Before the lens… (by )

There was the brush...

The Garden

I took a little set of travel water colour paints and a sketch book with me to South Africa, and I painted, generally from memory. I also sketched in pen bits I saw around me especially when the camera kept running out of battary!

Wallace the Cat

Lynn an Lionel's garden or a montage of bits of it anyway 🙂

Water Colour of Alaric's parents garden

I know you are all eager to see the photos of penguins and lions but I thought I would share the paintings and the non-annotated pen sketches. Turns out I can't help but keep a field book and I will confess I had to keep reminding myself that correct angle and scales were not needed for photographs either!

Mary's friends old and new - water colours

Here at least are some paintings of Mary's animal friends 😉

penguin and giraffe

Now I wasn't taking particular care with the paintings, or sketches part of it is trying to over come my fear of being watched when creating art. I loose my ability when I feel I am being scrutanised.

Beach imaginings

On the plane I looked out of the window and imagined what it was going to be like - I looked at the layered sky and tried to hold the image until we got to the hotel. I also tried to think of what symbolised the journey.

A plane journey

Also I am still learning how to paint water colours - still learning how to paint and draw one handed (though I am determined to get left hand back properly at some point!).

Flowers in the garden south africa

There were lots of plants and flowers and landscapes to paint. Alot just at the house itself.

Mountain on the sea

I found myself thinking of the exquisite pictures that Darwin and other naturalists produce and whilst at Lynn and Lionel's I read a book about whales by artist Noel Ashton. I know I can not produce those sorts of images at least not without taking a long long time on each and then colouring pencils would be my choice. But I wont to learn water colours and I want to get better at live drawing and quick drawing - to get my freedom of the mad dash image back.

film sketches

I like doing precise things but also to just take the impression and the feel of the thing. I love mucking around with styles and mainly I was aiming to just capture the essence of the day.

Hopper Penguins Cape Town

The Aquarium offered me birds as well as fish and a rookie mistake with a flat battery and no camera.

Blue the penguin Cape Town

I loved the variety of shapes and colours everywhere - I was worried I'd have a large seizure and forget it all, all this wonder so I set about capturing as much of it as I could - I took nearly 2000 photos!!!

Cowfish South Africa

Cowfish are yellow by the way but I only had a green pen on me for the sketching. I had a limited pallet with the water colours too but that was fine really.

The mountains at dawn

And of course there are a couple of kids stories I have written which I feel can only be illustrated by a certain style of water colour painting and so I need to learn how to paint that style.

painting the polished rocks

I also wrote a few more whilst out there and had ideas for even more!

Unconformities and synforms

Rocks of course feature heavily in the painting, drawings and photography - well I am a geologist by training... love.

Ammonite mug painting

This ammonite mug was my favourite coffee mug and was there most of the time I was painting.

Cycad painting

This is a cycad or "dinosaur tree" it is not the best but I can tell what it is and I put dots underneath it as we saw many cycads on the day we had our faces painted.

Sunset on the beach South Africa

If we ever manage to get back to South Africa - something we would all dearly love then I would also take my sketching pencils and my mapping pens/fine liners (as well as a spare battery for the camera and a back up camera!).

Candy Skull and Surf

Catching the mood also meant being inspired by the place and one such place was the Redemption Cafe in the Biscuit Mill. I loved the skull prints they had on the walls and it got mixed up with the surfing Jean had done as we talked over lunch.

Surf Board painting close up

The image was a montage of thoughts that wanted to be together.

Flower painting

There were things we did not manage to do and see including getting to the Cradle of Mankind and a few more sanctuaries and we hardly touched the museums, galleries or theatre stuff.

Mountains and trees below Table Mountain

Textures can be hard to achieve in water colours I find so I did quiet a bit of experimenting - mainly at the side of the pages but I did do a few pictures that were all about texture.

Malacite imaginings

Some paintings had multiple layers of wet and dry paint which reduced how quickly I could produce the image I wanted.

Live On beach sculpture at dusk painting

I painted the mood of sunset below the mountain in front of a wonderful pizza place. But most of the paintings where merges and mixes of what I had seen, I have taken many photos which I plan to paint more detailed and accurate images from now that I am back in the UK.

Birds on rocks painting

But I still have a head full of images so am still painting straight from the brain!

Beach scene

I would have liked a chance to find more local literature to read or listen too 🙂 I read most of a collection of Speculative Fiction which contained local authors and will be ordering a copy if I can to finish it.

Water colour of Seed pods

Even without getting to galleries etc... we saw some amazing artworks but more on them later 🙂

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