A morning on the Touw River in Wilderness

On Friday I drove up to George to work with a new client. I left Somerset West just after 05:00 and just made it to my 09:00 meeting to begin the work. I was too tired at the end of the day to drive home so I slept over at Ebb and Flow – the Nature Conservation campsite at Wilderness, the next town East of George, after a pizza from the good people at Pomodoro they make quite the best pizza – if you ever pass through Wilderness have a Qattro Stagioni – mmmm mm. However – on with the post.

This morning I did two watercolours looking up the Touw River from the campsite and then walked up the other side of the river to a picnic spot and did two watercolours looking downstream.

There were LOTS of greens (it is after all forest) so I took a while to get the hang of it. Here is the first one:

The sun was just coming over the mountain in the background when I did the second painting:

The wind dropped as I started and for about 10 minutes the river was like glass, showing all the reflections.  But as I started painting it came up in the other direction.

I walked up a trail on the other side of the river and did this watercolour looking down-stream, after a cup of hot chocolate:

I felt I was getting the hang of the colours and textures and was about to pack up and go when I thought I would give the reeds one more shot.  So I did this painting:

As I was painting the birds were calling all around me.  I saw a few Malachite Kingfishers and Giant Kingfishers flying up and down close to the water.  And a few times Knysna Loeries flew across the river into the massive Milkwood underneath which I sat.  They have the most beautiful red flash under their wings.  It was a very special morning.  Just what I needed to prepare for the drive home.


15 thoughts on “A morning on the Touw River in Wilderness

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I was quite transported and could hear the birds and feel the morning freshness. We are so lucky that we can paint. So many others can get joy from it then.

  2. Wow Stephen, What a great group of paintings! And the light in the last one is absolutely spectacular. Just curious, how long does it take for you to do one of your paintings? Or how long was it for you to do these 4?

    I like seeing the top two versions of the same scene, with much more blue and darker greens in the second one. The third and fourth ones are interesting to me because I love to see how you paint scenes capturing different aspects in each one.

    Regards, Carol

    • Hi Carol – I did not time the painting but I suppose each took me about half an hour. I was aware of the need to take the drive back home and was keen to make the most of my time there. So I was working quite quickly. What a beautiful place. As I worked on each I became more familiar with the scene and more relaxed about capturing what I saw. Something like you have done in your last post with the flower arrangement I imagine. For me the beauty of painting is that I see interesting details, like the bank of reeds and the background darks as the river curves out of sight. For some reason this seemed important.

    • Hi Alina – that is so sweet – thanks hey – you have a great day over there. It was hot and still as I finished off some customer documentation this morning and I wanted to go for a surf when I was done – Now the South East wind is pumping – such is life – heh heh – bye hey

    • Hi Isabelle – you would love this place! There is a hike up the river to a waterfall and the birds in the forest call and dart – and the river glistens in the sun between the trees – your ramble and sketch class would have a field day – (o: S

  3. Stephen,
    These are just breath-taking. You’ve captured the light so well, and it seems you have shifted to an entirely different palette with the all-green paintings. Greens are very difficult to do when the painting is all greens – and these are beautiful. Kudos

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