Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Karoo odyssey

In 2005, my family and I went on a Karoo journey. These are some of the drawings I did along the way.

With a koppie in the distance, the poplar tree and fence denote human settlement. This was done at the guest farm, Groenvlei, north-west of Graaff-Reinet, where we spent a few days.

Another view done at Groenvlei. Note the suggestion of a horse at the bottom.

A dusty road at Groenvlei.

The main Groenvlei homestead.

I've been drawing horses since I was in the army in the late 1970s.

Another horse, done at Groenvlei.

One of the rather large cleaning staff, drawn on the back of my sketch-pad.

Groenvlei offers horse-riding for visitors. I did a composite of images here, including a strange caravan-like shape, bottom left.

Sisal plants are a distinctive feature of the area. Here an old tractor nestles among them.

A distant koppie towers over the farm.

We climbed the odd koppie. Here, my wife Robyn shows how it's done.

Just east of Groenvlei, we visited Nieu Bethesda, home, of course, to the famous Owl House. The concrete sculptures by Helen Martins and her assistant, an example of "outsider art", are incredible. I attempted to capture something of the spirit of the place.

There is a wounderful diversity of imagery to be found in the sculpture garden.

I think this concrete dog's eyes were made from the base of bottles.

On, then, to Spring Valley, a farm near Steynsburg which my wife's grandparents ran and which was then taken over by her uncle, Bill Elliott. Here I was lucky to be in the right place to capture Bill feeding a couple of lambs.

The mountains in the Suurberg range are fantastic. This was done from the top of what they call Big Mountain.

The dam on the farm, when full, provides a fine surface for a gentle row in an inflatable craft. The thing in the foreground is not one of the many birds to be found there, but the head of one of Bill's dogs.

As happy as a dog on a farm.

A view across the dam towards distant koppies and mountains.

Finally, when he was younger, my son Douglas was incredibly supple. Now well over six foot, he isn't able to contort his body quite as much today as he did back then, in 2005.

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