It is sunny today but not too hot, and the birds are visiting our restaurant in their numbers....all the usual, plus I've seen both a scarlet chested and a Black sunbird flitting into my favourite paperbark tree.
I've also seen the aggressive pin tailed whydah that tries to monopolise the food and bully the little bronze mannikins, with what I think is an immature female.
|Here they are, and in the next photo I have a better shot of her.|
The mottled bird is a dusky indigo bird - or black widow finch.
The Fifty Sketches ChallengeI did it... and in just three weeks.
I decided to do my sketches in small personal challenges. First, I tried African market and local scenes.
|A shelf at the African Market in Johannesburg.|
|Man taking buckets to a stall at Hoedspruit informal vendors stalls|
|Lades texting, with baby at their fruit stall on the road in the Bushbuckridge area.|
|Such a typical sight - ladies walking along the road, keeping the sun off with an umbrella.|
Then I moved on to wildlife, which I love doing.
|Starting with this humorous one of guineafowl|
|And then I moved on to baboons, and searched my Kruger photos for subjects.|
|This was from a beautiful photo by Sheila, who gave me permission to sketch from it.|
|Using my Tombow pen and an aqua brush, did a couple of studies.|
|How could you NOT love those faces!|
And then I got very serious and het up about canned hunting and poaching and did these:
|I hope that the bars say it all.|
And at this point I must say that I accept hunting. I don't LIKE it but I accept it when properly regulated and run by professional hunters.
Canned hunting is definitely NOT traditional hunting. Its not hunting at all.
The animal is lined up, sometimes still in a cage. Many animals have been trapped after the game reserve fence was cut and bait placed in a trap. The "hunter" is actually a trophy collector who does not mind driving in in comfort, shooting and killing the lion or leopard or whatever, and then driving out to play at the casino or indulge in a hearty meal....after posing for a photo with the trophy carcass strategically placed in the open, with bush veld background.
Often the "hunters" are Vietnamese or Chinese, and the bones are used for "medicine".
So I have to say that I despise people who indulge in such shooting, and I absolutely hate and am sickened by canned killing. It really is NOT hunting.
Those who say it is excusable because it helps the local population and conserves the species should wake up and do a little more research. Don't believe everything you read - check the facts.
|After Hannes du Plessis: white rhino and black rhino...at the mercy of the most ruthless poachers who will not hesitate to shoot the rangers guarding the rhino. It's all-out war. Terrifying. Those brave rangers deserve our fateful thanks.|
Back to the Domestic FrontBlood pressure having reasserted its normal lows, I realised that I had not sketched Tosca yet. Sketching Tosca, Tiffany's honey-coloured lilac-toortoiseshell Burmese cat, must involve her love of her fox terrier (Vixie), so here she is, complete with dog. Not the best likeness...will have to try harder.
And my sketching friend Di Metcalf, of Cape Town, mentioned her ducks as being something I might like to sketch. There are ducks at the petting place down at Casterbridge so I got busy before leaving for Cape Town....
And In Conclusion, re Sketches & Sunbirds
The fifty sketches challenge was great because it got me thinking about my subjects for sketches and got me pursuing the ideas that I had had for sketches, but had not got around to trying out. For instance, the baboon series and the African life sketches. It also made me try the Moleskine watercolour sketchbook in the 14cm x 20cm landscape size, and this was a new door opening for me.
I found that because of the smaller size I really thought about format and did a good job of excluding unnecessary detail. I focussed on more white space. And I found the result was good. The Moleskine watercolour pages had tremendous wet strength, which I need as I use a lot of water and ink.
And as for the sunbirds...they are so beautiful and have been busy around some of our flowering bushes and flowers. The agapanthus are all coming into flower now, and after a light pruning a few weeks ago, the honeysuckles are blooming too. My dwarf coral tree, which blooms over Christmas, has reddening buds and various small flowers bloom in patches about the garden.
I shall miss all of this but am looking forward to seeing how our new terraced fynbos garden in Simon's Town is progressing, especially after all the heavy rain.