I came to this place as a child almost every year and then life took over and it's been a while. There's a very strong family connection, and heavy history that could fill volumes.
For years I've wanted to come and paint here and spend some proper time. I got 2 weeks, which is not nearly enough time to unravel anything, especially considering it takes at least one week to lose London. I got here and was at a complete block until the very last few days. I beat the resistance and started sploshing some paint around.
What I managed to produce was nowhere near what I expected from myself, and I still haven't properly thought through what I painted. I see these as beginnings and 'notes' of ideas or maybe actually more like reflex responses, as to be honest nothing was thought through.
This place for me is steeped in a special kind of magic. It's in my blood. I can't cut it out. difficult to put into words. In this place I feel I can find myself somehow yet I'm lost here. Somehow, a piece of something is here and I cannot escape it. Not in any sentimental way. It really does haunt me, in a good way. Even during my years in South Africa, this is the place that continually draws me, even in my long absence. I'm trying to figure it out.
The weather is stormy and rainy, atmospheric, wonderful. I've been sketching and taking things in and whatever is coming out on the canvas is not what I'd expected from myself, yet for me it's more interesting. It’s definitely about the process at the moment. Maybe it'll all go into the bin, who knows. They are landscapes but they're from my gathered observations, not the direct plein-air paintings I'd intended on.
One major observation is that my palette has totally changed (thought the red paint appeared at the very end). I wanted to paint plain air landscapes but the idea simply didn't appeal to me when it came time.
Here are a few snaps of my time so far, my wonderful 'studio' and beginnings of the paintings that are in no way finished pieces, more ideas, or responses rather.
Prior to entering my studio I had the privilege of spending time with some incredible people which involved lengthy debates and discussions about many things. The gathering was initiated by an exceptional member of my family who has greatly influenced both my thought process and my approach and has definitely stretched me in man ways. I am now challenging everything that I do and intend to do in a different way.
I've posted some snaps of the work below, the mini watercolour sketches were very quick and impulsive but maybe the best work I did, I'm not sure. The paintings are mainly done on unstretched canvas and in my opinion are rather terrible but most definitely to be continued next year. Beginnings.