Monday, January 31, 2011

Mountain Zebra National Park

About five years ago, we took ourselves off to the Mountain Zebra National Park, outside Cradock, where we spent a couple of nights in one of their comfortable cabins. There are stunning views to be had, and one morning I took my watercolours and set to work trying to capture the view.

This was not the first picture I did, but was probably one of the nicest, after I had been "at it" for some time, and had started to hone my skills. Normally, one tends to draw the scene first in pencil or pen, and colour it later, but this time I attempted to paint directly what I saw. Here, a limited palette and some line spontaneity seem to be the key elements.

This was the same koppie, done earlier using a far wider range of colours. I rather enjoy the semi-abstract, almost Kandinsky-like quality achieved.

Here I think I got some nice rich hues going, especially in the sky.

This is a view of a 22-ton dolerite boulder visible from our chalet, with the mountains behind it. We went up to it on one of our walks and it is massive - several times the height of a man. It apparently was dislodged from a nearby hilltop in 1974, rolling about 250m to its current resting place.

Dolerite boulders abound in the Mountain Zebra National Park, and here I homed in on some of the patterns they create. (By the way, the wildlife, especially the zebras, is also superb.)

I rather enjoy the colours I got going here, with the moon setting above the flanks of a mountain.

From Cradock we travelled north to a farm near Steynsburg where my wife Robyn had spent many a happy holiday with her grandparents while growing up. This is Loskrans, one of the many superb faces to that part of the Suurberg range.

Another view of some of the Karoo mountains, again painted in situ.

As dusk settled, so my palette became darker.

Also done on that trip, but this time looking south, not north, I first sketched this koppie, then later watercoloured it.

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