Thursday, March 11, 2010

Scorched Earth

I'm really enjoying my landscapes at the moment. It's always good to try out new things and subjects, in fact it's quite refreshing.Landscapes have never been my strong point, but I've recived wonderful positive feedback regarding the few that I've done.

This one is a light sketch of  the Namib desert in Namibia, north of South Africa. With it's vast open thirsty plains and dunes, it's surprising how much life lives there. The rains frequent only every 10 years or so, but the flora and fauna which thrive there are all accustomed to the scorching heat.

Game is plentyful, from the little speckly patina (lizard) and meercats to big cats like the leopard and lion. Each has their use and purpose in the dusty plains of Namibia.

The plant, Welwitschia grows quite easily there, and is considered to be a Fossil. It has a 20m (60ft) taproot burying into the ground. Most of it's moisture is derived from the early morning dew or mist coming in from the coast. Two long leaves grow constantly and fray at the ends from the wind. They are quite spectacular to see! Welwitschia. Camelthorn trees and some acacias are also inhabitants of this arid thirstland.

          The Welwitschias growing in the thirstland of the Namib desert

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

'The Berg'

While sifting through all my 'binners' or paintings I don't intend on finishing, I stumbled across a sheet of paper with a Diox and Aliz Crim wash on it. I think I started this as an experiment.... It was a sheet of Artist canvas (with Acrylic finish). You will notice on the enlarged version, the woven texture of the canvas.

I remember at the time thinking that the colours were a bit washed out and the pigment didn't run like it does on ordinary watercolour paper but gave it a try anyway. Seeing though it was an experiment I put it aside until I felt need to do something with it at some later stage. Needless to say.... 12 months later, I found it and this morning, through more colours in it. At first I had no idea what the washes represented and hadn't a clue on what I was to do with it, but after staring at it for some time..... a picture appeared in my mind.!

This is called 'The Berg' because it looks a lot like the Drakensberg mountains and terrain here in South Africa. Looking at the finished product now, makes me long to go back and just breath that wonderful crisp fresh air.

The Drakensberg mountains range is a  200-kilometre-long mountainous wonderland and world heritage site Aptly named 'Ukhahlamba', pronounced (ooka -lumba) (Barrier of Spears) by the Zulu people, and the Dutch Voortrekkers 'The Dragon Mountain'. The Drakensberg Mountains, with their awe-inspiring basalt cliffs, snowcapped in winter, tower over riverine bush, lush yellowwood forests and cascading waterfalls, form a massive barrier separating KwaZulu-Natal from the Kingdom of Lesotho, and are the tallest mountains in South Africa. The San bushmen were the original inhabitants of the Drakensberg mountains and they left behind the most beautiful paintings in caves throughout the region. The Drakensberg region include hiking trails, bird watching, game viewing, horse trails and safaris, guided tours, 4x4 trails, quad bikes, golfing, trout / fly fishing, white water rafting, rock climbing and many an artist has portrayed their versions of this splendour on canvas and paper.

This is my attempt at creating an imaginary Drakensberg landscape as I remember on our hikes across the hills and mountains.....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

True reflection.

On Looking closely at the painting of my Impala's Soul on my screen, I  was drawn to his eye, I noticed that his eye had a bit of magic in it. Although this painting was a little too detailed and tight for what I had set out to do, I was so excited to see what had appeared in the reflections of his eye. If you look closely, you are able to see the blue sky and some distant shrubs and bushes.

This made me stop for a moment and contemplate what my dear impala was looking at. Was it his alert instinctive nature that was just searching into the distance or had he seen something that caught his astute eye and was alerted to danger? That's the life of an antelope unfortunately... always on its guard! Hence the quote in my earlier post.

Whether in a painting or in real life, the eye speaks volumes. This eye is saying so much to me somehow and  although a bit tight for me, I love this painting and I feel a connection to it in so many ways.


Wishing you all a wonderful Sunday!