Saturday, August 6, 2016

Aloe vera (A. barbadensis) Botanical print

Ink and watercolour sketch
Available for sale at RedBubble

Often called the ‘Miracle Plant’, aloe vera has been used around the world for the last 4000 years.
There are many species of aloe vera plant, but only a few have tangible health or medicinal properties. Aloe Vera or “true aloe” contains over 200 different ingredients, such as:

~ Vitamins
~ Minerals
~ Amino acids
~ Enzymes
~ Polysaccharides and more

Aloe vera doesn’t actually cure anything itself; but it gives your body all the nutrients it needs to get back to its natural balance… and heal itself.

The genus is native to tropical and southern Africa, Madagascar, Jordan, the Arabian Peninsula, and various islands in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius, RĂ©union, Comoros, etc.). A few species have also become naturalized in other regions (Mediterranean, India, Australia, North and South America, etc.) The most widely known species is Aloe vera, or “true aloe”, so called because, though probably extinct in the wild, it is cultivated as the standard source of so-called “aloe vera” for assorted pharmaceutical purposes.

“You ask me what were the secret forces which sustained me during my long fasts.

Well, it was my unshakable faith in God, my simple and frugal lifestyle, and the Aloe

whose benefits I discovered upon my arrival in South Africa at the end of the 19th century.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Other frame suggestions :

The original sketch (not available) 

  • Custom-made box or flat frame styles
  • High-quality timber frame finishes to suit your decor
  • Premium Perspex - clearer and lighter than glass
  • Exhibition quality box or flat frame styles

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Gums and bees - Botanical

W&N watercolour and ink on Bockingford 300gsm - 8" x 12" unframed 
Eucalyptus is the most widely planted hardwood genus in the world, covering more than 19 million hectares. South Africa relies heavily on plantations of exotic forestry species, particularly Eucalyptus, to meet its timber needs.

Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering trees and shrubs belonging to the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. There are no indigenous eucalypts in South Africa, but they play an important role in our ecology, especially to the Bee-keeping industry. Bee-keepers need a supply of forage (food) for their colonies throughout the year. Because Eucalyptus flower at various times of the year, they provide a constant and reliable flow of nectar and a source of pollen, making them essential to the bee-keeping industry.

South Africa’s honey bees are under threat. They face diminishing habitat and forage resources, attack by the Varroa mite pest and American Foul-brood disease, pollution from pesticides, and stress from being worked hard to provide a pollination service. For honey bee populations to withstand these stresses, a healthy diet is critical for a fully-functioning immune system.

So next time you drive past a Eucalyptus tree, give a thought to the important role this tree plays in our landscape.

ITEM ID : GumsAndBees
PRICE : R350.00 postage included in South Africa

You can also purchase a framed print or other products at my RedBubble shop :

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Kei-apple Botanical - and a Chameleon

Ink sketch and watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm – Kei Apple tree and a Flap-necked Chameleon (Chamaeleonidae – Chameleo dilepis) - 12" x 8" unframed

Kei-apple, Dovyalis caffra, is well known all over the eastern parts South Africa, common in open bush and wooded grassland, and often near termite mounds. It belongs to a cosmopolitan family, the Flacourtiaceae, which are all good, fruit-bearing shrubs or trees, very often armed with vicious spines, and its name derives from the Kei River where it grows in abundance as a thick, shiny, spiny shrub up to three metres in height. The branches are armed with straight, robust spines up to 7 cm long.

Fresh, ripe fruits are rich in Vitamin C and pectin and, following the example of the Pedi people who squeeze the juice onto their pap (porridge), they make an excellent addition to a fruit salad and to muesli and yoghurt. Nature seems to know best when to give us the right foods to boost our immune systems in preparation for the onslaught of winter colds and ‘flu.

Last year my trees also bore an abundance of fruit for the first time ever and I ascribe this to the fact that we get heavy frost here in Tarlton (South Africa). It has taken almost seven years for my trees to reach just over three meters tall and I was absolutely thrilled to have the fruit. Of course I had to try them but they really are too acidic, with a slight hint of sweetness, to enjoy on a full-time basis. And I’m therefore also not surprised at all that Torti, my Leopard Tortoise, did not touch any that had fallen on the floor. But they look really beautiful displayed in a dish!

The Chameleon is wishful thinking - I haven't seen one in my garden for over ten years!
ITEM ID : KeiAppleBotanical
PRICE : R350.00 postage included in South Africa

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Artemis and the girls

Ink sketch and W&N watercolours on a coffee back-ground – NescafĂ© instant, black and very strong! – Bockingford 300gsm - 12" x 8" unframed

As I sat on the lawn one morning, enjoying our gorgeous Autumn weather, I decided to do a quick sketch of Artemis keeping a watchful eye on the girls as they scratched for titbits on the lawn. As long as they are happy, he won’t move, so he makes a perfect subject!

ITEM ID : ArtemisAndTheGirls
PRICE : R350.00 postage included in South Africa

Monday, March 28, 2016

Believe in yourself

"Believe in yourself" - W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - 8" x 12" unframed

I learned that it’s completely fine to try and fail, to put yourself out there and not be perfect, to create something and have people judge you.

If I could give one tip for people - it's not an exercise or nutrition regimen. It's to walk your talk and believe in yourself, because at the end of the day, the dumbbell and diet don't get you in shape. It's your accountability to your word.
- Brett Hoebel

ITEM ID : BelieveInYourself
PRICE : R350.00 postage included in South Africa


Thursday, March 24, 2016

The urge to sketch and paint

I've been churning out a lot of small sketches and paintings lately, the urge for the brush was greater than trying to plan something big and wonderful! Smile!

Daisies singing in the rain - small watercolour on note paper 4.5" x 6"

Winter fires - small watercolour on note paper 6" x 4.5"

Hibiscus beauty - Black ink sketch and watercolour on small sketch pad 6" x 4.5"

Arum lilies - small ink sketch and watercolour on sketch pad 6" x 3.5"

 Herbs in pots - small ink sketch on sketch pad 6" x 4.5"

Bound for Freedom - Black ink sketch on note paper 6" x 4.5" (of a Black Crow (Corvus capensis), indigenous to South Africa
Afrikaans : Swartkraai

 Cheerful Gerbara Daisy - Ink sketch and watercolour on small 4.5" x 6" Bockingford watercolour paper

The Crow's Song - Black ink sketch of a black Crow (Corvus capensis) on 6" x 4.5" note paper

Whispers in the trees - Ink sketch and watercolour on Bockingford 200gsm sketch paper 4.5" x 6"


Sunday, March 6, 2016

African Lion - Ethnic series

Black ink sketch and W&N watercolour on Visual200gsm – border processed in Corel PHOTO-PAINT 
Buy various products of this image - T-shirts, Kids' clothing, Pencil skirts, Scarves, Leggings, Cases and skins for phones and laptops, Framed prints, Coffee mugs, Notebooks, Journals and much more.

The magnificent African lion is the largest of Africa’s big cats and is primarily active at night, sleeping away most of the day to escape the intense heat. If you’re on safari then the best chance of spotting lions on the prowl and perhaps on the hunt is an early morning or evening game drive when they are active. Lions are highly social creatures that hunt cooperatively and form cohesive groups called prides, which is unusual for cats.

Thanks for stopping by and having a look!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Gemsbuck in the shadows

W&N watercolour in hand-made sketchbook with satin-finish linen paper. NOT FOR SALE

Gemsbuck (Oryx gazella) under a lone tree in the Kalahari (South Africa). Done from my imagination.

I’ve got this little hand-made sketchbook with a satin-finish linen paper and I can sit for hours churning out these little 7″ × 4″ (17cm x 10cm) watercolour sketches. I find it totally calming and it also satisfies my need to fiddle! This paper is very unforgiving, can’t take pencil marks, so you can’t do any preliminary drawing and also no erasing. The paper (or linen) virtually disintegrates under an eraser. Once you put colour to paper, that’s it! But it does allow for a lovely flow of the paint, which I enjoy immensely as I never know exactly what I’m going to end up with.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Black-headed Oriole

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - 8" x 12" unframed

The Black-headed Oriole (Oriolus larvatus) is a frequent visitor to my garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa) and I’m always thrilled to hear his liquid call, upon which I rush out to refill the oranges and apples, which seem to be his favourite fruit.

Swartkopwielewaal [Afrikaans]

ITEM ID : BlackheadedOriole
PRICE : R350.00 postage included in South Africa

Friday, February 26, 2016


Candle wax and W&N watercolour on Aqua 300gsm - 12" x 8" unframed

Autumn, oh autumn! How you enchant me with your wonderful colours and cool days! How you inspire with your falling leaves, your magical diversity of combining the best of all four seasons in just a few weeks! Your changing fall foliage never fails to surprise and delight me, getting us ready for winter in the most beautiful way!

ITEM ID : Autumn
PRICE : R350.00 postage included in South Africa

Framing suggestion - Black frame with white matting

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Red Bishop

W&N watercolours on Visual 200gsm - unframed 8" x 12"

Southern Red Bishop Euplectes orix
Indigenous to Africa (south of equator)

My Red Bishops have just come into their breeding colours and some of the juveniles are a decidedly mottled lot! There’s a lot of fighting and chattering going on, trying to establish dominance and vying for the best spots in the garden.

This little chap obligingly sat for a session while I did a quick outline sketch and then hurriedly added some colour before he flitted off again on some serious business or another.

What a cunning mixture of sentiment, pity, tenderness, irony surrounds adolescence, what knowing watchfulness! Young birds on their first flight are hardly so hovered around!
- Georges Bernanos

ITEM ID : The RedBishop
PRICE : R350.00 postage included in South Africa

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Trees on a hill

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - 12" x 8" unframed

Some Blue gum trees on our property (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa). The hill is a bit of artistic licence as our smallholding is as flat as a pancake, with deep, rich top soil and nary a stone in sight.

The bottom third of the property consists of a lovely blue gum bush which provides me with hours of sketching material. The rest of the property surrounding the house area is planted with Eragrostis grass (Love grass) which provides lots of nesting areas for the Fan-tailed Cisticolas in summer. I spend hours watching them doing their dipping flights over the grass while constantly chirping.

ITEM ID : TreesOnAHill
PRICE : R350.00 postage included in South Africa

Framing suggestion

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Red-chested Cuckoo (Piet-My-Vrou)

W&N watercolours on Bockingford 300gsm - 8" x 12" unframed

30th October 2015, 8.04am, and I’ve just heard the Piet-My-Vrou (Red-chested Cuckoo – Cuculus solitarius) for the first time this season! It’s rather late, I normally hear them at the beginning of October, but it’s as if they’ve waited for the first rains before being heard! (We had 20mm of rain last night and 15mm the night before, so the world around here in Tarlton (Gauteng, South Africa) is looking and smelling sparkling clean!) They’re extremely shy and very hard to spot, but I managed to get a quick (not-so-good!) shot with my camera before he disappeared back into the thick foliage. Had to use my bird book to complete all the colours.

I have held most bird species in my hands at least once, but with the Red-chested Cuckoo I have not had that pleasure…

Piet-my-vrou [Afrikaans]

ITEM ID : RedchestedCuckoo
PRICE : R350.00 postage included in South Africa)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Parsley in a pot

W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm mixed media paper – no preliminary sketching - unframed 8" x 12"

Some Parsley in a small terracotta pot on a shelf in my bathroom garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa).

Parsley is the world’s most popular herb. Derived from the Greek word meaning “rock celery” (it’s a relative to celery), parsley has been cultivated for 2,000 years, and was used medicinally long before that.

Parsley is also rich in vitamin A, well-known for its effects on vision, plus can mitigate risks of atherosclerosis and diabetes.

Parsley is one of the most important herbs for providing vitamins to the body. It’s like an immune-enhancing multi-vitamin and mineral complex in green plant form. It grows in most climates and is readily available throughout the year.

So next time you get some parsley on your plate, eat up!

ITEM ID : ParsleyInAPot
PRICE : R350.00 postage included in South Africa

Monday, February 8, 2016

Guineas are winged wonders

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - unframed 12" x 8"

After years of not seeing any guinea fowl around our property (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa), I was lucky enough to have a visit from them a couple of weeks ago and I was totally thrilled!

a guinea fowl
molting polka dot feathers—
I see
handmade earrings

ITEM ID : GuineasAreWingedWonders
PRICE : R350.00 postage included in South Africa

Friday, February 5, 2016

Echeveria imbricata in terracotta pot

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - NOT FOR SALE

This popular and vigorous succulent has 4 to 8 inches wide, tight rosettes of flat grey-green leaves that, when mature, form offsets freely to form large solid clumps 4 to 6 inches tall. It has a branched arching inflorescence bearing clusters of red and yellow flowers in the spring and early summer. Plant in full sun, even in hotter inland gardens, to part sun/light shade in a well-drained soil and water regularly. Although it is is cold-tolerant, it does not do well in heavy frosts, therefore most of mine are planted in terracotta pots for easy winterizing.

This plant is often listed as a species or as E. x imbricata but is a hybrid cultivar created in the early 1870’s by Jean-Baptiste A. Deleuil of Marseilles (Rue Paradis) that resulted from crossing Echeveria secunda with E. gibbiflora ‘Metallica’ and was listed for the first time in his 1874 catalogue.

It has been argued by some that the correct pronunciation for the genus is ek-e-ve’-ri-a, though ech-e-ver’-i-a seems in more prevalent use in the US.

Category: Succulent
Family: Crassulaceae (Stonecrops)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red & Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [Echeveria x imbricata]
Parentage: (Echeveria glauca x E. gibbiflora ‘Metallica’)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Amethyst Sunbird female

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - unframed 8" x 12"

Black Sunbird feeding on the Kniphofia (Red Hot Poker) flowers in my garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa).

The Amethyst Sunbird, also called the Black Sunbird (Chalcomitra amethystine) mainly occurs in Africa south of the equator. Its natural habitat is dry savannah but it is extremely fond of gardens.
It goes out of its way to visit a large clump of nectar-bearing plants. Here in my garden, it feeds on nectar from the Aloe, Kniphofia, Halleria lucida (Tree fuchsia) and a nectar mix in one of my bird feeders. It’s diet is supplemented with insects and often hawks flying insects from the trees or bushes, also gleaning them from leaves and branches. Nectar is obtained either from flowers or from garden feeders, which it uses readily (note that in feeding experiments it was found to prefer sucrose rather than sugar).

This Sunbird is not threatened, in fact its range has increased recently due to the spread of wooded gardens.

Swartsuikerbekkie [Afrikaans]

ITEM ID : AmethystSunbirdFemale
PRICE : R350.00 including postage in South Africa

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Red-billed Quelea Juvenile Male

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - unframed

Rooibekkwelea [Afrikaans] – (Quelea quelea)

Oh my! The Red-billed Queleas have moved into my garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa)! When I feed in the mornings, they descend on the feeding tables by the dozens! They are very wary and skittish and the slightest movement will send them fleeing, taking off like one body and returning as one in waves of motion, absolutely fascinating to watch. But the rest of the garden birds have a problem getting to the food and every day there seems to be more and more of the Queleas.

At the moment the males are in their full breeding plumage, with their bright red bills and black face. The juvenile males stand out amongst the other birds like a beacon with their pre-adult little cream caps. Within 2-3 months of hatching, juvenile birds complete a post-juvenile moult to resemble non-breeding adults, but with cream head, whitish cheeks and buff edges to flight feathers and wing coverts, followed 1-2 months later by a pre-nuptial contour moult, when they begin to assume the adult breeding plumages.

Queleas are the most abundant wild birds on the planet, with an estimated population of 1.5 billion birds, occurring across much of sub-Saharan Africa, excluding the lowland forests of West Africa, arid areas of southern Namibia, south-western Botswana and the southern half of South Africa. It is most prolific in semi-arid habitats such as thorn-veld and cultivated land, but it may also occupy exceptionally wet or dry areas. Not threatened, it is so abundant and such a pest that millions of birds are culled annually using explosives at roost sites and aerial spraying, but even that doesn’t have any long term affect on its population.

ITEM ID : RedbilledQueleaJuvenile
PRICE : R350.00 postage included in South Africa

Euphorbia cooperi (SOLD)

An Euphorbia cooperi in a pot in my garden – W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Euphorbia cooperi (or Lesser Candelabra Tree, Transvaal Candelabra Tree, Bushveld candelabra euphorbia), is indigenous to South Africa. Found in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Swaziland up to Messina in the Limpopo Province, prefers well-drained soils and is mostly found in rockier places, often on granite outcrops and in rock cracks or in wooded grassland and thorny scrubland, in planes and in steep hillsides on north-facing slopes. This spiny succulent grows 4-7 m tall and produces small yellowish-green flowers in spring and summer. 

ITEM ID : EuphorbiaCooperi
PRICE : R360.00 postage included in South Africa

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The magic of Christmas 2015

W&N watercolour on Visual 200gsm – edited in PhotoShop

The magic of Christmas is in the air and soon a New Year will be greeting us. It’s the perfect time to take a break from work and cherish the warmth of the season.

“So remember, while December Brings the only Christmas day,
In the year let there be Christmas in all the things you do and say.”

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