Monday, May 23, 2011

A Demo in Darling

We had Museum Day in Darling on Saturday, and I spent the morning demonstrating oil painting. I only had two days' warning so had little time to prepare. In my studio was a large seascape where the clouds and foreground had a rough underpainting in acrylics. It was done on a day when I wanted to put down a cold sky before I forgot what it looked like.

Behind my counter in the museum I followed the acrylic cloud shapes with oil paint, softening the edges. I showed how clouds were shaded with darker and lighter shades and how some sky colour had to be blended into the edges. I then painted the waves and used a type of very light calligraphy stroke to add lots of white foam edges to them. The rocks were then painted using only raw umber, ultramarine blue and white.

During the many years that I taught art, I have always tried to have some moments of tension to make my demo interesting. So, dipping my brush into the dirty brown colour of the rocks, I approached the wet completed sky. It took a few moments to squizzle in the seagulls and highlight them with white, but I could sense how people held their breaths as it was so easy to spoil the surface of my sky at that moment. Long hours on my feet, that I will not repeat soon, but it was wonderful to experience the company and the intelligent questions put to me by very young kids! Do children just get cleverer or what?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cold Water, Cold Sky

Winter arrived so suddenly that I have stopped going to !Khwa Ttu until we have warmer weather again. This is what the ocean is looking like at the moment. Every day of my life I can just go outdoors and stare at it, but from one day to the next, it never looks the same.

I hope you can see the tranquil pool in the foreground where the water meets the beach.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Khwa Ttu # 5:Art is in their DNA!

The oldest artworks in Africa are those made by the San and found in caves. I suspect that they painted on rocks in the open air as well, but the natural materials they used did not last outside. But, as it goes with excellent genes, the artistic talent of the San people is in full flourish today! Yay for all the wonderful enduring paints they now have access to!

As this is a blog where I have to paint (I have to, seriously!), I painted this passage which is the start of the hiking trail, the indigenous plant garden and the tour of the farm. How cleverly the builders have once again made use of the idea of "anticipation", leading us towards the outside areas through this story-corridor! I liked the hollow window where we could gaze to the sea in the distance....that is my beloved next-door neighbour, the ocean, just visible from !Khwa Ttu.

Now look at these wonderful wall paintings done by current San residents of !Khwa Ttu! They have such interesting schema (formulas) for doing trees. They are not daunted by branches and show the best side, like the Egyptians did. Can you see that picture where "dreams" in the form of multi-coloured dots find their way back to a large tree, symbol of the artist's "birthplace"?Don't we all treasure our past and our childhood? These walls gave San artists the means of expanding their love of story-telling and personal history.

If you are interested in more San paintings, please visit fellow blogger Roger Brown who has also been to a San Centre, the one in Botswana. He gives a link where more art can be seen. I am not going to say " to be continued" today. The Cape is suddenly cold and stormy with winter upon us. So, I will do a "second season" later, as they say on TV!