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Last weekend I went down to my favourite place on the False Bay coast to do some painting.

I sat on a grassy patch looking out over the bay and did the following work:

Here is the start – it was quite a complex scene but I sketched out the main details and started painting.  I like to starting painting as soon as possible – detailed drawing can be a little taxing on concentration.

I got this far on the Saturday (above).

And then we had a public holiday yesterday.  I had work to do but later took a drive out to Kogel Bay to sit and paint again.  As I walked down to the beach I saw a chap sitting near where I had been working.  Then as I got there I saw he was sitting on my patch of grass.  He was fishing.  Anyway – most of the time South Africans who go to places like Kogel Bay are pretty cool so I asked him if he would mind if I sat nearby and completed my painting.  He offered to move but I asked him not to.  It turned out he was pleasant company as he baited up and cast into the churning water.  He was fishing for Galjoen.  But was not having much luck.

Anyway I started to complete my painting but as he sat fishing I did this little painting of him.

I

Later he did decide to go back to Gordons Bay to look for better luck.

When I gave him the painting he told me that his youngest son had been selected to play rugby for a junior South African team in Ireland.  It is very exciting but he has to come up the R40 000 which is a lot on a teacher’s salary.

This is what I find so often.  Everyone has an interesting story.

And here is what I did.  Another special time at a very special place.

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Here are the three latest paintings I have done at The Pipe.

Boardwalk at The Pipe
Watercolour on 200gm Hot Pressed Fabriano.
350x250mm

I don’t know what it is about this little scene but I love sitting and painting this view.

Here is one from the next day – looking the other way:

Boardwalk at The Pipe
Watercolour on 200gm Hot Pressed Fabriano.
290x200mm

And then the next day – here is the view of the mountains above Gordons Bay:

Boardwalk at The Pipe with a nice bright orange umbrella
Watercolour on 300gm Cold Pressed Arches.
380x280mm

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I sat on the usual dune at our break to do these two watercolours.  Since the first one a massive fire has broken out in the Kogelberg.  Someone fired a flare as the clock struck 24:00 and 2019 began.  The flare landed on the mountains and started a ring of fire.  That has wiped out I don’t know how much fynbos.  It is very sad.

Here is the first:

Boardwalk at The Pipe
Watercolour on 300gm Arches Cold Pressed
380x280mm

And here is the painting I did today from the same place.

Boardwalk at The Pipe
Watercolour on 300gm Cold Pressed Arches.
380x280mm

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The Candle Lamp is another piece of camping equipment that is quite handy.  Except!  First I burnt my hand on the glass (my fault – I know).  And then I broke the glass (Also my fault I guess).  But there it is.  It is a very neat little kit to carry in a rucsack.

Candle lamp
Watercolour

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Stephen J. Quirke by Sjqzoom - 6M ago

There is something very cool about time-tested design.  This is why I think boats are so beautiful.  And the humble paraffin lamp has been around for ages.  In the same form.  And here is is a page of the lamps I have painted as part of my exercise to paint a watercolour a day.

Here is the lamp I painted yesterday:

Yellow Lamp
Watercolour on 200gm Hot Pressed (love Hot Pressed) Fabriano
350x250mm

Here is a selection of other lamps I have put for sale on my gallery:

‘Prafin’ lamp
watercolour

Camping Gas lamp:

Gas lamp
Watercolour

And a candle-lamp:

Candle lamp
Watercolour

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Long ago I used to take Calvin for walks early on Saturday morning to give Aura a chance to sleep in. These were the horses belonging to friends up the road from us. It was a misty rainy day. Calvin went up to the horse who came to meet him. Calvin was quite fearless and patted the horse on its nose
I was able to take a few photos from which I painted this
Watercolour .

Here is the first:

Calvin meets the horse

This is watercolour on 300gm Arches cold pressed – 190x280mm

There was something wrong with the hindquarters of the horse so I did another one.  Which I think was better:

Calvin meets the horse

Watercolour on 200gm Fabriano 250x350mm

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After the rush of closing out the year it has been good to have a few days to catch my breath and gather myself for the new year.

With 2018 drawing to a close I decided to take a hike up the route I had run with my daughter on the morning before Sinead left to drive up to Kimberly to start her internship in hospital there. It was quiet and calm. There are dramatic views of our mountain there and it just felt good to sit and paint.

West Peak from the Watsonia trail – watercolour on 300gm Arches cold pressed – 380x280mm

Heh heh you can see how I had to adjust the scale in the mountains when I started.

On the way down I walked around the duck pond and met a delightful couple who were relaxing on a bench to see out 2018 in the calm of that beautiful place – looking up at our peak.  But eventually I had to go.

Aura and I had a dinner with a group of friends and saw in the new year playing Scategories in which everyone cheated and laughed.

January 01 is always a busy time on the roads around here but I decided nevertheless to head out to Clarence Drive to find a place to appreciate the new year with a watercolour.  There is beautiful stretch of coastline just off Clarence Drive that few people visit, except fishermen because it is high-energy coastline. But there are some dramatic rock-pools created by the folds in the TMS (Table Mountain Sandstones).

It was a somewhat inauspicious start as I had to walk past a guy and a girl humping in the backseat of a car at the top of the path down.  And on the way back I turned my ankle and fell on my coccyx so limped back to the car in some pain.  But none of this could take away from a pleasant day in the Cape sun. It is always an interesting visit. Yesterday as I sat and painted this picture I saw an otter (Cape Clawless Otter) working its way through the pools, looking for crabs.

The scene filled with surging water, blocky quartzites and changing light.  It was a bit daunting in the baking sun.  However I had my secret weapon.  I now carry a square of closed-cell foam and so I was able to sit for a long time without my legs going to sleep.  Here is my first painting of the day for 2019:

Rock Pool near Kogel Bay – watercolour on 300gm Arches 380x280mm

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After the rush of closing out the year it has been good to have a few days to catch my breath and gather myself for the new year.

With 2018 drawing to a close I decided to take a hike up the route I had run with my daughter on the morning before Sinead left to drive up to Kimberly to start her internship in hospital there. It was quiet and calm. There are dramatic views of our mountain there and it just felt good to sit and paint.

West Peak from the Watsonia trail – watercolour on 300gm Arches cold pressed – 380x280mm

Heh heh you can see how I had to adjust the scale in the mountains when I started.

On the way down I walked around the duck pond and met a delightful couple who were relaxing on a bench to see out 2018 in the calm of that beautiful place – looking up at our peak.  But eventually I had to go.

Aura and I had a dinner with a group of friends and saw in the new year playing Scategories in which everyone cheated and laughed.

January 01 is always a busy time on the roads around here but I decided nevertheless to head out to Clarence Drive to find a place to appreciate the new year with a watercolour.  There is beautiful stretch of coastline just off Clarence Drive that few people visit, except fishermen because it is high-energy coastline. But there are some dramatic rock-pools created by the folds in the TMS (Table Mountain Sandstones).

It was a somewhat inauspicious start as I had to walk past a guy and a girl humping in the backseat of a car at the top of the path down.  And on the way back I turned my ankle and fell on my coccyx so limped back to the car in some pain.  But none of this could take away from a pleasant day in the Cape sun. It is always an interesting visit. Yesterday as I sat and painted this picture I saw an otter (Cape Clawless Otter) working its way through the pools, looking for crabs.

The scene filled with surging water, blocky quartzites and changing light.  It was a bit daunting in the baking sun.  However I had my secret weapon.  I now carry a square of closed-cell foam and so I was able to sit for a long time without my legs going to sleep.  Here is my first painting of the day for 2019:

Rock Pool near Kogel Bay – watercolour on 300gm Arches 380x280mm

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There is a long gentle uphill road from the border post at Maseru to the main road in to Bloemfontein. And people usually bustle their way on. but there is this tantalising turn-off to the right a couple of kms from the border, onto a dirt road. Long ago I took the turn off and found a pretty route that followed the Caledon river for distance before turning away to head towards Ladybrand. The road passes through some valleys between sandstone topped hills.

There is one particular place where the road descends and crosses and stream before going up and around a hill. The road is lined in places with Apricot trees. Maybe it is due to the fact that I have usually completed an intense consulting job when I take the road, but it just feels like a holiday.

And what better way to celebrate a holiday than to sit and do a painting.
Over the years I have painted the same scene in different seasons. And here is a record of my work.

The local farmers make fence posts out of the local sandstone and here is one of the first paintings I did of one of those fence posts:

Maseru is just across the valley.

There is a termite mound I like to sit on. It is not very comfortable and I perch there holding my water-box and paint box (holding together the lid and palette) and holding the page on which I am working. Man! Those are the days I urge myself to get organised!!!

That fence post is just below the hill in the above photo.
But I really like sitting on that termite mound to paint this view above.

Quite often I would be there in Winter and these are the watercolor paintings I did:

And here is a summer painting, after a good rainy season:

Here is the painting I did at the start of 2018.  I had a meeting with my client in the morning and so hit the backup at the border post.  It took me two hours to get through.  And I knew it would take me two hours to get to Bloemfontein to catch my flight to Cape Town.  So I literally had ten minutes to do do this little painting, listening to field larks and the sounds drifting over the Caledon river from Maseru.

Here is a painting capturing the change in seasons.  the poplars are still grey, the turpentine grass in the foreground is a rich red and the bushes in the middleground are sweet green:

And here is a painting I did from the other side of the hill, looking back to this position.  Another Winter painting.  I just love the huge copses of poplar trees.  I would love to camp there – though this would be a bit risky I think.

The notch in the mountain in the top-right of the mountain is very characteristic.  I can see the same hill from the hotel I sometimes stay in in Maseru.

While I paint on my termite mound I am always aware of what is going on around me.   Once I had a guy walking up to me from across the fields to ask for money.  Intuitively I felt danger so I asked him if he wanted to be in a photograph of the scene.  He was keen so I asked him to go and stand in the middle ground.  Then I said “back, back back”  and then when I thought he was far enough I waved goodbye, grabbed my painting kit and hopped into my hire car and headed off to Ladybrand.

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Painting watercolors of the boats in Kalk Bay is just a very good way to spend a morning.  Boats are just so beautiful.  Man has spent centuries, no, millennia perfecting the design of these vehicles.  And so boats have a beautiful functionality.  The curves in the gunwales are almost sensuous in their perfection.  The people who work on boats have characters and features honed by working on the sea.  And the people of Kalk Bay have a history and a way of working particular to that corner of the Cape Peninsula.  And there are some delightful characters.

I just love sitting on the quay sketching the boats.  The other day this huge Cape Fur Seal launched out of the water just next to me, then inched its way around me to go and lounge in the sun with her friends.

I have taken some photos of the fishing boats coming in with their catch from which I have painted these watercolor paintings.

Here is the latest:

Fishing boat coming in to offload their catch in Kalk Bay

And here is another.   This is the Violet Glen coming in to offload their catch.

The Violet Glen ties up to offload her catch.

I love the way the skipper stands with his oilskins round his knees as he steers the boat with his foot.  It is all so functional and without affect.

Both of these paintings are available for sale on my new gallery site that has just been launched.

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