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!