Wednesday, June 9, 2021


A few years ago, a client asked me to do a portrait of her grandchild. She provided the photograph and wanted a realistic rendering of it. This was fairly straight forward. I did use a grid to draw the portrait on the canvas, and I used digital overlays on the computer to check and adjust my painting to get a likeness.

Then, a few years later, a client asked me to paint a portrait of an old Zambian man that he had photographed years ago in Zambia. This man had walked about 500 km on foot to sort out family matters. This was the only photograph he had of the man. The client wanted me to give my own artistic interpretation to the portrait. Hmmm, this was an adventure waiting to happen!

I looked at some portraits done by artists I admire, for inspiration.

Very inspiring portrait of Mandela by Artist Jimmy Law

I researched some Zambian landscapes on the internet.

I was going to use it in the background.

 Then, I started with a loose painting, just to get the feel of it:

So far I was happy.

I added more detail. Freehand, just to get the main idea. 
Added some "Zambian" landscape in the background. 

Made a few changes, simplifying:

Wasn't sure where I was going with this...
So I tried to liven it up with colour, thinking of my initial inspiration...

It just wasn't gelling with me.
It needed something more. More boldness and freedom...
I added drips....

At this point I put the painting away. For a good few weeks, if I remember correctly.
Then, when I took it out again, I realised that I didn't need the background (which was a dilemma for me: What do I put in the background??) After all, the whole story was being told by this man's face! So why don't I just crop the whole painting down to his face?

So, I turned the canvas into a portrait format and proceeded to draw the face freehand with loose, bold brushstrokes. Suddenly it felt right. I could see that the features needed correction, but I had achieved the looseness and boldness I was after. Eureka!

(Photo is darker than what painting was, I think)

All I needed to do now, was to correct and adjust and add detail!
 And, voila! a finished portrait!

Monday, July 1, 2019


This is a collage I made from photographs of a flower arrangement I made years ago. The original plan was to  make a painting based on it. Which might still happen - although in a different form!

All images Copyright E Wade

So, the other day I decided to make a pen sketch of it:

All images Copyright E Wade

Which I did while keeping hubby company in front of the TV, and which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The plan is to make copies of the sketch, which I then want to cut up and use as collage items on abstract works!

Meanwhile, I've started quite a few abstract works on paper, as well as two on canvas. I'm quite excited about what's happening on the canvases, but not quite ready to show...  

Above are some of the abstract starts I made on paper. The first stage is water soluble ink, then I added acrylic ink, gouache, acrylic, etc. 

What I'm doing at the moment may seem quite diverse, but I am actually sensing that I'm finding a direction now that I want to pursue. We'll see where that leads....  

Thursday, June 27, 2019


The landscapes of Namibia, to me, feel like the backdrop to my life. I grew up there. Whenever I get out in nature, I still search for the wide, open spaces, where you can travel vast distance without seeing signs of development, except, of course, the road you are travelling on. It truly feels like one can breathe there.

So, I've started painting small landscapes of the beautiful country I remember...

Thorn trees: my favorite trees.

Study no 2: Watercolour on Fabriano 300gsm.
180 x 110mm

Study no 3.
Tree in open landscape. 
Watercolour, pen and ink on Fabriano 300gsm.
190 x 145mm

The next three studies I did from a photograph I took out of the car window while traveling in Namibia in 2011, the last time I was there. This is a very typical landscape between Gobabis and, Windhoek: vast thornveld with mountains in the distance. 

Study no 4: Weavers' nests. 
Watercolour, pen and ink on Fabriano 300gsm.
190 x 145mm 

I was reading the other day that an artist who teaches watercolour courses, lets her students do several repititions/versions of each scene. (And, sorry, I can't remember who it was!!! :- ( Will edit it is when I remember...  ) 
I decided to give it a try, and can already see the value of the exercise. 
One actually learns something every time! And they don't look the same! Each one becomes an individual artwork. Each time some new possibilities present themselves! 

Study no 5
Weavers' Nests. 
Watercolour, pen and ink on Fabriano 300gsm.
220 x 145mm

The next one I did in acrylic. I quite enjoyed how the colours came out.

Study no 6. Weavers' Nests. 
Acrylic, gouache, pen and ink on Fabriano 300gsm.
220 x 145mm

Study no 7 will be a small oil painting. Watch this space!

Monday, June 24, 2019


Did a bit of general tidying up in my studio over the weekend, and decided to decorate two small trays which I use to organize art materials. The one came with a Christmas gift - could have had bath goodies in; can't remember. The other one is a "blank" that I bought at a hardware store.

I collaged the bottoms of the trays with collage papers I created (plus some old book pages), and then painted the rims in all the yummie, bright colors I like! What fun!

This one was a pale, insipid, mauve. 
Love how it came out; talk about "spark joy"! 


After. So much better! 

A bit more colour in the studio can only get the creative juices flowing! Maybe I can paint a few more things; who knows what's next?!

Friday, June 21, 2019


I stood in a shop by the art supplies last week, looking for a warm, yellowish red. What caught my eye, was a flourescent orange red! YUM!!  ☺ My first reaction was, 

"I'm not allowed to use that colour in serious artworks." 

What??!! Who said that???  I bought it!! 

Later that day, in a gallery, I saw abstract works by a very well-known South African artist, using...fluorescent colours!!!  Yeah!!

And today I got to try mine out!

Art Journal Entry. 21 June 2019.
Acrylic, permanent marker, pencil, collage. 

For my artwork today, I finished a commission I started last week. It's the view from a friend's back garden. Sort of. Enhanced. 

"View from a Zululand garden". Acrylic on panel. 
450 x 275mm.

I used mostly a palette knife for the painting. For the palm leaves I used a little flat nylon brush. It works very well. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019


There is a belief that artists go into their studio, whip out their paints and brushes, and create a masterpiece. Every day. This is a myth. Artists' skill is developed by practice. Years and years of it. There is discipline involved. Tenacity. Perseverance.  This is not always easy. That is why I read a lot about art and art practice to stay inspired.

Recently it has eventually dawned on me that I will have to paint EVERY DAY, or as close to that as possible, if I want to achieve the goals in art that I want to achieve. I also have to experiment a lot more. So I have embarked on a journey of exploration in art.

My goals:

  • Experiment every day
  • Create a painting every day (or as close to that as I can)
Today my challenge in my art experiment was to use a colour combination that I am not fond of: light blue and brown. I chose Ceruleun Blue and Raw Umber. And, of course, black (Paynes Grey) and white (gesso).

I started by mixing some of the colours to see what new colour combinations result in. I liked the blue/brown/white combination, which yielded a warm grey. So I started with a circular application of this colour with a palette knife. Then softened the one edge with a brush and water. It developed from there. 

Art Journal Entry: 20 June 2019

Next, I thought I could try a landscape, and chose a desert scene that I'm busy sketching from. But kept the limited palette. Having used cold colours, the resulting scene, was, of course, cold! Even looks like snow, much by chance! (I'm not accustomed to seeing snowy landscapes;  I've only seen snow once near Queenstown, years ago.) 

"Is it Snow?" Acrylic on Board. 300x155mm.

Then I redid the landscape, this time adding Cad Orange and Naples Yellow to the palette, for the dunes and grasses:

"Memories of a Beautiful Desert" Acrylic on Board. 305x155mm

I grow up in Namibia and love the contrasts, colours and textures of the landscapes of Namibia. I'm quite pleased with how this one came out. 

My assessment of today's exercises:  I loved the combination of the different neutrals in the Art Journal entry. And I really enjoy the textures which result from using a palette knife.

I post my Abstract explorations on Instagram
I often auction some of my work on Facebook
Some of my previous (and larger) artwork can be seen on my website.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


I have been very busy creating new paintings, as I am participating in  an art auction to be held in Pretoria on the 10th of June, 2017. The proceeds are in aid of the NPO, A Beautiful Mind, who assist families with brain injured children. 

There will be 150+ artworks of different artists, including sculptures. The artists and their work are introduced here

It will be a silent auction. To register for the event, go here.

My artworks that will be available are:

 Title:     Nguni Drinking at the Tugela 
Medium: Oil on Stretched Canvas
Size: 1500 x 900 mm

Title: Striated Skyline 
Medium: Acrylic and Oil on Stretched Canvas (DIPTYCH)
Size:  1220 x 760mm

Title: Ambling Down
Medium: Acrylic and Oil on Stretched Canvas
Size:  1010 x 510 mm

Title:  Coral Crowns
Medium: Acrylic and Oil on Stretched Canvas
Size:   760 600 mm

Title:  Apple Study I
Medium: Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
Size:  450 x 450 mm

Title:  Apple Study II
Medium: Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
Size:  450 x 450 mm

Title:  Apple Study III
Medium: Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
Size:  450 x 450 mm


Monday, January 2, 2017


Most of the Paintings I completed during 2016 were either done as commissions, or were sold. Nguni cattle dominated as subject of the larger paintings, then some seagulls, a fish eagle and an ostrich portrait. I did a few watercolours of Eshowe and its surroundings. Below is a quick overview:

Nothing like a seagull to remind one of the sea....the first gull is still available; second one is sold. 

Memories of a Lone Gull I
Acrylic on Board
295 x 295 mm

Memories of a Lone Gull II
Acrylic on Board
295 x 295 mm

A client bought a set of two fish eagles in flight, and wanted a third to complete a set of three; this was the result:

Fish Eagle at Sunrise
Oil on Stretched Canvas
230 x 330 x 35 mm

A client asked me to paint the following large Nguni painting early in the year. She wanted Nguni cattle with nice patterns in the composition.  

Leading the Way
Acrylic and Oil on Stretched Canvas
1500 x 900 x 35mm

The cow wading in the Tugela river had a few minor alterations, and is still available:
(Was it Picasso who said that a painting was never finished, just abandoned?)

Beside Still Waters
Acrylic and Oil on Stretched Canvas
1600 x 800 x 35mm

This was another commission, completed in June/July:

Nguni on the Road II
Acrylic and Oil on Stretched Canvas
1000 x 350 x 15mm

For the Annual Eshowe Exhibition in September, I was only able to complete two paintings; the Nguni walking over the mountain, and the ostrich portrait. Both were sold.

Over the Mountain
Acrylic and Oil on Stretched Canvas
1200 x 500 x 35mm

A Bird with Attitude
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
250 x 500 x 35mm

Some watercolour paintings completed for a client of Eshowe area included the Watsonias on Matchstick Hill, looking towards Eshowe, as well as a painting of sugarcane, with Matchstick Hill in the background (not shown here)

Wild Watsonias from Matchstick Hill
Watercolour on Paper
260 x 170 mm

The following watercolours are also of Eshowe area, and are still available:
I find it very healing to take a drive through Dlinza Forest. Walking would be better, but isn't necessarily safe, unfortunately.

The Healing Path
Watercolour on Paper
260 x 170 mm 

Another very typical scene of the sugarcane fields surrounding Eshowe:

Blue Jewel
Watercolour on Paper
405 x 90mm

During the months of May to December I had very low energy levels, due to an overactive thyroid, which was only correctly diagnosed in September. :-(   After treatment in early October I started recovering and am now almost at full strength again, hoping to regain my momentum this year!

Please feel free to email me  here if you would like more information on any of the above works. I love hearing from you.

Subscribe to my (occasional) newsletter.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


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

Song of the Boubou (Set of Three)

I happily undertake commissions. 
Contact me at
Pin It button on image hover