Thursday, 15 August 2019

DOG SHOW

It is a lot of fun going to a Dog Show.  This one in South Africa happened purely by chance but what an afternoon it turned out to be.  For me as a sketcher, it was pure joy.  There were all breeds of dog, some really quirky owners and lots of competitive behaviour both by the canines and the proud exhibitors.  It has always been surmised that dogs and owners tend to look alike.  This might be true for some but a very large lady and a tiny puffed and groomed little pom certainly do not have anything in common physically.  

There were tents and caravans and doggy faces popped out from windows and doors.  Many were patiently and sometimes very impatiently (particularly the terriers) being combed and brushed.  Paws had to be lifted one by one to make sure each toenail was perfectly cut and filed.  

There were stalls selling everything for dogs.  I even saw a black tuxedo top with a bow tie.  Totally crazy and over the top beds and food bowls ranging from the tiniest to huge ones.  

Well for fun, I thought I would share with you some of my sketches and here they are. Hope they put a smile on a few faces.



Monday, 26 November 2018

Animal Paintings







Two of my favourite creatures in South Africa are ostriches and meerkats.  They always make my laugh.  

The one thing I love about ostriches are their beautiful eyes with long eyelashes. This one whom I have name Orwell had particularly lovely coloured eyes.  Strangely, I found the beak the most difficult part to paint.  

This little family of Meerkats was rather on the small side.  I have seen them in groups of eight or nine cuddling each other.  Their social behaviour is particularly delightful.   They are so loyal and caring of each other. 

I do hope you enjoy these two paintings.  I had such pleasure in the process of painting them.  Click on the paintings for a larger picture.

TIP.  I never use black in my paintings.  I find that a mixture of blue, brown and a touch of red makes a lovely warm dark.  To cool it down, I add a little more blue.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

ENDANGERED WILDLIFE

I am having an exhibition next year and am busy with a number of paintings. It depicts my life between South Africa and Germany.  Although there will be landscapes, botanical and figurative work, one of my main themes will be endangered wildlife and other animals .  Here are two paintings I have just completed.  

There are many problems between farmers and wolves.  These beautiful animals are returning once again to Germany and are in the main, protected.  However,  wolves who have to really search and fight for survival in the wild, are suddenly confronted with a herd of sheep or young cattle.  It is like a buffet where they want a taste of everything.  As a result this becomes a killing orgy.  The farmers lose lambs and calves.  The main reason for this unbalance is the amount of land that is taken from nature for agricultural purposes and over-population in this world in which we live so egotistically.

The African Wild Dog or Painted Dog as it is often referred to, is also severely endangered.

Both paintings are almost life-size. 


 

PAINTING HOLIDAY

For several years I have been going to a lovely little town called Beniginam which is about an hour's drive from Valencia. 

My friends Loli and Harold run art holidays in their beautiful villa. I love it.  I always have a nice big bedroom with a large shower tucked amongst the many plants and trees in the lush garden.  The swimming is near my room and I enjoy the sound of the fountains at the head of the pool gently splashing on the water.

The food is not for anyone on a diet.  Loli and her new chef Carlo are fantastic cooks and it seems to be a Spanish thing to feed your guests until they just cannot eat anymore.  Delicious regional dishes are the order of the day.  

I have enjoyed the different tutors , each with his or her own style.  Although I am a very experienced artist, I am always open to learning something new. I have left with tips and colour mixes which I add to my repertoire.  

This time was no exception and as the tutor was concentrating more on beginners, I toodled off a few times and did my own thing.  I did however, experience for the first time using Brusho.  I found the way it dissolved interesting and colourful but it is not my favourite medium - rather too messy and difficult to control.  Perhaps it lends itself more to crafts and would be great for such things as mixed media journaling.  

Here are a few of the sketches from my sketchbook.  These were done en plein air in various locations.  Hope you like them.

TIP Sit quietly for about ten minutes and really take in the scene around you. Decide what you especially like about it.  Is it the light or the colour or the textures?  Choose a focal point.  Make everything around that point of secondary importance.  Although I have a camera, a sketch is something that really makes one remember the place, the atmosphere, the smells and colours. For all those artists who might read my blog, try to do more sketching.  It is such a joy.  It doesn't matter if you make a mistake.  Your sketchbook is your own private space if that is what you want it to be.  You do not have to show it to anyone.


 

Monday, 27 March 2017

URBAN SKETCHING TIPS

It is a little daunting to venture out with a sketchbook unless you are very sure of yourself and have no objection to passers by having a look over your shoulder.  How do you feel about this?  I hate it personally, and I am an experienced artist.  I feel as if I am deliberately asking for attention.  I have learned a few tricks to cope with this.

Join a group of sketchers.  The Urban Sketchers organisation is a great one to join.  It costs nothing.  No matter how experienced or inexperienced or simply a beginner,  you are welcome.  There is no competition involved.  You will learn so much and other sketchers are always willing to give advice on equipment, etc. You just have to ask.  Being with a group makes you feel less exposed and there is a nice sense of comeraderie.

Sketching regularly is an invaluable way of seeing how wonderful the world is around you and really experiencing how things actually look - the colours, the shapes, the smells, the warmth of the sun, the chill of the wind or the soft caresses of a gentle breeze on a hot day.  If you are a keen painter, your work will improve dramatically if you sketch often.

Try to do a quick sketch each day.  It can be a small one.  There are so many things to attempt.  Look around you.  Where are you sitting now? Your desk has so many objects to sketch.  Perhaps you are off to the kitchen.  Look around and see what you can draw - even a wooden spoon has shape , colour and form.  The more you sketch , the more you will see.  

More tips will be posted on my blog soon.

Enjoy your sketching.  Most of all - have fun and I am sure you will be excited as you see your sketches come to life.


 

URBAN SKETCHING

It has been ages since I have added anything to my blog.  It has been a tough year healthwise but am now on the mend and feeling more like my old self.  Urban sketching has become a real passion for me and I am sketching more than ever before.   I have met a great group of sketchers in South Africa in a small seaside town called Hermanus.  They sketch whenever they can .  I had the privilege of spending several days sketching with them. It is good to have made new friends with similar interests.  I am hoping that two sisters will be able to visit me in Germany for a few days and we can spend time sketching in the lovely little town in which I live.  It is a Spa town and there are so many stunning places, buildings and landscapes to excite any keen sketcher.  

I belong to an art society called the Kunstverein Mindelheim. I am keen to get together a group of artists to spend time enjoying their sketchbooks.  For this reason I will be hosting a sketchcrawl on the 24th June in Bad W├Ârishofen - my town and am really looking forward to it.  I hope we willl have a good turnout.

Here are a few of my latest sketches done in South Africa.








 

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

MAGIC CARPETS AND ALI BABA - MOROCCO

The scents and colours are still swirling around in my mind - magical Morocco, a country of contrasts and unforgettable memories.  We had intended to visit Turkey again this year but the unrest and instability caused our Travel Agents to cancel the trip.  They offered us a few alternatives, one of which was the North African Kingdom of Morocco.  

I had my sketch book ready as we boarded our number 41 bus.  Our travel guide was a wonderful man called Sedat.  He was an educated and charming gentleman.  His wife was German and he had a young son of 13 years.  They live for part of the year in Istanbul and the other part near Munich.  His knowledge and patience were remarkable.  

We visited the four Royal cities, Marrakech, Rabat, Fes and Meknis.  We also spent some time in the famous city of Casablanca.

The King and Princess of Morocco are a modern pair with a mission. They met whilst studying at a university in France. His passion lies with the youth of the country and the need for education.   His mode of dress (apart from State occasions) is casual; jeans and a black leather biker jacket.  Young folk respect him very much and his outfits have become almost like a uniform amongst the youth. The princess concentrates on the rights of women. Her emphasis has been on establishing co-operatives for the Berber women who are for the most part totally illiterate.  They are, however, extremely talented at carpet weaving.  Thousands are part of these co-ops and earn a salary and have medical insurance.  In the morning they weave and in the afternoons they are taught to read and write.  This has done a great deal for their self-esteem.

Although the Muslim religion is a polygamous one, the King of Morocco has encouraged monogomy with an interesting twist.  More than one wife is permitted on the condition that the first wife agrees wholeheartedly.  Now can you imagine her saying 'Of course you can darling.  When is the big day??'.  I think monogomy is definitely on the rise!!  

One of the first things the King did after his father died was to remove the 40 odd concubines from the palace and send them off with a good pension.  No doubt this was encouraged by the Princess.

The countryside is varied from sandy desert dunes, to beautiful beaches and lush plantations of olive trees and citrus fruits as well as flourishing vineyards.
The beauty of the landscape is breathtaking with its vast plains and clear skies.

I loved the buzz of the markets where buyers and sellers haggle over the prices of colourful spices, carpets and clothing.  

Jews, Arabs and Christians live peacably with each other. Mosques, churches and Synagogues are all part of city life and respect for each other's religion is an integral part of community living in Morocco.  Long may it last and not degenerate into the chaos which reigns in other Muslim countries.

I would recommend anyone with a love of travelling to visit Morocco.  It's a wonderful country and an unforgettable experience.

Here are few of my sketches of my trip and photos of King Mohammed the sixth and his lovely wife Princess Lala Salma.
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Hope you enjoy them.


Thursday, 20 October 2016

SKETCHBOOK FUN






There is never a moment when I don't have fun with my sketchbook.  I found this lovely , lively scene in a small town nearby.  An old , old house had been converted into an antique/bric-a-bac shop , reminiscent of those I had experienced in Long Street and Loop Street, in Cape Town , South Africa.  As it was a lovely sunny day, a canopy had been erected and customers were browsing the bits and pieces.  I really enjoyed doing this sketch.  It reminded me of a wonderful man called Bobby who had been involved in this type of activity all his life.  He would have loved some of the items and they would have definitely landed in his small shop called Jinty's Junk in Church Street, Cape Town.

TIP  For those who love sketching as much as I do, there is always a subject
around the corner and even in your own home.  Why not sketch your desk, telephone, computer or the utensils in your kitchen.  You improve with every sketch you do.  I am aiming for a sketch a day next year.  Not sure if I will have the discipline but it is worth a try.  I challenge you to give it a go too!!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

URBAN SKETCHING

I absolutely love urban sketching.  Sitting with my sketchbook and taking in my surroundings is so therapeutic.  I have learned so much about the area where I live, simply by sketching.  One tends to overlook things that are interesting in their own right.  Here are a few of my sketches of local buildings and attractions.  I am now a member of the German Urban Sketchers community and it is so interesting to see the different styles.  Urban sketching is not only for experienced artists.  Anyone can take part , whether you are new to sketching or an old hand.  No one judges you and your sketchbook is yours to enjoy and to experiment.  The more you sketch, the better you become and it is such a joy to watch the progress and see your book filling up with memories. A sketch is far more valuable as a memory than a photo.  It takes time to sketch (even half hour ones like mine) and only a few seconds to take a photo.  

Hope you enjoy these and maybe try some urban sketching yourself.  Urban sketching can also be simply the things that surround you in your home, garden or street.  I have even sketched my breakfast and my feet whilst lying in hospital recently.

The last three were sketched quickly at a vintage airshow in a nearby town.  There were thousands of people (mainly guys!!) and it was difficult to find a space to sketch.  It was fun drawing aircraft for the first time in my life. Not easy but I enjoyed the challenge.





THE WIND WHISTLES

The Mindelheim Art Society ,of which I am a member, is holding an exhibition. It will be in a  lovely old Castle, in the small town of Turkheim not far from where I live.  The theme is 'movement' which covers lots of options.  I will be presenting two of my works.  This one is called 'The Wind Whistles' or in German 'Der wind Pfeift'.   As usual an animal is nearly always a part of my painting.  My style has changed from very realistic and paintstaking to one which is more impressionistic.  I am enjoying working with a painting knife which gives lots of lovely textures.  I use a brush for the finer details. Here it is.  Hope you like it. Your comments would be very much appreciated. Click on the photo for a larger image.      I am busy on the second work which I will upload when it is finished.