I just wanted some fun: a break, so I upped myself off to Camps Bay near Cape Town by gathering together some of my old photos and painting me a little time on the beach.

The yellow of the umbrella is just the base colour left untouched. I use yellow as a priming colour as I have a big tin of it that was on offer. I then blocked in the image with square brushes. I liked the shapes created by the two under the shade with a few sunlit edges creating hints as to the form – and then the colours of the umbrella…

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I was put off from painting this because of the overwhelming green, but I tried washing in reds, oranges and blues to stir things up and layered in masking fluid so that, although the greens do dominate, there is enough to keep a bit of interest going. I think I took this picture last year when I was out painting plein air on the canal and I am thinking of doing more this year, as this time I wont be recovering from a hip operation that kept me grounded for a couple of months.


I also had another go at Uphill Struggle: the painting of Cape Town’s Waterkant suburb,  I first published a few weeks ago in February. This time I increased the size of the main figure and painted the road in a warmer hue to emphasise the ambience

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The last day on our first stay in Cape Town, in the early evening, we were coming back up to the hotel in De Waterkant district and I saw these guys pushing this enormous box up the street. I would have helped but I was too busy taking photos.

I did feel very uneasy about the situation in South Africa, particularly as a white. I don’t remember if these guys were black, but by doing some manual work probably meant that they were. It seemed a metaphor for the country: the uphill struggle against poor education and poor housing holding many blacks back. What’s more upsetting and perplexing  is that they have have a primarily black government, but the whites hold the purse strings – certainly the wealth.

So here are these black guys labouring in a rich white neighbourhood, pushing a box up the hill – you hope that they get to the top.

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Finally back to Cape Town for a few days before departure. In the sunshine on Camps Bay with the sea smoothed boulders which at some time must have come down from the hills above. It would make me a bit wary of living there. The beaches seemed a bit empty, possibly in the weekdays running up to the school holidays.


We had a day out at the Kirstenbosch botanical gardens in Cape Town. They are set beneath the dramatic drop of Table Mountain so you could just put a lawn there and it would look stunning. I found painting the amorphous masses of folliage and obtaining a sense of depth difficult as even the mountain slopes are covered in vegetation. Sitting in the pelargonium garden I was offered some colour to pull the foreground forward and as I worked I noticed the background slopes get bluer so that offered more of a differentiation for the background. As the day progressed the hills grew a mysterious darkness which  really set off the gardens.

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I have missed a couple of days painting and blogging. In Namibia two men took care of the arrangements and cooking. Here we have to do it ourselves and what with the travel, it is only now I have got back to the painting.

I found the views south of Cape Town stunning and I’ve only been a few miles down the road so far. This is one of the views of the mountains plunging into the sea, done quickly in the middle of the day. Hopefully in the next few days I’ll get some time to do a few more. Anyway I do have plenty of photos.

Other landscapes are available on my website: