boland mountains

Today after a finishing a workshop near Worcester I stopped off to paint the mountains at Theewaters Kloof Dam.  The higher mountains were covered in snow and there was an icy wind blowing.   I found a place to sit in the heather near the car and did this painting.  I thought of David Bellamy who does these beautiful watercolours crouched behind rocks in the most awful weather.  I was warmly dressed so it was a lot of fun.  There is the remnant of a pine forest at the edge of the dam.


I must get a better brush, my pallette is full of hair.  I use a horse-hair brush with a sawn-off bamboo handle (to fit in my handy travel kit).  While I paint I have to keep pulling stray bristles out of the brush.


10 thoughts on “boland mountains

  1. Wow, wow, wow. This is a stunning picture. Just Beautiful. Hair or no hair on your pallette, this is just a wonderful watercolor. I love the way you’ve indicated the sky. Looks angry!

    I need some lessons from you!

    • Hi Carol – thanks hey – I was keen to capture the peaks that have wild shapes but the one wash would not allow this – I would still be out there if I waited for the paper to dry – but I am pleased with this. S

    • Yes well of course you are right – Winter is very mild here in comparison. But it is colder for us. And those windy days when snow falls in the mountains are very invigorating. We are totally not set up for the kind of Winter you guys had over there.

      By the way – I am in Durban at the moment which is really tropical. I had breakfast outside in the morning sunshine the lady in the hotel commented on how cold it was and how she battled to get out of bed – and I was sweltering! But then summer here is all about muggy, sweaty heat.

  2. I like the loose washy sky – am interested in how you have used a reddish colour and some yellow in it. It’s quite dynamic. The way the washes settle make it look like it raining right now in your painting.
    Had you not mentioned the dam and the pine forest remnants, I would have had to think about what those shapes were, but we have a lake close by, apres-dam, if you like, where the stumps rise out of the water and so it becomes very understandable.
    If you are looking for a good single brush to carry with you, try a one inch Sable Essence Grumbacher 4424. It holds a fairly fine 1 inch edge, used flat, and either one of the corners of it can act as a pointed brush. You can put in large washes and then let the corner do the detail. Maybe it’s too big for your travel. It’s one of my favourite brushes.
    So congrats on this latest work of yours.

    • Hi K
      The flat brush is definitely worth considering – I was thinking of a round brush – a 10 or a 12 but a flat may work well. I went through a phase where all my paintings were done with a flat brush about a third of an inch wide and it became a bit stylised so I went on to round brush.
      When I painted the mountains the sun was going down and the clouds were tinged with yellow and red which I tried to capture. I am very keen to do this again in my studio for the painting – But I must say, it just felt so good to sit in the bushes with the wind whooshing over the top of the bank. I sat on a little back-pack to prevent seepage from the wet ground – forgetting that I had been canoeing with the pack and so I got my butt wet anyway. I would like to get some good foul-weather gear and do more of this.
      Perhaps a flat brush would be a good way to capture the trees. It is interesting, the dam is decades old and the trees are still there.

      Thanks for the feedback and encouragement.

      Cheers hey S

  3. It’s good to hear you are painting.
    Something you might consider taking with you is just a large plastic garbage bag. It’s light and compact and you can plunk it on the ground as a separation between you and the damp. When you move on, it’s easy to dry it out and make it compact again.
    Here’s another tip:
    When I was travelling a lot, I used to keep the paper napkins/serviettes from the airlines, or grab one at the coffee counter and tuck those in my pocket. They are good for wiping a brush or mopping up a too-liquid wash when you get around to painting.

    • The plastic bag idea is great – I carry my paint kit and paper in a swanky corporate zip-up leather folder that allows me to pass unnoticed through the halls of mammon (o: – I am sure I can fold a bag and stick it in there. Paper napkins would also be a good idea except I have to admit I flick the water off my brush which I suppose can be quite gross.

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