Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Donkey Cart


I have finally managed to make some time to finish this painting, and it is now ready to be framed today .If all goes well I will send it together with Late for School and Water in a pink bucket tomorrow to Gaborone.They will hopefully be part of the 2012 Thapong Visual Arts Awards Exhibition (2012 Thapong Awards- bigger and better).


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Flying around the Okavango Delta

My neglected painting which is sitting on my easel

Flying around the Okavango Delta is what I have been doing,during the last few weeks. As a service provider my work sometimes involves me flying out to different camps situated in the Okavango Delta .The drawback is that many things back home in Maun get neglected ,such as my unfinished paintings. I can't complain though, as this does take me out of town and into the wilderness. After the work is completed I am sometimes able to enjoy, a game drive or a boat cruise.These rare opportunities provide me with the time to sketch and take photos ,which form the foundation of my future paintings.

Since the Okavango Delta has become a popular tourist destination there are many lodges and Camps scattered across an area of about 17,000 square km. Today I got back from a Lodge in Kasane called Chobe Chilwero , which is situated on the edge of the Chobe River. The trip there and back was taken in a 6 seater  Cessna plane, and took an hour and a half. I have lost count of how many times I have flown in these small planes, but nevertheless each trip is different and unique, 

Since northern Botswana is so flat there is no fear of crashing into a mountain, however there are risks ,which require the pilots to learn a repertoire of other skills .Pilots will have to cultivate skills such as, dodging vultures and other large birds, flying through violent storms or landing on a bush airstrip that is either flooded or really corrugated. This trip was fine, although the pilot did make some sudden manoeuvres to avoid hitting a vulture and later on a fish eagle. It was only two months ago  a vulture hit one of these small planes and made a hole through the tail,fortunately the pilot was able to land the plane safely .

I was at Chobe Chilwero for three days , and it was at times a little frustrating to be working ,while in the distance I could see vast herds of buffalo, and elephants .I was therefore excited that on my last day I was invited to join a boat cruise on the Chobe river, and managed to take some great photos of buffalo which were part of a large herd of 150 animals.I hope that soon I will have enough time to develop these into some exciting paintings .

The Okavango Delta can be breathtakingly beautiful.

Most of the camps are in isolated areas surrounded by floodplains,which means the only way to get to these places is by small planes.Maun airport is one of the busiest airports in the world due to this fact.

Sunset on the Chobe river, Botswana.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Revisiting Kubu Island

A quick 20 minute watercolor and pen sketch of one of the Baobab trees on Kubu Island.Baobab trees can live to be a few thousand years old . Wikipedia .Baobab tree/Adansonia.

A week ago my brother, four friends, and I took a break so as to visited Kubu Island.It is my second visit to this isolated island dotted with baobab trees.You can read about my first adventure to Kubu Island here .

Its an island not because it is surrounded by water,but because it is surrounded by an expanse of flatness as far as the eye can see.Since it is isolated,and arid it is also not an area to visit unprepared.Although there are campsites, these consist of nothing more than an open area to place your camp and a long drop, (A toilet that does not flush) Since there is no water there, we packed about 45 liters of it, as well food, firewood and camping equipment. After four hundred kilometers ,twenty seven ostriches, and hundreds of zebras we arrived.

My brother and I decided to spend the two nights sleeping next to the fire under the stars, this would have been even better had it not been a full moon so that we could have enjoyed the stars.In fact he moon was so bright that I had to go beneath my blankets just to sleep.However the full moon did create an eerie atmosphere around this island of rocks and twisted baobabs which added to to the experience. But the light from the moon allowed us to take a midnight walk over the island so as to search for porcupines,and it also provided me a chance to experiment with my camera.
During the day it was so hot that we took shelter beneath the little, if not only green tree in the area which fortunately was in our camp. Since we were there only for a short time, I did not manage to get as much sketching done as I would have like to and instead  ended up using my camera .

During the middle of the day the wind really blew and we went through a couple of sandstorms.All we could do was remain sitting in our chairs with our backs to the wind ,because if we got up ,our chairs would blow away.Although it was a bit windy we were acually happy,as it kept us cool and blew the flies away which which was far worse that the dust.

Aside from the thousand year old baobabs, its isolated location ,Kubu Island has two other interesting things.The first one, is that thousands of years ago, Kubu  was really a Island sticking out of a super lake or a small sea.There are two reasons why we have come to this conclusion first , the rocks are stained white by bird guano, second around the base of the highest points of the island there are smooth rounded pebbles.

The other interesting thing is that after the lake had long disappeared, maybe hundreds of years ago people used to live here,confirmed by the stone walled enclosure and bits of pottery and ostrich eggshell beads that you can find here.Some of us spent quite a bit of time searching the ground in the unfulfilled hopes of finding something like an arrow head, or even a stone flint.

Those of you who know the TV show Top Gear can also see their trip to this strange place at Botswana adventure part one-Top Gear-BBC

I still plan on doing a painting of Kubu Island and it has now joined my long list of things still to paint.


On the way to Kubu Island we came across quite a big Baobab tree,so we took a 5 minute break.

The remains of the stone walls can be clearly seen,even though many parts have collapsed.The wall only stands about a meter and a half high but up to a meter or more wide .There are two small windows or peep holes that can also be found in the wall.Not sure why these were created since they are very low down, maybe to secretly watch any who might be approaching the area.Some people believe that this walled area was only used for initiation rites or ceremonies.

A stunning end to the day seen from the empty pans.

Early morning sunlight bathing the rocks and the Baobab tree in a warm glow.