Postcards from Portugal

When I arrived in Portugal in March 2019 I brought with me a small supply of blank postcards. I had the idea that I would paint or draw what I noticed each week and send them home to my mum as a more interesting variant on the usual tourist postcards.

It was a fun project, not least because it meant that I spent my days looking for something that caught my interest and I spent a bit of each Sunday making the pictures. So here they are, with what inspired me.

My first postcard was drawn on the plane, in the air as I left home. Economy class tray-tables are not ideal supports for drawing, but I don’t sleep on flights and I had a lot of time to occupy.

1 First one must leave Africa
First, one must leave Africa

My second postcard was the view from my new apartment in Guimarães. I was enchanted by the ornate glass domes that provide light in dark stairwells and the different textures of the roofs.

2 Roofs, windows and walls
Roofs, windows and walls

My third postcard came as a result of a visit to the local art museum which houses a great collection of African masks. I left Africa to see African art? I rather liked this particular one, because it wasn’t scary. He looked so happy.

 

The next week I took a trip up the nearby Penha “mountain” in the teleférico. (I grew up hiking in the Drakensburg. I have standards for what can be called a mountain.) At the top I found giant boulders scattered about. Which inspired the fourth postcard below.

5 Like giant Easter eggs
Like giant Easter eggs

Portugal is famous for the beautiful tiles that decorate the buildings here. So much more interesting than bland, flat paint. I spent hours in the tiny streets of Guimarães, Porto and Aveiro admiring the designs. So postcard five was a little homage.

4 When in doubt tile it cropped
When in doubt, tile it

Finally (when my six postcards were coming to an end) I took a walk in the city park early one morning to find the small pond filled with frogs all croaking together.

6 Croak
Croak

I duly sent all six postcards off to my mum. So far, only one got to her. Whether this is a result of the postal service in Portugal or (more likely) in South Africa, we’ll never know. But I like to think that they will make their way there eventually or make someone smile wherever they end up.

I had a lot of fun making them.

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All hung up!

Here are my 31 Inktober pics all hung up for the exhibition.  I spent a rather hot hour yesterday doing this, in the company of other wonderful artists quietly working on their walls. A sense of calm chaos. The exhibition is on the 7th floor of a rather empty office block. Lots of walls and views!

Exhibition pic

I got a chance to look around at some of the other work on display. There is some really good stuff. Only about half of it was up when I was there, so I am looking forward to seeing lots more tonight. That said, mine are the most colourful. Clearly not too many people have worked out that ink comes in many colours.

The exhibition opens tonight (Thursday, 9th November) at 6pm at 96 Jorrissen Street in Braamfontein. There is some parking in the building, but the Joburg Theatre’s parking is just a block away too. Do come along and say hi. If you can’t make tonight the exhibition will be up until Sunday, see details on my previous post.

 

Inktober 2017 is done!

Well I managed to complete 31 days of drawings. It was actually rather fun. Some evenings I only got to my studio after 8pm, and feeling rather uninspired, but the muse was there, every day. It’s a good discipline, but if I did it again, I’d make it a first-thing-in-the-morning priority, like meditating before breakfast.

So here are the pics from days 26 to 31…

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Day 26: Boredom or disdain?

Day 27: Pensive

Day 28: Jacarandas

Day 29: There was this aura about the professor

Day 30: It’s a secret

Day 31: It’s all about the framing

Inktober 2017 days 21 to 25

After all those portraits, I needed something a bit more random, so these pictures were inspired by a range of things; happy feelings, the uncertainly I’ve been living through with my business, and experiences of meditating.

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Day 21: Playing with bubbles

Day 22: Living with uncertainty

Day 23: Breathe freely

Day 24: Purpose

Day 25: Field of flowers

The Inktober exhibition at Assemblage opens on Thursday the 9th November at 6pm at 7th Floor Nedbank Corner Building, 96 Jorrisen Street, Braamfontein. Do come and see all the results of Inktober 2017.

 

Inktober 2017 days 16 to 20

During these five days I found myself busy and sitting in meetings. It was easier to fit Inktober in by drawing the people around me. So portraits came to the fore. It turned out to be quite a lot of fun, reminding me of why I set out to work on portraits this year.

Here they are:

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Day 16: Girl in profile

Day 17: A young soldier

Day 18: A serious matter

Day 19: Mrs Ngamlana

Day 20: Always smiling

 

Inktober 2017 days 11 to 15

The journey continues… exploring the ink blots, and some more deliberate work. A little Star Trek reference thrown in too.

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Day 11: Kneeling woman

Day 12: Blown over the islands

Day 13: I is for Ink (and illustrate, illuminate, inspire, impress, invent, invest, interest, improve, innovate…)

Day 14: Face-off in space

Day 15: Hope in the darkness