Spitskoppe – Namibia

Grosse Spitskop was one of my favourite destinations when we lived in Namibia.  Here is a painting I did from reference photos in my albums.


This watercolour is 500x1500mm on Arches 600gm cold pressed.

I have procrastinated on this for ages, partly because I really want to go back there and collect some better photos from which to work.  But it was a fun exercise.  Here is something of the process:


Here is the sheet laid out in my studio.  I bring in a folding camp-table which I prop up on my studio table to get some tilt.  I also use the ruler because working on such a large scale from such little photos is so different I find my drawing getss too small.



There are some standard views of the peak, one from the turn-off on the main-road, where I took this picture and one where the road rises to a lovely view, closer to the mountain.  Most of the pictures you will see are from these places.SP3D

the above view is from the latter postion.  Grosse Spitskop has a most elegant curve and peak, seen from the first vantage point.  I would love to get the same view from the second point but somehow, whenever we went there, there always seemed to be a time constraint.  Just of interest, once when I stopped at this point I saw a desert chameleon perched on a rock.  I took a couple of photos, which are buried in a slide collection somewhere.  Another time I stopped to take a last photo and when I had done I saw two little vipers curled up together in a neat cylinder with heads on opposite sides, something like  Escher would have drawn.  Sadly I had used my last photos on the reel (remember those days?) so I stored it in memory.  I think my greatest desire would be return to some of these places with the time to sit and paint.  For days and days. sp4d

Here is my first wash.  I was happy with this.  Though I did mix a bucket-load of Cd Yellow Pale and used only a fraction of it.  I had forgotten how the yellow stretches.  The blues I have done have needed more premix.  I took the picture as a panorama on my smart phone, but went a bit off track. sp5dMy palette and water bottle.


the first wash on the mountains:sp7d

I painted the peak first,as well as some of the foreground.  There are beautiful shades of yellow and grey in the veld here.  This is right on the edge of the Pre-Namib.  10kms to West (to the left of the painting) is barren desert.  Not a blade of grass.  It is something spectacular to behold.  The road goes down to the coast to the town of Henties Bay.  sp8d

Here is the detail on the Pontoks – the row of little peaks.  I think they were called the Pondoks which is a colloquial Afrikaans term for little houses but all the people I chatted to used the anglicised version.
sp9dAnd here is the state of the painting before I put on the last detail, which I fear, did not work as well as I had hoped.  The painting is up in my sitting room and I look at it each time I pass through there.  I would like to do it again.  I once took some slides of the mountain in sunrise.  We had driven from Cape Town through the night and had to stop before the turn off to catch the light.  The slope to the East of the peak is split by a series of North-South striking cracks which are hidden in the shade.  It is a beautiful view.  I have copied the satellite view of the area for interest:


You can see the vertical slabs on the eastern side of peak.



3 thoughts on “Spitskoppe – Namibia

    • Hey thanks Barry

      I am really enjoying dropping past your site from time to time but due to some confusion with passwords I am not able to leave comments.
      Since purchasing the commercial version or WordPress this has been a constant headache

      However – I love what you are doing with the cubist approach – lovely clean design and crisp execution

      Till I can get there…


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