November 01, 2014

Heart Strength

This is a painterly treatment in pencil (the character without arms or face) combined with a drawing of the birds, made separately but then composed and laid out on this iPad. I have used pro create and photoshop touch. 

October 24, 2014

Little strokes & folks

Hello. Here are some little paintings I did thismorning. I had no erasure and had to abandon an attempt at pencils in my moleskine, when out came the smallest study book I have. These creatures are fascinating to sit and observe from a painterly position or possibly even not. They pair for life and have such quaint little characters, circling each other, making great big noises all pointing beaks at each other. Enough of that, here are the results: ..

October 17, 2014

Life Drawings Collage

(thumbnail presentation)

I made this collage using snipping tool on windows and then re-framing/ordering slightly. I wanted to do this to have a workable way of showing thumbnails, or a range of pieces at a time. I think the effect works nicely.

September 16, 2014

Franshoek Interior

Here is a view from within the sitting room of a very beautiful house, and a photo of the same view with some differences. See if you can spot them! This painting was a very profound process for me, especially considering all the changes done to the paper and what represents in the end a finished work, and personally an accomplishment in revisiting my self, and a very important activity. 

It is so beautiful here at the moment, and nice to have a bit of a break and do what I love. 

August 16, 2014

Maisie Pillimer book cover

Last week I finished a first book cover commission. The publication is due to be out before the end of September I believe but I am waiting to hear more at this stage. I was tasked to do a characterization of Ms Maisie Pillemer of whom the book is about. I read it in preparation as I was quite interested to get a feel for the cover and a better sense of what I should do. It was an enjoyable read about her life and experiences in her spiritual calling and work in South Africa. Andrew Barron who heads up the organization which Maisie had been involved in got hold of me and we skyped to discuss the project before it got going. 

Below are some process shots I took as I worked on a final oil painting portrait working from photo reference. Look forward to seeing this in print! 

And the finished art work below:

The final cover design with text and back I will upload onto my website soon. 

Spooky House on the Hill

A recent go of mine at a rather large and elaborate house in my immediate surrounds. The problems I faced here were many working on location, the structure alone a challenge. Perspective is important with this kind of motif, and therefore again the frame and overall composition. The mass of dark, a large front door on the edge at the bottom is out of place and perhaps not a happy accident, only because I didn't infact manage to fit the whole of the tall building into my picture!!

August 10, 2014

Fair Lane air

 (or lessons in unforgiving and perfectionism)

5" x 4" 

For this little pure watercolour plein air painting I drew a frame on a larger piece of stretched paper (forget which kind ) somewhat central hoping to achieve some of the vital edges this medium can give but this was not to be as inevitably when working I tend to drip little pigments all over, trying as I may have to wash a few out. A mind for the border seems to be a prerequisite with watercolour. At least there is the comfort always of knowing a frame may help, and I stress help for in my quest for perfection as is more often than not the case, I learn the lesson of intention with the wonderful and unforgiving nature of this transparent process. Real intentional mark making where the result is my own and hopefully one that another may appreciate also but not always be subject to all the little secrets of its origin. 

Here we have the road leading to my house (as all of them do, this one two off). The sun went down immediately in front of me and in fact was making the subject unseeable without using my one hand to shade my view at the time penciling in the composition. The effects needless to say changed somewhat dramatically over the period of the hour or so it took, by the end nearly in darkness. I like to think I caught some of that ambiance and just enjoyed the arrangement to begin with. So, now for a suitable tittle (and to accompany this post as well).

July 23, 2014

Casual drawing practice

Tonight I had a chance to pencil off Warren as he sat along side of me at work. In my little sketch book,  with an HB pencil, and a quick eye! 

Below I include one without needing that eye, just a copy off of a book cover lying close by. A little practice is all!  007 but which one? 

July 19, 2014

Colourfull Constructions

Here I am posting a piece I completed, that is more of a study. It took two occasions, although I suppose I may have done it altogether, and on the second round I was also pressed to leave early and abandon mid treatment. Deciding on subject matter was helped in this instance by a table and chair from which I could approach it, and return to. 


These sorts of studies try to be stand alone pieces or find completion but I don't always get it totally right. Sometimes it can be frustrating, finding the composition mostly, then coming back to the table and chair and just sitting. Actually I could really just sit anywhere and find enjoyment with a subject to illuminate, interpret, but it doesn't always seem that simple beforehand. This view was quite lovely, and as far as buildings go, a painterly purpose most definitely. I like to get some colour in my washes, I still find this medium so thoroughly enticing. The studies continue

July 15, 2014

July 13, 2014

Small painting

So here is my newest study painting book, they keep getting smaller, only coincidentally though. After using a moleskin and then ordering my second one which turned out a size smaller, I was passing a shop in the mall the other day and have now sourced a great supplier of hand made books of all sizes. And made in India, some of them are really beautiful. The shop keeper informed me that they are made with rice paper, I'm not sure about that, but certainly the small one I chose (and could afford) seemed to be of a suitable enough paper for wet media. So I thought id purchase that one and tried it. It works pretty well with a single wash, but can't handle allot of strong pigments or consistencies of these. It's been so much fun, just to sketch something off and so keep my hand at it, without being too attached to the outcome. Having happy accidents as they say. 

Here are a few of them. I had hoped to do one a day in it, but managed only a few consecutive days before life got too busy, today I am back into it, copying a flower arrangement at work, I am surprised these beautiful aloes are blooming this time of the year.

It's worth noting the scale of these, as this decreases there is an increase in detailed marking, the subtlest of touches and attention to each mark is more relevant than usual and this is a helpful hindrance perhaps as I see it. Either that or, it's just about making really small paintings in a roundabout way of saying!

July 01, 2014

Winter way ahead

Just for fun! And because this weekend there is a front coming in- it will be cold in the cape!

June 11, 2014

Glen Cairn Winter

It has been such a nice day out, after rain and more rain. What a relief to feel the sun and what better thing to do than paint somewhere beholding to it all. I have a new little paint book too, which is half the size of my other one, also a moleskin. So, here is what it contains so far...

The above study actually takes up half even of a page. It is approximately 2inch square. Both times I use my small watercolour field kit and a no.3 and no.8 brush.

Mental Notes: 1. More can be stated simply. Simplify forms, better to have correct placing 
                      2. Keep penciling either inside or outside of lights and shadows,
                      3. The brush will do the rest!

Below are some photos of the scenery today. I sat and did the little painting overlooking the vlei from the restaurant balcony. I think it's called the Southern Right.. A very relaxed day! Cheers

June 09, 2014

Profile of Flynn digital sketch

I made this with sketches on my ipad. The app has recently updated and has some cool new features. So far it is my favorite of the programs I have. 

May 27, 2014


This is a very old character of mine, from a panel that seems almost finished. I imagine I would have wanted to use a different treatment of the extreme background. This is what was inked however and the pencils I have faded out.

May 24, 2014

May 21, 2014

Municipal council & Library Simonstown

After much deliberation here is what I painted on this day in May. Simonstown has so many secrets and views, this one took some composing and not enough planning, or mind for perspective. Perhaps I should invest some time in that, as it helps, when observing from life, buildings especially, which is often the subject outside. I was lucky to have had only the very slightest drizzle at a point but otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed this, sitting outside on a day like today, near to my home.

Morning life

Here is one of yesterday's efforts, it was a struggle! This was the last long pose of the day, and arguably a difficult subject, especially for this type of treatment. I learn allot at life drawing, it is wonderful to have the opportunity to go these days. 

May 12, 2014


Here are some photos from my recent travels. I visited the west coast fossil park, which was fantastic, I looked at 5 million year old evidence of an African bear, a once colossus animal of the region called a Sivathere and had a glimpse into the past.

I did the tour with long time local resident Nicki (above) who had actually worked on the phosphorus mine before the park existed and thanks to which these finds were made, supposedly. I also chatted with resident paleontologist Pippa Haarhofff.

My imagination was certainly active, I could feel it in the cells of my body, the idea and a picture of the past. An evolution of emergence.

    A Sivathere (long horned short necked giraffe). 

A rough idea, trying to get a feel for the creatures look. I will post more on the process soon.

I also did attempt to Plein air, but in fact was taken in for interrogating by two army soldiers after starting with my first washes. I had decided on capturing a top secret jetty, one that the army uses to ferry guys to the base, which is on the other side of the bay and a place quite difficult to reach by land, the only route would be through the reserve. 


I love the west coast, perhaps because it reminds me of home further north!

April 28, 2014

Wonderville at Night

A most fun picture, cartoon due to my new tools on touch-screen. And colours, layers, opacity to boot. What else, effects, not that I would over use that, and the rest: imagination. I like that word. 

April 22, 2014

Holgar the Happy

Pencil drawing (10" x 5") photographed on my iPad Air and

finished app-painted artwork.  I used PS touch and Sketches. 

April 19, 2014

Green Pasture

Below is a landscape I worked on at home. I used photo reference I took in Noordhoek for it, but on this day I was much inspired after walking about at a stables closer to home. I plan on visiting again and doing some painting on site there soon.


April 11, 2014

Enter Character

The blog master in process.. ..


Heres a post that should actually belong here, however I thought I would just put him ontop of the stack for now. I am hoping to tweak this image a little more soon and will show that too (maybe instead). This is actually from photo and cleaned up on my ipad. 

March 31, 2014

Greyton en Plein air in March


This is a painting (with process photos above) I did outdoors in Greyton this past month. I set up across the road from this little backpackers, there was a stable sort of building with horses grazing the ground directly opposite me and the adjacent corner I was wanting to capture, a few locals were wondering around, one collecting fallen acorns which is the phase at the moment (constant and reoccurring, a sudden bounding off of metal surfaces), and others at various intervals of their day. Some tourists coming out of the backpackers and driving off in their rentals waved at me which heightened my confidence naturaly! 


The attraction I guess apart from the structural splendor of the old building and its running and dappled shadows in the foreground was really the magnificent and admittedly front lit mountain, I suppose a little of a 'no brainer' as subject (as in- 'not a good idea' -) but never the less, the mountain inspired this, and overall I was pleased to accomplish it. I sat and completed it on the road side and then wondered back to the quaint little house of a friends I was in for the night. Certainly a good time of year for Greyton, and lends itself to pictures definitely. 

March 29, 2014

3 from Memory

The above paintings were done in watercolour on Georgian watercolour paper 300gsm and no bigger than A5 in size. The top piece is a concept of the view entering Murdock valley close to where I stay, the sense and for the most part visual picture I got when driving around that corner in my car.

The last painting here also imprinted on me whilst driving into the sun to work one evening recently, the golden light as it filtered through and silhouetted the scene of trees lining the road. The middle piece was a little fun with the medium and happy accidents, using two different greys to block in the rainy sky. It was on Muizenburg beach this past week, and out to sea there could be seen the reflected colours of light, as in a rainbow. So that is how you paint a memory!

I liked making these especially since they each do signify their own existence or are in existence to signify the bigger experience of my own existence, at a moment in time. In a way of describing it. And a step beyond plein air perhaps!