Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Melville Koppies

Just up the hill from my house, is a heritage site, Melville Koppies Central, where Stone and Iron Age artefacts have been discovered and preserved. It's not generally open to the public, but they have Open days for walkers and hikers, birding days, and for the first time last Saturday, a sketching, painting and photography day. John, Anni and I jumped at the chance to spend a morning in this wild spot of nature in the middle of Joburg, and we really felt as if we were out in the bush, apart from distant sounds of traffic and boys playing soccer down at Marks Park.

 I had planned to move around, sketching from the top of the koppie, down to the forested area lower down, but ended up sitting at the same spot, just turning my chair around to face South, then East, and finally North, before two of the hardworking custodians of the site, Wendy and John came to tell us they were locking up. I became fascinated with the thatching grass all around me - long and dry in the middle of winter, at first it seemed a uniform blond ochre, the more I looked, the more colours I saw. Pinks, golds, mauve and blue, shots of luminescent green - impossible to put them all in without drawing each stalk individually - and glimpses of the city looking soft and gentle through the waving strands  - I felt I could paint there for weeks on end.
We've been told we can go back and paint when the Birders are there - really look forward to another escape to the country - so close by!


Bev said...

Wow Cathy, you took me back years to my childhood. We lived in Emmarentia and my dad used to take my brothers and me up on the Koppies on Sundays where we would watch the birds and insects. I always loved going there. I love your sketches and the colours are amazing.

Cathy Gatland said...

Hi Bev - I'm glad it brought back some happy memories... it's a special place, I need to go there more often!

RH Carpenter said...

For just a while, I always feel like I'm on a trip with you, as you explain where we are, what we are doing - and then I get to see the sights through your eyes. Thanks so much for always taking me with you!

Unknown said...

What an amazing place beautifully captured in your paintings. I looks forward to seeing more when the birders are there.