Sunday, September 12, 2010

Prince Albert, Great Karoo

On our trip down to the Cape, after an eleven hour drive from Johannesburg, we stopped for the night at Prince Albert where we'd booked into the Swartberg Hotel. First gratefully downing a cold beer in the pub, under the gaze of some poor departed nyala antelope and a huge pair of kudu horns (my proportions are way out, they were much bigger than the heads) we strolled round the village of beautifully restored Victorian and Cape Dutch buildings, housing mohair and weaving businesses, galleries and craft shops, as the setting sun inflamed the surrounding mountains.


We were entertained at dinner with some of the legends and ghost stories of the 125 year old hotel by our waitress, but were assured that our room was not haunted, whew. The next morning while my husband had a look inside, I sat in the garden of the museum and sketched an ox-wagon with the Seven Arches gallery and restaurant behind it. The plant-like structures on the roof are scrap-metal sculptures by one of the area's many artists.
We didn't use the spectacular steep, zigzagging Swartberg Pass through the mountains as it was under repair after heavy rains, going instead via the equally spectacular but less vertigo-inducing Meiringspoort - but the mind boggles to think how these wagons negotiated their way, long before any roads were built.

13 comments:

Katherine Thomas said...

What brand sketchbook do you use? And how do you carry your supplies so that they aren't cumbersome? Thanks! I love your work!

Charlene Brown said...

It's taken several minutes just to look at every detail from the antelopes' eyelashes and wicker weave pub chairs to the scrap metal and real foliage -- can't imagine how long it must take you to draw and paint them! Your sketches are always so much better than even really good photographs though -- thank you for taking the time.

travelingsuep said...

oh I hadn't noticed the eyelashes until Charlene's comment. What a detailed sketch!

I love the wagon one, again great definition.

laura said...

I was thinking of the details too--how much you included without it seeming too much, which is really some balancing act!

Sandra said...

I'd also love to know how long they took - They are great :0)
I personally LOVE the idea of staying in a haunted room!

SKIZO said...

Great!
Keep having
wonderful ideas.

Cathy Gatland said...

Katherine, my new sketchbook is a square clothbound 'Seawhite of Brighton' sketchbook that I got from London Graphic Centre - it's very fat and going to take a long time to fill I think! As for carrying supplies, the system is always under review - at the moment a big handbag with my pens and waterbrush etc standing up in a side pocket, easy to take out... I might do a blog post about that soon, but it's by no means perfected.

We were in the pub for an hour or so, sketching in between chatting and sipping - the other sketch I think took about 40 minutes, but time does blur when you're drawing..! Both were line only at the sites with colour added later. Much of the 'detail' is just squiggles - the wicker for instance done very quickly with repetitive movements. Thanks everybody - Sandra if I didn't badly need a good night's sleep, I might have looked forward to a ghostly encounter or two :o)

Pat said...

Hi Cathy loved your sketches.

Margaret Bednar said...

The detail! Just love looking through your sketchbook. Thank you.

MrsDoF said...

Clicked on the link about the Pass --wow, so interesting.
Your art is lovely, even if I didn't have so much time here as there.

Cathy said...

Great sketches! I loved Prince Albert and the Swartberg Pass, which we were lucky enough to see. I wish I could go back and have time to sketch there (I mean Prince Albert)... Eleven hours, wow, I'm not sure I'd be able to do it - at least not with my 5-year-old kid!! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Cathy...said it before...say it again....you are just incredible...what a talent...and am in awe of your stunning work...me and mrs is a real giggle...you know a good printer...mr Jones!.... ltd prints... postcards...greeting cards...of these stunning sketches next?Can we place an order? ;)
Jen Pascall

Cathy Gatland said...

Hi Jen! Thank you so much, you are very kind :) One of these days I'll get organised and get Mr Jones to print something - wish I had your business brain!!