Do what you love most


is all about your attitude, enthusiasm, action and emotions….

Love what you are doing

A5 watercolour: Misty river scene.

Love starts with attitude:

Whatever you love, that is what you will enjoy doing. When you enjoy what you are doing, things generally go more smoothly because your heart and soul is in it. You are having such fun that you don’t want to stop.

Your enthusiasm empowers you. If you happen to make a mistake it doesn’t worry you so much, your enthusiasm carries you on, trying again and again until you get it right or get the effect you want.

For example, I love art so much I can’t stop doing research. If I get an idea in my head, I delve into every aspect of the subject. Like `a dog with a bone’ I can’t leave the concept alone, seeking for the truth in Nature, in the world around me. Gathering theories and seeing if they jell competitively in charts or diagrams, using word play to summarize notes.

Theory on its own is no use if you can’t use it in your paintings, so I experiment with the concept or technique physically, either proving it or rejecting what doesn’t work. That’s not all, I can’t stop there, I keep building on the concept and techniques until I have new concept or technique. The whole process gives me such pleasure that I’m always looking for more stuff to do research on. That brings me to the point:

Paint what turns-on your creativity:

If you love painting a certain technique or subject matter, it empowers your artistic intuition and dexterity. If you can’t find what you like painting most, consider:

  • What colour or combinations of colours turn on your enthusiasm: warm or cool colours, contrast or gradation of colours, bright or mellow colours?
  • What atmospheric weather conditions in any given scene pleases you most: bright sunny or overcast days, dramatic or misty scenes?
  • What type of subject matter do you prefer? Stark abstract concepts, still-life setups, birds, flowers, landscapes, marshlands, seascapes, stream or river scenes, what
  • Does size and detail matter? When you go to a gallery or museum, which do you prefer: big complex compositions or small uncluttered canvases?
  • Which artist’s work do you admire the most? What do you like about his or her style? Is it because the artist painted fine detailed work or because of their free-flowing dexterity?

Putting it all together:

Write your answers down on paper and consider the facts. And if the collective deduction of the facts builds a conceivable visual conclusion, go with that as your possible style of painting.

  • When you are happy doing what you do, your tension and dexterity loosens up and your creative powers start flowing. Once your creativity loosens up you start building your own personal style of working.
  • Painting what you like brings out the best of you and your talent glows with your pleasure. It is this `glowing pleasure’ that attracts people attention to your art. They feel your pleasure and people buy with their emotions.

Conclusive talent:

What you enjoy painting most, that will bring out the best of you and your talent glows with your pleasure. It is this `glowing pleasure’ that attracts people attention to your art. They feel your pleasure and if you rightly remember, people buy with and according to their emotions and senses. If you are aware of the emotional side of art, you will begin to see how your sales can improve.


Love what you are doing

A5 watercolour: A little imagination and a zing of colour.

The ecstasy of creating in the moment:

If your heart is fully in what you are painting, you will find your intuitive senses heightened. You are so hyped up on the power of creativity you feel, that nothing deters you from the moment of creativity. You are actually living in the moment, a time-warp so to speak, in the scene you are creating.

Everything and everybody in the physical world is forgotten. You’re feeling the dimension and atmospheric mood and flow of colours, your imagination runs wild; it carries you on and on. The feeling is so powerful and wonderful you unconsciously don’t wish it to end. You are now living in the scene and its part of you.

Action brings results:

This state of affairs causes you to loosen up your dexterity, and to other people your brush seems to flourish as though you are wielding a wand! So much so that they think your brush has magic and desire to get one just like yours. Meanwhile you have used the brush so often that you know what it can or can’t do, and of cause your state of expertise is really enhanced by living in the moment of creativity, that is, doing what you love most.

Please let us know:

Not just me but other artists out there, how as artists have you experienced this power of creativity? How were your emotions involved? And how has your emotions affected your talent and sales?

For more about making your paintings exciting, start by checking out ‘Art and Fame‘ page and category listing.

Wildlife in Waterberg: Mabalingwe


Mabalingwe Nature Reserve is northwest of Pretoria, in the waterberg area. It is along the road west of Bela-Bela. Bela-Bela was previously known as Warm Baths, for its warm springs.  Mabalingwe is a fascinating place.

A5 watercolour: Do you see those rocks, they are actually hippos sleeping in the warmth of the midday!

A5 watercolour: Do you see those rocks, they are actually hippos sleeping in the warmth of the midday sun!

There is so much WILDLIFE to see and do at Mabalingwe:

  • Mabalingwe Nature Reserve has the `big five’. On certain days a guide takes you on a game-drive-vehicle to an enclosure and up a stone tower to view the lions feeding. But you must book ahead of time to see the lions feed.
  • The elephants are known to cross over the Mabalingwe property on their way through to other game reserves in the Waterberg area.
  • There’s plentiful wildlife that can be seen along the many game-drive roads crisscrossing the vast property. There are Guinea fowls, squirrels, giraffe, Zebra, different types of buck and even a huge leguaan (lizard) to mention a few.
  • There are dams on the nature reserve, where you can watch wild birds and hippos.
  • Talking about hippos, if you park your vehicle at midday you may see hippos sleeping in the warmth of the day along the stream, near north dam area. At first you may think they are stones in the water across the stream in the mud. But when you look again more carefully, you suddenly realize the rocks are actually hippos! I thought painting the hippos sleeping in the water would serve as a visual hoax. See my illustration! Don’t you agree those rocks in my landscape painting look like rocks in the stream?!
  • Warthogs (wild pigs) roam the lodge area, hoping humans will feed them. They seem tame, but remember by nature they are still wild animals, so be cautious. You can also find them foraging at the side of the tarred road near the main entrance and airfield.
Wildlife in Mabalingwe Nature reserve

Photo of lions feeding at Mabalingwe Nature Reserve

Wildlife in Mabalingwe Nature reserve

Photo of a Kudo buck in the Mabalingwe reserve.

Photo of Warthogs foraging besides the road, near the entrance of the reserve.

Photo of Warthogs foraging besides the road, near the entrance of the reserve.

 Other Mabalingwe attractions:

Wildlife in Mabalingwe Nature reserve

Photo of birds nests in the Mabalingwe reserve trees.

Wildlife in Mabalingwe Nature reserve

Photo of the stream in the Mabalingwe reserve. Beautiful hey. Could make a lovely big oil painting don’t you think!

If you go to their website

You will see they have wonderful lodges to stay in.  Their ambiance is so romantic set in the bush. There is a tea room for campers near the pool on the south side and a restaurant up by the booking offices. There is also a swimming pool up on the hill, surrounded by some of the lodges. The centre also provides accommodation for seminars.

To see more interesting South African places and wildlife: check out the Location Paintings page and category.

How To Create Sensational Seascapes

What makes good seascapes so sensational?

The thing that seems to attract people the most, is the beauty of a translucent clear wave and the dramatic violence of the wave hitting a rock or cliff face and the spray flung high in the air.

How to paint spray.

A5 Watercolour: Clear translucent wave with force of seawater hitting rocks.

What is it that really appeals to people?

People buy according to their senses and emotions. So as an artist you play upon these facts:

  • The play of warm colours against cool colours
  • The contrast of tone levels and complementary colours
  • The dominance of size and shape.
  • Power seen in action, oblique and undulating lines.
  • Contrast of sharp definition to that of blurred action.

Sensational weather conditions:

Naturally the burst of spray creates a fine mist, especially on windy or bad weather days. The contradiction between the blurring of the fine spray and the clearness of the wave’s profile, in relation to the rest of the stormy weather generates a seductive mood.

Also the opposition between warm and cool colours that you get in warm sunsets or warm brown rocks, compared with the cool colours of the seawater.

To get these dramatic sensational effects, you must know how to control edges.

Creating nebulous variegated edges:

Because the surface of rocks is uneven, the force of water hitting a rock creates an uneven and varied perimeter edge to the spray.

Some spray looks solidly suspended for a second and the finer spray somewhat blurred, thus creating a variation the edges. So when painting the pray be conscious of how you are painting the outer contour edges of the spray.

Different ways how to paint spray:

  • To get the momentary solid suspended drops of water in spray, I sometimes revert to using liquid masking in my watercolour seascapes.
  • Other times I paint directly over dry paper, purposely leaving sharp-edges. And later wetting and blurring edges and spots to create action and variation.
  • Under misty weather conditions you can blur spray with a sponge. Even here make sure you get an uneven contour edge of your spray. Swipe the sponge in different directions, depending of cause on the impact of the wave and which way the wind is blowing. The technique depends on the size and type of sponge you are using.
  • Loose perimeter borders: Adding bits of spray beyond the perimeter borders of the spray’s contour edge in darker areas makes them more noticeable, example against the sky or dark ominous cliff. Keep in mind though that the sky tone is generally lighter than the sea colour. When the cliff area’s paint is still semi-damp, that is nearly dry, spray it with water and then blot the wet droplets. Timing is important.
  • Another way to paint spray: First wet the area where the spray is going to be and then paint the background nearest the spray. Tilt the paper so the background colour runs a little into the spray area. You can also tilt the paper in the direction you want the thrust of the spray to run into the dark immediate background area.
  • Always remember that white spray and foam isn’t really pure white, unless you are emphasizing highlights and sparkles. Surrounding colours are reflected into white areas making colourful shadows, thus helping to variegate the edges and formation of the spray.
  • As a last resort, some artists use sandpaper paper to create fine droplets in their spray. How they create this effect? The sandpaper only catches the peaks or tips of the paper tooth, thus leaving little white spots (if the paper is white of cause). You can only do this if you have thick strong watercolour paper that can withstand rough handling. Even so be careful and use it sparingly. Where paper is roughened, subsequentt washes of paint will seep into the paper and leave dark marks. So only use this technique when the painting is completed. Also the effect is more effective where previous washes were dark.

Rock and the seawater meniscus:

Where the colour of the seawater meets the colour of the rock or cliff face is important. It must look natural, yet dramatic in its own right.

To make it look natural it must also have variation, sometimes blurred with graduated colour and sometimes with sharp-edges and contrast of colour.

How to paint meniscus transitions:

  • One way is to keep the paint of the rock wet so you can merge and blur the colours of the seawater with the rock colour.
  • Soften the tone of the colours of the rock nearest the water to make the merge easier. This creates a misty transition.
  • Rock looks darker when wet and this complements the `white’ of any surrounding foam.
  • The jagged definition of the top of the rock complements the blurring and gradation of the meniscus below, thus dramatizing the scene.
  • Rivulets of `white’ water running down over rocks can be in contrast (in tone and sharp-edged) or blurred edged and graduated in colour, depending on the effect you are trying to create and the speed on which it is draining off the rock.

How to paint the power behind blurred action:

We talked about the spray and meniscus conditions, but we also have to consider the surrounding scene.

You don’t just show the burst of water and spray, but also the force of the water preceding it, what caused it, behind it. Otherwise it will give the impression of a whale-blow.

  • Show the rest of the wave, on both sides where possible.
  • Use undulating contour lines in your seascapes, to imply the powerful motion behind the impact of the wave as it hits a rock, cliff, etc.
How to paint a surfer riding a huge wave

A5 Watercolour: Surfer crouching while riding the curl of a huge wave.

Sensational dominance:

And of cause the dramatic dominance in relation to smaller weaker things, we consider the difference of blurred action of foam to that of the solid definition of cliffs, lighthouses, etc.

  • Towering cliffs compared to the waves seen far below.
  • A big wave with its far-flung spray compared to a submerged rock, only partly visible above sea level.
  • Lighthouse paintings where the force of an enormous overpowering wave breaks against a lighthouse and there is a small man standing in the lighthouse doorway unaware of the oncoming huge over-whelming wave!
  • A small figure of surfer compared to the mammoth wave he is riding in its clear curl and the pounding foam and spray on its opposing side.


For more tips on how to paint beautiful seascapes check out page and the category “Watercolour Seascapes Secrets”.

Lion Park: Krugersdorp South Africa

Krugersdorp Lion Park

Have you ever been to the Krugersdorp Lion Park? It is on the west Rand, in the Transvaal of South Africa. The park is open between 8am and 6pm, and there are a variety of things to see, including four of `the big five’, at very little cost.

Lion park trees

A5 watercolour: When you go to Krugersdorp lion park, just for fun, see if you can spot this clump of trees!

What you can see:

  • The terrain of the park is restful and beautiful in its natural state. To bird watchers it’s a haven with their cameras or binoculars.
  • You can wonder along rural roads viewing wildlife and see interesting ruins. There’s also a separate lovely big braai and picnic area where the whole family and friends can spend the whole day if they wish.
  • The wildlife in the greater part of the park ranges from rhino, hippo, giraffe, buck, zebras and mongoose colony, to wild birds housed in a walk through aviary opposite the ruins.
  • The lions are kept in a huge (100-hecture fenced off) part of the park. Besides the normal viewing, you can watch the lions feed on Sundays between 10am and 11am.
  • There is also lodge accommodation and a conference centre. From the centre parking you can see a waterfall in the distance.
Photo of a wild bird in the lion park.

Photo of a wild bird in the lion park.

Photo of part of the lion park.

Photo of part of the lion park.

One of the roads going through the lion park.

One of the roads going through the lion park.

The ruins opposite the bird aviary.

The ruins opposite the bird aviary.

Bird aviary in the lion park.

Inside the bird aviary in lion park, opposite ruins.

Lioness in the lion park.

This photo of the lioness was taken late in the afternoon.

Safety warnings:

  • It’s important that you keep your windows of your vehicle closed while travelling through the lion’s enclosure. Strangely, lions see vehicles as one big shape (you are included in the shape) but the moment you move and make a noise (even a small noise) they begin to see you within the shape as prey. There are two guarded gates (in and out) of the enclosure to ensure you are recorded as entered and left the enclosure safely.
  • You mustn’t get out of your car, walking is strictly prohibited. But horseback safaris or viewing on mountain bikes is possible in the general park area, if you book in advance.
Mongoose in the lion park.

The mongooses were very friendly, hoping for tip-bits to eat.

Zebra grazing in the lion park.

Zebra grazing in the lion park.

Buck in the lion park.

Buck in the lion park.

If you want to know more about the Krugersdorp lion park check out:

Directions to Krugersdorp Game Reserve:

From Krugersdorp, travel towards Rustenburg on the R24. The game reserve is on your righthand side of the road.

Note: It is a few years since the photos in this blog were taken within the lion park.

More blogs on South African scenes  to be seen in Location Paintings category.