Thursday, February 12, 2015

MORE BIRDS FOR BOUBOU B&B

If you love Africa, the Bushveld and birds, a visit to BOUBOU B&B near Rustenburg in the North Eastern corner of the North West Province of South Africa is a MUST! It's 4-star luxury, and if you spend some time on the patio at dawn, you will be entertained by a surprising variety of winged visitors to the very bird-friendly garden. And Nyala feeding just on the other side of the fence!

Early morning bird watching on the patio of BOUBOU B&B

A few of the birds spotted at BOUBOU B&B: 
Groundscraper Thrush,  Longbilled Crombec,
Southern Pied Babbler,  White-Throated Robin-Chat.
The beautiful Magalies mountain range.

My husband and & I was taken on a game drive.


You don't want to miss the African Sunset!
I have just completed another commissioned painting for Boubou B&B which, to me, captures a little bit of the paradise of watching the birds at dawn:


Completing this painting has been a process spread out over about a year. After an initial briefing and inspiration from Marnice, owner of BOUBOU B&B, this was the initial sketch I came up with:



With back-and -forth email conversation and more input form Marnice,  it underwent some transformations. First, the composition was changed to put more emphasis on the birds:


Then, colour was added, and the bright colours definitely struck a chord:

Several other options were considered, but it was this composition which developed into the finished product, which will soon find a place on one of the walls of BOUBOU B&B.

Previous commissions done for BOUBOU B&B include: 

Call of the Boubou

and:
Song of the Boubou (Set of Three)

I happily undertake commissions. 
Contact me at ewade@absamail.co.za

Monday, January 19, 2015

A WINGED START TO THE NEW YEAR

A local B&B, Birds of Paradise have twice commissioned me to do a series of nine watercolour birds for them. My blog posts about it can be viewed here and here. Tourists from the UK who visited Eshowe last year saw some of these bird paintings at Birds of Paradise and asked me to make them their own three bird paintings. These have recently been completed and are representative of some of the species of African Birds that they encountered and became fond of: the Hoopoe, Fish Eagle and Masked Weaver.

African Hoopoe. Watercolour. 260x360mm 
Who can forget the haunting call of the African Fish Eagle? It's the call of Africa. One of my fondest memories is of a sunrise canoe ride on Lake Sekhunto, near Pondweni and Tembe Elephant Park in Northern Natal, where we had a Bush Camp.



We were very wary of Hippos, but were treated to more than one fish eagle swooping down for an early morning catch.

On a more recent fishing boat trip on the lake system near St Lucia, I was able to photograph a fish eagle enjoying its meal on a branch. This will probably be my next painting!

 
African Fish Eagle. Watercolour. 260x360mm
Watching the weavers build their nests, entertained by their happy (and very busy) chirping and zwirring can be a fascinating pastime.  I just had the opportunity again this past weekend. Look at this one,  for instance: (You got to start SOMEWHERE!):


Masked Weaver. Watercolour. 260x360mm
Painting this set of three bird watercolour paintings was very satisfying and inspiring. Look out for some more bird and wildlife watercolours in the near future!
Set of Three Bird Watercolours completed for Collectors in the UK. 
  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

BUFFALO BEAUTIES

One of Africa's most dangerous animals, and a member of The Big Five, the Buffalo, compels respect and admiration, its muscular body and huge horns symbols of brute strength.

One of my first artistic efforts with the Buffalo as subject, was this sketch I did a couple of years ago:


Pencil on Paper, 360 x 520mm




And then I sketched the Big Five in pencil, measuring 1 meter in width ......... STILL AVAILABLE!

Pencil on (white)Paper, 1000 x 660 mm


A group of Buffalo in their natural habitat, which I painted in oil:

Buffalo in the Bushveld.  Acrylic and oil on canvas. 720 x 470mm SOLD


When we visit the Isimangaliso Wetland Park near St Lucia, we almost always see Buffalo.

Photograph - Buffalo near Cape Vidal.


I caught this one rubbing on a scratch post; how do you like the expression of utter bliss on his face?

Photograph -  Buffalo near Cape Vidal

   
Something that fascinates me about painting Buffalo portraits, is their unique facial features, more so than antelope, for instance.
Buffalo Portrait. Acrylic on canvas. 600 x 400mm SOLD


Buffalo Portrait II, Watercolour on Paper. 530 x 360mm. 


After completing the watercolour portrait, I felt like painting it again, but on canvas, and bigger. So I started by doing a few small acrylic sketches, testing the colour combinations, and, very importantly, the underlying structure, or composition (light/dark patterns). Which one do you prefer?:





I went with Number Three. Granted, it still underwent some changes in the actual process. :-)

I did the underpainting on 90 x 60 cm canvas, which I quite liked as an abstract in itself:



I then added the buffalo!  Finally, here is the completed painting:

Buffalo Portrait III, Acrylic on Canvas. 900 x 600mm. SOLD 


And, while the going was good, I did another Buffalo portrait. I really enjoyed working on this size and format: See what I mean about every Buffalo face being different?

"Great Aspirations" - Portrait of a Young Buffalo. Acrylic on Canvas. 900 x 600mm.







Friday, July 11, 2014

PAINTING AFRICAN NGUNI CATTLE

I think it was in the nineties when I first picked up the book, "The Abundant Herds"  at our local library. Written by acclaimed author Marguerite Poland and social anthropologist David Hammond-Tooke, describing the almost poetic names that Zulu people gave to their Nguni cattle, beautifully illustrateded by Leigh Voigt.

The Abundant Herds


I  was stunned by the quality and quantity of watercolor and oil paintings adorning the pages, currently in the Oppenheimers' Africana collection.

It was a couple of years later when I was asked by a lady from Ubombo, who was part of a project called MAMA AFRIKA, to paint Nguni cattle onto plates, which she would then glaze and fire.










This, of course, sparked the idea to paint some Nguni cattle in oil. These were my first two Nguni oil paintings:






They sold within two weeks of putting them on the Internet, so... many followed!

My husband, who takes a keen interest in my art, and is often a very helpful critic, prompted me to paint some Nguni with the Ubombo mountains in the background:









I did a series of numerous  Nguni watercolours, of which below are a few examples:




I also printed and sold these as greeting cards.

In 2012 I did my first 'big' Nguni painting.

This was the reference photo I used (I took it one morning after returning from the Curio Shop at Shakaland, Phobane Lake):




I often prepare my painting digitally before I paint it, which is what I did in this case. This way I sort out the composition, eliminate unnecessary detail, focusing on the subject of interest, using harmonising colours in the process:




Some of the animals were dehorned, so I had to give them horns. I also changed the ears of the beast in the front, as pure-bred Nguni don't have hanging ears like that. Once I started painting, I had to tweak the background a couple of times, before it worked.  This was the result:




"Coming Home", 1500 x 900mm,  Oil on Stretched Canvas (SOLD)
I've since done two other big Nguni paintings, both from photographs supplied to me by local journalist, Larry Bentley, which he took at the Tugela River.

"Reflections", 1500 x 900mm, Oil on stretched Canvas.

"By Still Waters", 1600x800mm, Oil on stretched canvas. 

The latest group that I did, was a smaller one:


"On the Road", 1000 x 350mm, Acrylic and Oil on Stretched Canvas. (SOLD)

For other recent Nguni paintings, as well as prices, see my website

Follow me on FB to see paintings as they 'come off the easel'.

I've recently taken some beautiful photos of Nguni herds in the Nkandla area and am itching to transform them into paintings. It is a very mountainous area; here is a typical scene:




My next Nguni painting will be Nguni painting number 61!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Close Encounters of the Bird Kind (Or is it 'Going Cuckoo'?)

Yesterday I spent some time with a friend in the Umgeni Bird Park in Durban to take photographs of some of the indigenous birds. What a soul-soothing place! The sound of waterfalls and  happy birds nearly drown out the traffic. Impossible to be there and feel stressed at the same time!

While in one of the walk-in cages, a Guira Cuckoo unexpectedly perched on my head and started pecking! (What was it about stopping a bird from nesting in your hair?....)


While I was trying to focus my camera on the Dikkops, a Guinea Fowl undid my laces...


Trying to photograph the Ground Hornbill, it picked up a morsel of food and kept offering it to me, fluttering its long eyelashes...




I also managed to get sonme of the kind of photos that I was looking for, so I'm looking forward to doing some more bird watercolours soon! (Just need to finish the series fo Zulu figures first). And then there's the large canvas waiting for Ngunis....

 
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