Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Peregrine Falcon" - Oil Painting

Oils on canvas (10×12 inches) (commissioned – sold)

The Peregrine Falcon is often stated to be the fastest animal on the planet in its hunting dive, the stoop, which involves soaring to a great height and then diving steeply at speeds commonly said to be over 322 km/h (200 mph), and hitting one wing of its prey so as not to harm itself on impact.

The Peregrine Falcon hunts at dawn and dusk, when prey are most active, but in cities also nocturnally, particularly during migration periods when hunting at night may become prevalent.

It requires open space in order to hunt, and therefore often hunts over open water, marshes, valleys, fields and tundra. It searches for prey either from a high perch or from the air.

Once prey is spotted, it begins its stoop, folding back the tail and wings, with feet tucked.

The Peregrine Falcon became an endangered species because of the use of pesticides, especially DDT during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Pesticide biomagnification interfered with reproduction, thinning eggshells and reducing the number of eggs that survived to hatching. The organochlorine build-up in the falcon’s fat tissues would result in less calcium in the eggshells, leading to flimsier, more fragile eggs.

In several parts of the world, such as the eastern USA and Belgium, this species became extinct as a result. Peregrine eggs and chicks are often targeted by black marketeers and unscrupulous egg collectors, so it is normal practice not to publicize unprotected nest locations.

The Peregrine Falcon was used in falconry for more than 3,000 years, beginning with nomads in central Asia.] Due to its ability to dive at high speeds, it was highly sought-after and generally used by experienced falconers. Peregrine Falcons are also occasionally used to scare away birds at airports to reduce the risk of bird-plane strikes, improving air-traffic safety.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Kilbaha Harbour, County Clare, Ireland - oil painting

Oils on canvas (20 x 24 inches)

Ghosts, ruins and the faith of a small Irish village....

Kilbaha is one of my very special places in county Clare, Ireland. It is also the place where my dear friend, Hannah, is buried. On the hill overlooking the harbour, you can see the ruins of a mansion (Dun Dalhin) which belonged to the notorious landlord agent, Marcus Keane. (circa 1850's).

One day, I had a fascinating chat with a (very, very old) fisherman who was sitting outside the local pub and asked him about the history of the town. He pointed to the ruins and with that inevitable Irish twinkle in his eyes, said not to go there, as it is haunted.

Now, according to his tale, the locals were not very fond of old Marcus, a cruel and merciless man, and one night while he was away doing the 'dirty', his mansion mysteriously burnt down. It was never rebuilt.

Now the ruins stand on the hill, gauntly overlooking the harbour, with only cows and sheep daring to graze around it. He never said who or what was haunting the ruins but maybe it is old Marcus... stomping in frustration and waving a an angry fist at the arsonists who dared to burn his house and the locals with their priest who thwarted his efforts to control them .... who knows??? Read about The Little Ark...

The Little Ark

In the 1850's the celebration of Mass was prohibited in the Loop Head Peninsula West Clare.

This situation had developed as the result of the attempts of the local land agent, Marcus Keane, to enforce the conversion of the local populace to Protestantism.

Three schools were built on the Loop Head Peninsula in West Clare where the Protestant faith was taught. Food was provided for those who attended these schools and, in these days following the famine, this encouraged children to attend.

At the same time a Protestant church was built at the entrance to Dun Dalhin (Marcus Keane's house) overlooking the bay at Kilbaha.
The Parish Priest at this time was Father Michael Meehan. Fr. Meehan had come to Loop Head as Parish Priest in 1849. He was very familiar with the area, having spent a good deal of time with his aunt who lived in Cross and later Moneen and therefore he recognised the need to build schools in the area, as at this time there were none. In 1850 he opened the first of the six schools which he established in the Loop Head Peninsula.

With the establishment of the landlord sponsored schools, increasing pressure was put on tenants to denounce their Catholic Faith and send their children to these schools,under threat of eviction.

Obviously, these circumstances led to conflict between Marcus Keane and Father Meehan.

During this time Fr.Meehan was also trying to obtain a site to build a church in Kilbaha.

His attempts were unsuccessful. At one stage he did manage to acquire two adjoining houses in Kilbaha. He knocked the two houses into one and used the building for Mass. He was evicted from the premises after one month.

Father Meehan then contructed a tarpaulin shelter on poles which he attempted to use for Mass and then he used the covered shafts of a cart as a shelter but both proved to be unsuitable.

It was against this backdrop of persecution that Father Meehan came up with the idea of The Little Ark. He believed that if a suitable structure could be built it could be brought to the shore in Kilbaha and placed between high and low tide, in no-man's land. He thought that this would be an end to the problems he and his parishioners faced. Owen Collins, a carpenter in Carrigaholt, was commissioned to build a portable box on wheels.

In 1852, when completed, the box was drawn in triumphal procession from Carrigaholt to Kilbaha. Father Meehan then used the box, or The Little Ark, as it became known, to say Mass in for the next four years. Father Meehan's congregation would gather on the fore-shore at Kilbaha every Sunday, kneeling in prayer around the Ark.

This practise continued for over four years and the sight of some three hundred people, praying in all weathers, attracted much publicity.
Eventually, a site was given for a church in 1857.

The foundation stone for the church, 'Our Lady, Star of the Sea',was laid on12th July 1857. The church was dedicated on 10th October 1858.

The Little Ark was placed inside the church and remains there to this day, housed in a specially built annexe.

Excerpt of "The Little Ark" from Loop Head History

I have a painting in my mind... showing the hill and ruins overlooking the harbour... indeed, I think I must paint it!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fieldfare - Oil Painting

Oils on canvas (14×18 inches)

The Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) is a member of the thrush family Turdidae. Its English name, dating back to at least the twelfth century, derives from the Anglo-Saxon feld-fere meaning “traveller through the fields”, probably from their constantly moving, foraging habits.

It breeds in woodland and scrub in northern Europe and Asia. It is strongly migratory, with many northern birds moving south during the winter. It is a very rare breeder in Great Britain and Ireland, but winters in large numbers in these countries.

It nests in trees, laying several eggs in a neat nest. Unusually for a thrush, they often nest in small colonies, possibly for protection from large crows. Migrating birds and wintering birds often form large flocks, often with Redwings.

It is omnivorous, eating a wide range of insects and earthworms in summer, and berries in winter. (wikipedia)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Portrait of Patrick and Anne - Oil Painting

Oils on canvas (50×70cm)

Portrait of Patrick and Anne Foley – commissioned by their daughter, Bridget.

Painting this portrait was a very special privilege for me as it has such meaning for their family…

So, dear Bridget and Anne, with all my love and best wishes!! I grow so attached to portraits and this one, in particular, has so much meaning.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Irish Countryside - Oil Painting

Oils on canvas (27.5×19.5 inches)

Autumn in Ireland… and the colours are beautiful. This is a peaceful scene depicting the Irish countryside.

However, there is always something about to happen in nature – if we just wait long enough!

As usual, I love to weave a little story into a painting!

Thank you to Maria Murphy for allowing me to use her lovely photo as reference for this painting!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Portrait of Anna - oil painting

Oils on canvas (40 x 40cm)

And what a pleasure it was to paint this sweet little girl from the USA with her lovely eyes!!! We can all remember when a child has looked up as us so innocently and our hearts melt!

Nancy says: Her name is Anna, and when she’s tired or in a mellow mood, and when I call her by her name, “Anna!” She answers back to me saying, “Mama, I not Anna, I your precious girl!” “I your love.”

If you wish to commission an oil painting of that special person in your life, please contact me from my website's contact page or send an email.

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Boys just want to have fun" - Oil Painting

Oils on canvas (50×70 cm)

I had lots of fun painting this scene of three brothers hard at work on the beach…

One little fellow is trying hard to remove clay and sand from the hole they dug but ends up dropping half his spadeful back into the water…

Another little brother huffs and puffs his way up to the pool but his bucket is always half full by the time he reaches it…

And the oldest brother… well, judging from the grin, he must be the ‘supervisor’...

This painting was done at request from Lisa (New Zealand) and the three brothers are her little sons. I used different photographs and with different poses to make up a story for this painting!! I hope you enjoy the painting, Lisa!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Beach Kids - Oil Painting

Oils on canvas (50×70cm)

Little children playing on the beach. The little girl holds the little boy’s hand as they dip their feet into the foam!! A picture of innocence and friendship!

When I saw the black and white photo, I absolutely loved it.

So, thank you to Patrizio Martorana on SXU for allowing me to use his photograph as reference for this painting!

Pearl Earring with Girl Attached!

Oils on canvas (16×12 inches)

I love the Old Masters and this is my take on the Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vermeer.

It started well but I got bored copying the painting, threw away the picture and ended up doing my own thing.

So, although the painting is similar, I changed some of the features on her face and some folds on the clothes…

Hope you like my Pearl Earring with Girl Attached!!! :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The evil we do...

A dear friend made this posting that once again draws our attention to just how depraved some of us can be.

For those of us who love animals, who regard our pets as part of the family and even for those who don't have pets... please take note:

From Julie Langford

Horrified and Sickened

hi all,

I was contacted last night by my sister, who was in tears after seeing this [she never ever cries].

There is so much animal cruelty in the word, and most of us aware of it’s existence, but do we all know the extent of it, and how bad it can be out there for animals.

Please visit this site [link at the bottom] and click on the how to help link to sign a petition to help stop this barbaric trade.


The video link on this page is definately not for sensitive people to watch – it will crumble the strongest of people, so DO NOT watch it if it is likely to upset you. It reduced my sister to a snivelling mess, and she is the strongest person I know, who often runs across animal cruelty, being an active campaigner against it.

Please please, do sign the petition though.

Please visit here



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"If you could read my mind" - Oil painting

Gorilla Oil Painting on canvas (40×40cm)

When I first saw this gorilla, I was immediately struck by what I perceived to be sadness. He looks so deep in thought and I wondered what this beautiful creature was thinking… of family lost, freedom lost and what we humans do in our endless arrogance and greed to other animals on this planet.

I hope that one day, we will realise that they are just as worthy of life and freedom as we would like to believe ourselves to be.

I love painting eyes. However, what I like about this painting is not being able to see the gorilla’s eyes. His posture tells the story.

Gorillas, the largest of the living primates, are ground-dwelling herbivores that inhabit the forests of Africa. The DNA of gorillas is 98%–99% identical to that of a human, and they are the next closest living relatives to humans after the two chimpanzee species.

Gorilla’s are highly endangered, and have been subject to intense poaching for a long time. Threats to gorilla survival include habitat destruction and the bushmeat trade. In 2004 a population of several hundred gorillas in the Odzala National Park, Republic of Congo was essentially wiped out by the Ebola virus.

A 2006 study published in Science concluded that more than 5,000 gorillas may have died in recent outbreaks of the Ebola virus in central Africa. The researchers indicated that in conjunction with commercial hunting of these apes creates “a recipe for rapid ecological extinction”. (Wikipedia)

My thanks to Rocketchook for his kind permission to use his photograph as reference for this painting!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Busy Bee - a painting in gouache

Gouache on illustration board ( 18×14 cm)

A fun little painting of a bee collecting nectar on a rainy day!

This little bee will hopefully not end up in the water!

My thanks to Andres Ojeda for permission to use his photograph as a reference for this painting.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dolphin Curiosity

Oil painting on canvas of a dolphin (40 x 40 cm)

I have been so fortunate in my life to have seen many, many dolphins – in Table Bay, on the west coast of South Africa as well as off the coast of Robben Island. So, this little painting is for all the dolphins: may we always be blessed to have these wonderful creatures in our oceans. Dolphins are caught by fishermen, slaughtered by trawlers and horribly killed in some far east countries.

Dolphins are considered to be amongst the most intelligent of animals and their often friendly appearance and seemingly playful attitude have made them popular in human culture.

Thank you to Maxime of sxu for giving me permission to use her photo as reference material!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Prayer

Oils on canvas (12×16 inches)

What a delight to paint this beautiful child! I love painting so much and this little girl with her sweet and innocent beauty captured everything I would wish for children all over the world. I don’t know who she really is but I named her ‘Sarah’.

So, for my little ‘Sarah’ and all the little ‘Sarahs’ all over the world:

An Irish Prayer

May God give you…
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Dolphin Series

An Irish Blessing:

May the blessings of light be upon you,
Light without and light within.

And in all your comings and goings,
May you ever have a kindly greeting
From them you meet along the road.

May there be spring enough in your life
to outlast the winters;

May there be guitars (and drums) enough
to lift your spirits whenever you need it;

May there always be a leprechaun near you to bring out laughter and dance and the child in you.

May you have warm words on a cold evening;
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill all the way to your door

May your heart be as light as a song.

May each day bring you bright happy hours,
That stay with you all year long.

And may God always have room enough for you in the palm of his hand!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Old paintings, new life!

I started painting one of my favourite animals, the gorilla, a few days ago and its keeping me quite busy. While the layers were drying, I tidied up my studio and came across a few old paintings that I did a long time ago!

"Somewhere in Ireland" was done in acrylics - not my favourite medium as you really have to add dollops of retarder to prevent if from drying too fast and thus getting that flat, dull look that I dislike about acrylics. You also have to add medium to the paint in order to give it a sheen as acrylics is water-based.

But the painting is quite beautiful, despite all the additions. "Somewhere in Ireland" is a place that I imagined I would like to be... a quiet, tranquil little spot, 'far from the madding crowd' and possibly a great fishing getaway too!

The foreground and more colourful areas were eventually touched up with oil paints to give it a more brilliant and softer look.

My paintings are also available as cards, matted prints, laminates, posters, mounted prints, framed prints and canvas prints from one of my gallery websites: Paintings by Avril Brand

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Face the Cape Buffalo

I am so happy to see that my Cape Buffalo is featured on the Exotic Mammals group.

It sits there, surrounded by some of the world's best works by artists and photographers! Wow!

The photograph to your left is just a small bit of the larger painting done in oils on canvas (24 x 30 inches). If you click on the photograph, you will see better detail.

The full painting of my Cape Buffalo, "Danger in the Dust", can be seen here

Thank you, Exotic Mammals.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My walls are bare

Most of my paintings are on exhibition and I miss them! My living room is usually like a scene 'out of Africa'... wild animals and wild places adorn every open spot.

Now there is nothing except for a very lonely falcon, a small painting, hanging on the wall where my leopards used to be. I know its only my imagination, but the rooms echo with loneliness.

My dog is confused because there are no big cats eye's staring down at him.

He (my dog) usually is the boss of us but now he is impossible. He owns the house and we live here by his grace. No enormous zebras, no big cats, no elephants, no buffalo - not even a meerkat. No competition for him.

Artists are really crazy people, I think. We fall in love with what we do.

At least, I think we should.

I must feel the passion, the thrill of creating, the feeling of textures and movement within the canvas. Every painting, whether it be landscapes, buildings, the sea or animals must become a part of my being and a sense of loss when the painting is gone. It is exhausting to feel like this but I cannot imagine painting without that passion.

We have to love what we do when it takes months to work on one painting. All that love, all that painting - the incredible worlds I travel to in my mind when I paint fur, feathers, golden eyes and stripes.

So, while my walls are bare, I am using every minute I can spare to work on my new paintings: lion, leopard, elephants, otters, castles, etc. My studio is filled with works in progress so forgive me while I disappear to add a few more hairs to the otter and glaze my lion.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rose of Clare

It's been quite a busy time for me but very enjoyable too. Art tuition, exhibitions, finding old friends from SA and the Rose of Clare festival.

So, I hope my blogging friends will forgive my absence and I hope to catch up soon.

Briefly, the exhibition was wonderful, lots of people and so great to see the interest. Congatulations to all my art group friends who sold paintings and thank you to everyone who joined us for a very pleasant evening.

Sunday was my third year of judging at the Rose of Clare festival in Cooraclare - a great day of excitement fun and games for the county of Clare.

My job each year is to choose the Bonny Baby and Glamourous Granny and it's certainly not easy as the county's bonniest little 'uns and beautiful grannies are very difficult to choose indeed...

In fact, and please don't tell anyone, I wish I could choose them all, give out all the trophies and run like hell from the other commitee members... just for fun.

Usually I stay for the end when we all participate in the tug'o war but this year I slipped away quietly as all the other events, courses, exhibitions, etc, have made me so exhausted that I feel quiet zombiefied. (Does that word exist?)

Last year, I was proud to win a trophy as did everyone in my team, for coming second in the tug 'o war event. My trophy has pride of position on the mantel piece. As the second of two teams, we won second place... you do the math. Hahaha.

Anyway, it was a great day and the festival continues for the rest of the week... if you are in county Clare, please come along and enjoy the rest of the events.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kilrush Art Exhibition

On Thursday, 31st July, Kilrush Art Group (of which I am a member) will be holding their annual art exhibition in Kilrush and should you be in Ireland or visiting Co Clare and of course, be lucky enough to live here, please come along as it is open to anyone.

Our little group of about 15 local artists have lots of fun and show our talents once a year at our exhibition.

I have been ‘disappearing’ on and off for a while now as we prepare for the exhibition as well as working on my art courses. Hopefully, I will be here more often after next week.

I am also very proud and honoured to have two of my paintings featured in the Ireland group of Redbubble this week.

Thank you to my Redbubble friends - I feel honoured and privileged to be a member of the artist community of this wonderful gallery.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Caught and tagged.

Thank you to my dear friend, Baker for well and truly tagging me in the nicest way.

I have been a 'bad' blogger and this happens every couple of days when I need to disappear for a while to prepare for the next art course so a delightful surprise awaiting me when I logged in today and saw that Baker tagged me as a recipient for an award he received.

Let me explain:

I visited Baker's blog as usual because his posts always cheer me up and also provide lots of interesting information about mother nature and her beautiful creations.

Only to see that the dear soul had received an award from another dear friend of mine and passed on the honour to me as well.

So... Rose received the award and passed it on to Baker, who named me as one of the recipients!

Here are the rules for the award

1. The recipient must link back to the award’s creator (
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
3. You must chose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award, as posted by Mere.
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver.

Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude. (not necessarily at all times–we are all human)
2. Must love one another
3. Must make mistakes
4. Must learn from others
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world
6. Must love life
7. Must love kids or animals

I must catch up with emails and blogs and arty stuff for the next hour or so, tomorrow I teach oil paintings and Monday its cleaning up but I will be pouncing on and tagging a few bloggers early next week!

Beware... you have been warned!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Who Cares-Vol 1-TUSK

Who Cares! The Cost of Ivory.

If you do care and want more information, please visit Born Free

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Passion and Pain

I need to get this off my chest. I have been upset and angry for some time now and perhaps I just need to write this down and hope that it will help alleviate these feelings. So, please forgive me while I vent and rant about a subject that clouds my mind with passion and pain.

It is no big secret that I absolutely love animals. Doing a wildlife painting, no matter how long it takes, is my way of trying to show that passion. I am smouldering about what is happening in our world where we so easily decide the fate of other species - for no other reason than politics and greed.

Elephants! Magnificent, majestic, powerful and absolutely vulnerable once again. I am not going to list pages of facts about elephants, their family ties, communication, etc. Instead, I will list links at the end of the post about what is happening to these animals and what we humans do so easily to satisfy our greed.

Before I place the links, please take a look at these photographs.

Beautiful, eh? Useful and ingenious ways to improve the quality of our lives. Ivory.
How can we live without these stunning examples of skill and beauty?

How much does it cost to possess such beauty?

Who are the people who desire these objects of art and beauty?

I wonder if they think of the cost when they run their fingers along the smooth surface and admire the skill and genius of the carver.

Somehow, I don't think the cost is of any concern to them.

It cannot be that they are ignorant of the cost. They just don't care, do they? And, if they don't care about the cost, what is next on their list of items they must have? Demand and supply.

While certain members of the Useless Nimcompoops rub their hands in anticipation of great riches, us poor peasants must appreciate that at least we will still have photographs and paintings to remind us of beautiful beasts that shared this world with us.

We can run our fingers along the smooth surface of the photograph or feel the texture on a painting and wonder at the beauty and glory of elephants, rhino, tigers, cheetahs and an endless list of species we once had.

Unless we make our voices heard. Stop China from Trading Ivory

Wildlife Direct

Elephant Information

Elephant Voices

How the ivory trade funds bloodshed

Warlords turn to ivory trade to fund slaughter of humans

Return of the ivory trade

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oil painting art course July 13 - Flowers

Sunday 13 July was another great painting day once again! I am so proud of the group. Wow! Look at those flowers!

We went into a bit of overtime as painting flowers took much longer than I anticipated but I think the results speak for itself.

I introduced the group to the concept of painting on an entirely black canvas as well as how to achieve some lovely special effects using turpenoid, thinners and linseed oil.
Unfortunately, you cannot see the effects as the photo is too small but it is very exciting.

The background was painting entirely from imagination using a few limited colours and each person's painting is unique in style and texture.

Well done!

I received this lovely poem from Tony yesterday (one of the group). Thank you Tony - not only was it a pleasure to have you there on Sunday, your poem is beautiful and I really, really appreciate it.

Within the very depths of you,
Lies a seed.
Created from a void,
From the nothingness that was
Before the dawn of being.
You were before creation
Destined to live in the now.
Preciously you were nurtured
From that void , that nothingness
To maturity.
That maturity which is now,
The present moment of your being.
Sanctify this present time.
The gift is freely given.
Do not reject the gift.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Little sister - cheetah cub

(Please click on images for a better view)
Little Sister is one of the four cheetah cubs rescued by Wilma (see posting about "Survivors".) I am not sure what name Wilma chose for her but I think of her as 'Little Sister' or 'Sussie'.

She is cheeky, beautiful and more confident than her siblings. Staring straight at you, challenging and daring.

Most animal paintings take about three months to paint as it's a very slow process, working away, layer after layer. Glazing and painting, every day a little bit at a time.

Every little hair is lovingly painted and I get lost looking into their eyes. Amber and gold, their eyes are liquid pools of honey.

Big cats are fascinating to paint as are all animals, wild or domesticated. Not an easy subject unless you are truly passionate about animals and you are prepared to spend a lot of time on one painting.

I hope to build up my collection of wildlife paintings so that, one day, I can have a solo exhibition of wildlife to help support animal welfare and conservation projects. This little lady was sold to a South African couple as a wedding present and I still miss her little face. It's hard to part with a wildlife painting and I wish I could keep them all.

Cheetahs are the fastest land animals on earth, reaching speeds of up to 100 kph (70mph). Beautiful and sleek, they are the smallest of the big cats and their prey is often stolen by other predators.

Highly threatened, these animals are in great need of protection. For more facts about cheetahs, please visit and

And, should you feel so inclined and have a few coins lying around, please support wildlife conservation or your local animal welfare society.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Survivors - cheetah cubs

I painted these beautiful cheetah cubs over a period of three months. Very special little creatures with a very special story.

Please see

When I first saw the photograph, I just knew I had to paint it. (Thank you, Wilma, for your kind permission) The expressions on their little faces tells the story.

It is so sad that there is less and less space for these magnificent wild animals. I hope I never see the day when our human greed, ignorance, arrogance and selfishness totally destroys the remaining dots of nature left on this earth.

And only photographs and paintings remain to remind us of what we have done.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Oil painting is FUN!

I love teaching people how to enjoy oil painting! This weekend, once again, I realised just how incredibly creative people can be if they just allow themselves to believe in their own abilities!

Every course starts with those feelings of uncertainty... people who have been told or who believe that they cannot paint.

But once they get stuck into those paints, the white canvas loses its mystery and the world opens up.

I don't know what I enjoy most: watching their faces as they become more and more relaxed as the hours pass, the stress and burdens of everyday life recedes and they enter another world;

or the smiling faces when the day is done and they all have their paintings, tired but happy and excited.

Knowing that they have achieved what most of them thought were beyond their talents.

Oh yes, it's the most wonderful feeling in the world and I am honoured and privileged to be a part of that happiness.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wildlife Direct - Saving Endangered Animals

Today I found an incredible website with blog lists that will keep me reading (and break my heart because there is so much ignorance and cruelty in this world) for a very long time.

Wildlife Direct - Saving Endangered Animals

Its times like this that I wish I am very, very rich person so that I could support each and every one of the special people and organisations who do so much for conservation and the protection of animals. The little bit that I can contribute seems so futile but if one out of a thousand of us cared enough to give what we can, it would make such a difference.

I wish all the wonderful people at Wildlife Direct many successes in saving our beautiful and precious animals and habitats.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sea Pinks!

Sea Pinks!!!

My thanks to Maureen Glynn of Kilkee who wrote to tell me the name of these beautiful flowers.

Maureen teaches basic drawing and watercolours in Kilkee from October to May.

Some time ago, I went out to Kilbaha and the sea pinks were blooming all along the coast. Big pink bushes and rows of pink along the coast - these flowers are gorgeous.

I love summertime in Ireland!

So, thank you Maureen! Much appreciated and I hope to see your watercolours soon!

Storm Coming

I decided to add some finishing touches to the painting I started with my art group last week.

Appropriately, the title is "Storm Coming" as we are at the moment being blown away by storm winds raging along the coast of Ireland.

The wind is blowing "'n hond uit 'n bos uit'" as we say in my language which roughly translates to: The wind is blowing the dog out of the bush, which of course makes no sense unless you understand Afrikaans.

Lesson to self: Its impossible to translate certain sayings... but other Safricans will know exactly what I mean.

In which case, should any of you be visiting my humble blog... "Groete van 'n verlangende Kapenaar in Ierland".

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cliffs of Kilkee

Another Kilkee painting! This is the view from the cliff walk looking out over George's Head.

If anyone knows the name of the small pink flowers that only grow along the coast, please let me know.

These flowers were the favourite of one of the most wonderful people I ever had the honour to know - my dear, departed friend, Hannah.

Whenever I see these beautiful pink flowers, I think of Hannah, as delicate and pretty as the flowers that grow along the coast of Clare.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Art Group: June 15

I am bursting with pride at the achievements of my first art group! I would love to show the world the wonderful paintings they did on Sunday, June 15th but as I have not asked them for permission to place their individual photo's yet, I have optimised the group photo's so that it's hard to identify individuals.

We had a wonderful day, lots of sunshine, gorgeous food and my 'infamous' Cape Brandy Tart. Each artist (yes, they are artists now) went home with their own oil painting on canvas, ready to hang as soon as it dries.

As beginners to the world of oil painting and for some, to painting anything since they were children, they are absolutely amazing!

So, congratulations to all of you! May this be the beginning of a wonderful relationship with art and oil painting!

The programme for 2008 can be found on

Hope to see you at that table!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Kilkee Storm, George's Head, County Clare

I am really in the mood for seascapes! So, here's another Kilkee painting!

I used an old photograph I took several years ago. Of course, it was a lovely serene, calm sea but I was in the mood for big waves.

So, here is my Kilkee Storm, George's Head, with big waves from my imagination.

I hope you like it!

Now, I want a Kilkee sunset as well as a view from the cliffs and maybe, if I am still in a 'Kilkee' mood, a rock pool. Oh I love it when I am overcome by a 'painting frenzy'.

The only problem is, I forget to eat and only stop when my body aches.

Occupational hazard???

To work!!!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kilkee Beach, County Clare

My painting of Kilkee Beach, County Clare, only a few miles from where I live. (Just finished this painting today so it will need a few days to dry).

Kilkee, a very popular tourist resort during the summer season, is otherwise quiet and peaceful. Long walks on the beach and even longer walks towards the cliffs.

On the painting, you can see George's Head, the rocky cliff on the right hand side.

And so, back to work! So many paintings to do, so little time!

The Gods must be Crazy

I cannot stop thinking about that movie. Well, its one of my all time favourites. If only we could go back to a time of such innocence and see the world through the eyes of XiXo.

But even that is really a fantasy. N!xau, who played the role of XiXo, a San from the Kalahari desert was only paid a few hundred dollars for his role in the first film.

N!xau let his first wages blow away in the wind but by the time the second series was made, he was wiser to the ways of our world. He demanded several hundred thousand dollars for the second film.

He became a farmer when his filming career ended and died in 2003, age uncertain.

So, while I enjoy watching XiXo and his clan, its also sad to see the loss of innocence, not only in the film but also in real life.

I started painting many years ago (in the 1980's) while I was studying anthropology. So it seems fitting that my thoughts have returned to a time, long ago, when I used painting to think about and debate anthropological theories. My canvas was a wonderful tool to keep my mind at peace and open worlds and cultures.

Yesterday, I was only able to start painting later in the day and stopped at 3 am this morning.

And strangely, it was thoughts of N!xau and the magnificent Kalahari desert that found its way into a painting of Kilkee!

It's a funny world. Indeed, the gods must be crazy.