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-- 2008

Catch-up with Painting Holiday Tips

Nicky, interview with an artist

Do I need this Paintbrush?

Painting en situ


Art in Nature

Improve Your Drawing Skills

The Art of Hiding

Cave Art

The Day was Divine - Art in the Park 2008

On The Road And On The Go

Introduction To Watercolor Painting Techniques

Sustainability, Stuff and Art Holidays

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Here are all the articles I written so far this year:


Catch-up with Painting Holiday Tips

Well as the year draws to a close it felt a good idea to take a peek back. It seems to help clear the path forward somehow. So with that in mind I put together all the tips over the past year. Maybe reading through them again will remind you of a problem solved or some special painting moment or better still will make something clearer for you in the future.
Enjoy the tips and carry on enjoying your painting into 2009

"Limit your palette and keep brush strokes simple to bring vigour and freshness"
Valerie Batchelor in A&I May 2004
Keep it simple like the San people did..
Landscape painting is generally divided into a simple
• one third for sky,
• one third middle distance and
• one third foreground
If you want a more pleasing photo shot, you will rarely have your subject in the center of your photo. Using the ‘Rule of Thirds,‘ your subject should be on the left or right side of the photo, not the middle.
Courtesy of

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!
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
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
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
Draw as often as you can
Andrew James A&I March 2006
Start and finish your work with the largest brushes possible
Andrew James A&I March 2008
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
The knowledge of what to leave out is almost as important as that of knowing what to include: Be selective.
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
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.



An interview with a South African artist
Nicky Chovuchovu

A while ago I wrote and told you about Art in the Park and my friend Nicky. I also promised I'd tell you a bit more about him.
Well recently I went to his studio in Durban to ask him a few questions and also if he would like to join
South African Painting Holidays as a tutor!See what he had to say:

  • 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!



Which paintbrushes do I really need?

Well with it being Halloween today there will be plenty of us painting various festive items to trick or treat our friends, but if you are more serious about your painting you will need to know more about your brushes

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!



Painting en situ

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.




Paul Talbot Greaves once said,
"For sheer colour indulgence there is nothing quite like a sunset"

Just browse around the internet and you will notice that there are loads of people who have managed to indulge themselves in the colours of some fabulous sunsets. Many artists are so caught up by sky that they become specialist artists, painting almost solely skies. Sky comes in millions of manifestations enough to keep you inspired to paint them forever. Check out my Blog for a few skies painted by Judy Nudds
Personally I love skies and you could be forgiven for thinking that living in Africa we only get boring old blue skies, wall to wall, day after day. On the contrary, however, here it is as changeable as anywhere and what makes sun ups and downs so stunning to me is the strength and brightness of the colours.
There is something quite special about sun-up and sundown in Africa especially if you are lucky enough to enjoy one of the vast country vistas. In the bush, up the berg or on the beach.
On our holidays we visit the most divine Big 5 Conservancy where I have sat on my room's private balcony almost touching the veld and watched the sun rise in all it's glorious red. The day before I had sat on a different balcony overlooking the Battlefields where I had witnessed another sunrise that was just as glorious but this time in shades of pinks and purples.
I think that it is very difficult for an amateur to catch the brilliance and extent of sunrises and sunsets whereas you can catch it very well in a painting. Why not come and indulge yourself with some fabulous sunrises and sunsets.



Art in Nature

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.

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.



How to Improve Your Drawing Skills

Drawing can be hard, well, it is for most people initially anyway, but who knows, maybe you'll be the next graphic icon! So let's find out.

  1. Start by practicing shapes and shading them.
    Try using different tools i.e. pencils and pens. Keep doing this at any spare moment or while chatting on the phone....
  2. Progress to simple designs.
    Draw plants or something inanimate that you see lying around on a table. Remember it's only pen and paper if it doesn't look good - erase it, but do try to finish what you started and make changes to it later.
  3. Next draw a more explicit picture. Something more alive with expression and eyes, animal or human. Start by looking at a photo it's easier, and choose something not too detailed like a fish, a bird or something that isn't moving or hairy.
  4. Then, graduate to more complex designs. Make the simple animals drawings more detailed ones. Take your time when drawing details as rushed details don't look effective.
  5. Don't compare your drawings to a famous artist's, remember that they are professionals and have been practicing their whole life.
  6. Be confident about your drawing skills. Encourage yourself to draw and praise yourself to keep practicing until you get it right. Practice does make perfect!
  7. Finally - Try different paper types and textures as pencil on Bristol board has a different look and feel than pencil on cotton fiber paper so find a surface that you like to draw on.



The Art of Hiding

We call them hides but in America they are called blinds. They do the same thing which is to ‘hide’ observers from the wildlife they want to view, photograph or paint. The beauty of the hides is that almost anything can turn up.
Hides are normally located at gathering spots such as waterholes, pans or on rivers. Patience is required as sometimes, when one arrives at a hide, it appears as if there is nothing there but sitting patiently for a few minutes can reveal a steady stream of activity.

I was once totally surprised when watching a waterhole where nothing was moving to suddenly realise that the elephants were coming for a dip. Not one but about 20! I hadn't heard them and only saw them once they moved away from the trees! I couldn't believe such huge animals could be so invisible nor me so blind. So people who sit in a hide all day long may often see much more than those who drive around searching for game.

You can also ‘hide’ in your vehicle. Animals see a vehicle as a solid object and cannot distinguish people within it. There are many spots in reserves where sitting patiently brings all sorts of birds and animals close enough to sketch or photograph for a winning painting later!



Cave Art

"Ads are the cave art of the twentieth century…"
so said Marshall McLuthan

The rock paintings of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg caves in south Africa are now thought to be a stunning 4000 years old and still surviving and a fantastic sight to see.
They were painted by the San people using red, orange, white and black pigments to portray animals, people and hunting scenes.

Some extraordinary paintings have been found like the one of a man riding an eland! Apparently they could well have been ridden as they are a friendly animal and the San are very slightly buildt people.

What is astounding is that these paintings in the harshest gallery in the world being subjected to wind, rain, snow and huge temperature changes and yet still we can view them as if painted recently, well pretty clear anyway.

Now they have been given their rightful status, you are able to take a walk with a local guide who acts as the local custodian and can explain the paintings to you. These simple drawings might be ancient and executed with rudimentary materials but they are full of action and tell us some fascinating stories of a previous life.

Not many of us I fear shall be able to leave such a legacy behind, but you never know, so we keep on painting our stories and leaving them for the world to enjoy.
Be inspired by these fascinating paintings and make some of your own vivid pictorial memories.



The Day Was Divine

One of my favourite galleries is when Pietermaritzburg organises
"Art in the Park" and I certainly wasn't disappointed this year.

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

Take a look at some photos here



Eating out in South Africa

There is just so much choice
KwaZulu Natal is very fortunate in that it benefits from all its diverse cultures which live together in this little province, especially when it comes to eating. Each culture has its favourite dishes which are regularly eaten at home and we can get to share them at the various venues,
Perhaps the most universal South African dish must be the braai (bar-b-que), cooked traditionally by the men who all pride themselves on being "a great chef"

Now-a-days all sorts of adventurous things are braaied from fish like a nice stuffed calamari, to veg kebabs to boerewors (vorse) - so a tasty time is guaranteed. Friday seems to be braai day and often at lunch on Friday many firms will collect around the braai to chill before going home. Sometime over the weekend they are just as likely to braai again!

South Africa has quite a reputation for its delicious wines, so while visiting it’s a great time to try them out. Ask any Barman to help you choose something to suit your taste buds and look out for wine tastings at stores while you travel around. Once you know what you enjoyed why not visit who have a huge selection of wines from around the country. Here you can order some to be delivered to your home right to your doorstep which is really handy. No more lugging bottles on the plane for you.

Something Special

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
  • Seafood restaurants
  • Italian
  • Greek and
  • Indian
There are all the usual
  • Fast food takeaways
  • Five star cuisine
  • Café society and
  • Tea shops.
Then there is the informal side, if you go to
  • The markets
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



On The Road And On The Go

Except from the Summer 2001 issue of Watercolor Magic
By Barbara Kastner

Watercolor pencils and crayons are convenient: no hassle, no mess and no struggling with tubes of paint or buckets of water. There's virtually no clean-up, except for a quick dunk in clean water for any brushes you may use. For these reasons, watercolor pencils and crayons are particularly suited for traveling. When I go on a trip, I pack the absolute minimum of bulk and weight, no French easel and tons of materials for me! I want to be able to sketch on my lap as my husband and I drive through the countryside, sit under a tree or on the steps of a building, or even as we walk through a bustling market. A few quickly scribbled marks are all it takes to jog the memory later, when I attempt to complete a sketch in my studio. A pocket-sized sketchbook (I make my own with both colored and white papers), a small mechanical pencil and a few watercolor pencils or crayons serve me quite well. On the spot, I can make a quick sketch or notation with the graphite pencil or the dry pencils and then finish it later by adding water or by doing more work with pencils or crayons.

Added equipment that will make the sketching trip easier are handy, zippered leather pencil cases from Dick Blick Art Materials. These compact cases hold the pencils in place with elastic. They're great for travelingÑno more pencils rolling around the car or under the driver's feet. These little cases come in sizes that will accommodate 12, 24 and 48 pencils. I also tuck into the case a small, refillable Niji Waterbrush (a nylon tip brush with a barrel handle you can fill with water). These nifty gadgets imported by Yasutomo (Web site: hold enough water to allow me to soften a few lines or create a wash effect. No more sloshing dirty water from an open container into my lap as I juggle materials. I can quickly refill the waterbrush from the drinking water I always have with me when I travel or hike.



Introduction To Watercolor Painting Techniques

By: Ralph Serpe

This article will provide you with a general understanding of some of the more basic watercolor painting techniques.

Flat Wash Technique - The flat wash technique is one of the more basic and common of the various techniques. The flat wash technique is usually used when large areas of the canvas need to be covered. You will want to lay out the watercolor wash evenly and uniformly. First you will need to dampen the area of your canvas where you will be applying the watercolor wash. Make certain to have an adequate amount of water and pigment available before your start. If you should have to stop for any reason, it will be difficult to match your layers.. It is better to have more than less available. The angle at which you apply the watercolor wash is important. If the angle is too steep your wash will run down the paper. If the angle is too level, then you won't have enough movement. Use a large brush for this technique and start your first stroke at the top of the paper. Continue applying the watercolor wash going down the paper, but alternate sides as you move down.

Glazing Technique - The glazing technique is when you apply a thin transparent color over a completed dry layer of color. This technique creates some very interesting blends of new color. You will need to use a non-staining, transparent color for this watercolor technique. You should use a soft brush and don't apply that much pressure.

Wet In Wet Technique - Wet in wet is simply applying a wet wash over a wet surface. You start by evenly wetting the paper with a brush or spray bottle. Have a sponge handy to absorb any excess water. You want your paper to be evenly saturated. Then apply your watercolor.

Dry Brush Technique - With the dry brush technique, your paper is completely dry. You then apply a fairly dry pigment with very little water to the paper.

The dry brush technique should only be used where you want to draw focus or create texture in your painting. It's always a good idea to use various watercolor brush techniques in a single painting. This results in a more interesting painting.

Lifting Off Technique - Artists use this technique when they want to remove watercolor from a certain area of the panting. It is usually done by first wetting the area that needs to be removed with a clean sponge and then absorbing the color with a tissue. If you find that the color does not come off right away, then let the water soak in a bit longer and try again. If you still are unable to remove the color, then dampen a bristle brush and gently scrub the area. You should use extreme care with this watercolor technique, as there is a risk you can damage the paper.

I hope this article on watercolor techniques has helped. Happy Painting!

About the Author:

Ralph Serpe is webmaster and founder of Creative Spotlite. Visit Creative Spotlite today for more watercolor techniques, including free step by step demonstrations by experienced watercolor artists:

Read more articles by: Ralph Serpe

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Sustainability, Stuff and Art Holidays

How can these 3 things have anything
At all to do with each other?

For many years as a teacher I was involved in helping my school recycle our waste. It started as a small idea with newspaper collection and landed up with such mountains of paper and plastic goods coming to the school to be recycled that we had to have a parent committee to transport it to the recycling plant. We made a fair bit of money this way and were able to use it to grow our school gardens. Being a young school we had few resources for suchlike. More importantly though it gave the children a recycling ethic which has followed them into adulthood and one day those children will be business advisers and will be able to sway decisions on the type of products used in industry.

We were in on the very early, initial stages of today's
international green movement
. The rest of the world took a while to see things the way we did as we are actually living in the "Third World".

Anyway what has this got to do with you or art? Well today I watched a little video all done with pencil drawn animation. Simple, clear and with a powerful message in a fantastic visual form. Everyone can associate with "The Story of Stuff". A fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. "The Story of Stuff" (, exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

The story's success is ART. The message I got was that I can do something to help.

Not only can I be a part of the recycling chain but as artists we can all paint something that can make an impact on the lives of others and maybe change the way someone else sees and interacts with the world.
All very grand and idealistic you say, mmm maybe but already my company is saving some Stuff, every time a holidaying-artist finishes a tour with us they can choose to leave their unwanted paints and brushes for us to distribute to rural schools thus enabling some youngsters to express themselves in a way that at the moment is denied them as paint is way down on the school's priorities list. We also support a charity The Greater Good South Africa ( charity that is empowering people to make goods from unwanted Stuff and turn it into saleable goods again.
Why not come along and join us on an

Art Holiday knowing you can make a small difference on someone's life even while you have a great time.

Help real sustainability.
Make your mark in paint!

-- 2007

Top of page

Did You Know....

Arts and Craft Markets

Electricity Substations

A Grand Day Out

How to get the best from your painting

Critter wines for Christmas

Painting in May in South Africa

Did You Know....

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.

    Top 2007

    Arts and Craft Markets

    • 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

      Top 2007

      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


      You Can't Beat This For A Grand Day Out

      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!



      Top 2007

      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.

      John Blenkin

      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

      Painting Holidays in South Africa

      To read John's whole article Click here

      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.

      Top 2007

      Enjoy South African Critter Wines

      This Christmas and New Year

      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

      No 2

      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.

      No 3

      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

      No 4

      A great sense of the ridiculous and the biggest critter ever!

      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"

      No 5

      Finally of course you cannot forget our tortoises

      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

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      Painting in May in South Africa

      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

      Come painting in May, or June or July.....

      It's always a good time to paint in South Africa.

      Top 2007