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!