December 21, 2015


Origional life study, _ this was done with watercolour which didnt quite work with the gesoed surface, but its good to mix things up sometimes anyway and break out of the mold to achieve something fresh. Thats what I thought anyway. This has a very basic under drawing and quite a direct treatment of medium. Hope you like

September 25, 2015

Die Kerk Toring en Jackson street no.29

  Our home town church, the NG kerk Aberdeen turns 160 this year and in celebration I have donated a painting of the lovely building, done en Plein air toward the later part of the day on Saunders 300gsm cold pressed using W&N pure water colours. 

And a typical Karoo house, very old (probably a little more than mine) with the same technique. Hopefully more news unfolds as the weekend progresses! See you there.

September 12, 2015

Contours and Canvases

       Just browsing through the archives and found these. The contour sketch done from life of a model and given a painterly finish with washes in the second image. I was trying out an effect with the paint which didn't quite yield too satisfactorily, but i liked the drawing and the combined method. 

       Then below is probably the largest canvas I have used, this was a commission which I did quite a long time ago for someone, I also quite liked the assignment though I would probably do it very differently had I to do it again. Second image shows the scale and my old apartment door by comparison. 

swan 1.8m x 1.6m (Acrylic)

August 31, 2015

An Apple in diffused light

Digital painting done on procreate on my ipad air of a still life study under diffused white light. And made into my first art movie!! Enjoy.. 

August 06, 2015

Valley of Desolation and Graaff Reinet

Here is what I have discovered the other day on my trip out into the wild, beautiful winter scenery of the Camdeboo (Karoo) region where I stay: ...

1. for me seeing in a painterly way, or composing with the eye, prior to even making a mark is sometimes or can be the whole work. Certainly the landscape from life and what appeals naturally and pictorially as such. Landscape is all TONE baby! Thats one of the three primary principles!!

2. Capturing quickly, in small frames is a good way TO compose, the picture is dealt with in its large forms and tones, and the painting is resolved early on - if it becomes that. Or else the study lends itself to further use as reference. These are studies of course, only, with notes scribbled about colour, tone, forground? and or background, but they are little pictures too, which leads me to believe this is more often an essential first step in composing outdoors. Admittedly for me, I often want for ONLY this in doing a painting, I mean, it is enough almost (if I get it dead right on the first go), but to be able to synthesize the whole process, I suppose that would be even more rewarding.

3. The first impression is crucial, it is the way you look maybe and not what is seen, all the steps and sequences help only to portray this way!

4. The overall mood and focus doesn't change; wanting to capture, in pencils or upgrading to washes or other media - and if it does the result is less than desired. The aim is to maintain this singular approach however done. Even to completed painting perhaps.

5. Comfort is inbuilt, the approach does not compensate for this or so does the result. The impression determines it. If your not comfortable therefore, your headed for trouble! This may be obvious but it's worth noting.

6. Preparation and intention is key, the rest is then enjoyment - of seeing and putting down on paper, board, anything.

This colour sketch is 90°s to the view of the photo (along side, taken of the peak called 'Spandoukop), and looking back and essentially at the front face of the unique volcanic rock mountain tops of the famous Valley of Desolation. 

I got to see, observe, some red hartebees in there own environment, at least in the reserve that is in which they are camped.  It was a fantastic day out of the studio, and to one of the most special places in nature, in our country, in the world I believe! The stillness was more than rejuvenating, sitting as I was amid mountains give or take 180 million years in the making! 

June 15, 2015

A view of Union High

This little watercolor I began plein air and finished in the studio, keeping it as much a pure treatment as possible, with only minor dabs of white opaque in the end.

I quite like the way a small painting can present almost a window or portal into another place. That is the power of a small painting. Although painting as a rule is founded on good drawing, it could be said more so for smaller paintings and certainly in this medium.

I have taken these photos trying to avoid the glare from the glass, below is a sense of the detail. 


June 14, 2015

To make a picture frame

  To anyone considering frames, here is what I have worked out about them. I had the idea to make some myself, with the help of a very proficient carpenter, but having no real understanding between us;  or honestly much mind of what may be involved prior to, I set to writing down, or brainstorming if you were, the following: 

  Pg 1

  Pg 2

I found it was quite a useful exercise and the results good too. It is however mostly concerned with the aesthetics of a frame and infact only one half of my findings so far! I will make notes on the other half of it in just a while. 

April 30, 2015

Nguni cattle clay


I'm editing this post since I first wrote it because it turns out there was more to the story. I was asked to produce 12 of these little animals for a friends wedding and were presented as a 'labola' gift to the father of the bride, a traditional custom indigenous to the region more or less. It was a marvelous break from my usual pursuits and allowed an insightful experience of being able to shed the usual perfectionisims and self critisims.


I used a regular self drying clay which was provided me. The stuff is a treat! Slowly drying and hardening as you work, but with a little wetting in your hand, soaks it up and again soft as is desired. I may also be manipulated and dried to achieve quite a detailed effect. I did the twelve deciding on only the upper form and at the end, due to being quite delicate, I set them in a clear resin base cast onto a flat surface. The resulting reflections in the base and visibility of the wire underneath were quite pleasing to me.

And here is the rest of the story.. Yesterday I had lunch with Nicola and the crowd where I live and she told me all about what followed between the time I sent the finished sculptures and Clifford presnted them at the wedding. Although I did do some preliminary sketches before to get to know my subject, it seems there is allot more to be known about these animals. That can be found in a book called The Abundant Herds: A celebration of the cattle of the Zulu people by Marguerite Poland.

Below is what Nicola sent to me thismorning and refernces to the book.

Fiscal Shrike (pg 47 )  and Old Person (pg 70 )

Owlets (pg 63)  and Puff Adder (pg 64 )

Redwinged Starling (pg51 ) and Woman Crossing Over (pg 71 )

Sugarbean  (pg 69)  and Sand (pg 73)

Spitting Cobra (pg 63)

    Clifford and his patent: Black Eagle

Jenna and Victor Charles with their designations

... and the final product(s).

This was a real honour. They look amazing!! Congrats again guys and many many happy herding years ahead! 

February 03, 2015

Jasus Lalundi Anatomical Illustrations

West coast lobster, or crayfish as we know them here in South Africa.

Above is a semi process exhibit of the male west coast crayfish (Jasus Lalundi) which I completed recently. I had four such pieces to do. It has been an interesting undertaking, having a closer look at almost botanical drawing/painting with a pure traditional medium. Except for a small cheat with gouche white where absolutely necisary.

I did extensive studies and measurements of each specimen and layouts on paper in pencil. Working from literal dried carapace and also having a general guide from other drawings. Honestly these were revised and revised untill I came up with each render. The undersides being particularly tricky, trying to show enough information and keep it looking alive or real enough. I then transfered these to a sheet of smooth/good paper. I used masking fluid to silhouette with a blue background and from there build in tone and colour the other forms.

These are very interesting creatures.  It is sad that they have so badly dwindled in the small, so small part of our big world in which they are found. Mark van Kets is busy with investigations into breeding and if successful will be the first to do so in captivity.  It has been fascinating to learn all about this along the way. My next step concerns the young. More to follow therefor on that.

The female and male obviously differ in small but significant ways. Both shed their entire carapace (exoskeleton)  and the female carries her eggs on the underside of her tail and is refered to as being in berry when she does so. Each egg is individually attached to a tiny life giving strand.

Below are snippets of the finished 4 works. Each completed in a roughly A3 size. I used Fabriano artistico paper and Winsor and Newton watercolour paints. Predominantly bright & cad red, new gambouge, burnt sienna, winsor blue and alizarin grey mix (my favourite) and the blue wash of winsor.

A better look can be had by zooming in a bit.

female from above (detail)

                                                              Male underside (detail only)

female underside with complex fin breeding parts (detail)

January 23, 2015

Social Work (Просто для удовольствия !)

Просто , чтобы доказать, что я могу сделать мультфильмы .. если я чувствую, что ..

January 03, 2015

Net Wing Beetle

I was so excited when I managed to capture a moment of one of my most favorite creatures on earth. I had an encounter with one some time ago and was only too pleased when this little guy (or gal for that mater) was hovering around my garden the other day, managing to catch it on camera.

The most intriguing aspect for me is the shape of its head. It is quite a special little video I feel, with a good chance to see him/her close up, cleaning and then later unsheathing its wings and taking off. What a marvel!