Never give up drawing as long as you truly enjoy it as a hobby. If your drawing didn't turn out brill don't get despondent just keep practicing until your hand drops off! AND remember - One persons meat is another man's poison - Look at Picasso's diverse art, Do we all like ALL of his stuff? I don't think so!
PAINTING TIP NO.04
It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to; the feeling for the things themselves - for reality - is more important than the feeling for pictures. Vincent van Gogh
PAINTING TIP NO.05
Always mix a sufficient quantity of paint for the task in hand. You will be surprised how much paint is needed to cover an area and trying to remix a colour halfway through will only result in disappointment. You will never match the colour exactly and it will be of a slightly different consistency which will result in a watermark. Ian Sidaway A&I Feb 2006
PAINTING TIP NO.06
Working with watercolour Try to avoid painting with your paper lying flat on a table. Rather tilt your paper about 25 degrees. This prevents the paint from making puddles when the paper is flat, and prevents wet paint from running down the paper when the paper is vertical. Unless, of course, you want this to happen! Sue Dickinson 2008
PAINTING TIP NO.07
Draw as often as you can Andrew James A&I March 2006
PAINTING TIP NO.08
Start and finish your work with the largest brushes possible Andrew James A&I March 2008
PAINTING TIP NO.09
Never give up on a painting. Quite often the desperation caused by an unsolvable problem forces you to paint in a new way. Andrew James A&I March 2008
PAINTING TIP NO.10
The knowledge of what to leave out is almost as important as that of knowing what to include: Be selective.
PAINTING TIP NO.11
When using your camera to compose a painting use the viewfinder as you would use a cardboard viewfinder. Not to record everything you see but to focus on the important detail
PAINTING TIP NO.12
When placing people in a painting;
• All heads are at eye level
• The tops of doors and roof lines go down to eye level and
• The bottoms of doors and pavements go up to eye level.
How long have you been painting Nicky? Painting, painting for money, I'd say four or five years. Before that I was a commercial artist and painted for pleasure.
Do you remember when you first decided you wanted to paint? No, somewhere around 10 or 11. I used to design my own T shirts because my father also paints
What is a perfect day for you? It's a day when I spend most of the time here in the studio. Sometimes I'm here at 3am then I go and do the errands, take my son to day care and drop my wife. Then I continue to paint from about 7:30 until around 3 or 4, then I collect my son and I'm the family man
You have started to do instruction now, do you enjoy that? Yes,it is quite enjoyable it is a two way street, you learn and you teach as well.
So you will enjoy doing painting holidays with us then? Ya, It will be fun
How much time do you spend on what you want to paint versus what you are commissioned to paint? I would say 30% is when I paint what I want to paint
What has been the highlight of your painting life so far? When I was selected to go to London, and when I was on TV and he laughs quietly..
To listen to the full interview you can join the Painting Circle for free when you Book a South African Painting Holiday and you will be able to access not only this interview but loads of video painting tips and helpful advice. You can even get mentored by Gill, another of our tutors, while you paint from home. Never feel alone with your painting again!
Gill Van Wyk our friendly tutor at South African Painting Holidays says: Brushes are probably the most important investment you make when you begin watercolours so you have to know what you're looking at and what to choose.
You immediately think size. Three or four sizes are probably adequate for any watercolourist and as you become more experienced you will realise that you were conned into buying a lot of brushes because you thought they would do the job for you but actually you're the one doing the job..
Use a size 14 round brush to cover area, but look for a brush that will keep a good point for the detail later.
Use a size 6 or 8 to help cover rocks and smaller areas but it still needs a sharp point for some basic detail
You need a small brush for grasses and foreground calligraphy
And a square or angled brush for leaf areas
So that's it in a nutshell, just a few carefully chosen brushes and you are well on your way to starting your next great painting
To listen to Gill with more tips and helpful advice and much much more why not join the Painting Circle where you can even get mentored by Gill while you paint from home. Never feel alone with your painting again!
Today Gill Van Wyk a South African art teacher, artist and tutor to South African Painting Holidays explains why she likes to do her Watercolour Painting en situ. Gill says, issues such as changing light, people moving in and out of the scene and weather are a few of the aspects that one does not have to contend with when painting in ones studio or indoors wherever you normally work. Painting out of doors poses new challenges to most amateur and some professional artists. When working outdoors it is important to realise that you need to work fairly quickly and that what you achieve is not always the finished product. Working outdoors needs simplification, but you needn't be an experienced artist to enjoy the experience and certainly everyone can benefit from the joy of being outdoors and observing your surroundings in more detail on a totally different level to how you usually do. Gill says she certainly gathers a sense of spiritual connection with her surroundings that never happens when only seeing a place in photographic form. One of her favorite places to paint en situ is in the African bush where she goes to whenever possible.
Spring she has sprung here in South Africa. My garden is bursting back into life and I had decided to meet my daughter in the Botanical Gardens for the most pleasant of days browsing through trees and plants from all over the world in the most pleasant of surroundings. Daughter mine, being of artistic bent travels with pencil and sketchpad and had a ball sketching away. Then as fate would have it their was a HUGE flower show at the Pavilion, one of our big malls. Well that was just delightful the funniest was a dog made of chrysanthemums, the best for me was a huge balancing floral interpretation of "Bold and Distinctive", but what must have been very difficult and was done in such a masterly fashion was to interpret a painting in flowers! Usually we interpret nature not the other way round... All in all it is a great time to do a spot of botanical art work, painting or sketching and South Africa has an abundance of fascinating plant life to inspire anyone from the finest of artists to those who enjoy more chunky palette knife work there is something here for all tastes.
FLOWER OF THE MONTH Victorian botanical collectors took large amounts of plant material back to Kew Gardens in London in the nineteenth century. Much of this genetic stock came from the flora kingdoms of South Africa. There has been much hybridization with varietals made to suit every climate producing many of the common garden plants that are grown around the world today. One of these plants, which is the international flower for August, is the Gladiolus, from the Latin word for a sword and part of the Iris family. They vary from very small, fragrant spikes to spectacular giant flowers. The South African species were originally pollinated by long-tongued bees, but nowadays sunbirds, moths and long-tongued flies do the business, and attract butterflies which offer just another lovely painting moment.
This year the day was divine a slight crisp morning gave way to brilliant blue skies and bright warm sunshine. The paintings were arranged under the trees beside the river and as I walked in some school children struck up on their steel drums to entertain us with their foot tapping music, lending a very festive air to the whole proceedings. It was a perfect day to see a fabulous display of paintings from fifty-five artists from around South Africa.
The first paintings to catch my eye were the ladies painted by Ronnie Biccard, each one expressing sensitive subtleties of mood, colour and emotion in big dollops.
Isaac Sitole had some striking wood-carving prints and seems to have caught the eye of international audiences which is brill.
My friend Marion was busy networking or selling something when I passed by her beautiful watercolours but she still had a moment to stop for a smiley photo
Coral Spencer Domijan a fellow Durbanite was painting away in the sunshine, a huge beachscape but she had a suitcase exploding with smaller paintings mainly of people who could tell a whole story with their body language. I dropped in on my mate Nicky Chovuchovu for a chat and landed up buying another of his paintings for my collection - it sits on my mantelpiece at the moment, so I can enjoy it all the time till I find a good home for it.
As I rounded one corner I came across something beautifully different and eye-catching, a collaborative effort of a young couple called "Mpenja" being Everett Duarte a South African and German artist, Frances Schandera.
To best see what's been getting me going here best you check out my photos of all the paintings
Bunny Chow is very special to KwaZulu Natal and well worth a try. It consists of a loaf of bread with the dough taken out and replaced with a very tasty curry. You eat it using the dough to scoop out the meat or veg curry. Absolutely wonderful in winter, after a day on the beach, a safari or following a night out clubbing.
This is a picture of one of my favourite beach restaurants however the choice of restaurants is phenomenal and you won’t have to go far to find something tasty to please both your palate and budget.There are
There are all the usual
Fast food takeaways
Five star cuisine
Café society and
Then there is the informal side, if you go to
You’ll find amazing home cooked food from Bunny Chow to samoosas to pancakes and koeksusters. You are sure to have a culinary adventure here!and to help you get your bearings as to restaurants that you will find in your holiday areas we have located a guide for you to check out The Guide to Restaurants
Do you need a painting holiday safari to spark up your life? - We highly recommend it as a great way to unwind and get the creative juices flowing...
Art for art's sake is a philosophy of the well-fed Frank Lloyd Wright
The Zulu Village was always circular and built on sloping ground. The main hut of the headman stood at the highest point, with those of his wives hierarchically positioned at both sides. An inner circle housed the wealth of the village - the kraal that kept the cattle and grain. It was a revered area where the spirits of the ancestors were thought to linger.
The Zulu homestead was also circular. The foundations were laid by the men of the village who would gather to enjoy brewed beer and bonhomie while they built. Their job was to fix saplings to the ground then bend and tie them together to form the basic beehive shape. Then it was left to the women to cover the frame with matting woven from thatching grass and bind it with a web of grass ropes.
The right hand side of the hut belonged to the man and the left hand side to the woman. The area at the back that was used to store cooking utensils and valuables, was believed to belong to the spirits.
The survival of traditional homestead structures or 'imizi' have come under increasing pressure. Availability of land for these homesteads has become increasingly scarce. Bricks of mortar have replaced the traditional uhlongwa grass thatched beehive huts which require much maintenance. There are however a number of fine examples of these villages that have been established as living museums for tourists:
Part of King Dingane's Capital has also been reconstructed at uMgungunglovu.
There is also a reconstruction of part of King Cetshwayo's capital at Ondini. and
Shakaland where we spend a day touring and painting and enjoying traditional Zulu hospitality and etiquette when on our Beach Bush & Berg Painting Holiday.
Green Acres Nursery, Where: 370 Herrwood Drive,Umhlanga When: 1st Sunday of every months from 10 am onwards
This venu offers Fun for the whole family with upmarket hand made crafts, food stalls and jumping castle for children. All funds raised are for the benefit of the Twilanga Care Trust, Twilanga is a retirement village just up the road from the Nursery in Herrwood Drive, Umhlanga Rocks
Essenwood Craft Market Where: Berea Park When: Saturday's from 9am - 2pm.
Durban's Premier Market
Golden Hours Market Where: Uitsig Road, near Hyper-by-the-Sea When: Open every Sunday from 10am to 4pm
Variety of traders (+50), live music in shady tea garden, safe off road parking
Stables Lifestyle Market Where: Jacko Jackson Drive (off NMR Avenue) When: Open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 6pm to 10pm and on Sundays and public holidays from 11am to 5pm
The Stables Wine Estate Where: Situated on the Midlands Meander in Nottingham Road When: We are now officially open for wine tasting, picnics and sales of our superb wines. Come and join us over a weekend to enjoy a bottle from our lovely range
KwaZulu Natals Pioneering Wine Estate producing a spectacular range of "reigning ama-Zulu wines" in our winery on the estate, we have successfully made award winning wines right here in KZN. see for yourself how wonderful KZN wines are
Musgrave Centre rooftop market Where: Musgrave Centre rooftop When: open every Sunday from 9am
Electricity Substations for the Artistic at Ladysmith
Here is something you don't do everyday!Ladysmith in KwaZulu Natal's Battlefields area, has an array electrical substations built in a wide variety of architectural types - so much so that there is a trail for visitors to follow to see them all! Interesting painting material too.
There is also a drive/walk trail that takes visitors past many of the town's murals which have brightened up many previously unoccupied spaces and have been painted by local school children, university students and art students. Themes cover such things as overpopulation, post apartheid South Africa, education and African wildlife. You can get more details from Ladysmith Information or send us a note
of your interest and we'll see what we can do to help out
Their Historic Buildings Trail offers both a short and an extended trail covering:A 1950 Art Moderne substation, the Convent, the Roman Catholic Church, General White's HQ, the Soofie Mosque, the Gandhi Memorial, the railway station, the Indian traders, the 1890 Neizel's Store, the fort, the Court House, the Royal Hotel and the Old Mill
A Wow of a Weekend
The weather is great not too hot and not too cold, with a gently breeze but no gales. If you don't believe me
check the weather forecast.
I love this time of year
If you are an early riser you would have been able to join in the 12000 odd marathon runners in the Comrades down run. Know as the friendly marathon worldwide, it was a clean sweep for the Russians this year in the mens and womens events but the mens time was yet another record! Are we ever going to get to the point where we can't get any better?
Anyway I digress What made it a real double whammy were the sardines arrival at my beach!
Yesterday afternoon found me on the beach watching a sea that looked like it was boiling but the bubbles were sardines jumping around. The fishermen were going frantic and everyone and his wife was in the water grabbing fish with their hands and coming out drenched with huge smiles on their faces. Another really friendly time and even if you don't want to catch the little silver fish it's great to watch the whole sea spectacle and yesterday was just the start!
Free Creative - How to get the best from your painting
An interesting article from John Blenkin
There are so many interesting and inspiring articles around to help you in your chosen interest today it is quite boggling.
Here is a little snippet I picked up and would like to share with you
Free creative work allows its justification to emerge as it were by itself. Here the painter must break loose from ego to free the mind from its blocks and limitations for the painting to be ready to be painted by someone or something other than the painter. The picture flows into the painter and onto the ground from surrounding energies.
The best way to do this is to bring the mind to a point. Remember to relax - not to tense up or prejudge anything or anyone in any way. There should be no sense of what the painting is or should be about. Sense the moment. Mix the paint and let it flow as and where it will.
Paint whatever the energy in the arm guides you paint.
If you are really free and devoid of achieving or prejudging or critical of what you are doing you will be completely and utterly refreshed when you are through. Pure creation never tires or depresses but restores.
Paintings are truly finished after the Title Signature Date and Picture Sequence Number have been added.
My very best wishes.
ED: So there you go - feel free and let the paint flow and where better to do that than on a truly inspiring and relaxing holiday with
John Blenkin is a retired architect and is now a watercolor painter and article writer. His interests are wide covering both technical and philosophical subjects. He also writes online articles on the technique of watercolor painting. http://www.freefolios.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org
This month tis the season to be jolly for many of us, so I thought I would digress from all things arty and show you some of our 'other' critters. Mmm critters and the jolly season I see you asking Well actually yes, a great combination as it happens as many of our great South African wines have jolly critter names and make fine drinking at this and any other time of the year.As I'm by no means a connoisseur of wines I have chosen these critters for my own personal reasons.
Here's my Big Five Wine List for your enjoyment!
Coming in 1st
Only because it is such a fabulous creature..... Tall Horse with their funky orange and yellow giraffe logo - Yummy Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon & a Shiraz
This one because I love the tongue in cheek attitude of... Bored Doe These wines are all cheek and amuse with their witty names like Chevre Chardonnay and Goat Roti. Tongue firmly in cheek here but a well enjoyed wine none the less.
Because I used to have one on my plot... Porcupine Ridge Comes in reds and white and sports a really nifty ink outline, prickly porcupine
A great sense of the ridiculous and the biggest critter ever!
Balance Elephants are usually seen on our painting holiday in the conservancy but this wine has adopted green and fuchsia elephants to balance on a stool. Why? well as the label says "On life's eternal see-saw, the art of staying on top requires a fine balancing act"
Finally of course you cannot forget our tortoises
Slowine The slow paced tortoise who encourages us to slow down and appreciate life with a bottle of wine among good friends.
So if you feel like a good tipple this Christmas-time with your friends and family, join the South African critters and dream of next years painting holiday!
Have a splendid Festive Season to those of you who celebrate I'll be enjoying the sun and a swim with my family here at Warner Beach and will be back in touch in the New Year with news of our Painting holidays in 2008
LAKE ST LUCIA After being closed for five years, the mouth of Lake St Lucia was breached by the effects of a cyclone in the Mozambique Channel. Sea water has started to flow into the nearly dry lake. Then a second weather event opened the mouth even further and the lake started to fill as the sea water flowed north, at the same time as heavy rains fell inland and a strong flow of fresh water started to enter the north of the lake from the Mkuzi River and the Muzi Swamps. The lake has filled to the extent that the north and south basins have joined up and, though very shallow, will increase the animal and birdlife around this World Heritage site making it even more desirable for painters and wannabe painters alike.
If you would like to see and paint in this beautiful location then you must visit our page detailing
A tour to Lake St Lucia
Home to one of the most famous hippos - Huberta. But that's a whole other story which I'll tell you when you visit this beautiful area with me.
Now for something completely different
At The Good Shop you will find shopping options where the retailer or service provider makes a percentage donation on your behalf to a cause of your choice, in South Africa, at no additional expense to you when you buy something like this beautiful book
African Trees: A Photographic Celebration
by Charles Bryant and Brita Lomba African Trees is primarily an art book containing breathtaking images of some of the most extraordinary and beautiful indigenous trees in Southern and East Africa
So if you could do with a good reference book and would like to help a needy cause you can do both right here