O. R. Tambo Airport watercolours

On the way home from Tshwane tonight I had a little time to sit and relax in Oliver Tambo Airport in Joburg.  Carol had set me a project to do some paintings of street scenes in JHB but I did not have a chance so I did these.  I am not sure I like the risk of rude people.  I asked one group if they would be offended if I painted them and they were so patronising and off-hand that in the end I didn’t.  I don’t suppose they had the free emotional energy for such a request.  So I felt put off by the whole experience.  Anyway here is the first one I did of people across the way:


And here is the second one I did after asking the group – the nearest figure is lost in my finding my balance after their response.  The second figure is quite fun I thought.



8 thoughts on “O. R. Tambo Airport watercolours

  1. I love that first one Stephen of the large group. I think it’s partly due to the composition lending to a circular path for the eye to travel. You are brave……very brave. Keep it up.

    • Hi Leslie – thanks hey – this was quite fun in a dazed, tired kind of way – they all moved around quite a bit and the initial sketch I did rapidly became irrelevant but I used it anyway. This sort of thing carries a risk but I try to look like I am not there.
      Plato said “how does a man become brave?” (I assume bravery in women is assumed) “by doing brave things” which has a kind of tautological wisdom to it (well I suppose it is Plato – after all). S

  2. hey! I love these! And just come to NYC for a few days and you won’t pay those people in the airport any mind! LOL! (I’m only kidding, we are VERY NICE PEOPLE. We just say what we mean and get to the point.)
    The first painting is terrific. I love the composition and colors and feel like I could wander over and listen in on their conversation. The figures in the 2nd painting are fun and immediate and fresh.
    And yes, you are very brave. Great job!

    • Hey Carol – yes well I could do with a dose of this approach to life. It is possible to be nice and not care less about people who are unpleasant AND say what you mean and get to the point, at least I am learning this as I go along. I find it refreshing and capable. Thanks for the comments. It was fun working with my mini-set again though I have to get a better brush – I still carry that horse-hair brush that sheds bristles with each stroke. It is time to pay Dick Blick a visit I think.
      I was just settling down in the second painting when I realised I had to go and board. So packed up and walked off with a dripping painting under my arm.

  3. These are nice and fresh.
    I don’t know why you would have to ask their permission when the end result is not recognizably the person you are painting. If you were doing something in high realism, I would not give the same advice though.
    I’m glad to see you back and painting. You disappeared off the map there for a little while. Mind you, August does not seem to be as active a blogging month.

    BTW, do you know the watercolours of Rodin – his sketches of his models. They are this loose and then so beautifully supple. You might like to give them a look. The looseness of yours reminded me of his.

    • I saw a Rodin watercolour in a book in the bookshop last night – I will look them up sometime. The last week was quite busy and I find painting takes a knock when that happens – it is all about focus I guess.
      Yes I suppose it is not necessary – it has just felt like the polite thing to do. My friend Neil always asks if I have asked. In future I will just paint. Painting is enough risk asking permission adds a whole new layer of supposition and risk. The emotional energy and risk goes through the roof when we break the communication barrier – it does for me anyway. Anonymity is better. Even if inivisibility is not possible. Painting people like this is rewarding.

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