I can still only temporarily escape from those first two years of military conscription. In an Eclipse scrapbook, which I bought for R1.05 in 1980, I've found pictures which encapsulate my semi-freedom. There are drawings done on the Bonza Bay beach, but also more done at 1 Intelligence Unit in Kimberley. In most cases I have had to crop the large pages due to scanner constraints.
These quick sketches were clearly done at my beloved Bonzies beach while on pass - which entailed an 800km hitch-hike from Kimberley home, and back again about three days later. Note the woman on the left in the bottom drawing, with a wave peeling off behind. Those long stints in the army certainly made one appreciate all the more the wonders of the female form.
I rather like this quickfire drawing of a dog on the beach, which was at the bottom of the previous page, but had to be scanned separately.
While too tightly cropped, I still think the atmosphere of people on horseback enjoying the sweep of the beach is nicely evoked here. Doesn't the top horse have an interesting circus look to it?
I can't remember at all when I got to sketch this young African boy, but I do notice what looks like a bar stool in the main picture. I managed to merge two scans for this.
The drawing bottom left is of a carving I did from driftwood. This is probably the only record I have of the thing before it at some point lost a section. The remainder lives in our dining room. I find the visual correlation with the cat quite interesting. The young black boy seems to still be around, too.
But the liberty of the weekend pass was all to short-lived. Here I am back with the lads in that Kimberely bungalow.
This oke, from Durbs, would probably not forgive me for forgetting his name, which may come back to me when I least expect it. He was a delightful character, apparently forced out of active duty due to an absence of kneecaps!
This one had to be cropped too, so something of the same guy is lost at the bottom. Note how with a few swift lines I got the pose of Mr McIntyre at the top.
This is Mac again, including typical Durban slipslopped feet.
In this study of a sleeping Peter Bain I think I have, more clearly than anything previously, depicted the interior of a typical army bungalow. Note the steel cupboard, which had two sliding doors, and the steel, fold-up type bed. The pillow lines add an interesting touch.
I must have got hold of some pastels, or perhaps charcoal for the top drawing, which contrasts with the finer pen lines below.
Ja, that charcoal, or whatever, certainly lent itself to bold lines. That's Mr Bain on the right, thumb raised. Not sure of the other oke.
Another study of okes all seemingly willing the days away until liberation - but always aware that after those initial two years came a further two years' worth of "camps" spread over 10 years. What fun.
What working with felt-tipped pens does is make you use fewer lines, with each making so much stronger an impact.
I can picture this oke like it was yesterday. The vertical line of a "kas" is clear on the right.
Radically cropped, the guy on the right loses something, but I had to include this, which I drew while okes were watching squash at that Kimberley base.