Last weekend we drove to the little town of Clarens in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, known as an 'artist's haven' as so many artists live there, or visit regularly. Apparently it is also a Biker's haven, as both times we have been we've had these growling, throbbing machines follow and overtake us all the way there. Once in the village, they're parked outside the pubs and restaurants while the leather-clad, be-studded, tassled and tattooed riders mill around on the pavement and occupy tables not too far away from their metal beasts.
I started sketching the approaching road, but found it a bit stressful and decided to relax and enjoy the scenery - but grabbed a quick scribble at a 'pitstop' in Harrismith. It must be one of the prettiest places to fill up and get coffee and a snack - rose bushes and flowers everywhere with sandstone mountains as a backdrop - bikers had stopped here too so in they went.
Late afternoon and over a beer at the Clarens Brewery, I started sketching some wire sculptures outside the window, when more bikers arrived and I had a view of them through the doorway. I discovered that it was, in fact, Harley-Davidson weekend in Clarens, and that the Steel Wings raise funds for Aids orphans and other charities. They did seem perfectly nice and normal once you got chatting (my husband chatted while I sketched) in spite of the intimidating outfits.
On Saturday I sketched at a wedding - a commission and the main purpose of our trip - scary... a whole lot more pressure than choosing your subject and it either working, or not and nobody cares. I'm still fiddling around with those!