This weekend I went hiking with family and friends in the Hottentots Holland mountains above our town.  It was a great to be out even though I was feeling a little under the weather and not at all fit.  Towards the end of the walk in I told the others to go on and I sat and did this sketch.  Our whole area has been ravaged by veld-fires this summer, many of them believed to be as a result of arson.  There have been some days when our whole valley has been filled with smoke.  So the landscape was all blacks and browns – with a tint of green as new shoots begin to appear.  I thought of Carol’s story about needing a pallette of 64 shades of ash for the post-apocalyptic artist.


The mountain hut was under Landroskop.  A ‘Landros’ is a Magistrate and ‘kop’ is ‘head’ or ‘peak.  (is dit reg Cecily?)  ‘That evening after sitting around a fire in the mountain hut I slept under the stars.  We had a few drops of rain and I moved to a spot where I was sheltered but was eaten alive by mosquitoes so I went out again.  At first I could not sleep and I lay looking up at the heavens.  Then I realised I had been asleep and the Southern Cross rotated in the sky.  And the next I looked the stars were fading and there was light in  the eastern sky.


7 thoughts on “Landroskop

  1. Hi Stephen, Your painting didn’t incorporate ALL 64 shades of ash. You better go back and try again!!!! 🙂
    Actually, this is another wonderful landscape and I do like the hints of green showing through. HOPE! The grass will grow back again. Horrible story about it possibly being arson.

  2. Hey Carol – heh heh – the whole landscape was very grey and black I am afraid my ash-pallette was just inadequate – there were some areas where the fire must have swept through fast and the bushes still carried leaves and cones in various shades of reds and browns. The colours were quite beautiful actually. Our rainy season is just beginning so there is hope beneath the black. Actually the fynbos needs a good burn every 5 years or so as many of the plant species need the heat for the seeds to germinate. But I was told that the frequency of the fires is too high and we are losing species that do not reach maturity before they are burnt again.

    There were so many different fires. Apparently they found various evidences of arson. And that starts all sorts of rumours of conspiracy.

    The saddest part is all the little creatures like tortoises that can’t get away. We saw two chameleons while we were hiking, so they survived. I have a photo which I will put up.

  3. Hi Stephen, I thought my english was so good that no-one would know I’m actually afrikaans! Ag nee. (Don’t know how to put a smiley face).
    It is good to see that you can still see the beauty of nature, even after the fires.

  4. Hey Cecily – The fires were bad – I thought your Afrikaans must be better than mine because your visitors to your blog chat with you in Afrikaans. I think the mountains are still beautiful but with lots of rocks of different sizes between the black – which is a challenge for me to paint. Maybe tomorrow.

    Hi Sandy – nice to see you here – Isn’t it just so. I so seldom get to lie and look up at the night sky. It is so vast and beautiful. For me to lie under the stars is to marvel at creation.

  5. Hey K – I understand your comment on colourful greys. I mix Windsor Green and Alizarin Crimson instead of using black. So the colours sometimes just happen. I got this from Jeanne Dobie ‘making colour sing’ in which she has a chapter on colourful greys. I have also stopped using burnt sienna, creating a more glowing look alike with Aureolin Yellow and Rose Madder Genuine or Alizarin. Lekker to see you here – I hope you are getting some painting done on this Spring weekend.

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