Paintings and jewellery from nature - Original watercolour paintings and unique hand-crafted jewellery by South African artist Maree Clarkson - Available for purchase - Currency used is South African Rand ZAR
W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - 8" x 12" unframed
I used to have huge bushes of lavender in my garden, my favourite being the English lavender, Lavandula angustifolia (formerly L. officinalis), as it is a strongly aromatic shrub growing to 1–2m tall, the leaves are evergreen, and the flowers are a pinkish-purple (lavender-coloured), produced on spikes 2–8 cm long at the top of slender, leafless stems 10–30 cm long, and they make wonderful little displays in narrow vases or as dried bunches. The name is misleading, as it is not native to England at all, but native to the western Mediterranean region.
Lavender, sweet lavender; come and buy my lavender, hide it in your trousseau, lady fair. Let its lovely fragrance flow Over you from head to toe, lighting on your eyes, your cheek, your hair."
- Cumberkand Clark Flower Song Book 1929
The ancient Chinese told the story of a potter who spent his life searching for the perfect shade of red. He filled all his days learning new technologies and experimenting with new techniques to perfect the crimson glaze his heart desired.
He travelled throughout the country and consulted with other potters. None of them could help him.
Finally he came home, sat by his kiln, and was so frustrated he threw himself in.
His assistant couldn't find him, although he called and called to him.
Eventually when the kiln cooled down, the assistant pulled out the pots that had been fired. They were the perfect shade of red.
The potter, himself, was the very thing he had been searching for.
W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - 8" x 12" - unframed
Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is such a romantic flower that every gardener sooner or later succumbs to the urge to grow it. The fact that it is a native of the Mediterranean and a lover of dry, sunny, rocky habitats makes it a perfect specimen for our hot Highveld climate (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa). It even manages our frosty winters quite well, probably because it is our dry season with not much rain. Lavender doesn’t like to be cold AND wet.
I have taken a couple of cuttings from a plant growing in my garden to try it in a pot, which I can put in a full sun position. I did this sketch from my imagination to try and “see” what it will look like and I’ve convinced myself!
Africa’s most common large vulture, the White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) is an accomplished scavenger that feeds on the carcasses of Africa’s large animals and is one of a group of 8 species occurring in Africa. Its plumage is dark brown with black skin on the neck and head, making the white lower-back, for which it is named, even more prominent.
The white-backed vulture has black eyes and a strong, hooked black bill, contrasting with its pale crown and hindneck. As they age, the plumage of white-backed vultures becomes paler and plainer, especially the female’s; conversely, juveniles are darker, with lighter brown streaks on their feathers. Info from Arkive
Vultures have historically been grouped with other raptors on the basis of their overall appearance. Often seen soaring high in the sky, they are often mistaken for hawks or eagles.
However, it has recently been determined that the seven species of New World vultures are more closely related to storks than to the hawks and eagles with which they were originally grouped. Unlike all other raptors, vultures are not birds of prey. They feed solely on carrion, preferring animals that have been dead for two to four days. African White-Backed Vultures have no natural predators, except humans.
Birds are indicators of the environment. If they are in trouble, we know we’ll soon be in trouble.
- Roger Tory Peterson
I used to have dozens of guinea fowl pass through our smallholding here in Tarlton (Gauteng, South Africa), but these days it’s like Christmas seeing just a few of them. When we moved to Tarlton in the middle 70’s, we were one of a few owners living on the smallholdings and there were large tracts of open land with hundreds of mammals, birds and reptiles that crossed our paths daily. Snakes were rife and regularly had to be removed to a safer place, now we only see a snake a couple of times in the year. I used to have wild hares entering my garden and eating my Marigolds; I haven’t seen an hare for about 7 years. The same with hedgehogs, monitors, tortoises and jackal.
The area is now totally built up and our smallholding is now flanked by people on all sides, property fenced and surrounded by high walls – there are few, if any, empty tracts of land anymore
and I’m just wondering where all the wildlife has managed to find a safe refuge…
W&N Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm – Guinea standing on the wall, forlornly calling for his missing wife - unframed(SOLD)
“The triumph of life is the joy experienced thereafter.”
A couple of years ago, one of my guinea fowl sitting on eggs was killed by a dog, leaving 10 eggs, on the point of hatching, without a mother. I gathered all the eggs and put them in a basket with a hot water bottle, trying to keep them warm to see if any of them would hatch. Two days later still nothing, but on the third day I heard a weak peep-peep from one of the eggs. None of the others showed any sign of life, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and open the one that was peeping. I gently peeled away the shell and lifted out a perfectly formed little guinea fowl, and placed him on the warm towel, drying his little body with a soft cloth until he lifted his little head and stared me straight in the eye.
That was the beginning of a beautiful, long relationship with “Guinea”, who spent five years following me everywhere and providing us with endless hours of pleasure with his surprising antics. He even lured a wild guinea fowl female from the wild (they used to pass through our property here in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa, in large flocks, travelling from one field to another) and together they reared 5 clutches of beautiful little guinea fowl, all of whom stayed on our property for many years.
When Guinea’s wife disappeared one day, he was inconsolable, standing on the wall and calling for hours in that haunting ‘phe-twee, phe-twee, phe-twee’ that is so typical of the South African bush. After that, he would often disappear for a day or two until, one day, he didn’t come home at all. I hoped and presumed that he had found another family and was happily roaming the fields surrounding our property.
“This life as you live it now and have lived it, you will have to live again and again, times without number, and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and all the unspeakably small and great in your life must return to you and everything in the same series and sequence — and in the same way this spider and this moonlight among the trees, and this same way this moment and I myself. The eternal hour glass of existence will be turned again and again — and you with it, you dust of dust!” - Friedrich Nietzsche