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.