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Sunday, May 2, 2010

More about Paternoster


West Coast autumn days have many faces, but a lovely clear almost-winter day is like a tonic for the soul. It is 12 noon and on the beach at Paternoster everything is peaceful. Clear turquoise water, a gentle low tide, boats resting and parents probably having a cooling drink on one of the verandas!

Aren't you painting too many boats, the family wants to know....but I still have a story to tell about the small fishermen, the subsistence guys who are really at the bottom of the hierarchy as far as fishing rights are concerned. During the last century, people were free to fish, but things do change for many reasons. Fish become scarce. Crayfish is no longer poor people's food but an important export product. A fisherman is allowed to bring in 4 crayfish per day, and a small amount of fish,which means to live he has to go out daily and face the dangers of the ocean.

Large factories can buy bigger concessions than the small guys, and they have to. They must pay salaries to thousands of factory workers. And also, the population now need many tons of frozen fish, tinned fish, sardines, crayfish and cat food which a large company with large trawlers and refrigeration is able to deliver.

It is sad to listen to the very real fears of some of the 30,000 local subsistence fishermen. They can go to work in factories and the steelworks , but that means travelling to Saldanha, and have a divided family with old values under pressure. Children also loose respect for parents not able to provide for them and get involved in bad habits. West coast tourism, luckily, is growing and will hopefully provide jobs as people discover the joys of this peaceful area. How nice it is to be in a place that is not rich, not opulent, but so very tranquil and naturally beautiful!

After many months, I have to add this bit of news: This is the top painting on my blog! I watch the polls, and the paintings move up and down, but "More about Paternoster" stays in the first place!

15 comments:

  1. Not too many boats Marie, love this! We don't mind, as many as you can churn out please! It's definitely a dilemma the fisherman are facing and it's sad that age old traditions could die out as they integrate into the tourism industry. But change is all around us and thank heavens you are capturing these images for posterity.

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  2. Thank you Maree, I may have written a bit much, but thank you for reading and commenting. May the West Coast prosper one day without giving up its atmosphere! About boats....thank you, I keep noticing them. They always seem to be oranje-blanje-blou in colour, while photos we have from Marrakech show all blue boats and from Tangier, very colourful oriental shades....another day, another story!

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  3. Your last sentence said it all - a wonderfully tranquil, peaceful feel from your painting. Boats are always such interesting shapes and colours and such fun to paint and for your finished work to be viewed by your blog fans.

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  4. Nice indeed. I think your words tell of the plight of many areas and simply a lack of jobs. To see the more natural ways of yesterday slip away is such a supreme loss in so many ways. I love the painting, but then that is per usual when it comes to your work, Marie. Always a delight.

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  5. I will never grow tired of these lovely painting of the sea and the boats or of the stories that goes along with each. I love seeing things through your artist eyes- a boat is not a boat anymore, neither is it just a small town. There is a story and you do a beautiful job of telling it with your paintbrush and pen (okay- computer) : )

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  6. Marie, unfortunately the story seems to be the same everywhere, and I am sad to hear that your area is no different. Thank you for capturing the life of the subsistence fisherman in your beautiful art.

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  7. I looked at the photo you included of Paternoster. What a gorgeous birds eye view, and such beautiful beaches. I can see why locals would be loathe to leave and change lifestyles. As previous comments suggested, this is a problem in other areas. Our east coaster fisherman have the same problem and often end up going out west to work in the oil business.
    I agree, there is no such thing as too many boat pictures. I love the composition of this one, the bright colors and the view in the distance.
    (I answered your questions re:Yonge Street on my blog. Thanks for your comments!)

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  8. You ARE so lucky to live in a beautiful place, such as this! We have the issue of overfishing here, too. People do not seem to understand that there has to be restrictions or there will be no more fish, the big boats/companies get to fish more (and they employ more, true) but its hard not to feel for the average guy just trying to do it on their own.
    Love the paintings, keep doing boats!

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  9. What an interesting and varied blog you have here. I will definitly be popping back!

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  10. Joan, I agree, boats are lovely, will they be around for a while yet?

    Thank you for always being so kind in your remarks, Sherry.

    Helen, yes at least we use a brush and not a computer-generated image!

    Mary, Catherine and Kelley, thank you for pointing out that the problem of the small fishermen are really universal issues! I feel that maybe farriers and horse carts, etc had the same problem when automobiles arrived!So, on to the next best thing....Thank you for opening that amazing poster view, Catherine, it sums it all up!

    And thank you for all the people who decided that they could live with my boats a while longer! Hi Sandra, welcome!And all the best with your very new blog!

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  11. This is wonderful Marie - don't stop painting those boats! You forgot to mention that despite their hardships, these wonderful folk have the most amazing sense of humour!

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  12. Hi Liz, so right!How often have I wished for a notebook to take down some sayings! Did you see that splendid Paternoster poster? It must be scrolled up, down and sideways. Regards from the other side of the wet blanket!

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  13. Marie, this painting is lovely--peaceful and yet a touch melancholy with all the beached boats. Thank you for your interesting commentary--here in Florida we have a similar situation for local individuals who fish for a living. The large concerns are taking over. However, all of us as consumers contribute to that change--it's a conundrum.

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  14. Love your boat painting with the bright turquoise water, Marie!

    It's a shame that so much tradition must be shoved aside...for in tradition lies a sense of security.

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  15. Marie, This is absolutely lovely! Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your kind comment. And now I have discovered a wonderful new artist! Cheers!

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