Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Flying over the Chobe flood plains

Anyone who has travel to Namibia through the Ngoma border post from Botswana would have seen this Baobab tree over looking the Chobe flood plains.About 1Km away from this tree is also the two Baobab Safari Camps that belong to Wilderness Safaris.I was there for some work not long ago and I enjoyed my  visit with its stunning views .

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lazy Leopard

   B 






C     D


This is why I enjoy oil paints you can change paintings so drastically, and paint over areas that you didn't like.I was never quite happy with this painting and it went through 4 transformations before I was.I would be interested to know which one of these appeals to you.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thapong Artist of the Year Award 2011


Well the Thapong Awards ceremony is over, and what a night it was. There was a number of people in attendance including reporters and photographers from the main newspapers as well as the film crew from BTV and Prime Time. There was also dignitaries ,artists , visitors and the sponsors in attendance . 

The main sponsor was the Diamond Trading Company Botswana  with additional sponsorship from Mascom, the French Embassy, the Chinese Embassy to Botswana, Botswana Tourism Organisation as well as the Department of Arts and Culture.
During the evening we were entertained by speeches, poetry, and a guitar player,so it seemed ages before they eventually reached the part where they announced the recipients of the awards.

 Abednico Sechaba was crowned the winner of this year's Thapong Artist of the Year Award, beating 104 other entrants to the cash prize of P25,000.He had submitted 2 pieces of Art work both of them in pencil in which he addressed the subject of child abuse in the tradition Botswana lifestyle.
The runner-up was Keatlaretse Kate Kwati ,who submitted a large and intricate piece of craft work and who received P20,000.
Surprisingly and happily I received the Outstanding Young Artist Award for the second year in a row which included a cash prize of P10.000 .
After the Award ceremony both BTV and Prime Time asked if they could interview the winning artists.I was totally unprepared for this, and am not exactly sure what I said it all went by in a blur.Most artists seem to have plenty to say about their art work,and can spend hours describing the whole creative process and what each painting actually means. I on the other hand ,simply enjoy painting and creating.They aired the interviews last Wednesday and again today. I didn't think much of the interviews until total strangers started to come up to me and ask if it was actually me they saw on TV,its kind of a crazy feeling especially since I don't have a TV.Anyway I hope it will boost my art sales . 

The following links are some newspaper articles that also covered the event.The Monitor  The Daily News The Sunday Standard


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lost in thought

Here is a quick A4 size oil painting I did some time ago.I really liked the contrasts,and the abstract shapes in this composition and wanted to paint it.During our stay in Kasane I had many opportunities to collect reference material of elephants for future paintings.Since we had a  water hole only a few meters in front our thatched house, we were spoilt with many elephants visiting us.Some of the bull elephants got quite use to us and despite us moving around and talking they would remain nearby.It was only the breeding herds of elephants that would approach the water hole suspiciously  and when finished  would quickly melt back into the bush.Elephants are still one of my favorite animals.

Some would say that if you have seen one elephant you have seen them all.Such a person just hasn't been among elephants,and hasn't watched and studied them.If you get to know a herd of elephants or a few individuals,you will soon see that the all have different personalities.Also unlike many other animals, elephants are more like humans in the fact that they have emotions .Excitement, happiness and joy  can be seen when an elephant is reunited again with its companions,or stress ,and mourning when a elephant  dies.
Elephants at the waterhole.


Its always exiting to watch elephants,and their interaction with each other in the wild,I hope more people around the world get the opportunity to enjoy that.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Botswana Cowboys

I have finally finished painting, the ( Botswana Cowboys) above.I sent it off on the 6 o,clock bus to Gaborone this morning,together with another painting .( Thabo's first ride ) both will be part of the Thapong Artist of the year Awards (TAYA) Exhibit.The Exhibit will open on the 11 November 2011.

I started this painting ages ago,but because of other work I didn't make much progress.However with the submission deadline the (21 October 2011) looming I had to rush about and paint.So the last few days I have been painting late into the nights in order to get it finished on time.Since the painting was still a bit wet I had to make a special packing case yesterday, so that nothing could smudge the face of the painting.The painting of the horses,the horsemen, bridles,saddles and rope all took quite a lot of time,but it was satisfying to see it come together.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Coming and Going

SOLD








Our holidays as a family were often spent in the bush ,staying in tents and cooking on a fire ,we spent our time either swimming, fishing, game viewing or simply reading. One camp site that we stayed in is located at the main river that feeds the Okavango Delta, not far from the village of Shakawe .The camp site is shaded by large Jackal berry trees that overlooked the river. On one side of the campsite  you are able to see an area where the local people from the village would come down and collect water from the river.

The task of collecting water is allocated mainly to the women, but the children also have a major share. When large quantities of water is need the men also get involved to help. All sorts of  transport are used to transport the water, by foot, on donkey back, donkey carts, even cattle dragging broken mokoros  (Local Tswana name for a dugout or canoe)  which would hold the containers of water within it. This unusual way of transporting water is seen in the background of my painting where a small boy is also seen hitching a ride in the mokoro , sometimes if the sandy road gets bumpy he has to hold the bottles so as to prevent them from falling over .

Monday, September 12, 2011

The abandoned house

                                                                   
                                                                                   SOLD

During one of my road trips with my dad in South Africa, I took hundreds of pictures of houses, farms, fields, and mountains all while we were driving. Despite the fact that many of the photos turned out blurred, I still managed to capture quite a bit of good reference material. One of my photos was of an old abandoned house.
 I loved the rusty roof and the peeling paint on the walls, the green grass in the fore ground and the long dark shadows across it. It was one of those really easy paintings that I had loads of fun doing. The people who bought it had a special reason for doing so, they said that their cousin had a farm house that looked just like that and so wanted to buy it.
Abandoned places have always interest me, what was once a place of human habitation is now just an empty shell, a piece of history. Who lived there? What was life like? Why did they leave? Often the answers to such questions lie around the place in the form of clues .Exploring old sites of human habitation (something I love doing) often reveal something about the type of life they lived. Capturing such places in a photo or a painting is actually just capturing an echo from the past.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Showcasing Maun Artists Exhibit



 
This Art Exhibit which was held at our small local museum was largely organized by us, the artists.That meant that the advertising, search for sponsorship, and installation of the art work was overseen by the artists .This was the first time I have done a group exhibit like this and I have learnt a lot from the whole process ,and have seen first hand how much work is actually involed in setting up a exhibit.I worked on the installation committee and so had the enjoyment of hanging paintings,setting up sculptures and pottery.The opening was last night,unfortunately I was busy and was not able to attend.However it was a great success and apparently it was packed full of people,a number of works have already been sold.Although I have not sold anything on the opening night I hope I might still sell something during the rest the Exhibit since it is running from 17 August-9 September 2011.

For some more info on this exhibit you can visit fellow Maun artist Legodile Seganabeng at Showcasing Maun Art.See also the write up of the Exhibit at The Midweek Sun also very interesting is our Local Maun Newspaper about Okavango floods and escaped crocodiles, as well as a Picture of one of my paintings at  Ngami Times

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunset at Seronga

SOLD
Sunset at Seronga is my latest painting, I started painting it last Friday, and finished it on Saturday.The village of Seronga is located in a very isolated  part of northern Botswana.I traveled there last week on work,its about 450 km from were I stay in Maun.The Journey involves using a ferry to cross the main river that feeds the Okavango Delta at Mohembo.The ferry can take about four cars at a time and the trip lasts about 10 minutes.Since we were pulling a trailer we also had much fun and games trying to reverse our way off the ferry, and ended up unhitching the trailer just to get it off.

Once we we were on the other side of the river we still had 110km to travel before we reached the village of Seronga This was no smooth going ,the graveled  road was so badly corrugated that I was only able to drive 40 to 60 km per hour .It took us almost 3 hours to travel what should have taken an hour .We eventually arrived late in the evening and after searching awhile around the village ,and getting a bit lost we finally found the place where we would spend the night.

We were very happy to have arrived, and to have a safe place where we could sleep the night ,we even had running water and electricity from a generator.(In Africa this is a big plus).But the memory that really remains in my mind from that trip, was watching the setting sun in front of our thatched and reed chalets.It was not only the setting sun that made it special, but it was also the relaxed peaceful atmosphere.Even the two boys who were fishing couldn't disturb the peace, in fact they just added to it .

Sunset paintings

Monday, August 1, 2011

Little Girl and her cat.

SOLD
What on earth is a painting of a little girl doing among all my wildlife paintings it seems a little out of place.Well you see this painting was done 3 years ago while I was staying in South Africa .I was staying in a small town called Montagu ,where I continued to paint.But I quickly found out that the local people were not very interested in buying paintings of lions or elephants.So I had to change my subject matter and paint things that were around me like the people ,farms, houses etc.So that's how this little girl came along together with her cat.It was one of those paintings I really liked and almost kept however someone liked her and so it found a new home.

Children paintings

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Botswana Cowboys in progress.

 Well this painting is taking its time , probably because, first it is big ,second because I have been so busy that I just haven't had time to sit down and paint .In fact I have only done 4 painting sessions on this so far.I still have lots to do, but I thought I might post this so that at least you know what I am doing.
I am also busy sending two paintings (Leaping and a hopping over Kubu Island ,and Savuti Elephant) to Gaborone tomorrow ,to join the Thapong members Exhibit.I am also getting three other paintings(Stripes running free,The Donkey Riders ,and.Clash of the Titans. ) framed and ready for an Exhibit here in Maun which will be held during August.The exhibit that we are having here in Maun is made up of Local artists,one of the artists that I have already met is a sculptress, she carves beautiful art out of natural hard woods that she finds lying around in the bush around Maun, see her work at Christiane Stolhofer wood sculptress .



 Just a taste will update as more progress is made.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How I use Adobe Photo Shop to create better reference photos .

Have you ever searched through your reference photos for something to paint and thought.. Oh if only this photo had something extra in it ,or, I wish there wasn't that distracting element in it ? Well with Adobe Photo Shop you can manipulate your photos any way you want to. Often I have found photos that I want to combine, in fact ,if I do use photos as reference for a painting it will never be based just on one photo but rather of two or three.

Below are two photos that I had taken in the same village,I loved this little blue shop and really wanted to paint it but I felt that it needed something else.On the way to the village we had passed a family in a donkey cart.Pointing my little digital camera out the side window I took a quick snap shot as we drove passed.The photo of the donkey cart and family was not straight which was not surprising ,due to the way it had been taken. 

I had a couple of problems with combining the two photos .(1) The donkey cart was crooked and it looked like it was going up hill.(2) The shadows in the donkey cart photo was falling in the opposite direction to the blue shop .(3) In the original photo the donkey cart and family were so small that they would appear as miniatures next to the blue shop.Using Adobe Photo Shop I was able to .




(1) Straighten and crop the donkey cart photo.(2) Invert the donkey cart photo so that that the shadows were now falling more or less in the same direction as the blue shop.(3) Finally I cut out the donkey cart the family and its shadows and pasted it in the blue shop photo,I also enlarged the donkey cart to the right size so that it would look like it belonged next to the blue shop. I also used the paint tools to paint in shadows,and to paint over objects in the photo that I did not want ,like the donkey that was standing under the tree.

               Now I had a photo to work from which I did not have before .


       The finished oil painting . Titled. ( Father and son at Bodibeng Village)

                                                      SOLD

Monday, July 4, 2011

Flamingoes at the Makgadikgadi salt pans

Well ,I have finally got round to posting something.I have been down with some sort of flu,but have just finished the second course of antibiotics,and am feeling much better.Unfortunatly I have not got anything new to post yet, the flamingo painting above  is a oil painting that I did some time ago . But I have started a new painting, it is quite LARGE and is of two Botswana cowboys on horses. I have only done the under painting  but will post the results soon.I hope to submit it to the Thapong Visual Arts Awards which will be in Gabarone ,held near the end of the year. Have a look at what I submitted last year at Thapong Visual Art Awards.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Battle of the stallions

This was a painting that I did from a old black and white photo of two zebras fighting .The baobab tree and the cloudy sky I added as I went along,color was based on other photos of zebras.

I was wondering why do Zebra stallions fight? And found out that they do this mainly to have control of the  mares .As soon as male zebra is big enough it is chased out of the herd by the predominant stallion.Young stallions will then join up with a bachelor group of zebras .A lone Stallion will sometimes challenge the predominant stallion in order to gain control of  the mares ,he will do this only if he things he is stronger.These fights can sometimes lead to serious injury that can later lead to a early death.Some zebra stallions will even go as far as killing young male foals,by kicking and biting them to death.Yeah life in the wild can be tough!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Waiting for Kalahari rain

Two Gemsbok antelope stand among the dry grasses of the Kalahari plains while in the distance a sudden down pour takes place.
Rain here in Botswana is special,  even our currency here is called Pula ,which is the Tswana word for rain.Our rainy season starts in November and ends around April .The rain normally comes at the end of a hot day released  during a heavy downpour.Within minutes the storm is over leaving everything dripping with water and breathing new life into all that is living.

This oil painting was inspired by a trip that I took with a friend into the Kalahari.The trip coincided with the start of the rainy season .So during the end of some days, we experienced a couple of sudden down pours.We then had the privileged to see tortoises, bat-eared foxes, jackals, and birds drinking the precious water that had gathered in the few dirt tracks that meandered through the Kalahari.It was probably the first water they had drank since the last rains many months before.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Tiny Jewl

Normally seen flying low and fast over the water,in a blur of bright colors the Malachite Kingfisher is another one of my favorite birds.It is not often you can find it posing for you since it is also quite secretive and shy and tends to inhabit the fringes of the papyrus and reed beds of the river.But when you do capture a glance of this bird you will  without doubt agree that it is a beautiful jewl.
The painting above is done in oils and it is the 3rd time I have painted the same bird .Sometimes you produce a painting that after selling it, is then requested by someone else ,and you end up painting it again.However far from being boring painting it for the 3rd time ,I found it rather enjoyable .I also found that I had actually improved my skill to the point that this painting was much better than my previous two  .  




Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hippo pool and water lilies

Here is a painting that went through a number of transformations before I was happy with it.At first the two hippos were just a boring  gray including the water .This was due to the fact that the photos I was working from, had been taken on a cloudy and wet day on the Chobe River.But after pulling it out from storage one day ,I suddenly knew what it needed,So the water was made blue almost black in the foreground,water lilies were then added including one which is sliding off one of the Hippos backs.Then green reeds were also added in the far background and then finally all the reflections. The end result was a much more bright and colorful painting which I am now pleased with.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cry of the African Fish Eagle.

Nothing reminds me better of the waterways of Africa than the cry of a African fish eagle,its one of my favorite sounds and has always been associated with some of the holiday trips that I enjoyed in the Okavango Delta with the rest of my family.

Its a strikingly handsome bird with tremendous power .I have witnessed them fishing on numerous occasions.I remember once drifting down the river in a boat with my dad while fishing, when we saw a fish eagle swoop down and grab a fish from the water.The eagle was shocked to find  out  that he had bitten off more than he could chew.Clasped between his talons was a large and heavy bream.Instead of soaring into the blue sky with his catch, the once dignified eagle ended up flapping clumsily across the surface of the water, battling to maintain a hold on the fish while trying not to sink beneath the water . This continued until he finally reached the shore where after a brief rest proceeded  to eat his meal at leisure.

This is a painting I did when I was 18 during my stay in Maun .Its done in Acrylic on Masonite board and was  sold not long afterwards.

SOLD

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Elephant Trio finally sold after 4 years



The elephant Trio has finally been sold after 4 years of either hanging on my walls or wrapped up in storage.I have had quite a few people interested in buying it,but none of them could afford to purchase it. Since it was worth much more than they were willing to pay , I just kept it till someone who ,not only was in love with the painting but who could buy it as well .That happened yesterday and the painting has now found a new home.
I painted the Elephant Trio during my 4 year stay in Elephant valley just outside Kasane.

Those were some of the best years of my life as I was able to come in close contact with wildlife,predominately elephants.Elephants would come to our waterhole which was situated in front of our tented camp during the afternoons of the dry winter months.Living a  simple life in the bush exposed us to many exiting interactions between animals .Some of the things I really enjoyed was hearing the roar of a lion at night while I lay awake in my bed,waking up to the smell of wood smoke and coffee.Walking  through the bush alone while taking photos of the wildlife.The rumbling sound of a herd of elephants communicating to each other during the night while they browsed on nearby trees only meters away from my bed.

So the painting of the Elephant Trio is not a painting created in a studio,but rather one that was created in one of the few remaining areas of the world where it was truly wild,sounds romantic doesn't it.Well the truth is ,that although it sounds exiting and romantic, it did come with some interesting features like,no electricity ,cooking over a fire, leaky tents, snakes,our dog and cat being killed by a leopard, angry elephants blocking the roads,and so on.But funnily enough if someone offered me the chance to go back to that type of life again I probably would.

SOLD

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cape buffalo bulls finished.

SOLD
Well I have finally finished the two Buffalo bulls,I think it will be titled ,something like ,Challengers, Beasts among the dust,Clash of the Titans....but I am still undecided so any suggestion for a title will be welcomed.




Nature paintings

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Buffalo Bulls almost finished.....

 Despite getting the flu and being extremely busy, I did manage to get some more done on my  two  buffaloes.All that is left to do now,  is to paint in some grass and then add some dust to create an atmosphere  of action.Below is some detail of the second buffalo and the path of progress that it took.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Buffalo Bulls some detail.....

Well I was really motivated to continue with my painting.On arriving home from work I switched my laptop on ,got my  Buffalo picture up on the screen ,put some inspirational music on and waited for the artistic juices to start flowing....I was far to tired and before I knew it I had fallen asleep on my bed....zzzzzzzzz.Two hours later when my brother got back home from fishing I woke up ,and after eating some sup I was up to the challenge.I focused on painting the details on the left hand side buffalo and am happy with the results so far ; )

I also want to thank all the Art bloggers  who have put my blog onto their blog list :) :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Buffalo Bulls a little more progress.......

Well even though I wasn't feeling inspired ,I managed to get down and continue my painting as I had planned to do.Even though the painting is  not much to look at ,its quite a bit of work done, and am glad with the progress so far.There was one point where my color wasn't quite right for the horns ,but this I only  realized  when I came back from making some tea.The horns were far to blue!! I had a good chuckle at this,(its always good to leave your painting for a bit because when you come back you see everything you had done with fresh eyes.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Buffalo bulls . Progress so far......

Well this is what my buffalo painting looks like at the moment, still a long way before its finished.The painting is based on some photos that was taken on a trip in Savuti which is a area well known for its wildlife especially for its elephants,it is situated between the Chobe and Moremi National park.It was a great trip and we saw so much including leopard,wild dog,lion,elephants,buffalo and all the common wildlife .This herd of buffalo that we came across was a bachelor herd of about 30 bulls many who were fighting, at one time their were 5 pairs all jostling. All this action was accompanied by a lot of snorting , clashing of horns and dust.I hope to capture some of this in my painting.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Art of the Khalahari Bushmen

Well ,I have been traveling again for work (So my Buffalo painting is still on the easel unfinished) but instead of flying to my destination as I usually do, I had to drive from Maun (300km trip) to D'kar  which is mainly a bushmen(San) settlement ,based 35km outside a town called Ghanzi  .Since I was busy with work I did not have much time to explore the area as much as I would have like to.But I can tell you that the people are very friendly most of them wave and shout greetings as you drive by .It felt weird to be around people who spoke a language that you totally did not understand.For those of you who have no idea what it sounds like, imagine Chinese and a lot of clicking.I would love to learn the language ,but learning Tswana is enough as it is.


During my lunch break I managed to stop at the Kuru Art project. Since it was lunch it was closed but I did manage to peep through all the windows while admiring the art.The objective of the Kuru Art Project is to provide technical advice, materials and studio space to artists from the Ghanzi community. The  content, and style has been left up to the artists to develop alone. The Kuru Art Project assists artists to produce oil paintings on canvas, black and white and color linoleum prints, etchings and lithographs.

Much of the subject matter they depict is of their past ,as well as relating stories and memories of life around them through their art.In terms of subject matter much of what the artists choose to depict refers to their past.The artwork is unique in style ,color and subject,I think Picasso would have been interested by their work had he seen it since in some aspects there are similarities in style.

Most of the artist's live in D'kar and all of them have grown up in the vast Kalahari desert in and around the Ghanzi district in western Botswana. Although almost all of the artists are illiterate they are proud to be artists knowing that they can communicate to people from all over the world using visual imagery.The sample I managed to capture is just a small taste of the beautiful and original art work of the Kalahari Bushmen.

If you are interested in learning and seeing more of the artists and their work ,or would like to purchase a limited signed edition print, please visit  ....  

Kuru Khalahari Art Project Botswana

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lilac breasted roller in flight





A Lilac breasted roller in flight is one of the most beautiful birds of Africa, and one of my favorites, this is a oil painting I did some time ago. Hope you don't mind seeing all my past works of art.I am currently working on 2 buffalo bulls fighting so you should be seeing them soon,the problem is that my work schedule is tight , even the weekends seem crowded so its not easy to get down and do some painting. Have recently done quite a bit of flying in and out of the Okavango Delta, some areas are already receiving the flood waters from Angola This year the arrival of the flood waters is already a full month ahead so looks like we in for a big one.Many of the safari camps are building dikes around their bush airstrips to keep the water back when it arrives.However much of the wild life will move to dryer areas.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thabo and the donkeys



Most of my paintings start with an idea ,and not with a photo ,and so I have to make my photos fit my idea.

Thabo and the donkeys is a painting based on 2 different photos. I had taken the first photo ,the one of the donkeys and cart , in a remote village on the edge of the Okavango Delta.The second Photo was of the boy (Thabo) and it was taken in Serowe a village in Southern Botswana.
When it comes to using different photos to create a new composition the first thing I look for is the shadows,are they falling in the same direction.You cannot create a realistic painting if some shadows are pointing west while others east,it would mean that there would have to be  two suns,or light sources.Your Shadows also should be the same length ,cannot have some short (Midday) while others long (Evening or morning).
Once I have found a couple of photos ,that even though  were taken at differnt places or times but have the same shadow pattern I move to the next step.The next step is to change the size of the photos so that they are compatible,since I have thousands of different photos very few are the same size.For example .Thabo who is leading the donkeys and cart was before very small in the photo,so I had to enlarge him on my computer until he was the right size to fit with the donkeys ,without looking to big or to small.
Once I have my printouts ,I place them on a large piece of white paper and move them around until I am happy with the composition,I then tape them into place.Now that I have my composition laid out before me, all that is left is to draw it out onto my canvas and to paint it. ; )

SOLD

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Zebra reflections

Here is another painting I did some time ago.This one however is still wrapped up in my house ,and I plan to send it to an Art Exhibit in  Gaborone 1000 km away.My brother was trying to motivate me to do some painting last night but just was too tired.I have no other excuses though since I have just got back from Francistown 500 km away where I bought tubes of white oil paint, brushes, and some canvas.I am just waiting now for inspiration to strike.

FOR SALE

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Elephant on the Chobe flood plains

Here is another painting I did a few years ago,have not had any time to come up with any new art as have been so busy with work.I have done a few sketches though ,but not great enough to post .

The storms here in Botswana are really beautiful . Sometimes on a hot summer afternoon you can see a  storm in the distance while on the warm breeze, rumbles of thunder can be heard .The Chobe flood plains during and just after the flood are lush with different types of grasses, and animals are quick to exploit this area including elephants.This painting was first done in acrylic and was a painting of some pink flamingos flying over a river with sanddunes in the backround, but a shortage of blank canvases to paint on lead me to  overpaint it in oils and the result is the above.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fishermen of the Okavango Delta


The Okavango Delta covers an area of approximately 3.2 million acres, when in full flood. The best way to appreciate the size of the Delta is to fly from Maun to any one of the camps within the Delta. Since the land is so flat you are able to see from the air that the delta, just doesn’t seem to have an end. Myriads of channels twist and wind around palm fringed islands as far as the eye can see.

However there is no better way to see the Okavango Delta intimately, than in a Mokoro or a (Dugout). You are able to glide over crystal clear waters, while watching the wildlife that inhabit the fringes of the waterways. Water lilies, Painted Reed Frogs, Jacanas, Fish Eagles, Hippos, Sitatunga, Lechwe, and Elephants are just a few of the beautiful things you might see on such a trip.

Dotted around the Okavango Delta are a few villages, consisting either of the Beyei, or Humbakushu tribes. They mainly survive by subsistence living which includes, farming, fishing and a little hunting. Some have left their former way of life and have become guides, polers, or are employed in other capacities at the many lodges and camps that are scattered across the Delta.

The introduction of nets many years ago have lead some of them to become commercial fishermen, selling their catch at different villages .Its not unusual to come upon a island by boat and beneath its leafy canopy find a fishermen’s camp, with nets strung between trees ,a smoky fire, old tents, and a battered gas freezer. Some of the fish they freeze but many are just split open, gutted and then dried in the sun.

The oil painting above is one I did some years ago, and sold, depicting some fishermen with new nets in their Mokoros. The perspective of the two Mokoros is not quite right, but that’s all part of the learning curve, I sometimes have a look at my old work and have a good laugh, but even though some are badly drawn, color wrong, composition boring, they have sentimental value to them, and bring back good memories . I have to thank all those who bought my early pieces of artworks even though some were not that great. Each sale was another confirmation that I could actually earn something from my art.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Elephant charge

                                                                           
This is a painting I did when I was 19,in Kasane,a small town on the edge of the Chobe River .Our family stayed just 10 km outside Kasane in Lesoma Valley but know to many as Elephant Valley due to its abundance of these animals.At the end of the dry season only a few muddy waterholes remained where all types of wild animals would come to drink.During our 4 year stay which started off with our family living in some old army tents,in the middle of the bush we experienced a piece of the real Africa,without the frills.Maybe,one day I write a book about all those stories or I might even get around to blogging about it.

Anyway since I love wild animals I would often go for long walks into the bush in hope that I would be able to see something special.To me this could mean many things ,I used to collect animal sculls ,insects,rocks,reptiles,interesting pieces of twisted wood. Sometimes if fortunate I would find something new like bits of broken elephant ivory chipped off during a fight between two bull elephants ,or the drag marks of some dead animal that a leopard had dragged up and left in a tree.

During one of these walks I came across a bull elephant which was not too far away from our tented camp.He was drinking at a very muddy waterhole,and after drinking he started to throw mud onto his back .Moving slowly I inched forward ,through the sparse shrubbery in an effort to get closer for a photo .At that time I had a old film camera without much of a lens ,so in order for a good picture I had to get closer.However on my way towards him he sensed the movement,and immediately stopped drinking,his head held high he paused ,then stared at the very area I was standing .Then moving purposefully towards me,he made short run, flapped his ears, and with a loud and angry scream , suddenly stopped 50 meters away from me Before the dust could even settle he hurriedly disappeared into the bush.
All the while I was standing dead still,my heart beating like a jack hammer with my hands still glued to the camera.Elephants especially bull elephants are fairly docile and relaxed creatures.They can however if suddenly frightened,and if, feeling threatened charge and even kill someone.

The painting that resulted from that experienced,( One of many ) was a composition based on the photos I took then ,so although there are two elephants in the painting its actually the same elephant
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