Monday, February 2, 2009

On the road again

Before I get irretrievably back into city life, I wanted to carry on with the small (moleskine watercolour notebook) record of our trip to the coast that I was exploring. I don't know if it is a good idea - it may become tedious, but it can only improve my landscape painting - something I've never really taken to, but think I ought! My original plan, to paint as I travelled, was quickly ditched as lurches and bumps and speeding scenery made that effort laughable!
I sketched this tiny cottage with it's lollipop trees lightly in pencil in the car, and painted it later.
Driving through the Karoo - classified semi-desert, it was really green after lots of rain - it's always been the most boring, endless stretch - miles and miles of very little.
But this time there was more colour, and loads of cloud formations all the way there and back (all that water has been dumping on Joburg the last few weeks!). Little flat-topped mountains are typical all through the Karoo. This was on the way down to the coast - I took many more photos on the way back. You're in for a long ride if I keep this up.
Coming into the little 'dorp' - really just a filling station and a shop - called Three Sisters after these three koppies - former flat-topped hills that have been eroded away until just these 'little heads', which is what koppies means - are left.

Well these are definitely not works of art, but I still like the idea of a journey in a sketchbook, and am interested to see if my painting improves or gets more interesting as I go along, and will be a nice balance to the urban sketching I hope.


Gillian said...

These are lovely and light and quick. They have that "effortless" look. What a pleasant change to see the Karoo looking green!

Anonymous said...

It's great that you recorded your journey. Brings back fond memories of traveling this route many times. Nice work.

Suzanne McDermott said...

I would beg to differ as to whether these are works of art. Of course they are! They're all lovely and not tedious even in the least. I love looking at these and reading your posts. I find that the first stroke - the freshness of the immediate experience - often catches the real artistic impulse without the overworking that comes with too much thinking.

Art with Liz said...

Gosh Cathy, you've really caught the Karoo and so lucky you saw a little bit of greenery! I just love these paintings - they remind me of how much I love Africa!

Teresa said...

This is all so interesting! I just love being an armchair traveler... and you're a great tour guide!

Those flat topped mountains look like the mesas of the Southwestern U.S.

Thanks... I'll be back for the next installment of the trip.

Cathy Gatland said...

It was very pleasant, Gillian - you'll remember how we felt about the Karoo in our youth - ugh!

Jean - I see you lived in SA - this journey an essential part of the experience!

Suzanne, thanks very much for not finding them tedious! I am trying to let these just 'trip' off my brush without too much effort. I'm enjoying them so far.

There's so much to love, isn't there Liz - incredible variety and scope. (Aren't you in Sweden yet?;)

Thanks Teresa - I'd make a rotten travel guide really - getting lost in my own thoughts! I'm sure parts of the US must be similiar, from what I've seen in the movies!

Vivienne said...

Hello again after a long absence from these pages, but not your life, Cath, I hope! These are superb. That endless sky, the constant inverted V of the road ahead, sometimes marked by telephone poles, koppies and low (green!)Karroo scrub ... and your handling of the granulation and colours of paint. I can't help thinking of students we knew who fell asleep and tragically died on these long stretches on their way back to UCT. Haunting.

Cathy Gatland said...

Welcome back to blogland, Vivienne!! Most definitely very present in my 'real' life!
Ja - that is the dark side of this long road - always far too many accidents, people trying to drive for 14 hours non-stop, the wrecks along the way. I was appalled a few years ago when Andra pitched up in Joburg 'for a party' from UCT having driven overnight with 2 friends. There is much more awareness now - signs and vibration striations on the road to startle you out of driving stupor - but still, too many tragedies.

laura said...

These are delightful. The row of trees in the top one is charming, and I really love the "road" ones--great sense of space, and also of traveling: that always just ahead place that whizzes by as you drive.

Matt Jones said...

Great little colour sketches-especially the bottom one