Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Small Things

Guest Artist #2 Lurina Fourie

"For the person for whom small things do not exist, the great is not great" - Jose Ortega y Gasset" This short quote sums up what we are trying to convey with today's post.

I am truly swamped with work and fiercely working for two or three exhibitions which do not have the West Coast theme. But while I am otherwise occupied, there are many talented artists and photographers to keep my blog up and running and I love searching them out and inviting them!

Lurina Fourie of Lurina Fourie Professional Photography Services, also lives in Velddrif on the Berg River. Lurina zooms in on the amazing detail one finds on the beach and river bank. It was difficult to choose just a few of her photos for this post!

Bluebottles in their true colours...Lurina admired the rim
that looked like embroidery stitching

Everybody loves sea anemone shells, but what a find
 was this with hundreds of them stranded after red tide

A moment only the very patient beach dweller will see:
 Spring flowers, the ocean and a pink heart in the clouds

A wave after red tide, magnificent in its anger and beauty !

An injured young cormorant at Laaiplek, shouting at the curious photographer. Lurina
was happy when he was restored to health and flew off

Millions of tiny jewel-like stones form our West Coast
 sand,  how inviting is this sunny image. I can feel that peace

Beautifully captured, I could not resist this photo that says so much about our beaches
where there is space and you can really breathe

Thank you Lurina! Unforgettable work! Please click on her images enlarge.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pelicans on the Berg River

Guest Artist #1 Karen van Niekerk.

(Please click on the images to see large size photos)

Over the last four years, I have often had posts about Velddrif and its famous Bokkom Lane. I have however, shown very few birds. And the Berg River is after all an estuary harbouring many species of the most amazing water birds! So today, I have invited Karen van Niekerk, a talented photographer who lives in Velddrif to show her photos of pelicans. According to Karen, the early morning is the right time to catch them on the Bokkom Lane side of the river. 

The first photo gave me so much joy, and should be in line for a prize! How neatly these pelicans march with the sergeant-major egging them on!!

In the second photo, two pelicans encourage a shy bird to befriend the heron. A super composition! The birds fit in so well with the river scene and jetty and boat!

The third photo shows once again the amazing synchronized movements of these birds. A lovely shot and beautiful reflections! I love the colour of pelicans, they have just that little whisper of pink in them!

Karen took this last photo after sunset. I usually see the pelicans here on the far side of the river, and this photo shows the tranquility to perfection. All the elements of our calm clean river are there: the soft grass on the banks and the thatching reeds. This wonderful capture tells it all!

Thank you to Karen for these amazing photos!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Real Butter in Darling

We can still buy homemade butter in Darling! One of the places where it is kept is in a fridge at the Darling Museum. It is a lovely pale cream butter, not as salty or as yellow as commercial butter, and it is wrapped in thick waxy paper. That is why I love these country museums, they truly keep traditions alive!

Museum Day is an annual function, where the creamery section of the museum truly comes alive. The antiques and lovingly protected utensils of the creamery trade comes off the shelves. Butter is made using the objects of long ago. We can hear about the function of shallow dishes where fresh cream were left to rise to the top. We can touch the seperators which automated the process of dividing milk and "modern" the farmers felt when they obtained this implement! Butter was then churned, rocked, beaten, I remember that each of my aunts had a different style of doing this. Lastly the butter was sifted and salt worked through with a patterned wooden ladle. The butter was ready to be eaten on warm thick slices of farm bread!

Today's images: My third cow painting.....the first two have not been sold, so I am careful about buying such a nice frame for this painting. I painted only a few cows, not in great detail, so as not to detract from the peace of the scene and the clump of trees on top of the hill.

The sketch appeared a few years ago with my story of the creamery corner in the museum.

The photos show a real demo at the Darling Museum, the buttermilk being poured into bottles. Also some lovely antique objects from the dairy trade.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Orderly Cows

Cows in the countryside can contribute greatly to the sense of peace and order. I was amazed when I took the byroads near Darling, at how evenly they spaced themselves while grazing! They follow the contours of the land and each gives the other a fair area to work their way through the grass. Not only is there a sense of personal space that they respect; I remember from my childhood days that they would also move homewards in a row, with no pushing at all.

I had to relay the above thoughts about cows, but I promise to stop trying to be poetic, and be more practical in my next post! There is a famous dairy industry here, after all!

My paintings and photos from the last two posts show a scene that is familiar here, but also in many countries in the world! The gallery owner in Hopefield chose these beautiful frames for me, so that the scenes look timeless and could even have been from an earlier age!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nguni Cattle at Waylands

Avoiding the highway as usual, I often take the country road in order to observe some cattle. Waylands, a farm situated between Darling and Malmesbury will never disappoint. They have the most wonderful herd of cattle and some fabulous specimens of our famous indigenous Nguni cattle.

These beautifully individually patterned animals have been around Africa for centuries. They were famously used in the bartering-for-brides system. Today, they are the pride and joy of each farmer who owns them. To learn more about Nguni, visit Wikipedia, or the Breeders Association. Here is an amazing site dealing with their heritage, colours, etc.

I painted my canvas in a bright transparent yellow ochre first and proceeded from there, using only purple, ochre, sky blue, rust colour, black and white paints. My painting was chosen to hang in the Seasonal Changes Exhibition at Perels en Pampoene Gallery in Hopefield, that opens tomorrow evening.(022 723 1756)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Surprise Animal Friendship at Paternoster

I find that my travels has no particular pattern or order. On this day I was on my way to Hopefield, when there was time for a round trip. Once again, like often before, the choice was Paternoster. When I am in Paternoster, I can never settle to lunch without having taken a walk on the vast beach.

On this occassion the rewards were enormous..... When photographing gulls, I suddenly noticed a strange form emerging from the ocean. It was a friendly-looking seal! He joined the birds and here in the photo it seems as if one gull is doing a very special flying performance for the others gathering there! If you love unusual animal friendships you can buy this as a card on RebBubble. It is called :"At the Air Show"!

My painting shows another Paternoster scene that is now available at Perels & Pampoene Gallery in Hopefield.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Beautiful Country Church

There is something special about a small country town. On approaching one already sees the church spire dominating the skyline. Small towns, large churches! Here on the West Coast it seems as if there have always been seats for every citizen of the the town. I was astounded to see the Dutch Reformed Church in Hopefield up close, never having seen a church where the colour black was so successfully integrated into the structure!

So how does one paint a 19th Century building with all its filigree, turrets and detail? As I have done at Malmesbury before, I decided to find an interesting section to paint. The painting was done in a single three-hour session using the wet-in-wet oil technique. I used an angled brush (shader) throughout, using the sides and the edge.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Day in Hopefield

Since I started this blog in April 2009, I have been in the habit of taking photos of "little secret houses" on my travels. I have just painted a house that caught my attention in Hopefield. At first glance it was completely hidden behind a screen of flowers belonging to The Merry Widow Country Inn, a guest house where we stayed the evening after the Gallery opening. Let me tell you about the guest house first.

We were led past a profusion of flowers to a door framed in foliage and flowers. The inside of this "stone cottage" was extremely comfy and we woke up to the pleasant sights, sounds and aromas of a once-a-month farmer's market. We had to choose wonderful fresh bread with farm-made fillings for breakfast! How unique! Just follow my picture story. While having our tasty food, I studied the house I wanted to paint! I hope you like the painting! The small town of Hopefield is filled with such architectural jewels!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Gallery Opens in Hopefield

A lovely time was had by all when Pêrels & Pampoene Kunsgalery / Art Gallery opened in the little town of Hopefield. Hopefield is inland from Velddrif and one of our famed West Coast "towns-without-the ocean". There is a wonderful trend establishing itself in South Africa, as local as well as overseas visitors discover our small towns. I hope everyone in the country will take the opportunity to visit this town and gallery.I will do some paintings for the next blog, just to show some of the sights in that area.

Here are some photos of the delightful opening night. The second photo is of me and Gretha Helberg, the dynamic young gallery owner. The first and third photos are of me and my paintings. The rest: interiors and exterior of the building.

And I also had the honour of making the first sale, a canvas print of one of my works plus an order for more of those.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Facts of Flight #3 , Velddrif

This painting is the third in a 3-part series of seagulls in flight with a West Coast setting. You can see how the set looks together as it dries in the shade. These were commisioned works for a new West Coast gallery "Pêrels & Pampoene Kunsgalery / Art Gallery" in the town of Hopefield. I was happy when the gallery owner chose 10 more paintings to hang for opening night.

Velddrif lies on the beautiful blue Berg River. It is one of my sites to visit repeatedly for inspiration. Those old and unsteady jetties, the gulls and the boats are all part of a rejuvenating scene. You can see me relaxing there on one of the jetties, drinking in the ambience of an unspoilt area!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lonely Looking Sky

Lonely lookin sky
lonely sky, lonely looking sky
and bein' lonely
makes you wonder why
makes you wonder why
lonely looking sky
lonely looking sky
lonely looking sky

Lonely looking night
lonely night, lonely looking night
and bein' lonely
never made it right
never made it right
lonely looking night
lonely looking night
lonely looking night

I mentioned Jonathan Livingston Seagull as the source of my title "Facts of Flight" for my three-part series of paintings. The series are finished and I will show the past painting in my next post. Doing these paintings, I am forever studying the shapes of seagulls. As it goes in nature, there are sometimes hundreds of gulls coming over one after the other a few meters from home. At other times, I have to walk a mile or two to stalk a single bird!

This morning I found some good examples of distant birds among my photos, and I hope you liked to see them accompanied by the lovely lyrics of Neil Diamond!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Facts of Flight # 2, Paternoster

The three-part series which I started posting, were commissioned for the opening of a new gallery in the West Coast town of Hopefield. We'll be sleeping in a quaint B&B to be able to attend. Of course I will collect material for my blog too!

In the story of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, it is said that seagulls never think about "the facts of flight"! Flight, graceful as it seems, comes automatically to the gulls, as their only concern in life is FOOD! That gave me the idea for the titles for this three-part series. This second painting shows the beach at Paternoster.

I am painting as hard as ever before! Having passed my 68th birthday made me feel that I should go faster! But the Internet has slowed down, I think it is due to the many users here in the outpost where we live. 25 Homes were allowed ADSL in the beginning. Now , without any improvements to the system there must be at least 150 people using it. I battle to visit blogs, and to comment I often get time-outs. One day we will catch up on the 21st century! This is just to say I still love all your interesting blogs!