Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Oaklands Experience

Last weekend, through the generosity of a very good friend of ours we were fortunate enough to have been able to spend time at Oakland's Polo and Country Club near Van Reenen in the Freestate. This was made possible by Tess’ good friend Lisa who introduced us to this wonderful place and covered the costs of our accommodation. This was done with a view to helping us get established as artists by introducing us to Oakland's with its wonderful people, beautiful vistas and endless source material for artists like ourselves. Anyone who knows Lisa would appreciate that she has an eye for a good thing and has made a career out of spotting and developing talented enterprising people so we feel honored that she has taken the time and effort to do this for us.
Oakland's is one of those special places that leave a lasting impression in one’s mind. The main reason for this is that at Oakland's you get more than just four star treatment, you get a unique experience of being immersed into a community of great people who you feel like you've known forever. The class of the place is evident in everything from the food to the decor, but what is unique is that the classiness of the place is not daunting or unobtainable. Rather, the class of the place is there to be used touched, tasted, sat on and generally enjoyed, not just looked at.  There is a great sense of freedom and homeliness that is hard to find in other establishments in South Africa and I have never felt quite so at home away from home. This is all attributable to three sisters: Caroline, Annie and Cathy who have come together through life’s circumstances and have thrown their lot in to create a great family experience, centered on this beautiful Polo estate.
For us as artists Oakland's is a treasure trove of beautiful imagery and in just under three days I managed to take over 1000 photographs which will be used as source material for our work. We've captured everything from the majestic to the whimsical. We’ve photographed the splendid polo ponies in action as well as capturing the great Danes reclining on their pub couch, and let’s not forget the pig and donkey which are joined at the hip ( the pig just doesn’t know it yet).
 The action and drama of the Polo is something that I'm particularly looking forward to capturing in my drawings. I’m also looking forward to drawing some of the smaller things like the groomsman’s hands plaiting the horse tail and of course there’s also the aforementioned pig and donkey that just can’t be left out. The great news is that Tess is already working on a commission for one of the British families who were visiting Oaklands at the time. Their 2 sons will be the subject of the commission.
So I look forward to the next couple of months of work and our intention is to produce a body of work which is representative of not only Oakland's, but the rural South African lifestyle in general. The attached photograph gives just a sample of some of the source material which will be converted into full-scale works of art over the next month or two.
Exciting! Thank you Lisa. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Work in progress

My daughter, Rhiannon, is an inspiration to me... thats why I chose to paint this picture of her. She is always so happy and loves the outdoors. She was standing on the rocks, in the middle of the river, at the Karkloof Falls, soaking up the sun, the sounds of the rushing water and the smells of a special picnic outing with Oupa and Ouma from Zimbabwe. She was very much in the moment, absorbing the whole experience to the fullest... which this piece captures. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all stop and appreciate the moment in this way, more often and in such a child like manner!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Exhibition: Susan Langeveldt Gallery Update

Just a reminder about the exhibition in Pretoria. If you are in the area please try and get along to the opening on the 11th of November or alternatively you can visit the gallery any time between the 11th November and the 15th December. Please feel free to share this with your facebook friends; you never know who may have friends in the vicinity and we would love to have them visit the gallery at some stage.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This Piece is now complete. At 1000 x 700 it is by far the largest work I have completed so far. In all it took the best part of 3 weeks to complete working an average of 2- 3 hrs a day, 5 days a week. Fortunately I devised some techniques for doing the grass which helped to make a daunting task easier. I score / indent the paper with the blunt end of a small paintbrush which gives the grass it's texture. After that I run a 2b pencil over the surface of the paper followed by a 9b for the darker areas. Whew!! Now for framing. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Natures Jungle Gym

This piece is probably my most ambitious undertaking so far owing mainly to its size (1000mm x 700mm). My aim is to have at least this and one other of a similar size ready to add to the current collection for the Pretoria opening in a months time. Progress is slow as I still have a day job (although that will be changing soon - Yay!!) In the mean time I would like to share some insights into this piece of work.
While out and about with the kids one afternoon we came accross this wonderful fallen tree which made an awesome natural jungle gym for the kids. Had we not needed to get home they could easily have spent an entire afternoon exploring this natural structure. It makes for wonderful (and daunting) subject matter as there are incredible contrasts of light and texture in the scene which allow me the chance to get stuck in with my 9B solid graphite. 
The contrasting textures are challenging; from bark to wood to plastic but eventually one works out a method for each one. Currently I have spent approximately 20 hours on this piece. I estimate that I am probably at the half way mark. VR

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Hi all. It's all go go go in the Reid studio this week. We have 2 major events coming up in the next 2 months that we are working towards, the details of which will be made know to you shortly.Please visit our new web site on the contact sheet there is a link to our facebook pages...go in and 'like' our pages. Many thanks. TR

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Looks like we are finally live. This blog will cover a number of bases: from thoughts and observations to announcements about what we are doing and where we are going. We look forward to sharing our experiences with you.