Sunday morning on the Touw River

Yesterday I returned from a trip to George where again I stayed on the Touw River in Wilderness.  As usual I was much preoccupied with preparing for the coaching I was doing but after our session on Saturday I had a good snooze and had a morning next to the river.  The trail on the Eastern bank of the river is closed off with a wooden fence.  The path leads up to the fence – and around the river-side end – in a tight U-turn!  you would think a sign would be enough.  Anyway I also added my prints to the path and found a wonderful ledge of rock overlooking the river where I had a cup of tea from my stove (in my bowl cause I had forgotten to bring cups) and some rather dry hot cross buns.

As I sat there the cormorants worked up and down the river catching fish and I saw the Giant Kingfisher catch a fish too.  The wind dropped for a minute and the water turned glassy.  I saw a shoal of large fish cruising up the river.  Looking down I saw a shoal of small fish below my rock shelf.  Then I saw a cormorant swim around them and launch through the shoal catching a fish.  Then it saw me and took off out of the water and flapped to the other side of the river.

Then I sat and did this painting:

Although it takes a bit of juggling I took a video of the work.  Although, I forgot to hit “record” again and so only captured the work after the first few washes.  I will try to put in a cutting from this onto the YT.  I will have to see if Ethan can do some editing for me.

I thought of Linda Halcomb’s Chinese brush exercises as I painted the tree in the foreground – I could do with some practice with this too.

I then set up again and did this watercolour:

It was noisy on the river.   A family crowd sat for ages on the other side adding a lively component to the scene.  Songs from a local church service floated down from the hills and some canoeing ladies stopped to chat.  The sun was warm and the birds got a few calls in edge-ways.  All really quite pleasant.  Some guys passed by on the path above me…  a lovely lazy Sunday morning.

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16 thoughts on “Sunday morning on the Touw River

  1. What interesting paintings, Stephen. I like them both! The secind one defines the scene a little better, but I like the sprawling blues and wet look of the first one more! Enjoyable post, as always!

  2. Both paintings are loose, juicy and gorgeous. I like the blue in the first painting but I really am impressed by the gentleness of the colors in the second. Thanks for the mention…I need to pull out my sumi-e brushes and get back to practicing.

    • Hi Linda – thanks for the comments – all the best with the sumi-e. I woke up this morning thinking about my paintings at the Pipe, which I think have progressed nicely and thinking about how I would love to do the same thing with forests. It is a lot about seeing what is there isn’t it. And then having practiced the brush work to capture it.

  3. Amazing how you can paint the same scene twice and get two beautiful results! I see you changed your palette slightly. In the 2nd one the mountains are purple and the river is white.

    I laughed when you said you tried to do the video but forgot to hit record! Eventually you will get it and become a Youtube sensation!

    • Hi Carol – when I painted the second one I saw that the border between the background hill and the forest was sun-lightened foliage below which were dark patches of shade with some sparkles of green. So I tried to capture that. Thanks for your encouraging comments – I am not wild about this work. All of the positive comments help me to see the good things I want to take into the next attempt.

  4. It sounds quite idyllic, especially that bit about the still water,the fish & the cormorants.
    And hot cross buns too – I’ve not had those for years- not very French, though I bet you could find them in Paris.
    I like the silhouetted tree & it does have an oriental feel to it.

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