Lake Malawi

Last night I left Lilongwe in a hire car and drove down to Cape Maclear – I stopped on the way to take pictures and heard the beautiful bird songs so I was really looking forward to getting there.  When I arrived, I found the campsite in the middle of a village.  The camp was pleasant and Peter the owner and Cheezy the manager were very friendly.  There were the usual assortment of tourists, travellers and aid-workers-on-break which I enjoy.  I had about half an hour to paint so did the painting below while being hustled by a drunken local to buy some curios.  


This is not a masterpiece but as I always tell myself, the important thing is to be there painting.  The quality of the result is incidental.   I slept like a log in spite of the Friday night party in next door compound.  This has been a very tiring week.  The village was very noisy and busy.  And there were no birds.  Just people talking about the fish eagles.  So I wanted to leave as soon as I could.

This morning I drove to Liwonde and caught the boat to Mvuu lodge where I am camping for tonight.  It is quite tiring driving on the roads here.  There always people walking or cycling in the road and every now and then there is a huge donga in the road that would rip out your diff if you hit it at speed.   I have had a great afteroon in the camp painting and listeing to the emerald spotted wood doves.   They have such a plaintive call.  It resonates with my sleepy melancholia.

This is a painting I did of the view across the Shire River as I waited for the boat to arrive:


The two weeks in Lilongwe drained my last “interaction-reserves” and all I want to do is sit by myself.  As people arrived for the boat I just sat and painted.  And people left me alone.  This afternoon everyone left for a game-drive and the camp was almost deserted, which was just great.

This is a view looking upstream from the education centre the camp.  There is a small launch area to the right of the picture and the camp workers were chatting and clonking around in boats (what did ratty say “messing around in boats” – the wind in the willows).  It was all so peaceful and mellow. 


The tree in the middle distance is a fever tree.  It turned out a bit messy because I fell asleep as I was painting – it was so relaxing.   When I get back to my studio in Cape Town I want to paint more of these scenes.

I took a recording of the doves using my voice recorder and will figure out how to put it on the page if it comes out OK.


6 thoughts on “Lake Malawi

    • Hey Isabelle – thanks for the comment – it is so good to chat with other artists here. I look forward to seeing your next watercolour. – Stephen

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