Violet Glen returning to Kalk Bay

OK – this is the final version of Violet Glen docking to offload their catch of the day.  I am using this as my main hand-in at the SASA merit exhibition next week.

This is a watercolour painted on Hot Pressed Arches – 185 gm  560x380mm

When I was at school, my mother brought us down to Simon’s town for a holiday.   I am not sure where she got the idea from but she organised a ‘site’ on one of these boats to take me out fishing for the day.  So one morning at 03:00 I found myself chugging out to sea with a group of these guys.  I don’t remember much about the day except that they were very friendly and I did not catch a single thing.  They pulled in all sorts of fish on hand-lines and I sat there feeling quite spare.  I also remember the guy who had been assigned to help me referring to me as his ‘mombakkie’.  I realised that it was probably derogatory but only found out much later that this is what they called anyone on the boat who did not catch.  It was all rather humiliating but also fun and a great experience.  Years later I heard that a ‘mombakkie’ is the brick you take with you to your first brick-layers class.  So there you are.

After that I had various friends with ski-boats and went out quite often and caught my fair-share of fish.

All of this came to mind as I painted this watercolour.  So it dredged up some interesting memories.

And here is the previous position:

There may be a few touch-ups required later.

Here is the second step in the painting of the fishermen coming home.

Boats are hard to get right – all of the different lines in the hull.  But I love the solid functionality of these fishing boats.  The skipper, standing behind the cabin has his oil-skins down to his knees and is steering the tiller with his right foot as he is ready to gun the motor in reverse (I think).

The big thing now is to put in enough background colour for context without blasting the whole affair with detail.

Here is the start of the watercolour of the fishing boat ‘Violet Glen’ returning after a day at sea.  One of the hackneyed cliche’s round here goes something like “how do you eat an elephant? ans: “in small pieces” to which I usually reply “but you get a crowd to do it before it all goes vrot”.  Anycase – in this case I am on my own.  But I still need to move to get this done before the whole thing goes off.

However I have client meetings tomorrow – in my other world – so I am taking myself by the scruff of my neck and going to bed…


16 thoughts on “Violet Glen returning to Kalk Bay

  1. Stephen, I love this composition and you are making great progress. Very good figures and realistics gestures. Can’t wait to see the finished piece.

  2. Hi Linda – I am excited about this – hopefully I can get into it later today after my work work. I am going to try to apply the lessons from the last few works and not overdo the background. These are such characters!

  3. The people on the boat tell the story… it will be good. I can’t remember now, you need to finish paintings for an exhibition on the 27th? Still two weeks… you will be fine. : ) We were at the harbour on Friday evening, some friends went fishing there. Fish and chips at Kalky’s!

    • Yes I have a hand-in for SASA for the merit exhibition – which is great. I have five paintings already but I want to put in something fresh and new – so this is a nice bit of deadline. However it is not a good idea to paint for exhibitions so I am not focussing on this – much. (o:
      Ha! Kalky’s! Neat place – I really like the way the harbour is run. Though I must say it is sad to see the fish who were hours before swimming in sea… but that is just my naive sensitivity.
      Those people are so funny. One of the paintings I want to do is of a magnificent lady in gumboots and a pink t-shirt. I overheard her saying “It’s OK – it’s not the end of the world! Not the beginning either! Beginning of the year – yes!”
      Anyway I am sitting here in the gym in my collar and tie ready for business…
      Have a great day your side

    • When this is complete I will post a larger version. Surely I should not put much more in now. Some detail and some sea and the wharf in the background – is my intention. Thanks Leslie – I have not forgotten the other fishermen hanging around at Smits, waiting to have heads (o:

  4. woowee! this is terrific. I love all the figures on the boat. love the orange boots on the guy driving the boat. And the other boat in the distance!

    Good luck with the merit show. I’m sure they will love this piece.

    • Thanks Carol – I am pleased with this – how is your sketchbook going?
      Actually the captain has pushed his oilskins down over his knees – I am not sure how this affects his manoeuvrability – but he was able to manage the tiller with his foot while he gunned the engine in reverse from the controls in the cabin while looking over the top to see where he was going – I guess he has done that often.

  5. The final version is really very good! Where will the exhibition be?
    I know the word ‘mombakkies’ as a synonym for ‘masker’ (mask). We used the word a lot as kids. More meaning ‘you’re putting on a face’ than wearing a physical mask. Wonderful what the cape fisherman can do with words.

    • Thanks for that Cecily – I remember on another boat the skipper was not catching while everyone else was. Then when he did catch he said “my gesig is nou skoon” (my face is clean). Interesting hey?
      I do not confess to understand all of this but I find it interesting.
      By the way, I don’t know why I have to keep approving your comments something in WordPress I guess.

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