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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Folks and Fish # 2






From my studio I can see Kabeljoubank where the snoek hang out to dry with Table Mountain in the distance. If the motorists racing past on the R27 will only spend 15 minutes to drive to this rocky outpost, they can observe a centuries old West Coast custom of drying salted fish in the open air and seabreeze.

My models are not the owners of the fish, but are helping to turn and guard them for a small daily fee. On my first visit two years ago they were timid in front of the camera and extremely shy of the easel and paints set-up. Now, for a small modelling fee, they hold out the snoek so I can observe the lovely pinks of the wet fish and the blue and turquoise colours when the sun reflects the oil in the fish. They remember me from before and even tell my what I forgot to take note of the previous visit.

The painting, I think, is my least favourite of the "Folks and Fish"set of four because of the bright sunlight and deep shadows. I much prefer the cloudy moods of the West Coast for my paintings. Readers can find more about snoek in two of my older posts: Snoek drying on the fence, and Smoorsnoek prepared in a country kitchen.

16 comments:

  1. I see more paintings in these photos, Marie. I can't quite tell what the first of the photos shown is actually showing me. It is so interesting seeing how much fishing is part of the coastal culture in your part of the world. I am so not into seafood and am quite squeamish looking at them as they appear in the photos. I will say, however, that they sure make gorgeous paintings at your hands!

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  2. I love that your models have come around and now are holding up the fish for you. I think the painting is fantastic!! Great work, Marie!!

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  3. i think this is a terrific painting and I really like the palette of colors. So nicely composed!

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  4. Hi Sherry, yes, as long as my collectors want them, I can paint Table Mountain with the snoek hanging out to dry.The first photo shows the fish folded in half and hanging like washing on a fence line. Is that photo too yehcchi? Shall I remove it?

    Yes, Manon, they are jobless for the most part, more photographers or artists visiting and tipping them would help them so much!

    Linda, you are kind! Apparently the client also liked it, so I shall not mope about it any longer.

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  5. I like the dark shadow outlining the figure on the left.

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  6. Wow, Marie... that photo you took of the snoek with the sunlight behind them is beautiful... It's almost and abstract isn't it?? I love the shimmery almost iridescent colors.

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  7. Thank you, Karen, it sort of binds the composition.

    Friend, yes, there are so many things we can tell each other about different countries and customs!

    Marian, I have actually tried to win a photographic prize with that photo! The oil when it dries causes the colors.

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  8. Nope, I just couldn't seem to see the depth and thought it was something huge lying on the grass! This morning I was able to see a bit of depth and realize it is more of a closeup of the fish with the grass behind it! I must be getting old! LOL

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  9. I love the sharp contrasts in this one Marie! Those lovely clean images come through in that clear air - so see TM so clearly without a haze is marvellous.

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  10. You always manage to convey a wonderful mood in your paintings. I can just taste that salted fish. I love the colors you use, they are so subtle.
    Jean

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  11. That iridescent snoek photo is special -- but the others, including one of those you linked to 'snoek drying on the fence' have the advantage of including Table Mountain, which makes them quite unique. A really fascinating set of pictures and stories to go with them.

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  12. Easy to see it like that, Sherry!

    Hi Liz, sunny days are quite problematic especially with the faces.

    Thank you, Jean. I suppose you also know the smoked snoek snacks or pate?

    Charlene, T Mountain is always there on the horizon, it is surprising that one can have it for a background in so many different settings. Like you, I love those amazing colours of the snoek and will go and see them again and again.

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  13. Wonderful photos and I love hearing about this way of life and the culture. And what a view from your studio! I am so jealous! I agree with Autumnleaves that there will be more paintings from these photos. I like the abstract quality of them and of course the color of the fish.
    I like the sunny feel of this one. It is a nice contrast to the cloudy ones. The new owner will be very pleased!

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  14. Marie, bright light and shadows are tougher to work with because we need more precision to arrive at the result, I really see that you did a great job on it. It brings out an extra energy in the picture for me. I can also see that you can bring out a lovable series soon:-)

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  15. Catherine, I cannot help thinking that this life is most interesting, yet so many people would just drive through to the nearest mall or entertainment center. The set have the following moods:cloudy, sunny, indoors, and the last will be very cloudy again. The elements that bind the set is my very limited palette of blue-grays and the theme of West Coast fish.

    Padmaja, thank you for pointing out these elements.

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