Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mixed Media Mini Demo

I've been playing around with some mixed media. (I LOVE to do that!) and discovered a method that works really well for me. After some scribbles, patterns and flowers, I thought I would attempt  a small bird picture.

These Bronze Mannikins are frequent visitors to our garden (like sparrows in other areas). I love seeing them and I particularly liked how these two were huddled together. My photograph wasn't a very good one, so I  was forced to simplify and be inventive, both of which, in art, are good things!

2 B Together
(Bronze Mannikins huddled together)
Mixed Media on Crescent Board
165 x 125mm

I then attempted a second bird picture and documented the steps to share with you:

Piece of Crescent mounting board
Black fine liner
Oil pastels
Brushes: short, round taclon brush (no 5), flat bristle brush no 6, 3/4 inch bristle brush from hardware store.
Black water soluable ink
Acrylic colours
Laquer Spray  

  • Wipe edges of mountboard with wax, or paint with modpodge, so the layers don't separate when it gets wet.
  • I drew the subject quickly with a black fine liner, trying to be correct with the spacial relationships, but not being perfectionistic about detail.
  • Then I added colour using oil pastels, in a spontaneous way.

  • I used Turps and the fine round brush to blend the oil pastel in areas, especially on the bird, removing some of the texture. This needs to dry. A hair dryer can speed up the process! 

  • Then I painted on Modpodge as a resist over the bird and a few other areas, eg branches and "leaves".
  • I dried it again, using a hair dryer.
  • Then I brushed black ink over the entire picture liberally, using the 3/4 " brush.

  • The excess ink was then wiped off with a tissue, leaving dark areas which give a new depth to the picture:
  • Now it was time to accentuate detail and add a few hilights, especially on the bird, using acrylics paints.
  • Finally, when dry, I sprayed it with clear laquer to seal it.   

Lone Lookout
(Brown Hooded Kingfisher)
Mixed Media on Crescent Board
165 x 125mm


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ngunis Squared!

My plan was to paint these two Nguni paintings quickly, within a week. However, things tend to work out slower in reality as what they do in your mind, during the planning stage! A couple of interruptions, some of them very pleasant, like a visit from a friend living far away, didn't speed up the process either! But here they finally are!!!

Nguni 43 - Oil on canvas
450 x 450 mm

Nguni 44 - Oil on canvas
450 x 450 mm

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Pot of Purple Petunias and a Doggie!

A friend inspired me to plant some Petunias this Spring. I chose "Blue Lace", as it is my favourite colour Petunia. It came in very handy as a reference, when the same friend asked me to do a painting for her mother's seventieth birthday, containing Petunias, Bogainvilla, and... her favourite little doggie.

Not sure how all these subjects would fit together on a 200 x 150mm painting, I first did a watercolour with a pot of petunias and a few other related items:

Watercolour, aquarell & pencil - 200x150mm


In the mean time I can be contacted at


I then attempted the combination including the little doggie, using first watercolour, and then adding acrylic in several areas, especially the wall and the paving:

Watercolour and Acrylic - 150 x 200mm

My client opted to take both and had them framed together!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Dash of Red...

Inspired by red fruit and flowers, I have made a few still life paintings, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I did most of the painting in a direct way, in one sitting (per painting, that is!). For the strawberries I painted an intuitive, colourful undercoat in acrylic, and then did the oil paintings on top of that, letting some of the undercoat dictate the background as well as the composition. 

Peppadews from my Garden
Oil on stretched Canvas

Tree Tomatoes from my Garden
Oil on Stretched Canvas

SOLD                                   SOLD
Strawberry Fantasy I and II
Oil on Stretched Canvas
200x200x37mm each

Janie's Roses
Oil on Stretched canvas

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Africa's Aloes

When you think of Southern Africa, aloes have to come into the picture sooner or later. They occur in many places, in many varieties. This is the typical Zululand variety, Aloe marlothii. Every winter they light up the dull hills with their red, yellow and orange candles.

Aloe I
Watercolour on 300gsm Bockingford
120 x 240 mm

Aloe II
Watercolour on 300gsm Bockingford
120 x 240 mm


Zululand and its People

Some of the typical scenes one comes accross in Zululand:  a basket seller, next to the road:

Basket Seller.
Acrylic and Oil on Stretched Canvas. 230 x 300mm

We came accross this lady carrying her washing near Lake Sibaya, in Northern KwaZulu Natal: 

The Washing's Done.
Acrylic and Oil on Stretched Canvas.
230 x 300mm

Monday, August 23, 2010


Last year I did a commissioned artwork for a client (and friend), who offers Bed and Breakfast accommodation in the heart of Norhtwest Province. It had to fit in with the name and theme of her Bed and Breakfast, which is named after a bird with a beautiful call, a shrike called the Southern Boubou. Here is the painting in one of the rooms:    

Her gardens, interior  decorating and menu are all evidence of her creativity and good taste, and her hospitality can be recommended. 'Boubou B&B' is situated on a farm and offers all the tranquility of the African Bush.  Visit her webpage on SA Venues here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Arts & Music @ Pappanui

HOSPICE (Charity Organization caring for the terminally ill) organised an Arts & Music day at Pappanui, an interior decoration shop in Mtunzini, last Sunday, 8 August.  There were about 15 art stalls and music ranged from the "Senile Sisters", the "White Zulu" and a modern day  Elvis, to a local gospel band.

The music certainly made for a very pleasant atmosphere and kept fair goers hanging around.

New artwork that I exhibited at my stall included:

Cheetah. Watercolour. 165x265mm.

Transkei - "Hurrying Home". Acrylic. 200x250mm

Transkei - "Little Fisherman". Acrylic. 200x250mm

And, for extra atmosphere in that beach cottage:

Sentiments of Sunny Seas - I
Acrylic. 200x150mm.

Sentiments of Sunny Seas - II
Acrylic. 200x150mm.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Found a Home....

These two guys have found a home recently and, since I seem to have ommitted putting them on the Blog, I thought I'd show their faces:

Watercolour, 165 x 125mm
Watercolour, 165 x 125 mm

Sunday, June 27, 2010


This is a new card design I did of the local FORT. I did it in collage and mixed media (Modge Podge, ink, acrylic, home made rubber stamping) and had quite a lot of fun. The ink drawing I did a long time ago, for a commissioned letterhead. I printed it on transparency and it is fastened onto the mixed media background with bronze brads.

FORT NONGQAYI, Eshowe, KZN. Mixed media. 250 x160mm

Eshowe was the British military headquarters, as well as the capital of Zululand, after the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. FORT NONGQAYI, the striking white, mud-brick, three- turreted fort was established in 1883 as the base for the most unusual peace-keeping force, called the Nongqayi (Mounted Police).
The territory used postage stamps of Great Britain and Natal overprinted "ZULULAND".


The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present. History is a hill or high point of vantage, from which alone men see the town in which they live or the age in which they are living.

G. K. Chesterson

Bigger Bulls and Birds!

Deviating from doing small watercolours - about A5 size - I have recently worked a bit bigger:

Nguni Group. Watercolour. 365 x 265mm

I love the Ground Hornbills with their big eyelashes, so they found their way onto my next watercolour:  (The female has the blue pouch under the beak and the male has the pinkish tint to his. They are obviously not acquainted with human colour coding for males and females.) 

Ground Hornbills. Watercolour. 365 x 265 mm.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Warm Autumn Days

The hot, humid days of summer are gone now. The sun shines warm and friendly and glistens bright on rainless clouds and sugarcane. This is the best time of year in Zululand. The (still) green outdoors beckons and that explains why I had to take a roundabout trip on the district roads surrounding our town after dropping off a parcel at a farm. The following three small watercolours are a result of that:

Canefield Contours near Vuma
Watercolour, 190 x135mm 

Matchstick Hill
Watercolour, 190 x 135mm

Farmhouse with Cane & Cabbage
Watercolour, 190 x 135 mm 

Friday, May 7, 2010


Every Saturday there is a tea garden (and market) in our small town in a private garden. People come to buy homemade treats and crafts contributed by the community, or find themselves a treasure amongst the used goods for sale. They meet friends and sit down to enjoy true German hospitality and generous helpings of delicious, decadent cakes and quisches over a cuppa.

I felt inspired to paint this warm meeting place. I jumped straight in, but when my painting was this far:

I decided that I needed to loosen up. Some areas also bothered me. So I made a sketch - which I should have done in the first place!

Then I did a second, smaller painting, forgetting about recording the exact details, but rather trying to capture the mood:

watercolour and ink, 195 x 135mm 

I then returned to the original painting to finish it. I washed out some foreground, splashed in some foliage and added structure and detail.

watercolour and ink, 260x165mm

Greeting cards with both the above designs
will also be available at the abovementioned market. 


In between other art, I always find myself playing around with collage, colours and textures. Not all of these end up as artworks, but I do discover things - colour combinations or media that work well together. And it makes me relax! Here are two recent ones:

"Autumn Art"
( We don't see much of a change in seasons near the coast in KZN,
so I had to make my own autumn leaves! :-)  )

Mixed media on paper. 135 x 195mm


Mixed Media on paper. 195 x 280 mm

"Expectation" - detail:

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Some time ago I experimented with some pouring and splashing of paint, with a view to create interesting abstract patterns. One of the boards, however, developed (after some painting and meddling) into a more realistic rendering of a wave throwing itself onto the beach with wreckless abandon:

Mixed Media on Board - 1030 x 480 mm 



I started a series that I called "FUN FLOWERS" last year and have just recently completed two more paintings in the series:

Daisies in an African Pot (II)
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas - 505 x 405 x 15mm

Roses in a Copper Pot
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas - 505 x 405 x 15mm

Something that is not visible on the digital images, is that the paint was applied in an impasto manner, which adds a vivacious texture to the otherwise flat colour.

As an afterthought -  some dictionary meanings gleaned for "fun" :

1 : what provides amusement or enjoyment;

2 : a mood for finding or making amusement

Fun usually implies laughter or gaiety but may imply merely a lack of serious or ulterior purpose. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Zebra in my Lounge!

Acrylic and  Oil on Artboard; 509 x 610mm

I did this Zebra recently on special request from my husband,
and it is currently decorating our lounge!

Monday, March 1, 2010

How about a Still Life?

The last watercolour Still Life I did was this one

180 x 230mm

which I did in January 2008, from a still life I set up.

So, doing the protea in the clay pot was quite a change from my normal subjects, which tend to be nature, most often Nguni, lately a few Zebra, landscapes and a seascape here and there. The fun flowers that I did last year were done in acrylic, in a very different style. (More might be coming up!)

Thus, this watercolour was different for me: a different pallette of colours, different shapes and textures, different visual problems to solve. It took a bit longer than I anticipated, but I had fun and am happy with the result. I enjoy the interaction between the earthy reds and the greens, the almost glowing coral colour of the protea, which also mingles with the greens in the shadows, and the texture of the clay pot.

170 x 270mm

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Repetition, Rhythm and Skill

More Ngunis!!

YES!  -  I am painting some more Ngunis!! 

I often like to do the same Nguni in watercolour as well as in oil. The effect can be very different in each case, especially when I change the background colour dramatically, as I have done here. I love the interplay between all the warm, earthy colours - the siennas and the umbers - and how they reflect off the white, defining the form of the subject.

Nguni 36
Watercolour, 165x125mm

Nguni 37
Watercolour, 165x125mm



Repetition is the mother of all skill! - I learnt that when I had to practise scales every day to improve my pianistic skills!

Besides improving skills, repetition, in the form of rhythm, is definitely the very fibre of music. the same goes for art! Repetition can grow skill, but repetition can also become a very integral part of an artwork, such as the repetitious forms of trees, leaves or grass. Or as pattern in design, like Esher's tassellations. Andy Warhol took it a step further, repeating the same subject, using silk screen printing!

REPETITION is the reality and the seriousness of life.
(Soren Kierkegaard 1813-1855, Danish Philosopher, Writer)

There is REPETITION everywhere, and nothing is found only once in the world.
(Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe 1749-1832, German Poet, Dramatist, Novelist)

So, be warned! More REPETITION is to follow!!!

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