Category Archives: visual art

South African Art continued its march onto the world stage

South African Art continued its march onto the world stage as a newly appreciated art form and investment at Bonhams seventh sale of South African Art in London on Wednesday.

“Works by Jacob Hendrik Pierneef, Gerard Sekoto and Maggie Laubser all beat their pre-sale estimates,” Bonhams said in a statement. “The top-priced work in the sale was by Pierneef, titled ‘An Extensive View of Farmlands’, which sold for £356 000 (R3.9-million) against an estimate of £120 000 to £180 000.”

The sale’s catalogue cover lot by Gerard Sekoto, “Market Street Scene, Cape Town,” sold for £192 000 (R2.1-million) against a pre-sale estimate of £120 000 to £180 000. And a Maggie Laubser, “Woman Wearing a Red Doek”, estimated at £20 000 to £30 000 sold for £50 400 (R554 000).

“Once again we have been delighted by the response from buyers,” Giles Peppiatt, director of South African art at Bonhams, said after the sale. “You would not have known in the saleroom today that we are cautiously emerging from the worst recession in 80 years. The mood was buoyant, the bidding brisk and the prices excellent.

“After five years of selling South African art, I feel that this is not a blip or a fashion but the start of a long march to real international recognition and appreciation of this vibrant art from the tip of Africa,” Peppiatt said.

SAinfo reporter

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2010 art project promotes Africa

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2 October 2009

The 2010 Fine Art project, a visual celebration of the world’s most-watched sporting event, is assembling an international collection by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists to promote African visual arts and Africa as a powerful cultural destination.

2010 Fine Art is a South African company that has acquired a global licence to produce and distribute fine art related to the 2010 Fifa World Cup – the first time in the 80-year history of the tournament that Fifa has granted such a licence.

And according to general manager Rob Spaull, the project will be one of the largest international art collaborations in history.

“We are assembling an international collection by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists that celebrates Africa and the Fifa World Cup,” Spaull said in a a statement last month.

“With five artists from each nation that qualifies to play in South Africa, we will have 160 original works from every corner of the globe.

“Add to that the exceptional pieces being assembled for the 2010 African Fine Art Collection, and the fact that we will be exhibiting not only here in South Africa but in all 32 countries during 2010, and you start to get a sense of how big an opportunity this is to promote African art and Africa as a destination of choice.”

According to Spaull, 2010 Fine Art is busy adding artists to its international and African collections, and has begun to identify and appoint gallery partners in the 32 countries where it will be exhibiting.

“The second phase of development will see the creation of a three-dimensional virtual art gallery in which all of the works from both collections will be able to be viewed online as part of a seamless virtual walkthrough,” Spaull said.

The 2010 Fine Art website – www.2010fineart.com – allows visitors to see which countries have qualified for the World Cup and what art is available from each. As new teams qualify, their art will be loaded and updated.

“Art is a language common to all,” says Spaull. “It opens windows of understanding between foreign cultures, and unites peoples who might otherwise share no common experiences. Sport, like art, creates bridges between cultures, and brings people together through shared excitement.

“The eyes of the world are turning to South Africa as never before. We must make every use of these global opportunities to promote African visual arts and Africa.”

SAinfo reporter

Drawing, Sketching and Painting… Books to Help!

Sketching Landscapes
This is an introduction to the art of sketching landscapes, showing what to look for, capturing light and atmosphere, and mastering tones and simple shapes. It provides many ideas and simple techniques which can be used to make a memorable sketch.

Charles Reid’s Watercolor Solutions
As one of the most sought after workshop instructors, Charles Reid possesses certain skills that set him apart from his students. In Charles Reid’s Watercolor Solutions, he shares that knowledge with

And A Couple More…

Mother Nature’s spoils

I take a different look at nature, not how to paint it but rather how to appreciate Mother Nature’s spoils.

I have taken the liberty of using information from CC Africa RANGERS so as to be sure my info to you is correct.

I don’t really think you will ever need this trivia, except in a quiz, but it’s fun to know and just one of the ways our rangers are able to enhance your South African Painting Holiday with masses of African titbit’s and Ranger stories. So here goes:

Five useful remedies that can be found in the bush:

  • Russet Bushwillow – makes a great herbal tea.
  • Sodom Apple – the juice is used to treat fresh wounds.
  • Acacia – the cambium is chewed and the juice swallowed to treat stomach disorders.
  • Aloe Secundiflora – the inner plant can be applied on skin as protection from the sun.
  • Lippia Javonica – crushing and inhaling the leaves will help to relieve colds and flu.
  • Lions-paw – an extract from the plant mixed with pumpkin seeds is used to treat tapeworm.
  • Now wasn’t that really interesting? Next time you are painting a Lippia Javonica you’ll be reminded of this article and be able to act all knowledgeable. However, I’ve lived in Africa for years and have never met anyone using any of these cures, (well maybe the aloe even I use aloes) but then again I live in the suburbs of the third largest city in South Africa, with every amenity available to me, so maybe that’s why!

    A Thought 4 U

    “Don’t copy anyone else. You are the best one of you there is. Be yourself, and exaggerate yourself slightly.”
    Paul Daniels, Magician
    par exellence

Bushman painting as documentary

ORIGINAL ARTICLE BY: Lucille Davie
30 October 2008

There were no Bushmen about to ask how to create the paintings, so artist Stephen Townley Bassett learned how to recreate Bushman paintings the hard way – by trial and error.

His dedication to the task over the past 18 years has led to the first major exhibition of his Bushman works – 30 extraordinary paintings assembled at the Origins Centre at Wits University in Johannesburg in an exhibition entitled Reservoirs of Potency.

“I threw away my penknife,” Bassett says, together with plastic containers and metal tins. And went out into the bush discovering. He learned how to use animal blood, saliva, ochre, cobra venom and ostrich egg shells to create pigment to paint the images, precise copies of Bushmen paintings from around the country.

He learned too how to use porcupine quills, buck horns, rocks, animal hairs, bird droppings, feathers and animal skins that would become his stock in trade. He made mistakes along the way but got it right.
‘I learned that fat is a good binder’

“I learned that fat is a good binder. I would make a paste which was easy to carry. I learned to liquefy it again with gall, saliva and blood.” Bassett also learned about the different quality of hair of different animals, giving him fine hair for a paintbrush, or thicker hair for a bushier brush.

He even made his own stone tools to skin spring hares and foxes he’d shot, to use the skin as a pouch in which to carry his painting implements.

The animals and people in his works, which Bassett calls “documentary paintings”, are the precise size of the originals. The works are done on 100 percent cotton sheets. Each piece, he says, is a one-off.

“So much has gone into each painting,” he explains. He would spend days at a site, deciphering the original, with a miner’s lamp on his forehead.

“The first thing is to document as accurately as possible, doing it with pigments available to them, absolutely life size. I would only record what I saw, making it a little darker, to take account of dust,” he recounts. Then back at home a painting would take between six and eight weeks to complete.

“The work is very exacting, very demanding. There is no debate, the work has to be right – everything exactly there. It is a blend of science, art and craft,” he says, referring to the tool-making as craft.
Endorsements

Such is his attention to detail that the professor emeritus and renowned researcher and author on Bushman art, David Lewis-Williams, comments in the caption of one piece that it was only after Bassett captured the work, the Leaping Lion, that Lewis-Williams noticed fish around the lion’s body.

“Often I return to the site with my half-completed painting to compare colours and overall appearance of my rendition to the original on the rock,” says Bassett. “All paint marks on the rock that are within the frame of reference of the chosen scene must be recorded. All marks must be acknowledged and recorded. The final product must be the next best thing to the original on the rock, a kind of historical document of what has been deciphered from the rock face.”

His paintings have brief notes or paint blotches around the edges which don’t distract from the work, but help to guide him as to colour and markings on the original.

And he has the full endorsement of Dr Benjamin Smith, the director of the Rock Art Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, and Lewis-Williams, who describes the work as “wonderful” and “very special”.

“You must either do the work accurately or not at all,” says Lewis-Williams.

Smith says: “This is an artist like no other; he bleeds for his art,” referring to the fact that Bassett has used his own blood in his paint mixes.

Bassett doesn’t only do Bushman art – he produces landscapes and takes on commissions from local farmers, who, he says with a mischievous smile, can be very exacting in what they want.

A book has been produced to accompany the exhibition – Reservoirs of potency – the documentary paintings of Stephen Townley Bassett. In 2002, he published another book, Rock paintings of South Africa – revealing a legacy.

“It has been an extraordinary journey,” he exclaims. Bassett is keen for the exhibition to travel, around South Africa and overseas, on perhaps an equally extraordinary journey.

Bassett’s works are available for private viewing and purchase at the Bonair Road Gallery in Cape Town.

Source: City of Johannesburg

Star Gazing

Now is a good time to book your painting holiday in November to incorporate a spot of Star Gazing and painting, as in the southern hemisphere, November is a great month to lie back on a mountain slope, or on a sand dune still warm from the days sun and do a spot of star gazing. Here you can watch the antics of wonderfully named comets such as Encke and Tempel-Tuttle whose orbits pop through our earth’s orbit making it possible for us to see fantastic meteor showers producing spectacular shooting stars.

Every year around November 17, plus or minus a week the displays from these comets are truly spectacular with thousands of ‘shooting stars’ flashing across the sky every hour. They are said to be linked to the formation of Stonehenge and the Star of Bethlehem.

When you join our South African Painting Holidays at one of our Berg, Bush or Beach lodges far away from the light pollution of the cities, you will see the night skies in all their glory, like nothing you will have experienced in Europe or much of the USA… so treat yourself to a luxury painting holiday you will never forget and enjoy natures own firework display in Africa this year.

Still on a light note (pun intended ;))
Here is my favourite BUMPER STICKER for artists..
“2b or not 2b”
From the artist network forum

Painting in mountains where once dinosaur walked

Facts courtesy of KZN Wildlife Rhino Club

The Drakensberg Mountains, meaning “Dragon’s Mountain” in Afrikaans and called uKhahlamba, “barrier of spears” in isiZulu, are the highest mountains in Southern Africa, rising up to 3,482 m (11,422 ft) in height. Geologically, they are formed from basalt and sandstone resulting in a combination of steep-sided blocks and pinnacles. The sandstone layer was deposited as the remnants of a gigantic sea that occupied much of what is now Southern Africa some 500 Million years ago. The Basaltic layer which overlies this was deposited about 220 Million years ago in what many geologists think was the largest volcanic eruption in the history of the world linked with the splitting of the tectonic plates of Africa and South America.

In these mountains we often find fossilised sea shells and wonder how they could be here when we are so far above the sea. Even more curious are dinosaur footprints on the roof of a cave at Giant`s Castle! These footprints were left in the silt of the ancient sea. The Drakensberg is one of only two mountain ranges (along with the Simian Mountains of Ethiopia) to have been formed in this geological way, which accounts for its extraordinarily distinctive formations and colours. The landscape is dominated by extremely steep cliffs, some of them amongst the most impressive cliff faces on earth, such as the Amphitheatre Caves and overhangs are frequent in the more easily eroded sandstone It is here in the caves and on rock faces that the ‘First People’, the San Bushmen, lived and where they painted their view of life in these mountains.

You can come with me to see these extraordinary paintings and paint a few of your own in this amazing part of the world, while enjoying a South African Painting Holiday