Green with Envy

I have just completed some work with a client in Durban.  We worked as a team in a lovely light, airy room in a nursery on a hillside on the  outskirts of the city.  I love the tropical climate in Durban.  It is hot and humid, though, in mid summer, visitors like me can find it stifling.   Fortunately the weather is overcast so it was cool.  The Nursery, “Green with Envy” was just around the corner from where I stayed, so I returned yesterday to sit and reflect on the session.  There is such a pleasant coffee shop.   Wednesday is ladies day apparently so the coffee shop was chock-a-block with chattering groups of women.  I joyful sound.  I found a quieter place on a terrace where I could sit in my private fog of exhaustion and enjoy the huge trees, the bird calls and the tree frogs that called now and again.

From where I sat I could see the gift-shop and the gardens.  Eventually I realised it was time to paint.  As I started work two Zulu women came to work in the garden just below me.  As they worked they chatted quietly, a slow light, rolling conversation that seemed to fit in with the place and the hint of drizzle.  It was all very relaxing.   I did not want to embarrass anyone so I did the best I could with a few glances.  The woman in the painting was leaning forward with her hand on her knee.

I would like to have done this on Arches Hot Pressed but used a sheet of cold pressed 380x280mm.


6 thoughts on “Green with Envy

  1. This is wonderful use of composition, Stephen. My eye goes right to that tree that unfurls in the background. No small feat since you have a figure in this and my eye takes her in and still longs for the tree. I will remember this painting!

  2. I always enjoy your stories and descriptions of where you are when you paint. You’ve really captured 3 distinct areas, with that amazing tree in the background.

    I like the woman kneeling down gardening and the table in the front.

    • Hi Carol – the tree was massive. It was a Natal Fig – Ficus Natalensis, which is a strangler fig. They are carried to trees by birds and as they grow they send roots around the host tree as they grow up through the canopy. They slowly squeeze the life out of the host. Nice to see you around here…

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