Sunday, November 23, 2014

Following the Steel Wings

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!

With the annual Cherry Festival on this weekend in nearby Ficksburg - we were delighted to find bucketloads of the beautiful fruit being sold along the edge of the town square, and the cherry sellers happy to be drawn if I bought their wares, which I did in abundance.

Thumping exhausts alerted me to another group of bikers having breakfast across the square, so I found a spot behind the row of bikes and did another sketch while my husband watched cricket inside before they roared off, and we drove more sedately, back to the city,


RH Carpenter said...

Great sketches!! Thanks for sharing your day and all the different places and people. Bikers are scary looking but are usually not scary at all, once you get past the stereotypical "look" of all that leather! The sketch of all the tough bikers amidst the roses = perfect!! I'd like to see that one more finished :)

Cathy Gatland said...

Hi Rhonda - the strange combination of bikers and roses struck me too, wish they - and we - could've kept still long enough for a more detailed sketch. I took a photo but never feel inclined to draw from them somehow! said...

Great sketches of the bikers and the cherry sellers!

Williamz JungleJuice said...

Hi there, what a beautiful series of sketches about a particular trip. Will you be posting the finished products of your commissioned work ? I know it might be asking for too much but I am intrigued to see how you handle those types of sketches, just out of interest.

Cathy Gatland said...

Hi Williamz JJ - I'll have to ask if they mind. At the moment it's still a surprise for the guests (the sketch will be on postcards as thank you notes) so won't post them yet, but maybe in a few days.