Monday, June 6, 2016

Down in the Valley

I'm adjusting to being back in Joburg after another blissful week in the magnificent Franschhoek valley (a small preview: you will probably be seeing many more posts from this neck of the Western Cape woods in time!) Not an entirely peaceful or quiet stay as we were on this estate where a pine forest had been cleared to make way for vineyards - the roots of which were being bulldozed and put into piles, and builders were hard at work nearby making an old cottage habitable and charming - but completely made up for by the scenery and the glittering autumn weather. I sketched this from the window of our bedroom, thinking I'd make a record of the changes taking place - landscape and mountains are new sketching and painting territory for me and I almost scrubbed through my poor sketchbook paper trying to get the colours. Much more sturdy watercolour paper required until I get this right! 

A few days later, my husband and I went up the hill to a winery where the first batch of La Cotte wine - made from grapes from the estate that we were on - was being bottled. These guys had to work like clockwork passing the bottles from pallet to washer to packer to filler... during a short break while they waited for more empty bottles to arrive, they came and had a look what I was doing and I said I'd email them a copy if they could give me an address... which caused a slight hiccup in the proceedings and suddenly there was breaking glass, red wine gushing out onto the floor and some frantic smashing and tugging to get the broken bits out of the machine! I did feel bad, but only three bottles were lost, and I was told the bottlers were happy to be drawn, and they will get their copies! I didn't capture the loud banter, laughter and repartee that started after I been drawing for a while, all in the local vernacular, which I can follow if spoken slowly and clearly, not at 900 words a minute with clinking bottles and machinery as soundtrack (I did catch "teken" = draw!)

And a photo of another attempt at the mountains and valley in my watercolour Moleskine - the urge to paint everything was strong and constant, such a change from hunting for subject matter as I seem to always be doing here - more of these in another post.


Sadami said...

Oh, what a nice and generous lady, you are, Cathy! You gave the bottlers the wonderful sketch. Let us have fun in landscapes from time to time. I'm sure soon you'll get "tips." Best wishes, Sadami

Cathy said...

Awesome valley!! I love the last sketch, these huge expanses are so difficult to paint, but you managed to do it beautifully!!