epic watercolours at Betty’s Bay

This afternoon I had the best of fun.  We stayed over with friends of our in Betty’s Bay.  In the morning Calvin and Jonty asked me to take them down for a surf at the local break.  It was a very beautiful morning with a stiff Northwest wind a blowing directly offshore as we paddled out.  The tide was out and the waves were breaking fast on a shallow sand bank.   The boys had some great waves – out of the pages of surf magazines.  It was too fast and steep for me but I loved being out looking at the mountains and the clouds billowing through the gap at Luiperds Kloof (Leopard ravine I guess).  People sometimes see leopards around there still.  There was one that got quite friendly until some ignorant idiot shot it.  But – I digress.

I was just going to go out and get my stuff and do a painting when Calvin broke his board in half! So I took the boys home.  As we drove back the rain came in and by the time we got to the cottage it was chucking down.

I really enjoy the paintings of David Bellamy who does the beautiful watercolour sketches in the most extreme conditions.  I have always wanted to do the same so I got warmly dressed with my waterproof gear and went back to the beach.  I found shelter from the wind and did a quick painting with my squirrel hair mop – it must have taken about 2 minutes at the most.  As I finished the rain started and I just had time to take a photo before the downpour cleaned up:


By the time I packed up the page was all but clean.

I decided to sit and wait for a break in the rain.  It was just so beautiful.  I was warm and mostly dry sitting in flip-flops and rain gear.   Eventually I realised the rain would not stop so I found another place to sit under a slightly overhanging bush at the top of a dune.  The rain moderated a little and I was able to do another sixty second watercolour.  I could not actually see the mountain but as I finished it cleared enough for me to get a bit of the shape in.  And that was it.  Last night I was reading a book about the teaching of Edgar Whitney – what a guy!  He used to say “if you feel afraid – do it!  Morale is more important than success”  I like that.  And so I did it.  And this is how it looks:


The paper was too wet to do more and I began to think about how I could prepare to do this better.  I knew if I tilted the paper all the colour would run off so I carefully lifted it off the surface of my paint box and put it inside.  I loaded my palette on top and covered it with a plastic bag (thanks K for the suggestion – it came in V. handy).  I put the painting the back of my bakkie (truck) and stood under the beach shower to wash off all the sand.  (o:

Then I took off the wet stuff and shot home – what a cool way to spend a couple of hours.

11 thoughts on “epic watercolours at Betty’s Bay

  1. Ha! – extreme painting – sounds a bit crazy but fun – like it, especially your rampant enthusiasm! The first rain soaked painting looks like a really cool special effect…think that’s given me an idea for an illustration I’ve been planning, so thanks Stephen, will tell you how it comes out.

    It’s remarkable that you’ve captured the rain in this painting…in only 60 seconds.

    • Hey June – I hope you show us how your illustration idea develops. I am going to give the painting another go here in my studio. It was interesting sitting there in the rain, as I painted there just was no time for frills and fusses – just the essentials. I would like to develop the ability to make those essentials as valuable as possible – to size up a scene and put the colour down in a way that allows me to capture what I want in the richest way.

  2. You are remarkable. I’ve looked out from a porch and painted on a rainy day, but never sat in it. Good job. Judi Whitton paints in the rain under an umbrella. Great mountain shape that looks connected to the clouds. I truly believe you could write a book, Stephen. And……I believe it would sell.

    • Aha – there is a compelling (and slightly scary) thought. A book! I will give this some thought and do a posting for comment.
      Being out there felt good. I was warm enough and dry enough and I just sat and appreciated the scene unfolding. I thought of an umbrella but the wind was very strong. I want to make a covered tray that I can put paintings in when they are done. All the sort of things going through my mind as I watched my painting run off the page.

  3. Ah, I see your fan club has all collected here. I love extreme painting!!! It matches your extreme enthusiasm. I laugh sometimes when I read your blog and think I’m reading a 20 year old’s blog and not…well, an *older than 20* person’s blog. You put me to shame. But I love reading about your adventures. And you already know how I feel about your watercolors.

    By the way, I am good at something extreme. Extreme napping. It’s a family trait. Love your rainy mountain painting.

    • Hey Carol – your postings make me laugh. I must say having a 17 year old son who wants to get out there helps. Thanks for the comments.
      We still have rain here and I have been doing lots of napping today. S

  4. I had to laugh when I saw Carol’s fan club statement. I was just thinking, the other day, how much fun it was to communicate with all of you. Carol, I’ve been to your site several times this weekend and you still have a flat tire.

  5. Hi everyone – Your input here is very special to me. It is just so good to be able to meet here, to chat, to put up work and get feedback. I love the way everyone’s different personalities come through – even though we never meet face to face. Thank you all for joining the conversation. Stephen

  6. I’d love to come to the party! You’re a fun bunch!

    Stephen,I can just see you all huddled up in rain gear painting away. Don’t ever try Yupo paper in these conditions!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s