Category Archives: watercolour painting holidays

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

Here’s how to do the diski dance

Forget the macarena. Forget the moonwalk, or the new move reportedly planned for Michael Jackson’s comeback. South Africa’s own diski dance is set to get the world jiving to an African rhythm when the football World Cup arrives on the continent for the first time.

The diski, comprising a series of choreographed soccer moves, features in the latest television advert from South African Tourism, aimed at generating excitement at home and abroad ahead of the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup.

The advert will air on global channels including CNN, BBC, Eurosport and Skysport between now and the World Cup kickoff on 11 June 2010, giving soccer fans a chance to learn the moves and “feel the rhythm of African football”.

Click here to play video.

Posted on on 20 May 2009.

Combine football with a wonderful painting holiday tour of KwaZulu Natal to have the best of all worlds in one glorious package.

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

Frogs in my garden

On the 2nd of February it was World Wetlands Day which commemorates the signing of the RAMSAR Convention, an international agreement on wetland protection.

As we have a lovely couple of days painting in iSimangaliso Wetlands Park it’s a good time to reflect on the wet world of our froggy friends and their cheerful cacophony and the enormous good they do in controlling insect pests.

They are apparently some of the most sensitive indicators of environmental damage and any chemicals or pesticides in their habitats have a devastating impact on frog populations.

There was a time a few years ago, when the whistles, chirps or croaks of frogs were rarely heard in the suburbs, even though many gardens had pools or water features. But, that certainly isn’t the case today. Our rather strange weather, wetter than normal, has proved a sheer delight to the frog populations in my suburb and on warm and wet nights they are regaling us with very loud frog serenades.

I hopefully presume that this is a good indication that the message is getting through to Joe Public to use substances that are environmentally friendly.

Walking a wilderness trail

The ultimate experience in the bush veld is walking a wilderness trail.

If you like a bit of the rough, you can experience the unspoilt beauty of the natural bush without any of the trappings of civilization by walking out each day from a base camp, returning to your creature comforts only in the evening.

Or you can walk from wilderness camp to wilderness camp, where a bucket shower is your only luxury to wash away the dust of the day.

Or if extreme hardiness is your style you can carry the bare necessities on your back and make camp wherever the days adventures take you and then stand solitary guard through the night acquainting yourself with the sounds of the African night.

Truly soul cleansing, or so I’m told!

I am not that hardy but I still enjoy viewing our amazing African wildlife in their own environment so I enjoy the safer route of a guided walk with an experienced field ranger who works in the bush every day, and whose senses are attuned to the comings and goings of the natural world. This way I can be exposed to things I would never see on my own and be a whole lot safer than if left to my own devises.

I also enjoy a game drive in the mornings and afternoons as each time of the day has its own special characteristics with light and shade, smells and the wildlife that is active.

You can join me and our own Ranger John at John’s Big 5 conservancy. John is used to watching over us painters and allows us to partake in the wonders of animal viewing amongst hills which change colour from green to brown to blues and greys in the distance. He tells us ranger tales and animal facts all in a thoroughly entertaining way. He takes us to beautiful spots to paint and gets us as close as possible to the animals for that photo opportunity that will become the next painting. Then after all the excitement we get returned to our luxurious 4* lodge where we are pampered and fed and left to enjoy the vistas and the painting opportunities.

This is my way to enjoy the privilege of game viewing. Not too many hardships for me! All you need is a shady hat, loose clothing, a stout pair of shoes, binoculars a sketchbook of course and a camera for those special shots which will inspire paintings for a very long time.

Are you ready for your walk in the bush?

The opportunity to walk through natural bush or grassland, where you can touch, smell, feel the African veld with all your senses is really special. Take the time to experience it on your next South African Painting Holiday.


Bumper Sticker’s for painters..

“I used to think in black and white….then I met an artist”
“Artist’s keep it in perspective”

Accept my warm invitation to join me on a holiday I promise you will remember – forever

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