When I’m travelling, I find it very difficult to paint. Somehow the comfort of my studio is conducive to creativity. While I love the mind-expanding aspects of travel: the views, the sounds, the new experiences – these often only emerge in my paintings when I’m back home.
Last month I was away for four weeks. The first two and the final one were working weeks, but I took the opportunity for some down time in the third week. For those who might be interested in my work life: I started my trip in Cape Town where I was working as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at tech incubator 88mph. A fantastically stimulating week where I worked alongside Nic Haralambous, founder of the fabulous Nic Socks. Nic and I spent our time with seven startups – helping them refine their business models and fine tune the creation of their fledgeling businesses. Just another type of creativity at work.
In week three I spent a couple of days up in the foothills of the Outeniqua mountains near Knysna in the Cape. The view of the mountains was stunning. They changed every day depending on the weather. In fact, they changed many times a day as the light changed. (Early warning: expect more paintings of mountains)
Painting Mountain Mist
On the only grey day of the week I finally spent some time with my brushes and paints. Not satisfied with painting with traditional tools, I decided to use my newly acquired porcupine quills. I laid down the initial wet wash in three colours. Then, using the slightly bent end of the quill, I added the detail of lines and trees along the mountain ridges. (I quickly learned to watch out for the sharp end. I can now see just how good they are as a defence mechanism.)
Overall, I was pleased with the softness of this painting. I love the way the mountain mist draws you in to explore layer after layer of the folds in the land as it progresses into the distance.