Sunday, December 21, 2008

South Africa is a fairly large country with many diverse ethnic groups and cultures. In recent years many cultural villages have been developed around the country. These open-air museums afford locals and tourists the opportunity to learn more about the various ethnic groups and their individual traditions and cultures.

A visit to one of these villages allows the tourist the opportunity to experience tribal life while dance groups chant and sing to the rhythmic beat of drums. Stick fighting, traditional dress, beer making and the wonderful African bead-work and other traditional arts and crafts like paintings, wood carving, basket weaving are all on show.

These villages also go a long way towards the economic empowerment of the craftsman in the area as the villages are marketed as tourist attractions that offer an outlet for the sale of their arts and crafts.

The province of Kwazulu Natal where I lived for a number of years is home to the Zulu people, a proud nation with a history of courage and a fighting spirit dating back to the pre-colonial era.

Whilst these villages depict the traditions and culture of a proud people the stark reality of everyday life is a far cry from what is put on show for visitors. Poverty, unemployment and increasing HIV disease are the order of the day. The income from the shows and sale of arts and crafts is important and does benefit the locals.

These fun water colours show some of the day to day life in an African village.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sunset on the Lake

I know I have not posted much lately, but then I have also not painted much either. I seem to spend my days running around to galleries, organising framing, shipping and every other aspect of my art, but what I enjoy the most and that is sitting down and painting.

I must be honest its not the hectic running around I had in mind for myself. I suppose though once the hard work is done things will settle down and I will be able to concentrate on painting. I brought about 50 paintings with me and the new ones I have painted and I supposed its just been a long hard slog to find suitable outlets for all of them.

This oil painting I have titled sunset on the lake. Compared to SA the sun sets much later here which I supposed is also helped by daylight saving. Auckland is a city with ocean and waterways just every where. Though this is not a particular Auckland scene its just my imagination of a tranquil home on a lake.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Blog Awards

If "The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions" , then I must be teetering on the very edge of that fiery inferno.

In recent months a number of people have bestowed awards on me, to which I have not adequately responded. It has been my intention to reply to all and express my appreciation publicly. As a mere mortal who every now and then appreciates a pat on the back to say well done the awards go a long way to encourage me and spur me on to try harder. Thank you to all for honouring me in this way. I feel really awful for not replying sooner but time has not been on my side.

The move from South Africa has not been without its challenges, the most difficult of all being the financial consideration. The South African currency is approx R6 to one NZ $ and I had to convert my Rands to NZ $. Whilst I don't think NZ is that much more expensive than other countries I can't seem to shake the habit of converting all the prices to Rands and doing a comparison before purchasing anything.

When you earn local currency its a reasonable place to live, but when you use Rands then things get a tad expensive. I had to have some paintings framed the other day and the average cost was about $250 per frame.

These were not large paintings that had to be framed but I found it really expensive. That is the equivalent of about R1500 in South African currency. The same quality of framing there would probably only have cost about R500, so its about three times as much per frame. This all affects the sale price and I had to increase the prices drastically. The same applies to many other things I have had to purchase here.

Financial survival is paramount so I have had to concentrate my efforts on earning some local currency by selling my art here in NZ.. My blog has been running now for 8 months and if I consider the income earned for the time spent then my priority has to be focused on the traditional methods of selling my art.

My total income to date from blog adverts has been $899 from all sources including including AdSense, affiliates and click bank which amounts to a little over $100 per month. Whilst the extra income has been most welcome it does not pay the monthly bills.

I know there are many other sources of online income to explore, I read all about them every day when I do my entre card drops. I don't however have the time to fully explore all the options. During this time I have also managed to sell 2 paintings as a result of direct enquiries from my blog.

All said and done I am reasonably happy with my blogging results but have to keep a proper perspective on things and blogging has for now been relegated to second place in my busy life.

So there you have it!! I make time every day to drop 300 cards and will continue to do so as it is good for traffic and there are numerous blogs that I thoroughly enjoy reading which gives a bit of meaning to the ritual.

Today is one of those cold wet and miserable days here so my plans were changed and I am using this time to catch up on some blogging. As for following the rules of each award, this is often time consuming and when I do identify recipients I feel worthy of the award more often than not they already have it. I can't see the point of giving them the award again.

Now back to the awards.

Sweet Home blog awards

I feel honoured that Louise from Island Wench feels that through my blog I have been able to share some of the beauty love and joy in the world around us with my readers.

Arte Y Pico Award

Thank you to SueEllen a talented Canadian whose fine art on the Creaky Easel has always inspired me.

My thanks also to Tink from the Netherlands whose site Tinkerbell always makes for some interesting reading.

The Brilliant Blog Award

To Durano from the Spitting Vessel, a site I try to make a point of visiting daily because of the brilliant writing and great content, thank you for honouring me this way.

The fashion site from California The Mommy and me Boutique whose array of beautiful aprons make being seen in the kitchen more exciting is worth checking out, thank you for this award.

"I Love Your Blog" award from Lea but unfortunately no link was left to help identify the site, or the actual award. My humble thanks for the award, it is always pleasing to know someone derives a bit of pleasure from my efforts.

Last but not least there are about 60 comments still to be published and attended to. The problem with procrastinating is that it compounds the work load and I must make an effort to attend to these daily. Thank you to all who have left comments I do appreciate them.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Timeless Elegance

The uniqueness of vintage apparel has always appealed to me, not that I actually wear anything vintage or have any vintage clothing in my wardrobe. Unless of course we take our fast paced, ever changing fashion world and consider that I have a few outfits and jeans that I still wear dating back 5 years or more that might already be considered vintage by some. Hopefully they will come back into fashion before I wear them out.

This water colour painting was inspired by my granddaughter Nicole who did a rough sketch and then asked me to do a painting for her. I get the feeling that she has also inherited the art genes and just needs some encouragement to try and paint something herself.

The timeless elegance of the vintage hats and clothing does not lend itself to our modern lifestyle, and I suppose someone dressed in a complete vintage outfit would look like they were wearing a costume on a movie set or theatre production.

A mixture of contemporary and antique dress would be an interesting combination even in our era. Then again!! maybe in 20 years or so, when I'm a doddering old lady shuffling along with my cane, the vintage line will become the fashion again and I will be reminded of my youth growing up in colonial Africa.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Party Theme

Sometimes as artists we are called upon perform unusual tasks. Recently a company threw a party to celebrate some or other event, and wanted a cowboy, come country and western theme for the party. I was given the task of doing three large murals for them. Well I thought they would be murals that they would paint over once the celebration was done.

The company agreed to supply all the material as I felt it would not be useful to me in the future. I also allowed myself a week to complete the project. Upon arrival I was rater amused to find a few large rolls of calico sheeting, numerous jars of fabric paint, lengths of timber, saw, square hammer and nails. Oh yes! and a pair of scissors and a staple gun.

I say bemused because I stood and looked at this lot and asked myself "What on earth am I supposed to do with this pile of junk" A brief discussion with the responsible person soon enlightened me and I could either walk away or rise to the challenge. I was on my own, and as always needed the money so I decided what the heck!! "Get on with the job" Bitching won't help.

So if you can Imagine this Granny with a hammer and nails constructing wooden frames, working on the floor without any fancy work benches or vices, well that's how day one was spent. Once the frames were complete and the fabric stapled to the frames I painted the fabric with a white PVA and left it overnight to stiffen to a workable canvas sheet.

As you can see the frames were somewhat taller than I am so a lot of my time was spent standing on a ladder. Though it turned out to be a fun project it had its challenges, painting on a large surface without a solid backing left little room for error and was difficult at best.

Having missed day one as a result of my construction efforts, I was also under pressure to finish all three before the big bash. With all the mad rush and pressure to complete the project I forgot to take a camera and photograph my handy work. I thought I would be able to pop in the Monday and quickly take some photos. The company maintenance staff who were conspicuous by their absence while I was struggling to construct the frames had however dismantled everything and rolled up the canvas for possible use in the future.

One of the staff members did however take a photo with her mobile and was kind enough to give me a copy which is the one above. This was also unfortunately taken prior to the completion of that particular painting as you can see by the wagon wheels which I had done in rough with a dustbin lid and painted over later. The quality of the photo is also not the greatest and also only shows a portion of the painting.

Sadly however this story does not have a happy ending, when it came time to cough up the agreed up fee the company MD Reneged and refused to pay. His excuse was that the person who commissioned me to do the job apparently did not have the necessary authority to do so.

I find this rather strange as the person concerned was appointed co-ordinator for the party project and presented management with a budget that included the cost of the material and my fee. The company is a well known large hotel but due to pending legal action I cannot name and shame them here.

Whats even more confusing is that during his party speech the MD commended the co-ordinator on her fantastic effort specially with the theme. I was invited as a guest to the party and was congratulated by all and sundry including the MD for the paintings when I was introduced as the artist.

Well there goes the Christmas bonus, but I suppose a lesson learned. On the bright side though I have been approached by other people present at the party to do a few commissioned paintings in the near future. So maybe all is not lost.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Big Cats

The Leopard is the most secretive of all the African big cats. This elusive behavior probably makes it the most cunning of the big cats.

Leopards are solitary nocturnal hunters preying on anything from fish to birds, monkeys, baboons and antelope. The natural enemies of Leopards are Lions and Hyena's who often attempt to steal their kill.

This forces the leopard to haul its larger prey up into a tree where it can feed in relative safety. So pound for pound this makes it the strongest climber of the cats, able to bring down prey much larger than itself and haul it to safety high up in the trees.

The spots on Leopards are called "rosettes" which can be irregular shaped circles or squares depending on the area they inhabit. The East African Leopards in general have circular rosettes while the Southern African leopards have square ones.

Their coats can also vary from a light fawn colour in dry warm areas to a darker shades in thick forest areas. The spots create an almost perfect camouflage for their habitat.

Cheetah's are considered the fastest animals on earth can reach speeds of up 110 km an hour within a few seconds.

Unlike Leopards they live in well structured social groups. They hunt their prey by stalking to within 10 to 20 meters before setting off on the chase. The chase only lasts from 20 seconds to a minute with only about fifty percent of their efforts being rewarded with a kill.

Their kill is often stolen from them by larger predators like lions, leopards and hyena. They generally feed on small antelope, young animals and birds.

Cheetah's can be distinguished from the other big cats by their long slender bodies and small heads with distinctive tear lines that run from the corner of their eyes to the side of their nose.

Cheetah's have been kept in captivity for more than 5000 years but do not breed well in captivity with numbers being maintained by capturing wild ones. New cheetah's born in captivity generally die within a month of birth

The cheetah population has declined over the years and are only found in about 25 African countries and about 100 in Iran. They suffer from lack of diversity in their gene pool and this had an effect on their breeding, Cheetah cubs also become prey to the larger carnivore's and ninety percent die within 3 months in the wild.

There are estimated to be 12 to 15,000 remaining in the wild with the biggest threat to their numbers being dwindling habitat, shooting and trapping as they are considered livestock predators.

These two oils were painted by Debbie Thom my daughter, whom I will be featuring occasionally as a guest artist on my site.

This brings me to the question. "Are artists born artistic? or is it a skill that can be learned by non artistic people? Whilst I have no doubt even a born artist can learn new skills to improve their techniques and interpretation. I cannot help but wonder if all the famous artists were born with specific genes that make them artists.

The reason I ask the question is simply because like me Debbie has had no formal education in art and to my knowledge has never had an art lesson in her life. Art has always been a hobby for her and she is quite content to be a mother and housewife who paints in her spare time.

This leads me to believe that certain artistic skills are inherited, as my mother used to do drawings when she was young and this must be where my sister and I inherited our skills. I also have a cousin who is an art teacher in Australia.

It would be interesting to know if any genetic studies have been done to determine if there are specific artistic genes that are passed on from one generation to another.

Maybe the word art is too broad a term as there are many different forms of art and I have no doubt many of the art forms can be taught to anyone with the inclination to learn them. So my question will be specifically about painters and sculptors rather than the arts in general. That does not mean I only consider painters and sculptors true artists.

My next task though is to try and persuade Debbie to put her god given talent to more use and take her art more seriously. I think together we can start our own gallery or collaborate in some way.

I would hate her to one day and have regrets as I did, I did not use my talent earlier in my life. I have also learned though not to interfere in my kids lives as they have their own ideas and will ultimately make their own decisions without any influence from me.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Forgotten Era

Period costume and feminine fashion through the ages have always fascinated me. This oil paining of an era past, high lights a time when hats formed an integral part of every women's wardrobe.

Except for a few brand labeled caps, used for protection from the sun I don't have a hat in my wardrobe any more and certainly cannot remember when last I wore one as a true fashion accessory, I think it might have been my daughters wedding 20 years ago.

Anyway I just loved this picture, the original was a black and white photo of who knows, so I decided to add some colour and see how it turned out. I hope you like it.

The move to NZ has been a bit more difficult than I thought. On the way over some thief decided to open my suitcase and steal some of my belongings. We are advised at Oliver Tambo airport (the new name for Johannesburg International Airport) to shrink wrap our luggage so the thieves don't get their grubby paws on our belongings.

I knew there was a lot of theft going on at the airport but assumed as I was not flying SAA this would not happen. It seems SAA handle the baggage for all the airlines though, so if you are flying in or out of SA then you need to make certain your baggage is adequately protected.

It was wonderful to re-unite with my daughter and grand children after an absence of two years, it was also very sad to leave my mom behind but I know she is in good hands with my sisters.

Coming from Durban we are used to an almost perpetual summer, Auckland so far has been freezing, wet and miserable, apparently their worst winter in about 30 years. Fortunately all my clothing from Ireland came across when my daughter immigrated here 3 years ago, or I certainly would not have had the sort of winter clothing needed to cope with this weather.

On my first visit to NZ the South African Rand exchange rate was about R3.80 to one NZ $ which seemed to me like the cost of living between the two countries was similar. Now the rate is 6 to 1 and I find myself comparing prices by converting to rands first and thinking how expensive everything is here.

Having looked at the negatives it is just wonderful to be in a country where to my mind the crime is low. We don't have to worry about locking up everything, switching on burglar alarms and looking over our shoulder for muggers when you take a walk down the road. People are not living in self imposed prisons and the streets and suburbs are clean and neat.

I finally have my own adsl connection and will hope fully be able to do posts more and answer mail and comments regularly. Thankfully I have been able to use a friends Internet to do my card drops since I have arrived. It would have been too much of an imposition to do any more than what was absolutely necessary from day to day while finding accommodation and getting settled.

To all you entrcard droppers I must say a huge thank you for your loyal support during this time. Thursday was a record for me with 515 drops, my dilemma now is how to cope with all the drops, I feel awful when I cannot reciprocate all on a daily basis. I try to make certain I get to each one at least every second day as I don't work from a list or bookmarked sites, I simply rely on my inbox and support those who drop on my site.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Malachite Kingfisher

The Malachite Kingfisher is one of about 13 kingfisher species found in Southern Africa. This water colour was painted from a photo I used as a reference. At first I was not sure which of the kingfisher species it was because of the black beaks. The adult malachite has a red beak and after a bit of research I found that the juveniles have black beaks. So these must still be juvenile birds.

These small birds are fairly common around slow moving water and generally sit on low perches with their beaks down watching for fish or small crustaceans. When a fish is spotted it drops head first into the water and surfaces again immediately with fish in beak and devours it while sitting on its perch. They can also hover just above the water in a stationary position and then dive into the water to catch their fish. Their nests are normally tunnels in sand banks not necessarily close to water.

Other than the Kiwi, the Tui bird and Kia parrot I don't know much about NZ Birds and it will be interesting to photograph and research some while I am there. The medium will probably change to oil painting again as I left all my oil paints there on my last visit. Airlines seem to get stricter by the day when it comes to weight and the 20kg allowance hardly allows for much more the the clothes I will be taking with so all my art material will be staying behind.

Hopefully I will have time for one more post tomorrow and an opportunity to reply to the many comments and emails I have received in my absence, then I will probably be off line for about a week while I get organised on the other side.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Time to Mourn

I know I have been rather conspicuous by my absence this past month. And I must say a big thank you to Graham for doing all my card drops in my absence. I know there are many unanswered messages, recommendations and other emails I have not replied to.

We were supposed to leave for New Zealand a month ago and here we are still in Durban.

When I returned to South Africa from New Zealand a year and a half ago to be with my elderly parents. My dad, who at 85 was still active and independent, driving his own car, and going for walks on the beach every day, started showing signs of Alzheimer's disease.

Within 3 months of returning to SA he was no longer able to drive and started suffering from other ailments like heart disease and prostrate cancer as well. He took a turn for the worse just before we were supposed to fly out and we postponed the trip as I was worried I would never see him again.

After a scare and a week in intensive care he seemed to recover well but my mom was not longer able to provide him with the care he needed and had to place him in an Alzheimer's clinic where he could receive proper treatment.

It was hard to visit him as he no longer recognised us and even got a bit aggressive when my mom touched him and told her to leave him alone. I could not believe the rapid deterioration in so short a time.

Sadly he passed away shortly after being admitted, I was devastated as we were a very close family. Fortunately my younger sisters have rallied to help take care of my mom and I will finally be flying out to NZ on Tuesday.

I had heard that Alzheimer's patients can live for a long time with the proper treatment and care but the speed with with which it incapacitated my dad was unbelievable.

I feel terrible leaving my mom behind but I also have to spend time with my daughter and grand children. I know my mom is in good hands with my sisters and feel torn between her and my kids. When your family are twenty thousand kilometers apart and your grand children are growing up not knowing their grandmother then it is just as difficult to decide where you have to be.

As a result of this I have done very little painting and even less blogging. To the EC community who have continued to drop on my site and leave your wonderful comments, my apologies for seeming like I don't care and my heartfelt thanks for your support.

I have a painting or two that I will try and post tomorrow, I am not sure when I will be online in NZ so if I disappear for a week or so its simply because I am trying to get set up on the other side.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Common Tern

This was the second of my commissioned paintings. The Terns perched on the old fishing boat appear in abundance in many parts of the world ranging from North America to Europe and Africa.

For me the major challenge with this painting was to bring out the worn and neglected look of the old fishing boat lying on the sand.

What was once someones pride and joy now lies abandoned on the beach with little more purpose than a perch for any bird that chooses to rest a while on the old relic.

The cracked and rotting wood, old paint, rusted chain and worn metal bits, make me wonder about the history of this old fishing boat.

I am sure that if it could talk, it would regale us with tales of wild seas huge waves and of the hardy characters who sailed on it and cared for it because their very lives depended on it.

Sadly those characters are now probably also old and maybe abandoned like many of our elderly folk who have outlived their usefulness and can no longer contribute to our modern fast paced technological lifestyle.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Giant Kingfisher

This is the largest species of the African Kingfisher's measuring up to 43cm and similar to a crow in size. They inhabit wooded areas along rivers, lakes and coastal lagoons. They generally perch on overhanging branches or rocks them swoop down on fish, crabs, rodents and lizards to feed.

These fiercely territorial birds nest in burrows, dug up to two meters deep into the upper parts of river banks. The the juvenile males normally have a fawn coloured chest and the adults brick red. Their large powerful beaks make them look rather strange in flight, and with an added loud call they are hard to miss.

This is the first of two paintings I was commissioned to do. The picture supplied by the client looks like it could have once been part of a calendar. The client is an avid birder and if he is satisfied with these two then there could be more work for me in the pipe line. I love painting birds and it is even more gratifying to be paid to for doing something I love.

To those of you who have commented and not had a response, my humble apologies. Along with the deadline to finish these paintings I am busy packing up my home here to go to my daughter in NZ for a while. Thank you all for your kind and inspiring words.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Going to market 2

When I went to visit the galleries a few weeks ago I discovered one of my original set of five "Going To Market" paintings had not been sold. I was rather pleased and decided to rather add it to my own collection for posterity. They all differed slightly in colour, dress and people. Hope you enjoy this one as well.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Anyone for Marbles

Just so the guys don't feel hard done by and imagined my world consisted only of the female gender I decided to go back into the unfinished file and dig out a painting I started in December last year.

The little boy playing marbles certainly invokes a bit of nostalgia which reminds me of an age when electronic toys did not exist. Children played safely outdoors and had loads of fun with simple toys. The dog looks as though he is keeping an eye on proceedings and is as intrigued with the game as the player.

I am currently working on two paintings that were commissioned, and should be finished in the next day or so. Both involve my feathered friends and have proved quite a challenge.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

arte y pico awards

I started this blog with much scepticism and doubt, wondering if anyone would ever even find it amongst the millions of sites out there. I asked myself if anyone did perchance happen to stumble upon it, ( pun intended) what would they think?

Would they like or appreciate my art?

Would the public have anything good to say about my passion to create beautiful paintings?

These few months at entrecard have been an amazing awakening for me and I want to say a huge thank you to all the wonderful people out there that that have inspired me by their comments.

Recognition, be it hopefully for fame, not notoriety, is a basic human need and I feel priviledged to have my work recognised by so many people.

I am deeply honoured to be nominated for the art y pico award by Maitri from MAGIC AND MOMENTS AT DRAGONFLY COTTAGE. MAITRI'S writings and philosophies have been an inspiration to me, instilling a sense of calmness every time I visit her blog and read a new article. Maitri, my heartfelt thanks for sharing your philosophies and honouring me in this fashion.

The award however does not come without accepting the responsibility and daunting task of bestowing the same honour upon five other sites whom I feel meet the criteria set out by the originator of the award.

As the entre card community is blessed with such a huge number of talented writers, artists craftsmen and bloggers who qualify for this recognition the choice has not been an easy one.

Upon winning this award you are tasked with the following rules...
1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y Pico" blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

The following are my nominations.

1....Christy DeKoning - Travels in Watercolor
Christy DeKoning is a talented Canadian water color artist, who's beautiful art has inspired me.
I always look forward to each article and love to try out some of the techniques she uses. Thank you Christy for sharing your amazing art and talent with us.

DURANO LAWAYMAN A.K.A BRAD SPIT your political thoughts and sentiments always have me looking forward to your next article. Your style of writing, mostly serious, sometimes witty, and command of the English language make your articles a pleasure to read. Your positive outlook and inspirational comments have meant a lot to me.

Smadar is an Israeli bead work designer and artist. Her beautifully crafted bead work jewelery is a real treasure and I await each new creation with anticipation. Smadar please don't rehabilitate as the beauty charm and elegance of your creations will be sorely missed. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

Sue Ellen Cowan is another talented Canadian Artist who's amazing fine art paintings and dragon statuettes are worthy of this award. Sue Ellen thank you for sharing your stunning artworks with us and all the best in your new home.

5....Wisdom Hypnosis
Debbie is a practising hypnotist who shares her thoughts on hypnosis on her blog. As a firm believer in self hypnosis techniques I have found her articles useful and informative. Debbie is also an active participant in the ec forum and can add a lighter tone to some serious discussions with her wit and calming effect. Debbie thank you for sharing your valuable insights with us.

As I had never heard of this award I was quite surprised to receive it, what was even more surprising was that it was from someone whom I had no clue even took time to read my articles other than to drop an entre card. It might then come as a surprise to some I have nominated as I do not comment much and seldom participate in the ec forum. This lack of participation is not out of disinterest but rather a busy demanding life that leaves little time to do other than what is absolutely necessary.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pumkin Patch Girl

This is another one of those paintings I started a while ago and for some reason I lost interest and left it in my unfinished paintings file. I hope someone finds some pleasure from this painting.

As an artist I attempt different subjects and start off very enthusiastically and half way through get distracted and start something else that appeals to me more at the time.

The current painting is then put on the back burner until I get the urge to carry on. I suppose being a woman it is also my prerogative to change my mind at the drop of a hat.

About a year ago I sent Graham on a mission to present my portfolio to various galleries. I will be honest I had tried previously on my own and lost my confidence due to the attitude and snotty remarks from some of the curators and managers of these galleries. I left their premises feeling rather inadequate and probably even a failure as an artist.

I am not going to generalise and say they are all like that, but there are many mean spirited snobs who are not artists themselves but pretend they are the experts and the only judges of what is good and bad art.

Fortunately Graham's faith in my ability never wavered and he took a day off work and did a 400 km round trip with my portfolio in hand presenting it at every Gallery he could find along the way. Sadly his car was wrecked on the way home when someone rear ended him at high speed and the euphoria of his success was somewhat dampened as a result.

He eventually arrived home having left a dozen or more of my paintings at various galleries on a consignment basis. Shortly after that we went to New Zealand for three months to see my daughter.

When we returned, the paintings at the galleries were all but forgotten, that is until two weeks ago when we decided to call some of the galleries to see if any had been sold. I must again be honest I did not have the courage to phone and see if any paintings had been sold. I just felt they might say they had tried to sell them and would I please come and remove them from their establishments as they were not good enough to sell.

To my amazement all but one had been sold and there were a few welcome cheques waiting for me. They had tried in vain to contact me while I was in New Zealand and eventually they gave up. What makes it even worse is that most of the painting were sold within a month or so of leaving them at the galleries and those galleries wanted more of my work.

The cheques were not earth shattering amounts, but the paintings did sell for way more than I ever imagined they would. This has restored my confidence in my ability and given my battered ego a much needed lift.

I suppose the lesson here is never give up, I cannot help thinking how many more might have been sold had I not bowed to the humiliating comments of a few pricks who don't have a kind word for a new kid on the block.

I am planning another trip to New Zealand in the next few weeks and will probably be away for three to six months. Most of my art is there and I am going to make a concerted effort to see if I can get some of my art into galleries over there. This time I will however leave a forwarding address and contact numbers with the local galleries who have taken more of my work.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Little Girl

I know its been a while since my last post and last painting in fact, so I decided to get off my but and finish a painting I started the end of last year. Painting people is not my forte and I suppose that's why I left it in the unfinished pile for so long.

I think my creative thoughts have left me in the lurch and so I have just titled it "Little Girl." I feel more comfortable painting birds and animals than people but hope this one appeals to someone out there.

To those who left comments and did not get a response my sincere apologies. We have a number of email addresses and all are monitored through a programme called e-prompter which uses a different colour button that flashes for each mail box when new mail arrives. Ordinarily I will be notified of new mail within 15 min of its arrival.

The last 2 weeks or so the little green button has not announced any new mail for this blog. By this afternoon I was starting to feel forgotten and neglected and decided to check the mailbox, lo and behold there were about 50 new messages.

I am not sure how or why this mailbox fell through the cracks and was not monitored but in future I will check the mail box regularly to make sure I do not miss any important mail. Thank you all for your comments I will try to respond to them all tonight.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kiwi painting

Shortly after starting my blog I posted a water colour painting of a Kiwi the national bird of NZ. I think I was in a bit of a hurry to get new material for my blog and rushed through the painting. Recently I reviewed some of the paintings and decided I was not happy with the Kiwi painting.

It is generally quite difficult to rework water colours, or maybe its just me, I find it much easier to rework, alter or repair oil paintings than water colour paintings. Anyway I changed the old painting and this is the final result. It looks like a completely new painting with very little resemblance to the previous one.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Solitary Watcher

This water colour painting of a solitary male lion reminds me of the savage brutality and magnificent beauty of the African plains. Lions generally enjoy a lazy lifestyle, inactive through the heat of the African day, mostly hunting for 2 to 4 hours at night.

Young male lions are expelled from the pride after 2 years of age. Once expelled they become nomads or form coalitions with brothers to do their hunting. They remain solitary without female company until they are strong enough to challenge a dominant male of an existing pride and drive him into exile, to once more to live his life as a nomad.

This savage and sometimes fatal confrontation determines whether a new male will lead the pride. The brutal events that follow see the new dominant male expel all the young males and kill the existing cubs to rid the pride of the old gene pool and any future contenders to his throne.

The new male does this to bring the females into oestrus so that he can start mating with them immediately and ensure any new cubs carry his genes. Even though the females come into heat and mate with the new male, they do not bear any young until the new male has proved that he is capable of defending the pride against other lions challenging his leadership.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Before the Hunt

The Lion (Panthera leo)is the second largest living cat after the tiger. Large males can weigh in excess of 250 kg. This apex predator of the African continent typically roams the grassland and savannas but are not uncommon in bush and forest areas.

These social cats live in prides that vary in number, made up of relatives, consisting of females, cubs and a few young males. They can live for between 10 and 14 years in the wild.

The lionesses hunt in groups and can reach speeds of nearly 60 kilometers per hour for short bursts, which means they have to stalk their prey to get fairly close before launching their attack. Male lions don't normally participate in the hunt unless the pride is hunting large prey like giraffe or buffalo.

Bachelor males evicted from prides generally hunt their own prey and have been observed to hunt as a team. The male lions primary function within the pride is to protect their territory which can be as large as 100 square miles of grassland scrub and open woodlands.

Unlike the endangered Asiatic lion, the African lion is considered a vulnerable species, with numbers declining by between 30% and 50% in the last two decades. They once roamed most of Africa and parts of Asia and Europe. Today they are only found in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and a very small population in India's Gir Forest.

Game farms and reserves are a favourite attraction for most tourists who visit Africa and it would be a tragedy if these majestic animals could no longer be observed in the wild by future generations.

This water colour depicts a lion and lioness at dusk and I have called the painting "Before the Hunt"

Friday, April 18, 2008


This painting is a little different from the birds and animals I have been painting the past few months, wondering about the simple life without the crime and grime of urban existance. The last week or two have been very difficult with Graham being away on business for a few weeks, I have had to take care of all the Entrecard drops, it is no fun dropping for three sites.

To add to my woes our local electricity supplier has brought in load shedding, which means my power is cut off for a few hours a day. The worst part is it is cut off at different times of the day and when I check the schedule, our suburb is not on the list. So!! right now electricity is a luxury. Added to the problems EC have had I suddenly get cut off in the middle of the drops.

Whats really annoying is that the power supplier can sell power to all the neighbouring countries and supply big business with power at below cost, but the normal resident "Joe Soap" has to foot the bill. Now they want a fifty percent increase in tariffs in order to fund the building of new power stations which will only come on line in five or six years time. Bad planning.... bad management.. greed... all so typical of Africa.

When the new government took over there was an excess of power produced , so they mothballed half a dozen power stations and paid the new management millions of dollars in performance bonuses to really screw up an effective and well run system. If this was a political blog I would really make a meal of this article, instead of skirting around some of the more pertinent issues that have lead to this crisis .

Not that any of this has anything to do with my art, other than the fact that it makes life as I have become accustomed to very difficult. I suppose Africa is no place for sissy's and I am starting to wonder what I am still doing here. My family is fragmented and living in other parts of the world, they probably saw the writing on the wall a long time ago.

Maybe the rickety old windmill depicted in the above water colour painting will generate electricity as well as water, then I would not have to worry about the greedy corrupt management and government running our electricity supply .

Oh well! "I suppose I am allowed to dream" of facilities that once were considered normal, mundane, routine functions of a supposed modern, progressive country as somewhat of a luxury, reserved for the privileged few who get paid obscene bonuses for their inadequacies and mismanagement of public utilities.

Ok! now that is off my chest I hope you enjoy the painting.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Impala Water Colour Painting.

The graceful Impala antelope is found from Southern Africa to East Africa and can be identified by the thin black stripe that runs along the center of the lower back to the long tail. They also have a distinctive black stripe that runs down each thigh. They have a tuft of long course black hair that covers their scent glands located just above the hoof on each hind leg.

These slender medium sized antelope are only 28" to 36" inches tall and inhabit grassland and light woodland areas. The scent glands are used to mark their territory and herds of between ten and fifty are presided over by dominant males who rub scent from face glands and create dung heaps to mark that territory.

Their natural predators are lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs and I suppose man.

Over the next few weeks I will be painting whatever I feel like at the time. I am not sure why the baboons back looks white on the photo the painting is more of a greyish black colour.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Black Naped Oriele

This beautiful little bird comes from South Asia, resident in the Adaman and Nicobar islands and migrates to the southern part of India.

It was once common to Taiwan but is now rare and endangered there due to the loss of habitat and the cage bird trade. It is now legally protected by law as a category 11 conservation species.

The Oriole is well known for raiding smaller birds nests, what remains a mystery though is whether it is for the eggs or just a territorial thing.

I am starting to sound like a regular birder, which I am not. I just love the beautiful colours and the challenge of painting these amazing creations of nature. These past few months, painting birds has given me an enormous amount of pleasure and I suppose added to my general knowledge.

Mans greed though never ceases to amaze me when I discover just how many of these beautiful birds are on the endangered species list. I also wander just how many of the rarer species of bird will be around for future generations to enjoy.

I still have a few bird sketches and unfinished paintings but I think I will try my hand at a few other subjects in the near future. I have started a painting of one of our local buck which I will probably finish tomorrow or the weekend.

For those of you who left comments on my accident, thank you for the concern. I was reading up on concussion on the web, and... well I guess time will heal.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Common Sea Gull

I guess its been a while since my last post. An unfortunate accident about 10 days ago put me out of action for a while.

I decided to wash the windows in my apartment and to reach the top of the windows I stood on my sofa to do the Job.

I had just finished the last window and stepped off the sofa on to the tiled floor on which I had spilt a little water. My feet slipped out from under me and I cracked my head on the tiled step which caused a 2 inch laceration on the back of my head.

I had never seen so much blood in my life and thought I was about to kiss this world good bye. After xrays, six stitches and a bald patch on the back of my head I figured it was not my turn yet.

The stitches are out and my hair has grown over the bald spot but the headaches persist and I have this constant buzzing in my one ear. The Dr. says its Tinnitus and will go away on its own.

Concentration has not been my strong suite since then, so I chose an easy subject to paint. While I was painting this gull, I realised that even though I live right by the beach I seldom see any gulls around. Though Durban is a fair sized city with miles of beautiful beaches recent tests on the water have shown that it is not safe to swim in because of the pollution levels.

I imagine the gulls realised long before we humans that the water was not safe and moved on to cleaner water. I could write a chapter on whats happening to our beautiful city, with a local government who does not seem to give a damn about our natural resources and the tourists they are chasing away, but I won't turn this into a political tirade. Instead I want to dedicate this water colour painting to the common gulls who no longer grace our beautiful coastline.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Golden Eagle

The Golden Eagle, sacred bird to some Native Americans can soar for long periods on thermal winds without flapping a wing. Their immaculate eye sight always on the look out for prey.

When potential prey is spotted they tuck in their two meter wing span and swoop down on their prey at speeds of up to 200 km per hour.The Golden Eagle preys on other birds, small mammals, reptiles and fish.

One of the largest birds of prey the Golden Eagle nests in the crags of mountains and defends a large territory where it can have numerous nests built of sticks and lined with leaves and soft down.

The spectacular nuptial flight of the Golden Eagle involves the male swooping down on the female who at the the last minute turns on her back and their claws touch.

This water colour painting is larger than the other bird illustrations I have been doing for the last month or so measuring 380mm x 270 or 10" x 15" inch.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Original Chicken

The Moa or Red Jungle Fowl is no ordinary chicken, first domesticated thousands of years ago in Asia, this Fowl is considered to be the ancestor of all domestic chickens. The Jungle Fowl is found throughout Asia, believed to have originated in Thailand and transported as far as Hawaii by the Polynesians in their dugout canoes. The feet are chopped off in the photo but the water colour painting includes the feet of the rooster. I still have a number of bird sketches to paint and I Imagine birds will keep me busy for another week or two before moving on to another subject.

I was trying to change the look of my blog earlier and did something with the HTML coding that I could not undo and was eventually forced to change the template to get the blog looking something like a blog again. Anyway blogging is a constant learning process for me and the more things I try the more experience I will gain.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Great Spotted Woodpecker

According to my reference material there are over 200 different Woodpecker species around the globe.

Woodpeckers are featured in folklore and mythology from the Americas to darkest Africa, but the one I like to believe is that if you have a Woodpecker nesting in a tree in your garden it will bring you luck.

I would love to sit in a garden and hear the tap tap as they bore into the wood to make their nests and watch this beautiful little bird feeding its chicks.

This water colour depicts the Great Spotted Woodpecker, common to Europe and Asia.

On another note I have had to cut back on the number of drops with EC due to repeatedly running out of bandwidth. Over the years I have managed to get through each month with 3 gigs of bandwidth. Since starting with EC my usage has averaged 15 Gigs a month, at a converted rate of about 11$ per gig it is starting to get costly.

I find it hard to believe I am using that much bandwidth dropping EC cards and imagined someone had accessed my login codes and was stealing my bandwidth. I had my SP check for me but that is not happening.

The last few days I have closely monitored the usage and worked out I can only drop about 100 cards a day to survive till the end of the month. This basically means covering my inbox daily.

Any suggestions from the pro IT people on how to save on band width and participate in a meaningful manner will be most welcome.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tawny Owl

Its been a while since my last post, my art was placed on the back burner for a while in attempting to deal with some unexpected circumstances that will influence our lives for the immediate future. Being the weekend though I can put these problems aside and finish some of the work I started previously.

Tawny Owl
Over the centuries Mythology has associated Owls with wisdom, evil, and even death. These solitary nocturnal birds are revered by some and disliked by others. The Tawny Owl's fierce defence of its nest has made it responsible for more injuries to humans than any other bird.

The Tawny Owl is the most common and widespread Owl in Europe, its soundless flight, and amazing eyesight make, it a fearsome predator of small rodents. Love it or hate it, the distinctive cry of this owl carries for a kilometer or more and is the one heard by most people.

Another paradox associated with these solitary birds is their collective noun "Parliament of Owls" probably because they call to each other across acres of forest.

In keeping with the parliamentary theme I thought I would call this water colour painting "Good night George" (Bush) or the "Silent politician" but I am not sure this little marvel of nature deserves such a dubious title, so if anyone can come up with a suitable title over the next week then 100 EC Credits will be your reward.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

European Robin

The Red Red Robin
Harry Woods was so inspired by this national bird of the UK that he wrote the words for "When the Red Red Robin comes bob, bob, bobbin along, " Later recorded by many famous singers like "Louis Armstrong," "Bing Crosby,' 'Doris Day,' 'Tennessee Ernie Ford,' 'Susan Hayward' and many others.

For those of you who are English Football fans its also the theme song for the Charlton Athletics Addicks sung at every home game when they enter the Valley pitch by Billy Cotton.

To my Son, family and friends living in the UK this one is for you.

A 200 mm L X 270 mm W 9' x 12' inch water colour illustration.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

African Hoopoe

African Hoopoe
This is one of those weeks where I have been itching to get back to my easel and start something meaningful, but all kinds of unexpected situations have kept me otherwise occupied. I did manage to complete another small bird illustration of an African Hoopoe over the weekend.

The African Hoopoe, common throughout Africa South of the Sahara and Madagascar, is not an endangered species. They normally nest in holes wherever they find them and make a Hoop- hoop sound which gives them their name.

I have also been looking at some Art marketing sites but I am not sure I want to direct potential buyers away from my site to one of those. One of our large art sites features about 2000 local artists and I just feel that the availability of thousands of other artworks on the site will distract potential clients from my work.

I have listed a number of paintings with them but want to keep it totally seperate from this site. I know they offer all the payment facilities that I don't have but it also has an effect on the pricing.

So if there are any good suggestions or advice anyone can offer I am all ears.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Offering to The Gods

Offering To The Gods

First of all thanks for all the comments and suggestions for the paintings in the article "Anyone Can Paint." The suggestion by Androids Dungeon for the sad looking cowboy and his few horses "Carry On" was deserving of the 50 ec Credits.

The second painting of the Birches in diffused lighting will be called "Whispering Trees" aptly named by "A Changing Life" Thank You and 50 ec credits sent to you.

Stories of ancient Egypt have always facinated me and this Oil Painting "Offering To The Gods" is my view of a slave girl carrying a bowl of fruit to her king who ruled Egypt as a God.

Oil on Canvas unframed 460mm H x 335 mm W 18"H X 14"W

Monday, February 25, 2008

Zulu Lady

This water colour painting "Zulu Lady" has already been sold. Older Zulu woman normally dress in traditional clothing which includes a wide straw hat or Isicholo decorated with beads called ubuhlalu.

Beads in the Zulu culture can have different meanings, like love, encouragement, a warning or even a reprimand. The symbolic language of the beadwork plays an important role during courtship.

When a young man declares his love for a Zulu maiden she reciprocates by giving him a gift of betrothal beads as a declaration of her acceptance of him as a future husband. The man in turn pays the bridal price called Lobolo to the maidens family, which normally consists of eleven cows.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Anyone Can Paint

Anyone can Paint
No new paintings finished today, its fairly easy doing small bird illustrations where I can churn out one or two a day. I am trying to finish a few paintings I started earlier so there might not be any new ones for a while. I am going to use this space to feature another artist who has been my greatest critic and biggest inspiration and support with my art.

A water colour scene by Graham that needs a name. 50 EC credits up for grabs for giving this painting a name by next Wednesday. Leave your suggestion in my comments box.

This next one is an unframed oil painting by Graham that is also untitled, I'll put up another 50 EC Credits for coming up with a suitable title in my comments box by next Wednesday.

Ok so he is not really an artist, Graham is the man in my life, he works in the financial sector and has never painted a thing in his life. I always ragged him about not having an artistic fibre in his body, so one day he set out to prove me wrong.

Armed with a "How to Paint Book" he took over my easel and proceeded to do a few paintings. He said he thoroughly enjoyed the relaxation of painting, I even persuaded him to take lessons but sadly he quit after the first lesson and has not picked up a brush since.

He started with the water colours and the first one took him a week or so painting in the evenings. Then he decided he wanted to try the oils and the next one taxed him for about a month also working in the evenings.

Maybe it was just a man thing, he was always telling me I needed a bit more detail, or the colour was wrong or something about my paintings, my stock answer was "you are not an artist how would you know." Generally he was right though and maybe he just did a few to prove a point.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Real and Imagined

Country Walk

Maybe it was artists block but today was one of those days where not a lot has been achieved. I did a bit of work on a number of paintings but did not get to finish any.

I had no sooner started on one when the mood left me and I discarded it for another, finally I decided that I was not enjoying my painting and called it a day.

Some days though painting is sheer enjoyment and this is one I had a lot of fun doing. I could just let creativity take over and painted whatever came into my head. Its pretty much like my banner painting, once I started nothing could interrupt me until I was finished.

When I get like that time has no meaning and I just lose myself doing what I enjoy most. I titled this water colour " Country Walk" it is unframed 9 x 12 inch (310 x 220mm)

Lilly Hopper
In keeping with my bird theme the "African Jacana" or "Lilly Hopper" with its long delicate legs and toes, seems to defy nature as it hops from one flimsy Lilly leaf to the next. Found throughout Zimbabwe, Mozambique, parts of Namibia and South Africa.

An unframed Water colour painting W: 465mm x H: 270mm W: 18" x H: 11"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Natures Camaflauge

Wryneck Woodpecker

This is an unusual member of the Woodpecker family with intricate grey, black and brown plumage that resembles the bark on a tree giving it excellent camaflauge in the wild. The bird is protected under schedule one of the endangered species in the EU.

I don't normally do any touch up work on the photos I take of my art but I have made this one a little lighter than the actual water colour painting.

I only managed to do the one painting today as other household chores seemed to take up most of my time.

The answers I got for the "name the bird competition" was "Blue Jay" which unfortunately was not correct. I now realise it would have required some research to get the name unless you were a birding enthusiast.

The bird comes from the South East Asian region and and is called a "Velvet Fronted Nuthatch"

Monday, February 18, 2008

Colour In Flight

The Pyrrhuloxia Cardinal is a Medium sized Mexican bird also found in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in the US, I think they are also referred to as the "Desert Cardinal"

This next water colour painting I started a while ago from pictures I found in a bird encyclopedia. I am not sure if other artists studios look like mine, with sketches and paintings in various stages of completion. It is time to get stuck in and finish some of them off for an arts and crafts show coming up shortly.

This beautiful Plate Billed Mountain Toucan comes from South America, though a quick search of Wikipedia did not have any information on this bird. The Plaque at the bird park says from South America probably the Amazon Jungle, Equador, Venezuella . The Local bird park has a number birds of the Toucan Family.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Paradise Jacamar & Cosmos

Paradise Jacamar
As usual a lazy laid back Saturday, nothing urgent that requires my attention so I can do what I like at my leisure. Its an amazing sunny day so I moved my easel to the balcony and got an increase of vitamin D while I painted this next water colour.

I started this water colour painting from the sketches I had done earlier in the week, a beautiful bird called the Paradise Jacamar distributed throughout the tropical rain forests and savana of South America and Amazon Basin.

The Paradise Jacamar is not on the endangered species list and is common to Brazil, Columbia, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela and the Guyanas.

Tomorrow I will probably take the day off from painting and blogging so I did a second painting, this water colour of a few Cosmos flowers in a plain glass jar.

Cosmos flowers originated in Mexico and were introduced to South Africa in bags of horse feed brought in to the country by the British during the Anglo Boer war.

Though common to many countries this wild flower grows in many parts of South Africa.

Artists from all over the world come to the Highveld to capture the the fields of beauty created by these graceful flowers.

They also make good cut flowers and this simple arrangement captured my imagination for today. Each petal seems to have a differnt shape and colour variation.

I have had some requests for sizes and prices so I will make an effort in the next few days to get all the exact sizes and prices. Thanks again for some of the encouraging comments.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Birds of a Feather

Velvet Fronted Nuthatch

Thanks to Cindy Nicholson for naming the last painting "Snowy Lane" 50 EC credits on will be credited to you when you identify your blog. Thanks also to those of you who made suggestions. They were all good but I could only Choose one.

Well I finally got round to painting a few birds but I think I got a bit snap happy with the camera and did not write down enough of the names of the birds or I got the names mixed up. So all you ornitholigists out there see if you can name this next bird for 50EC credits. I will let it run for the next four days until the 19th of Feb. In the mean time I will visit the bird park again and do a proper job of identifying them. I lived in New Zealand for a while and never managed to see a live Kiwi bird. I did see many pictures and a few stuffed specimins of this strange looking flightless nocturnal bird which is on their endangerd species list. We don't have any at our local bird park so I painted this one from a picture of a stuffed bird I found in some or other curio shop or travel information kiosk.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Snowy Lane

Win 50 EC Credits

I finally started on the birds today and managed to do sketches of ten birds that I will start painting in the next few days.

February is the hottest month of the year here in Durban and with the humidity it can sometimes get unbearable. December was also pretty hot and just after Christmas I thought of my winters spent in Ireland with all the snow.

Not that I felt any cooler doing the painting but it did help me feel closer to my son and daughter who were living in Ireland and the UK at the time.

I have not thought of a title for this water colour painting yet but will be happy to offer 50 EC credits for the best suggestion posted in my comments box. I know its not much compared to many of the competitions going on but I only started the blog 2 days ago. I will decide the winner by close on Thursday.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Crested Crane

For The Birds
Sunday's I try to do as little as possible, sleep late, then head off to the beach to add a little sunshine to my life. It sometimes annoys me when I can see the ocean from my balcony, watch the ships heading in and out of the harbour and imagine I am on a yacht skimming across the bay. I might as well be a 1000 miles inland for all the time I get to spend at the beach. The perpetual summer and wonderful weather it seems are the exclusive preserves of the tourists and holidaymakers.

A Mere mortal like myself still has to earn her daily bread and can only dream of long lazy summer days sipping cocktails on the beach. Yesterday was one of those days where I could take time off for myself and enjoy one of life's little pleasures. When the wind started to blow a bit I decided to visit the local bird park and take in the sights and sounds away from the hustle and bustle of the beach front.

With my trusty didgtal camera in hand I managed to get some pictures for new material to paint, so for the next few weeks I will probably be on a bird trip. Most of the pictures were taken through wire mesh so I will probably have to make up the backgrounds as I go along.

A while ago I did an oil painting of a crested crane and promised myself I would try and do a few more birds. The bird park has birds from the four corners of the earth so I will try and have a bit of fun painting birds from different countries.

The Crested Crane is the national symbol of Uganda and its colours black yellow and red are reflected in the three colours of the Ugandan flag and coat of arms.

An oil painting on stretched canvas 30"w x 26" (760w x 670mm H) inspired by my love of colour the sunset over the lake reflects off the water giving the normally black feathers a grey look.

Todays painting took a lot less time, but I am finding water colours a lot less forgiving than oil. Correcting mistakes is a lot harder especially when it comes to the small details.

I started the day with every intention of using some of the photos I had taken of the birds at the bird park but just felt uninspired by my photography.

Whilst looking at reference materials I came across this amazing picture in a 13 year old magazine of a Royal Doulton Plate with an Imperial Hummingbird and Hibiscus Blossem. The plate had all the colours and textures I enjoy using so I decided to do my own water colour version of the picture.

The original artist for the plate was Theresa Politowicz. I cropped a bit of the wing on the photo as the painting had not quiet dried and the angle on the easel skewed it a bit. Its actually a very small painting but I have not measured it yet and will add the dimensions later.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Starting my Art Career

As a wife and mother, husband and family always came first. I have always had a love and passion for painting since I was a little girl growing up in a war torn country, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), then forced by the new goverment to leave my birth country and relocate to South Africa and start a new life.

The struggle to start over and the pressures of bringing up kids and helping my husband run his business left me very little time to persue a career in art. Though I have done many paintings over the years, they have all been given away to friends and family as gifts. I never considered my art anything more than a hobby, and certainly never considered my work to have any comercial value.

Now that the children are grown up and have families and careers of their own I am able to devote my time to building my art career. I was pleasently surprised when people bought a few of my paintings and commissioned me to do a few others.

Though I have no formal art training, as a self taugt artist I love working with oils, but lately I have been trying my hand at water colours because all my art materials are in New Zealand where I lived for a short period of time.

The banner for this blog is a water colour I did a while ago. I love bright colours and this is my interpretation of an ethnic African village scene.

Much as working with water colours is new experience for me, learning about blogging seems even harder. I was not sure where or how to get a banner so I cropped a photo of the painting to use as a banner for my blog.

This is the uncropped photo of the painting, an unframed 13" W X 9" H (330X 230 mm) water colour. The photo can be enlarged by clicking on it. Most of the paintings I will be displaying on the blog are for sale, prices can be obtained by leaving a message in the comments section.