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Friday, November 27, 2009

Sun and Shadow

I always find the best spots to paint at noon with the sun glaring down. The downside is that the contrasts are sharp. The advantage of this is that it provides me with an opportunity to study the features we need in our South African homes to provide shelter from the heat.
Driving along the highway to Malmesbury this cottage suddenly appearred 'in the middle of nowhere' near the main road. That it seems so solitary is an indication of the abundance of space we are used to in the West Coast region. The house was built in what we call Victorian style in our country, but whereas Victorians had to consider heating, architects here had to incorparate into their design our lenghthy summers and providing natural cooling. The most important feature these little homes had was the deep shady verandas. It kept the dining- and sitting room, which were always near the front, very cool and provided a lovely sheltered outside area to sit during the day. It provided symmetry and order to the design, and here the two large trees were used to provide a neat frame.
I noticed that the building now had a religious use, but my memories were stirred and I thought back to a time when a man would read his newspaper outside on the veranda while his wife sat there preparing vegetables. Besides a comfortable bench there would be an upright table which could be laid so that the family could enjoy their supper outside on hot summer nights. Yes, sitting down to dinner wherever you were, was a great South African tradition! How things have changed with the advent of television!


  1. Beautiful cottage Marie! It is so typical of a South African era gone past and many homes like this are to be seen in Krugersdorp North, a suburb that hosts homes from the late 19th century and the early 20th century - a feast for an artist!

  2. Oh this is just so beautiful, and so pleasant! I love the veranda and loved hearing your memories of how people used to treat their mealtimes. Just so very lovely!!

  3. So very interesting! Lovely painting. . .I can envision the home as you have described.

  4. Beautiful painting Marie. Do you paint on the spot or take pics?

  5. I really love your latest paintings of buildings, I love architecture. I especially love white buildings in the sunshine. I really enjoyed your stories too, thanks for the history.

  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I agree with you that style comes with constant "working". Trying to incorporate "stylistic formulas" into our paintings don't work.
    I had a look at your work. I love the painted vignettes of your part of the world. I have a passion for architecture, so the history part is very interesting as well.

  7. Hi Maree, AutumnLeaves,Linda, Carol, Barbara and Catherine, thank you for visiting and leaving your kind comments. An artist loves to hear that he/she is on the right track!

    I am glad that you like our architecture. The early styles in this area were Cape Dutch, Victorian and West Coast vernacular, the style where the large kitchen oven with a fat outside chimney dominates the little cottages. I have painted some of those West Coast cottages still seen on the byways for my April/May blogspots. About where I work:

    When a scene is here where I live in a safe environment, I will work outside but when the area is too isolated or if it is next to a busy main road as 'Sun and Shadow' was, I paint in my studio from the photograph on my monitor.

  8. Hi Marie - have been catching up and you bring back so many memories! What beautiful paintings of those lovely old Malmesbury homes - you certainly capture the essence of the Weskus.

  9. Marie, thank you so much for all the comments om my blog, inspires me to paid more often.Love your work, we must swop sometime? I love The Western provance, we often look for a place to buy there, not been so far.
    The small cups i've painted are miniture paintings, not cups.
    Comments are always welcome.

  10. Hi Marie , this is a lovely painting . We have similar houses here in Australia known as Colonial houses with the verandas built for the heat. The design also has a central hallway from front to back door and with the verandas creates a cool breeze through the house on a hot day..thankyou for your comments and encouraging words on my blog . very much appreciated ..hugs from Australia, Kathy :-)

  11. Liz, Thea and Kathy. Such very nice comments!

    I am glad Thea and Liz likes the area so much. There is quite a bit of agriculture of the Swartland coming up on my blog and then also some views of Piketberg and a West Coast Christmas card.......

    Kathy, such informative comments as yours can only enhance my own stories, it is very interesting about the function of the hallway. I suppose I have seen it but never realised the reason for it.

  12. Gorgeous. It just amazes me at how "One picture tells a thousand words" thanks for sharing =)

    p/s: I am following you on networkedblogs. please do mine too. Thanks!

  13. Lovely image, Marie. I liked hearing about where you live.

    Funny, last night as I turned off theTV for lack of interest in the gibberish. I, too was wondering if outside the US, people contend with the same nonsense in thier programming. What a distraction it has become to us, to take us away from the delights in our own backyards.


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