Monday, November 11, 2013

Seronga village boys

Some months ago I was in Seronga, a remote village in the Northern part of Botswana, during that time I was able to capture many snapshots of the rural life that many still enjoy. I say enjoy, because although such isolated living may be hard, collecting your water from the river, finding firewood to cook on etc, the life is a simple one. However many living in such environment, wish to live in the cities where they feel, life could be better. But I could not help noting that a number of the kids in this area seemed happier than the kids who have everything and live in the city.

I feel that many of the activities that modern youth partake in today, lack the fulfillment, and joy that the outdoors can bring. For example most of the kids in the cities have a TV, and hours are spent in front of it, in fact older children on average spend 5 hours a day in front of it, what a waste of a childhood! Not only does such a inactive lifestyle encourage health problems such as obesity and heart disease but it fails to optimize brain development. As kids we had TV for about a year when I was 12 years old and then we got rid of, which none of us regretted. I still believe the TV is one of the greatest time wasters.

That is why I loved working on this painting because it reminded me of my childhood, and what we spent our time doing. No we did not ride donkeys around, although my younger brother and I did try to persuade our dad to buy us one each, at that time you could buy one for P80.00 (about $10). However my Dad would not be persuaded, he would not see his sons riding around on donkeys, and so he promised that he would get us horses if he could find some at a reasonable price. Finally someone donated a horse , which my brother named Pepperoni due to his speckled white coat, and then my Dad bought a red horse with black points which I named Chilli. I called him Chilli because he had a hot temperament, which was very obvious during our early days of training where he seemed to find the greatest enjoyment bucking me off .I quickly learnt how to hang on especially after this one time where bucked me off and I found myself lying under a thorn bush cut and grazed while chewing on a mouthful of sand.

Anyway despite the learning curve we loved the horses, and eventually were so comfortable riding them ,that we even went out riding at night whenever there was a full moon.Which reminds me that I have to go riding again some time soon,we had so much fun.

Well after all this painting and sitting in front of this laptop I think I will go for a jog around the neighbor’s field.

PS .Please switch that TV off for a moment and go and dig in the garden, jump in the lake ,walk in the park, swim in the river, play something, or just ride a donkey!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Seronga Village boys (Work in Progress)

Not sure what was going through my mind when I decided to start such a big painting,I think my brain has been affected by the extreme heat that we are still experiencing here in Maun.It has been between 35 and 42 celsius ( 90 -107 degree Fahrenheit) Without an aircon, I have had to be content with the ceiling fan ,which at least moves the hot air around.

Since I am working during the day most of my painting is done at night,one of the drawbacks to this arangement is the insects that are attracted to the lights in the house.It does not take long before hundreds of little insects are stuck to the wet painting. Some of the larger ones end up dragging themselves across my painting ,leaving behind colorful but unwanted marks and smears .The larger insects,I am able to flick off ,but don't even try to remove the hundreds of little ones, these are best removed when the painting is dry.I guess that is what painting in Africa is all about.

Although this painting is large ,I have actually found it easier to paint since I don't have to concentrate on small details and am even able to use some of my larger  brushes.The painting is based on some village boys riding donkeys,that I had seen in a remote village in the Northern part of Botswana called Seronga.

Close up detail of my palette 

The unfinished painting

Painting late at night.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Camel rider on a Kenyan beach

I was commissioned some months back to do this painting for a lady also a fellow blogger see her post about  this commission at Roger Brown in progress.She had made a visit to Kenya and wanted one of her favourite photos she had taken there, turned into a painting. Even though she paid up front, she has been waiting quite some time for me to finish, as I have been so busy. Since she lives in Gaborone, and I am traveling there tomorrow, I had no choice but to finish this quickly.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Colour, Shape and Light Exhibition

Colour,Shape and Light is a three man Exhibition which features three different artistic mediums painting,pottery and photography.The Exhibit is being held at our local Nhabe museum and will run from the 7th of May to the 4th of June.It will then be moved to the Thapong visual art center in Gaborone which is 1000 km away and will be on exhibit from the 11th of June till the 5th of July.

Stuart Arnold's powerful Photographs ,gave an intimate view of everyday Batswana life. He has also created a book entitled (Maun Mothers) in which he provides a glimpse of the unique relationship between mothers and their children.The book and his images are available for purchase at his website

Sebuelo creates clay pots in the traditional manner,which are then fired in a pit.Although his methods are traditional, he loves creating new designs and experimenting with different clays so as to achieve special effects on the surface.

Last night the 7th of May we held a private viewing of the artwork.It was done on an invitation basis only, and consisted mainly of our sponsors,the press and a few other selected guests.Tonight we open the event to the public and expect quite a number to come.

 I selected a few of my daily paintings that I had done during January this year and had got them framed.They looked really good next to each other,and a number of people commented on them. I will definitely be painting some more in this size.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Botswana Cowboys (Re-worked)


With only a week away before our 3 man art Exhibit ,I have been busy with last minute preparations whenever I have time.Since today was a public holiday, I decided that instead of starting a new painting I will rework  an older one .

Stacked up in my roof were a couple of paintings in various stages of completeness. Other paintings were stored up there simply to save space .The house that I rent is tiny,yes I repeat tiny!It is basically one bedroom which also as a lounge when visitors come.I also have a bathroom and kitchen of course, but you cant paint in there so all my artistic creating is done in the bedroom.

The painting I decided to work on is the biggest painting I have done Botswana Cowboys. Since my easel is not robust enough for such a large painting I had to lay it on my bed .This worked out fine and I managed to finish it before 2 in the afternoon.

The painting is almost as wide as my bed!

Spreading paint about :)

Last Friday was the Cameras for Conservation Exhibition and Awards ceromony.It was a great event which was well attened. I enjoyed looking at the great display of photos ,there were some new catergorys opened up for this year which included wildlife art .

My painting  Rains over the Makgadikgadi was the category winner for realistic wildlife art which I was pleased about.If possible next year I will try to submit a few works in the other art catorgorys as well.

The Cameras for conservation was well attended ,the highlight of the evening was veiwing the winning documentries.Stuart Arnold whom I will be Exhibiting with on the 7th of May submitted a great 3 min Film clip which if you are intrested can be veiwed (here Lilies on the Thamalakane)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Follow the leader


I saw these kids crossing the road just outside Maun.They had bought some crisps from a tuckshop and were now eating them with much enjoyment.I decided to paint this as a landscape format as I felt that it did the subjects more justice .

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Kays Hair Salon and Tuck Shop

A common sight in Botswana are Tuck shops seen along the side of the roads in towns and villages.These tuckshops contain the basic necessities of life,such as Magwinya (Round Fat Cakes)Coca cola, and Pop ice which is normally frozen juice in a packet and great to have on a hot day  All tuck shops shops sell air time (Talk time) for your cell phones since everybody has one including the beggar on the corner.

Some shops even double up as a hair salon, as does Kays Hair Salon and Tuckshop situated on the main Francistown road that runs through Maun.So if you are visiting Maun, and suddenly desire some hair braids or just an ice cold coke ,Kays Hair Salon is the place to be.

This painting will be available for sale at our upcoming 3 man show  (Color,Shape and Light)The Exhibit will feature Omphile Sebuelo who is a ceramic artist,Stuart Arnold a Photographer, and myself the painter.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rains over the Makgadikgadi

Last year cameras for conservation held an exhibition of wildlife photography for the first time here in Maun Botswana.This year they have included a new category (Wildlife artist of Botswana) I have had so little time that I did not think that I would be able to enter. Fortunately they have extended the dead line up to the 31st of March,so I still have a few days to get this painting ready and framed. 

The Makgadikgadi is one of the largest salt flats in the world, it is not one single pan but many pans with sandy desert in between.The Gemsbok antelope is one of the few animals that can survive in this environment,and that is why I decided to picture them in such a setting.I still need to make a few adjustments in this painting before I am happy with it but it is basically finished. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Across the river

Title-Across the river
Medium-Oil on Board

Arriving home today I had a sudden urge to do a painting en plein air (French expression which means to paint out of doors). Grabbing my studio bedroom easel, and my box of paints , I carried them to the bottom of our garden.After adjusting my easel on the sloping ground,clamping my board,and squeezing some paint onto my palette I started painting the clouds.

It was actually the clouds that had caught my eye in the first place. Painting clouds turned out to be a little challenging since they were moving,and changing colors.I found myself mixing color as fast as possible and trying to complete a cloud before it change into something else.I think I now know why many of the plein air painters are impressionists,since it is not that easy to be a realist when everything around you is moving and changing including the light.

I would love to do some more plein air paintings, and if I do managed to create some sort of habit out of it,I will have to purchase a more suitable easel.

While I was writing this I realized that unlike our predecessors we are living in an age of technology.Using tools such as cameras,art projectors,and computers,artists are now able to create art more quickly and easier.However dependency on these tools could rob the artist of developing important skills such as drawing .

It is easy to reason, why paint out of doors when it is easier to paint in the comfort of a studio from a photo.Although I don't have anything against painting from photos,I have found that there are some things that you can fail to capture.For example photos sometimes fail to accurately portray the correct colors,and light.On the other hand painting  plein air can only improve your skills of observation and drawing.
The other benefit of painting out of doors is the connection with the subject,and the enjoyment of nature.

What do you think, is the traditional way of creating art disappearing ? Does it matter the method you use to produce your art? 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Waiting patiently

Title-Waiting Patiently
Medium-Oil on Masonite Board
Size 6x6 Inches

I cant believe that I haven't posted anything yet for this month.However just because I haven't  posted anything does not mean I have not been painting.I have just completed a commissioned portrait painting of a police officer.Never thought I would paint such a subject but he called me up and, after I met him I did not feel like turning him down,since he wanted to give the painting to another officer as a gift.Today when I went to pick up the outstanding amount he said that someone had seen the portrait and now also desired one . Although he even had a good photo to work from I had to turn him down and explain to him that I have already committed myself to an three man Exhibit in May,and that I just didn't have the time.So like the subject of my latest painting ,he will just have to patiently wait until after May.

This month has been a good one with regards to sales.I received news from the Thapong Visual art center that they had sold all three of my paintings Donkey Cart,Water in a pink bucket,and Late for School.all three had been part of the Thapong 2012 Awards Exhibition last year.Not only had they all sold, but they also decided that the amounts that I was asking for was to low, and so they increased the prices to my benefit.

This month I also sold An uncertain encounter which I painted a year ago ,which proves that some artwork like wine has to mature first.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Coming home

Title-Coming home
Medium-Oil on Masonite Board
Size-6x8 Inches
Price-$100 Includes International Shipping

Although I really have enjoyed the challenge of creating 30 paintings in 30 days I will be glad to have some rest.For someone working Monday to Friday it is not easy to come home ,and then try to start a painting while still feeling tired.Often it would be a battle between sleeping or painting.I would often have to force myself just to start,because once started the creative juices would start flowing and by the end of an hour or two I would be happily admiring a completed painting on my easel,and then of course crash onto my bed into an exhausted heap.

Could I become a daily painter?I think I can comfortably say, yes if my circumstances were different.I don't feel that it is paint,skill,or ideas that I lack ,it is simply time.

Yesterday I laid out some of the daily paintings that I have done this month and took a photo of them from above.It gave me a great sense of accomplishment to see them all together,well most of them.Seeing them all laid out also help me to see that this month has been a landmark in more ways than one....

(1) I found it to be a great opportunity to try out different colors,brush work and subject matter.I feel far more confident with the paints and brushes than before I started.

(2)  I introduced  the (Buy Now PayPal Button) under each daily painting.I am sure this contributed towards two of my very first sales on this blog .

(3) This is also the most paintings I have ever painted in a month (24 paintings)!

Would I do this challenge again?Yes after I have recovered!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tsholofelo and the blue and white scarf

Title-Tsholofelo and the blue and white scarf
Medium-Oil on Masonite Board
Size 6x6 Inches
Price $100 Includes international shipping
Tsholofelo is a common Setswana name and in English means hope.I am really enjoying painting these small portraits.I use to shy away from painting faces, feeling that it was to difficult ,but all this practice is giving me confidence to paint more. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

African Jacana

Title-African Jacana
Medium-Oil on Masonite Board
Size-6x8 Inches

The African Jacana is a beautiful bird that is found only around areas of water.Some  refer to this bird as a Jesus Bird, probably due to the fact that it looks as if it is walking on water.However unlike Jesus, this bird does not walk on water but rather on the large lily pads.The only reason it is able to do this, is due to its large feet which allows its weight to be distributed over a larger area, thereby allowing it to walk over water lily leaves without sinking.

Well my hope to complete 30 paintings this month seem to have just been a hope .So far I have done 21 paintings this month and will probably only manage another 3.Work has been hectic ,allowing me no time for any painting. Anyway I will not let that get me down since at the start of this month I had only planned to paint a painting a day for one week ,until I stumbled across and her challenge of 30 paintings in 30 days.

I have had great fun painting almost every day,and now look forward to focusing on some larger and more detailed work for an upcoming exhibit later this year ,but more of that later.Since there is still a few days left of the challenge I will post a daily painting for each.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Woodland Kingfisher

Title-Woodland Kingfisher
Medium-Oil on Masonite Board
Size-6x6 Inches

This is a common bird here in our garden, and occurs almost throughout Africa.It is normally found in wooded areas near water.However despite being called a kingfisher it does not eat fish but rather feeds on insects.They enjoy sitting on a branch in the semi shade while watching out for any insects that are stupid enough to make a move,once the insect is spotted it will swoop down and grab it.After beating the insect on its perch,to make sure that it has been properly dispatched it will then quickly swallow it.

I love the call and the colorful wing displays that this bird makes during the breeding season,they are quite beautiful. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tropical Storm

Title-Tropical Storm
Medium-Oil on Masonite Board
Size-6x8 Inches

Having piles of paper work to wade through and reconcile is not conducive to  painting,so I am a bit behind on the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge,but I hope to catch up.Having not painted for two days it was a great feeling to be pushing paint around and not papers.I did not really know what direction this painting would take.I started by roughly sketching out the boat and then I just started painting.The style is far more impressionistic than my normal realist style and yet I like the simplicity of it. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Medium-Oil on Masonite board
Size-6x8 Inches

The problem with me ,is that sometimes I get a great idea of something to paint,but I haven't got any photo reference to base my painting on, or very little. Today's painting (Swimming) is one of those paintings.What I did find was a photo of a boy swimming ,but it was only in black and white,anyway it was enough.

As you can see I have decided to stick to the Mozambique coast for a while longer, and to continue painting these little cameo scenes .I think I am really enjoying painting all this water ,because I love swimming, or maybe it is all the fun I am having mixing and experimenting with different shades of blues.

I am not sure why I chose to paint someone swimming underwater,I feel that it is not a subject just to be painted as a daily painting.To do it any justice I think it would be better if  I get some good reference material  first and then focus on painting the details ,even if it takes a couple of days to finish.However I have found that if you can get the colors and tones right it is possible to convey even a difficult subject just with a few quick brushstrokes.It would not work as a finished realist painting, but for an impressionist it would.

This is my 18th painting for this months 30 paintings in 30 day challenge,which mean 12 more to go.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Island Hopping

Title-Island Hopping
Medium-Oil on Masonite Board
Size-6x8 Inches

I am definitely visiting Mozambique in my imagination, and I am enjoying the crystal blue seas,cool breeze and the  traditional sailing dhows sailing between Islands.I think I might stay here for a while....

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sailing the aqua blue

Title-Sailing the aqua blue
Medium-Oil on Masonite Board
Size-6x8 Inches
I cant believe it, but it has been more than 6 years since we had holiday along the coast of Mozambique. Last year my brother and his wife went to Mozambique for their holiday ,and they had a wonderful time.We are now planning a trip to go together,with some family and friends. Mozambique has a beautiful coast line,some lovely white beaches and warm blue seas.The further north you go, the better it gets since most of hustle and bustle is found in the south of the country near the capital city of Maputo.

We plan to stay near Vilanculos,a small but busy village,that already possesses a couple of lodges and shops. Only 10 km off shore, lies the Bazaruto archipelago, consisting of a couple of Islands dotted with palm tress.Since we have been talking and planning the holiday,it is not strange that I am wistfully painting what I hope to see and do.Yes I need a break,I hardly took any leave last come quickly!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Steady Gaze

 Title-Steady Gaze
 Medium-Oil on Masonite Board
Size-6x6 Inches

I really loved painting this one,although there were so many different shades of colors,which really made it difficult to paint.By the end ,my palette looked such a mess with so many little color mixes.While painting my previous portrait and this one, I started with the eyes,and gave them special attention.I noticed that Crystal Cook a very talented artist always creates wonderful realistic eyes.As some say ,and which I agree with ,the eyes are the window to the soul. 
This girl really has a friendly, but steady gaze,try out staring her,and you will find that you will loose every time.

This is my 15th painting for this month which means I am halfway with the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kalahari summer storm

Title-Kalahari summer storm
Medium-Oil on Masonite board
Size-6x8 Inches
Price-$60 Plus $25 Worldwide shipping

While many of you are experience cold weather at the moment we are sweltering in the summer heat.In fact as I am typing this a thunderstorm has just broken bringing us some relief .Here in Botswana Rain is always appreciated, in fact the currency of the country is called Pula which means Rain (Shows how much they value both money and Rain)

I have to go to bed now as my brother is giving me evil looks,and once again muttering threats. Kalahari summer storm is my 14th painting for the challenge this month,which means I am almost half way.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Swirl of colors

Title-Swirl of colors
Medium-Oil on Masonite board
Size-6x8 Inches
Price-$60 Plus $25 worldwide shipping

Since I am only just keeping up with this 30 paintings in 30 days challenge,I posted this while it was still wet.I did not spend time blending in the colors ,in an effort to achieve perfection, but rather I applied the paint thickly and quickly which created a impressionistic look to this painting.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Field workers

Title -Field workers
Medium-Oil on Masonite board
Size 6x8 Inches

I saw these workers in a neighboring field.Since it is our rainy season,it is possible to see many working in the fields at this time.The normally use donkeys to pull a plow ,so as to loosen up the soil ,then this is followed up by a couple of people throwing down the maize (corn) seed and covering it up.Weeks later the seeds have sprouted as have the weeds.Sometimes the owners of the land will employ others to carry out the weeding as it is a labor intensive job.They are either paid in cash or have a share in the harvest.

Field workers is my 12th painting for this month, still 16 to go.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Shy Child

Title-Shy Child
Medium- Oil on Masonite Board
Size 6x6 Inches
Price-$100 Plus $25 worldwide shipping

This little girl was actually with her sister on their way to do some washing. I have already painted her sister ,and you can see that painting here( On the way to do the washing.).I decided to make separate paintings of them, since each was a good subject on their own.

Friday, January 11, 2013

My red ball

Title-My red ball
Medium-Oil on Masonite board
Size-6x8 Inches

Another late night,but well worth the effort as I managed to complete two paintings.Here is the first one (My red ball).I am relatively new to painting portraits,but am loving the process,although I must say they are time consuming to create, as much detail is needed in order for it to look like a human and not an alien.There is always a point in my artwork where I think is this going to come together,or not?Anyway I am happy with how this one turned out,and hope to do some more children paintings.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mother and Son

Title-Mother and Son
Medium-Canvas on board
Size-10x12 Inches

Mother and son is a  bit bigger than my past few paintings, and it has been done on canvas ,stretched on board.Because I have recently been painting on smooth surfaces it took some time getting use to the texture.I think I prefer the smooth surface of the primed Masonite boards.I saw this mother and her son walking down the a dirt road in Maun,and so decided that it would make a great painting.

Some good news is that I made my first online sale through PayPal yesterday.So I will be posting (Last rays of the sun) to his new owners.I hope it will be the start of many more sales ,but I guess that will depend on whether I can produce smaller, good quality, and appealing art work on a regular basis.I will give it a try