Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ornamental Cats and a Living Label Cat!

Every so often we have to take the long road to Malmesbury where we renew car licences or passports...there is always something! The queues can be maddening. On this particular day my husband was so kind to face the bureaucracy on his own and he left me and my daughter at the very delightful Kontreispens. This shop with fresh products and beautiful crafts has a spacious coffee shop. My quickly rendered little oil painting shows one tiny corner of the decor which is brimful with cats crafted in porcelain, wood, metal and cats on mugs, plates, posters, paintings!

Then, on leaving the shop after lovely cappuchino and apple pie, I bought a bottle of olive oil. The label had a black cat on it and the name "Kasteelkat". At home I was soon on the phone and learnt from the farmer who produces the oil that they always have the real black cat from Riebeek Kasteel (a foundling) around their feet, even when parading through the olive groves. "Kasteelkat" for short!

I hope you enjoy the little painting and the photos of my visit to the coffee house. Last, but not least, the bottle of Kasteelkat olive oil is photographed next to my own porcelain kitchen cat!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Daydreaming on the Berg River

Like children everywhere, the local West Coast children must get their education. But
as this little man admires a newly painted boat, his thoughts are with the real men on the deep ocean. He imagines himself pulling out a heavy net brimful of the little mullet, a plentiful fish which assures that nobody will grow hungry. He wants to stay here, work the ocean and keep a happy home full of laughter and song!

Sadly for him, the opportunities to work in and on the West Coast are not plenty as the rules and quotas for fishing become more severe.

Regular readers of my blog will recognize this scene as one of the many private jetties off Bokkom Lane near Velddrif. Being an admirer of the work of Catherine Jeffrey, I made sure of putting down the tonal values first. Once that was done, the completion was much too fast, but I will leave it at that and see how the next painting turns out.

Some happy landmarks this week: I passed 3000 unique South African visitors and 2000 Americans as well as a total of over 19000 hits.(click on Pageviews on my flag panel to see this) My blog's second birthday is 20 days away. By the way, South Africans, who are you? You are welcome to make appointments to visit my studio, seriously!!! A few people have done that and we had a super time!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bokkom Lane

A row of quaint old buildings meanders along on the bank of the beautiful pristine blue Berg River. A developer with a sharp business eye might think "aha" and see visions of malls and playgrounds. Luckily for us, this little lane is strictly protected and regarded as a national treasure. The street had looked like this for hundreds of years and will continue to be the place where a age-old custom of drying sardines is still practiced.

I have blogged extensively about Velddrif and its bokkoms, and new readers may want to catch up, so I will lead you there: On the first anniversary of my blog, I showed the photogenic little fish in Bokkoms at Velddrif. I then showed the dried product and how I personally enjoyed my bokkoms in Bokkoms turning from Silver to Gold. As part of a set of four paintings for an architect's beach home, I also showed characterful Janine who worked at one of the factories in my post called Folks and Fish #3

My current painting shows part of the dirt road with little bokkom factory-shops. I show 4 tourists, but on a normal day that will be 3 too many! More people should become interested in the old customs and try to enjoy the living history of the West Coast!