Saturday, December 28, 2013

Barn Owl / Nonnetjie-Uil

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - unframed - ©Maree Clarkson

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Afrikaans : Nonnetjie-uil

Ghostly pale and (not) strictly nocturnal, Barn Owls (Tyto alba) are silent predators of the night world. Lanky, with a whitish face, chest, and belly, and buffy upperparts, this owl roosts in hidden, quiet places during the day. By night, they hunt on buoyant wingbeats in open fields and meadows. You can find them by listening for their eerie, raspy calls, quite unlike the hoots of other owls. Despite a worldwide distribution, Barn Owls are declining in parts of their range due to habitat loss. I for one, do not see them as often as I used to.

Once welcomed by farmers as one form of pest control, the population is now under threat from modern farming techniques, e.g. the destruction of hedgerows & meadowland, which affect their prey, the removal of old barns & buildings, which were their nesting places and the use of chemicals to control rodents.

The Owl Rescue Centre is the only raptor centre in South Africa that primarily focus on owl species. They give all their time and attention to owl species because of the high mortality rate of owls in South Africa, making owls vulnerable to a decreasing population. They rehabilitate and release 200 – 250 Spotted Eagle Owls, 100 – 150 Barn Owls and 80 -100 other owl species each year. SHOULD YOU FIND AN OWL THAT YOU SUSPECT MIGHT BE INJURED, PLEASE CALL THEM ON
082 719 5463 (24/7 emergency line – South Africa)

T. alba is found almost anywhere in the world except polar and desert regions, Asia north of the Alpide belt, most of Indonesia, and the Pacific islands. However, they have been introduced to control rodents in the Hawaiian island of Kauai. ..........

ITEM ID : BarnOwlNonnetjieUil
PRICE : R350.00 including postage

Friday, October 11, 2013

Two Daisies

Acrylic on primed canvas panel – 9″ × 12″ - unframed

Two daisies from my garden in a blue bottle on my kitchen table.

Bright flowers, whose home is everywhere
Bold in maternal nature’s care
And all the long year through the heir
Of joy and sorrow,
Methinks that there abides in thee
Some concord with humanity,
Given to no other flower I see
The forest through.
- William Wordsworth, To the Daisy

ITEM ID : TwoDaisiesAcrylic
PRICE : R650.00 including postage in South Africa


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Where Creation keeps its own slow time

My mind is at ease in Africa 
Where the people still live close to the soil 
And the seasons mark my changing moods 
Where the markets hustle with trading 
And Creation keeps its own slow time 
© 2006 Wayne Visser – Extract from "I know a place in Africa"

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

ITEM ID : WhereCreation
PRICE: R350.00 including postagein South Africa


Petals fall

A rose is the visible result of an infinitude of complicated goings on in the bosom of the earth and in the air above, and similarly a work of art is the product of strange activities in the human mind. 
- Clive Bell 

Acrylics on canvas panel – 9″ × 12″ - unframed

Flower petals fall one by one
After the long day is done 
This flower has lived a good life 
With very little strife 
Memories of busy bees 
And images of little hands fingering it lovingly 
A lover’s purpose was in mind 
When it was picked from the vine 
Given to the one he loved 
As a token of all the things they’ve done 
Drooping low in the vase 
Is where it takes its resting place 
As its petals fall one by one 
One by one
- Bryanne Colver

ITEM ID : PetalsFall
PRICE : R350.00 including postage


Monday, August 19, 2013

Light and shadow

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

:: light and shadow reveal a silent presence on a kitchen counter ::

Item ID : LightAndShadow

Price: R350.00 postage included

Friday, August 16, 2013

Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia)

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

Item ID : LavenderLavendulaAugustifolia

Price : R350.00 including postage

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Perfect Red

Dahlia - graphite sketch and watercolour in Moleskine sketch-book - Maree© (Not for sale)

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.

Nothing worked.

 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.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Lavender in a Pot

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!

Item ID : LavenderInAPot

Price : R350.00 including postage 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

White-backed Vulture

 W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - unframed 

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.

Item ID : WhitebackedVulture

Price : R350.00 including postage

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Where have all the Guineas gone?

Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - unframed 
Helmeted guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) 

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…

ITEM ID : WhereHaveGuineasGone

PRICE - R350.00 including postage

African Joy and Sorrow (SOLD)

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.”
- Maree

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

ITEM ID : AfricanJoyAndSorrow

PRICE - R350.00 including postage

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Barn Owl hunting 2

Black Pilot FineLiner pen sketch on a coffee-painted back-ground – NescafĂ© instant, strong! – Bockingford 300gsm - unframed

A lovely companion painting to Barn Owl hunting 1

The Barn Owl (Tyto alba) is the most widely distributed species of owl, and one of the most widespread of all birds. It is also referred to as Common Barn Owl, to distinguish it from other species in the barn owl family Tytonidae.

These pale, nearly worldwide, birds are closely associated with man through their traditional use of barn lofts and church steeples as nesting sites.

Barn Owls are short-lived birds. Most die in their first year of life, with the average life expectancy being 1 to 2 years in the wild.

Although they are easy to identify in the day as they often hunt in daylight, by night you can find them by listening for their eerie, raspy screech, quite unlike the hoots of other owls.

ITEM ID : BarnOwlHunting2

PRICE - R350.00 including postage

Barn Owl hunting 1

Brown Stabilo Fine point 0.4 pen sketch on a coffee-painted back-ground – DalerRowney 300gsm - 8" x 12" unframed

A lovely companion painting to Barn Owl hunting 2

The Barn Owl (Tyta alba) is a frequent visitor to my property (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa) and is not shy to hunt in broad daylight. I often see one pouncing on something in the long grass during the day, flying off with its prize, probably to feed some babies.

Barn Owls love to use man-made structures to build their nests and are very partial to nest boxes one supplies. I’ve always had a box or two in my garden but, sadly to say, the weather has taken it’s toll on them and seeing as I’m past the stage of climbing trees to put one up, it’ll have to wait until I find someone young and agile to do the job for me!

ITEM ID : BarnOwlHunting1

PRICE - R350.00 including postage in South Africa

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Listen to the Guinea Fowl

 WN watercolour on DalerRowney 220gsm heavy-duty sketching paper 
12" x 8" - unframed

Be grateful for nature. Pay the thunder no mind – listen to the Guinea fowl. And don’t hate anybody.

The Helmeted Guinea Fowl is an African family of insect and seed-eating, ground-nesting birds resembling partridges, but with featherless heads and spangled grey plumage. They are the ultimate low-cost, chemical-free pest control and if your garden is already established and can withstand the scratching, you’ll have a healthy and pest-free garden. And be rewarded with some wonderful antics from these lovely birds.

It is interesting to note that they are monogamous, mating for life. Read more

ITEM ID : ListenToTheGuineafowl
PRICE - R350.00
including postagein South Africa

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Way of the Crow

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - unframed
Black Crow (Corvus capensis) 

“If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.”
-Rev. Henry Ward Beecher mid 1800’s

There is little wonder that crows are very often the subjects of legends, folk-tales, and storytelling traditions around the world, all of which is very deep-seated and arising from myth and folklore thousands of years old. Anyone that has ever spent time with a crow will know how absurd these myths are and that Crows are no more ‘evil’ or ‘dark’ as depicted in these legends than a canary in a cage.

Read more HERE.

ITEM ID : WayOftheCrow

PRICE - R350.00 including postage

Life Force

Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm – 12″ × 8″ - unframed

In this painting I tried to depict the fires that rage over our country-side every winter here in South Africa, destroying as it goes, but also giving life, cleaning up the landscape and allowing some flowers, that are dependant on the seasonal fires, to bloom.

• Energy is the life force that is present in all good art. This is not something that is easily defined, but it is the opposite state of static flatness. It is this energy that makes a painting speak to you, and makes an artist’s work original and identifiable as the work of that artist. Energy is created out of the artist’s materials and tools, but the end is more than the means in the same sense that a musical composition is so much more than a collection of notes.

Colour, shape, line and texture are the physical elements that combine to make up an image. Abstraction indicates a departure from reality in depiction of imagery in art. This departure from accurate representation can be only slight, or it can be partial, or it can be complete. Abstraction exists along a continuum. Even art that aims for verisimilitude of the highest degree can be said to be abstract, at least theoretically, since perfect representation is likely to be exceedingly elusive. Artwork which takes liberties, altering for instance colour and form in ways that are conspicuous, can be said to be partially abstract. Total abstraction bears no trace of any reference to anything recognizable.

ITEM ID : LifeForce

PRICE - R350.00 including postage

Burning Desire

Watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm sketch-book – 12″ × 8″ - not for sale due to being done in a sketch-book

“When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.” 
W. Clement Stone – American best selling Author – 1902-2002 

Sometimes my work is inspired by a sight or sound, sometimes by a few words. In this instance, it is the many veld fires we have here in South Africa in winter and once I had finished the work, it evoked a feeling of a “burning desire” and the words followed. Or should I have named it “This little bird” …?

The year's last, loveliest smile!

Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm 12″ × 8″ - unframed

Stanley Horowitz says, “Winter is an etching, spring a watercolour, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”

For me, Autumn holds a special fascination. First of all because my birthday is in Autumn in May, and although May could officially be classified as Winter, here in South Africa some of our most gorgeous days are in May – clear, cloudless skies, temperatures still in the early 20 degrees Celsius and a landscape filled with colour, with Nature unwilling to let go of her summer finery. It is also the month for mid-year tax returns, and I always enjoy getting that out of the way!

The month May has been named for the Greek goddess Maia, who was identified with the Roman era goddess of fertility, Bona Dea, whose festival was held in May. In both common Western calendrical systems, no other month begins on the same day of the week as May. This month and June are the only two months that have this trait, though the first day of August in a common year and the first day of October in a leap year are also unique.

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

The Colour of Happiness

Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm – 12″ × 8″ - unframed 

Summer is in full swing in South Africa and a summer sunrise always takes my breath away. Together with a cool morning breeze, before the mid-day heat sets in, it’s one of my favourite times of the day. And to me, this is the colour of happiness… 

ITEM ID : ColourOfHappiness
PRICE - R350.00 including postage


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Large Clear Quartz Crystal pendant

Quartz Crystals can be used to clear and activate the energy centres of the body and it aids greatly in purifying the physical, mental and spiritual bodies. Clear Quartz heals negativity and stimulates positive thoughts. 

Chakras: Crown, Earth Star, Heart, Link, Third Eye, Thymus

 Unique hand-crafted Clear Quartz crystal pendant wrapped in silver wire, silver chain with Turquoise beads. From my "Earth range"

This is a large crystal, 3½" (9cm) long and the chain hangs at 42cm (16"). Once-off.

ITEM ID : ClearQuartzCrystalPendantTurquoise
PRICE - R350.00 including local postage


Thursday, January 24, 2013

View across the road

W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 220gsm heavy-duty sketching paper - unframed

I open my eyes and see the world in a new light. I view everything as if I were a child seeing a freshly opened flower for the first time. 

The view across the road from my studio – I stare at this every day, and every day I am amazed at the different play of colours on the landscape….

ITEM ID : ViewAcrossTheRoad
PRICE - R350.00 including postage

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