.
The Brandberg is one of my favourite places. It is a large granite plug in Namibia, about 200kms North of Swakopmund and 100km East of the Coast at Henties Bay. The last time I went there I took some photos which I have been wanting paint ever since.
The map referrence of the place where I took the photos is 21°15’46.29″S 14°36’57.28″E – I took this of Google Earth – you can see the stuff I am painting from 4kms up – which I find compelling. You can see the road I was on and I am sure I will be able to find the outcrop on which I took the photos. If you look at the massif from higher, say 1700m you can see that it is round, probably an volcanic vent for rock that has long since eroded and washed away. The top of the mountain is split by rivers and peaks. Although it is a desert, there is water up there. Walking on Brandberg is about climbing up or down short river courses between flat sandy plains. There are some wonderful caves as well, with San or Khoi rock art.
The article in Wikipedia talks about the Ga’aseb river valley which is here:
This is the route we followed the first time I climbed the mountain lead by my mate Buzzy Kloot. We walked up slabs of Granite under the peak on the skyline. There are little miggies (flies) that sit in your eyes when you stop to rest. Just after the descending row of peaks there is a very important subtle pass into the heart of the massif. If you miss it you can end up walking down the Messum River in the West, which another friend of mine did with another group on the same weekend. He and his mates were very fit and strode, up Ga’aseb and down the Messum ravine, up again and around. The next day they set off for Konigstein, the highest peak, and the highest point in Namibia. Off they went, stride, stride, stride. At the end of the day they were not sure where they were. While they were looking at the map, one of the guys said “hey I recognise this place – that is where we slept last night…” they had walked in a circle. The next day we were walking down Ga’aseb. the ravine split and I took a left fork. As I went I heard another group moving fast (striding away) down the other side of a low hill. By the time I got to the bottom of the mountain, they had packed and left. heh heh – Bill and them, moving like the wind.
There is another version I am very keen to do – lets see what the week holds. This is 1500 x 1020 mm 600gm cold pressed Arches. When I work on this size, my whole studio has to be juggled around so I pretty much have to take it from start to finish.
The Brandberg is one of my favourite places. It is a large granite plugin Namibia, about 200kms North of Swakopmund and 100km East of the Coast at Henties Bay. The last time I went there I took some photos which I have been wanting paint ever since. This morning I got up early to make a start – supported by Mia. I am working on a sheet of Arches 600gm Cold Pressed 1020x1530mm which is BIG, for me anyway.
Here is my set up as I started:
I used the ruler and tape measure to get the dimensions right between the photos I am using and the drawing. Each of the ravines and peaks are quite well known to people in Namibia.
Here is the drawing:
And here is the first wash I put in just before zooting off for a surf with my boys:
I am ready to do the first wash on the mountain and put this here as a commitment to move forward in spite of fear. This is where the wheels often come off for my paintings.
The map referrence of the place where I took the photos is 21°15’46.29″S 14°36’57.28″E – I took this of Google Earth – you can see the stuff I am painting from 4kms up – awesome stuff. If you look at the massif from higher you can it is round, probably an volcanic vent for rock that has long since eroded and washed away.
Here is the next wash:
I am now working out the detail for the foreground. Maybe you can see the pencil.
Here is today’s work – I was hoping to do more but have to rush up to the Helderberg Nature Reserve to chat the guys there about a possible Exhibition…
Well today was not a painting day – but I had time to do some tonight. Here is how my Brandberg watercolour looks now:
I hope it is just the warm light but it looks verrry yellllow to me – eek. It was quite a mission to put all the detail into the mountain. I have some gaps in my photos and each valley and peak needs to work. I really want to go back – well after all I need to collect better info.
mmmm I may have to put a glaze over the sky -
OK here is my Saturday morning bit. I think the mountain is pretty much done apart from some touch ups. the next area is the foreground.
I am getting to know each of the ravines and buttresses – ready for version 2. Of course wisdom would suggest that I should have done a smaller version, say on a full size Arches 300gm – but that would have been too, well, wise… heh heh
Here is how it looks at the end of Saturday. So what do you think. I am keen to finish this off tomorrow and get it out there.