Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shark in the Bay!!!!!

When I started this blog about the quiet West Coast of South Africa, I thought that I would really have to hunt for stories to tell and paint. I knew that I would sometimes have to squeeze a story out of a rock! Yet, so many things just happen. And here we have a shark in the bay a very short walk from my home!

The surprising thing is that one not usually expects sharks in such cold water! Yet we saw some monster through the binoculars one day while following the cormorants feeding. This is a baby whale shark of 6 meters long. We cannot determine why it died, but I am glad that the sea dumped it on this very quiet spot where it will not be crowded and prodded. We had only about two sunny days, so mostly a very cold tide washes over it and I hope that one of our big winter storms will return it to the ocean. Little Mitzi never blinked an eye and automatically accepted the large body in its final rest. What was truly strange was that she barked angrily every time the tide pushed in to wash over the shark!

Whale sharks have no teeth but their mouths are enormous grottos! I am so surprised by the bravery of West Coast fisherman going out on their small boats!

My quick sketch with white acrylic paint on black cartridge paper takes its style from the marks on the skin of the whale shark.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

There is Nothing like Farm Food

The West Coast is well known for unique eating-out experiences. Some restaurants just offer a beach shelter commonly built from natural vegetation as protection from the elements; others offer equally rough-and-ready indoor experiences. One of the most popular is the Boesmanland Farm Kitchen on lovely Langebaan Lagoon. Good food is the main thing here, more important than any props, crockery or glossy interior design. We were lucky when our friends booked a Sunday lunch here. They live overseas and move in diplomatic circles. They have been everywhere in the world, but for them the true local and ethnic experiences are of primary interest.

We each found a sawn-off log with a piece of army blanket as seating, and were given a stack of paper plates and a plate holder. The idea is to go back for more food as many times you like. We started with the famous bread made from fresh homemade potato yeast and baked in the wood-fired oven. The food is made in the traditional way in large black pots over open fires. There are traditional snoek (fish) dishes available, but I had to skip those to indulge in "boontjie-bredie" with mutton as an ingredient.

A nice local touch was the singing duo who went from table to table, singing at the tops of their voices.The kids in the lounge were very thrilled to hear the popular local songs with the occasional Lady in R-edddddddd and other requests (and innovasions) thrown in.

My painting shows the preparations for true farm coffee which will be accompanied by koesister, (also called koeksister), a local sugar syrup-dipped plaited dumpling. I loved painting this blackened oven, it gives such an old atmosphere to the place.