Wildlife & Flowers of the Soutpansberg

Adventure through the Soutpansberg:

The Soutpansberg this and the Soutpansberg that… How many times I had heard that word during my childhood. Like is was a fantastic place. Then I had a chance to go there. I must say springtime is the best time… to go there!

Soutpansberg mountains

A5 watercolour: Late afternoon view of the Soutpansberg mountains

The Soutpansberg is found in the Limpopo area, of northern Transvaal, South Africa.

Our eldest daughter took my husband and myself to the Kruger National park more than ten years ago and instead of going straight home to Johannesburg, we detoured back home through the Soutpansberg.

Soutpansberg is in Limpopo

Map of the Limpopo province of Northern Transvaal, South Africa

One of the places we visited was the Spring Festival in Haenertburg.

Not only did we see the flowers, arts and crafts at the hotel and beer garden marquees, we also spent a lot of time at the Cheerio Gardens.

Spring time in the Soutpansberg

Photo of poppies at the Spring Festival.

The Cheerio Gardens are so beautiful.

You’ll find mass of azaleas there, nestling between trees and around ponds. The tranquility of the stream running through the farm and its vegetation brings peace to the soul. It’s a ‘must see’ place to go to.

To see what more the place offers, check out http://cheeriogardens.co.za/

Azaleas at Cheerio Gardens, Soutpansberb

A5 watercolours of Azaleas in the Cheerio Gardens farm.

The Soutpansberg climate:

  • Summer time: 340-2000 mm rain and temperature 16-40°C
  • Winter time: Dry weather and temperature 12-22°C

Rock art & archaeology:

  • The rock art consists of engravings and paintings: found mainly in the western section of the mountains.
  • Archaeology: Evidence of early Stone Age up to the late Iron Age.

Culture & natural talent:

Potters, drum makers, bead workers and dressmakers

Nature reserves in the Soutpansberg:

There are many nature reserves in the Soutpansberg. The following list of wild animals and wild life may vary according to each reserve. So check out what you want to see before booking into a reserve.

  • The big five: Elephants, rhino, lions, leopards, wildebeest
  • Buck: Kudu, impala, eland, waterbuck, gems buck, sable, nyala and roan antelope
  • Other wild animals: Warthog, bush pig, hyena, wild dog, buffalo, giraffe, crocodile and hippo
  • Also: Indigenous birds, reptiles and fish.

Have you ever been to the Soutpansberg?

Just pop your comment in the comments block at the bottom of this blog post. Love to hear from you.

Want to see more paintings and places in South Africa?

Click on the two categories below. They are found in the left sidebar of any one of the menu pages you click on:

Road to Drakensburg Gardens

Location adventures:

The road to Drakensburg Gardens was the start of my I love for doing location work. Doing fieldwork is like going on an adventure. You never know who you’ll met or what you’ll see around the next corner, in the most unexpected places.

Alongside the road to Drakensburg Gardens

A5 watercolour: Winter time. The river alongside the road to Drakensburg Gardens, Natal, South Africa.

This blog is about the time spent in the Drakensburg years ago.

When our children were young, we often visited my parents during the time they lived near Sani Pass. Their house was situated on the main road into Himville. And their lounge had a fantastic panoramic view of the Drakensburg mountain range. Every afternoon you could witness the dramatic brewing of clouds and impending storms garthering over the expanse of the berg.

Can you believe it; my father at the age of eighty had built that house, including its large underground reservoir, out of bricks he had made himself! The house had an ingenious heating system. Shame, they went through such hardships to complete that house.

My sister also lived in Himeville at the time, in the house they built themselves as well. Their house wasn’t on the main road.

So it goes without saying, we had many a happy time with family gatherings. Going for walks, picnicking and swimming in rivers together! I remember a time when our girls had fun making mud pies and dressing up in old clothes.

Location experiences there:

My first oil painting was done at my parent’s dining room table. Looking down the street of Himeville, I did a location painting of a house behind a tall hedge. I still laugh, even today… In my painting, the roof of that house looked like a hat sitting on the hedge! Yes you are allowed to laugh.

Most people would have given up there and then. But then, I’m not everyone.  I’m plain stubborn. I still continued to persist in painting! Guess one learns a lot through each and every experience.

When the family went picnicking, ten to one, I would be taking photos of the scenes round about or do location work while they were frolicking in the nearby stream.  Other times we went for country drives just for the fun of it, and out would come my old fashioned camera.

Along the road to Drakensburg Gardens:

The photos and paintings in this blog:

  • The first were of a time when my father went with me, to see what I could find along the road to Drakensburg Gardens to paint. Sorry that the photos you see here, are rather blurry. They are very old photos. And the watercolour painting is an old one too, done about 1974. As to Drakensburg Gardens, it is a tourist resort, see map of the area provided.
Road to Drakensburg

Drakensburg Gardens. Beautiful place isn’t it!

  • And the second lot was from a time when my sister and her husband took us to see a farm along that same road to Drakensburg Gardens.
Huts on a farm, road to Drakensburg Gardens

A5 watercolour, painted later from a photo: Round huts on the farm we visited.


The watercolour of the round huts (called rondawels) was painted from the scene we came across in a clearing surrounded by eucalyptus trees, on the farm we visited with my sister. I presume the huts were for staff or used as a storeroom for farm equipment.

We were also shown the spot where the farmer’s family used to enjoy swimming down by the river. Can you spot the farmer’s pet dog down by the river in the photo? In the old days we didn’t have cameras that took panoramic scenes! We would have to join them to get panoramic views.

Road to Drakensburg

Joined-photo, taken of a stream running through their farm

Afterwards, the farmer showed us his dairy herd of black and white Friesland cows. I will never forget how large and magnificent that bread of his was. They seemed to tower above us as they passed us on their way through, into the milking parlour!

Results of my Drakensburg experiences:

Sorry I can’t show you more of the paintings I did in those days we spent in the Drakensburg Mountains and surrounding area. They were sold in a gallery, in Pine Street, Durban, Natal.

Even though I’ve moved since then from Durban, I guess my love of doing location fieldwork started way back then in the days that my folks lived in Himeville.

Oh what fun I’ve had:

To find scenes to paint I’ve been willing to climb down into rocky gorges, through fences and over boulders in my endeavours to trail through streams or venture along seashores. Not to mention the thrill of walking through forests and climbing up steep rocky hillsides to get a better panoramic landscape views. (Of cause I have a much better camera today).

You can have these types of adventures too, if you are willing to` go the extra mile’ and ‘do your thing’. No one ever experiences anything without making the effort, no matter what you have to do to achieve what you’re most passionate about.

How to Capture & Draw Shapes

Note from the page: QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:

Where Ada Fagan invited those who had any questions about art and painting, that they could leave their questions in the comments block below or if they required privacy they could email her at: info@adafagan.co.za

Draw things

A5 watercolour: Autumn time.

Today’s Question deals with: HOW TO DRAW SHAPES

How do you start drawing-in the shapes of things, when composing paintings? I can’t get my objects to look right. My attempts are pathetic. For example nothing looks natural. My trees look stiff like Egyptian fans and my cars look squashed with high roofs!

You’re not the first to have this problem.

Many art students start out like that, until they see things as simple basic shapes.

When you start out composing a composition you don’t copy every detail you see. You may see the big picture, but to capture and place things on your canvas, you first have to look and select the bare facts.

Ask yourself the question:

  • What stands out?
  • What’s important to you?
  • What are the most exciting objects?

Instead of seeing objects as intricate complex things, rather look at things as simple shapes and with basic skeleton structure. General outlines speak volumes! So don’t worry about the fine details at this stage.

What type of shapes should you be looking out for?

Round, oval and ovoid, cube, square and rectangle, cone and dome shaped, pyramid and triangle, tube and cylinder, half-moon shapes, etc.

For example:

  • Bubbles and apples are generally round. Teapots and jugs have round bellies.
  • Houses and buildings generally have block shapes with square or rectangle shapes.
  • People seen in the distance, don’t have to show everything, not even feet. As long as there is a dot for a head and a suggested triangle for a woman’s skirt.
  • The structure of humans (close-up) is made up of ovals, triangles and wedges for feet.
  • Glasses and cups have ellipse ovals. Just because a glass stands on a flat table doesn’t mean you draw the base straight across, it has a curved bottom contour.
  • The outline of trees can be fan or top-shaped (like the shape of a child’s toy top) or ball-shaped. Fir trees have cone and triangle shapes.
  • The wheels of cars, trucks and bicycles are round, and the inner frame of the bicycle is a triangle.
  • The shape of leaves is club, spade and heart shaped.

Note: Basic forms create reasoning. When people see basic shapes in a painting, it makes it easier to ‘read’ your painting.

Lines also give structure to things in your composition:

  • Hills and distant mountains have undulating wavy contour lines.
  • Cars these days are not so square looking. They have more flowing contour lines.
  • Rivers, streams, roads and pathways have diminishing S and Z perspective contour lines.
  • Foliage of trees have upper canopy or umbrella shaped contour lines.
  • The growth pattern of tree trunks and the more obvious branches are the skeleton or structural lines of the tree. The flow, direction and angle of these lines clarify the characteristics of the tree.

Note: Not only the shape, but the bones of the object, makes it easy to translate the object onto your canvas.

 For tree example:

If you look at a tree more carefully you will notice that the trunk is leaning, even if it’s only a little, at an angle. And the main obvious branches have a pattern or flow of growth.

And the outer overall shape of the tree’s foliage differs according to its species. Whether it has leaves or not, the overall shape has an outer canopy shape, which can be an umbrella shape, round or oval shape, or as grouped rounded outlines.

Then look at the possible composition and decide where to place the bones of the tree structure. If it’s on the left side, you can have the lean of the tree leaning inwards to direct the eye into the scene. And if on the right-hand side of your canvas, have it pointing inwards, to redirect the eye into the scene or pointing towards the main point of interest.

As to winter trees that have no leaves, you don’t have to put in every twig, if your overall structure and canopy shape describes the type of tree you are trying to convey.

Always remember trees also have branches in the front and at the back. And don’t draw straight neat branches, vary the length and description.

Note:  If everything is neat and tidy, it doesn’t look natural.  Loosen up your strokes to give your drawing and painting a freedom of expression.

For car example:

First consider the size of the car compared with the immediate objects, buildings, trees or people.

Make a synopsis of your vehicle on a piece of paper:

Consider the perspective of the car: Is it directly facing you? Somewhat like a block shape, the back will be small than the front. Or turned three-quarter away from you? The front corner facing you will be bigger perspectively. To get it into perspective, run diminishing lineal lines down its sides and over its top.

  • The body is a ‘rectangle’ shape with smooth flowing lines.
  • The wheels will be partly covered with mudguards.
  • The shape and angles of the windows will depend on the model of the car.

Once you have made the synopsis, cut it out and place it on your painting. Does it fit perspectively and comfortably in your painting? If not, make another one, this time the right size. Repeat if necessary to get the right size.

Note: And of cause the colour of your vehicle is important. If the colour of the object is analogous to its surrounding colours, it will settle comfortably into place.


If you draw your objects in a simple uncomplicated way, it makes it easier to compose your composition. Without the complexity of finer details, it makes it easier to visualize the enormity of your composition.

If you use light colours draw in your synopsis shapes, you can easily shift their position if necessary, if you are not happy with your first placement decision. The replacement or shift, must of cause be made at the while composing you composition, That is, before you start piling on thick paint, defining the shapes and adding finer details.

Each object that is placed in your composition must sit comfortably with its nearest neighbour. The tangent space or links between objects is important, in their relation to each other. That is, there should be easy flowing lines or transitions between and through them, so that the object of your painting is easily ‘read’.

Now for practice:

Start by looking around you, at the things you’ve always taken for granted.

  • How can you simplify what you are looking at?
  • What are the basic shapes and linear directive lines?
  • What is the basic skeleton structure?
  • Which way do the lines lean? How do they flow?
  • And then consider how to simply the drawing-in of your composition’s format.
  • Where would you put the biggest or boldest shape?

Last word:

If the foundation of your composition is good and strong, the rest of the painting will fall into place and it will be a pleasure painting it.

And you know what I’m going to say?

Great artists weren’t made overnight. The more you practice observing shapes and practice your drawing skills, the more they will improve.

So draw as often as you can, the things you see around you. Make it a game, something fun to do, like doodling while waiting for something to happen.

If you too have a question to ask:

Feel free to put it in the comments block below, or email it to me at: info@adafagan.co.za


So you want to know THE BIG SECRET that sells your art!?

I’m going to tell you the BIG huge secret. I’ve hinted at it and I don’t think anyone has really been listening or catching on as yet!

Your paintings must be  SENSATIONAL, if you want them to be admired and sold!

Why must they be sensational? Because, people buy paintings according to their senses, feelings, emotions and the mood they are in at the time at looking at your painting.

But what makes paintings  sensational?

Paintings are sensational when there is a vibrant bold CONTRAST of warm and cool colours.

Big and bold

A5 watercolour: Lovely sunny day.

Stirring the inner spirit:

To create that type of sensational impact, artists need to draw upon their emotions to see and feel the vibe of the different colours of the thing they are going to paint, and then if their inner spirit is truly excited about it, they’ll translate and transform it into something so exotic and dramatic that it will blow the minds of all those who see it, into buying it.

Therefore we could say art is a spiritual experience. Not just a skillful application.

  • How is your inner spirit? How do you feel about what you are going to paint?
  • Do you see beauty in everything around you? How do you look at the world?
  • How deep do you dig into your emotions to see things on a more spiritual level?
  • What colours or combination of colours do you see, that the `normal’ person overlook and don’t see?
  • How big or bold can you make the shapes of things or areas? What colours can you emphasis or change in those areas.

Have you ever thought as an artist, YOU are touching lives… spirit to spirit! Your job is to stir emotion in people. If people feel the sensation of the interaction of the colours and shapes, their spirit responds to what you are suggesting.

Let me go back to the impact of CONTRAST:

As I’ve already said, the bold interchange of warm and cool colours attracts attention in the first place.

The difference between the BIG bold shapes at your main point of interest and the less cluttered surrounding area, is the fact that the bold contrast draws people’s attention to the main point of interest.

And now let me go back to the word I used earlier as well… SUGGESTING

What is suggestion? To insinuate or put forward ideas to stimulate people’s minds into believing what you are proposing.

In art terms, suggestion is a vague rendition of subordinate subject matter to stirs people’s imagination. Necessary to enhance and accentuates your main topic or point or interest!

Bold things stand out more dramatically when they are surrounded by blurred indistinct things!

Here is a slide show example of watercolour paintings with warm and cool colours:

How do we make un-important things look vague?

  • Reducing fine detail and be selective where you put your highlights.
  • Use analogous colours and/or similar tone levels in unimportant surrounding areas.
  • The interaction and merging of the different colours when they are dropped-in unimportant areas adds mood and emotion.
  • Blurred contour edges create easy smooth visual transitions over things or planes.
  • Your indistinct area can still have stuff in it, but just a suggestion of the things. Such as the use of free loose irregular brushstrokes.

So you see, surrounding your dramatic point of interest with a blurred or understated environment, means you don’t need a lot of detail! Simplicity draws more attention, than complex authentic detailed compositions.

Whether your painting is big or small: simplicity creates the biggest impact.

Detail is the opposite, to the word suggest.

If too much detail is used in a painting, there is nothing left for people to use their imagination on. If you reflect on how people love to use their imagination…. And gossip… that’s using their imagination!

No seriously, jokes aside, people love to look at a painting they have bought and still be able to continue seeing something more in their esteemed purchase, for many years to come.

What I suggest is, consider looking into the matter.

  • What is so grand about the subject matter you want to paint?
  • Which things or areas can you make big and bold in your picture?
  • What colours do you intend to use?
  • How do they relate to one another?
  • Can you use the impact of complementary colours in your painting that are contrasting warm and cool colours?
  • If not, can you change the colours somewhat, to create lovely warm and cool contrasts? Even if the contrast is subtle.
  • And where will your colours have the most impact?

If you want to learn painting secrets click on the following links:

If you’re an established artist:

What do you feel about what has been said? Feel free to add your comment below.

Pigment Consitution Secret Revelled

Constitution secrets

A5: Watercolour of autumn trees. Used drop-in method of adding colours.

Still having troubles with watercolours?

There is one more important secret fact:  pigment constitution:

Watercolour paintings can be corrected and manipulated if you know the quality and constitution of your pigments.

How do you find out the constitution of watercolour pigments?”

There are two basic experiments you can do that will give you the secret to manipulating watercolour paintings:

Experiment number one:

Constitution secret

Scrub test

         Making colour swatches:

Gather your tubes of watercolour paints together. Then basically line them up according to their primary colours. That is, all the yellows together, all the reds together and all the blues together, from lightest to darkest, etc, so you can judge one colour against another. Make sure you are doing this experiment under good daylight conditions. Then:

  • Paint 6-8cm horizontal swatches of each of your pigments, one below the other down an A4 page of 200+gsm watercolour paper. Leave a small gap between each swatch, so that the colours don’t merge.
  • Don’t paint too many swatches at a time. You need to control the drying time situation. That is, if they are too dry it is hard to judge their adherence qualities.
  • While the swatches of paint are partly dry, still a little damp, scrub with a (fresh clean) wet hog hair brush, down the centre of the swatches. Don’t scrub too hard and destroy the surface of the paper.
  • Then next to each swatch of colour, label the pigments with their names and the results, ie your impression of what happened. I symbolized my results by putting dark round spots next to pigments that stained somewhat. Empty squares suggested pigments that were easier to remove. See illustration.
  • Results depend on the quality and character of the pigments.

Generally speaking:

  • The strong strainer pigments won’t budge. You can paint freely over them when they are dry. They are usually translucent dyes.
  • The grainy or segmented pigments are easily dissolved and the gains dislodged, even when dry. So paint carefully over washes that contain segmented pigments. They are generally earthy pigments.
  • Also note that some pigments are grainier than other manufacture’s products, or have more gum in their constitutions.

Experiment number two:

Constitution secret

Opaque test

          The opaque test:

Some pigments are opaque and some transparent.

  • Transparent pigments make lovely fresh translucent washes of colour. This allows the white of the paper to radiate up through the wash.
  • Opaque paints aren’t translucent. They are called ‘body colours’. Why, because they are so dense, they are sometimes used to cover and hide previous washes. Correcting mistakes by covering them with `body colours’ isn’t advisable.
  • Watercolour societies don’t like accepting paintings for competitions that have opaque colours added. Why, because opaque pigments make paintings look milky and dull. It is obvious when opaque paint is added, they compete with the sheen of the more transparent washes, thus making the painting look spotty and overworked.

How to determine the opaque status of each of your pigments:

  • Take an A4, 200+gsm sheet of watercolour paper and with black Indian ink paint two 8-10mm columns.
  • When the Indian ink is dry, paint small swatch strips across the ink columns, one pigment at a time, slightly apart, and careful watch what happens.
  • Notice how the opaque paint when it starts to dry, particles in the paint float and cover the ink.
  • Whereas the transparent pigments part and allow the ink to shine through.
  • As in the previous experiment, label each swatch with the name of the pigment used and the manufactures quality control status. And added to that, in your opinion, each pigments opaque or transparent status. I used symbolic terms, eg: 000 (very opaque), S0 (slightly opaque), T (transparent), ST (slightly transparent).
  • If you check with my illustration, you will see I also added symbols to state how some pigments go hard in their tubes or if the pigment intensity is so week that you have to scrub long and hard to get enough colour out of a pan.

These two tests are not a waste of time or effect:

What they revel is an eye opener, a great learning curve. The knowledge you gain from this experience will take you to a much higher level of expertise. A secret to success you’ll find so exciting. Just to think of the possibilities and what you can do with this knowledge!! Take for instance the following things you can do with this knowledge:


Knowing which pigments are easy to dissolve and which are stainers, makes it easier to make corrections.

  • Segmented pigments: If you make a mistake all you have to do is wet the area and blot* And repeat if necessary to get the desired effect.
  • Strong stainers: But if the paint is a stainer, you may have to wet the area, wait a little before gently scrubbing and blotting it. If it’s really stubborn, don’t rub hard, or you’ll damage the paper.
  • When paper is damaged the paint is more easily absorbed there, and you land up with dark marks that you can’t remove.
  • To prevent dark marks: Smooth the damaged paper with the back of a spoon. Wait for the paper to dry properly before painting over the damaged area again.
  • Never paint over the area if the paper is too damaged.
  • Never use complementary colours when painting over previous washes. If you do, you’ll get grey dull results.

 *There are several ways of blotting:

  • I blot with toilet paper when controlling a small spot, but you can blot with a clean dry paper-towel.
  • I also use a dryish brush to pick up the wet paint. I either then squeeze the paint out of the brush with my fingers or pass the brush over an old towel lying across my knees, using whichever situation warrants it. I repeat the process until I get just the right effect.
  • You can flick your brush, but having to do demonstrations at galleries for years, I resorted to using my fingers and towel. You can’t flick paint on people watching you or spoil a good carpet.
  • Be aware that toilet paper becomes soggy with big pools of water and adheres to your painting. In that case it is best to use a clean lint-free dry cloth for bigger situations.

 Clouds and sky:

Some artists like to paint their skies blue and then blot-in their white clouds, or soften and blot the paint along the bottom edges to soften the underbelly of the clouds.

  • Painting the sky with segmented pigments makes it easier to blot the sky area.
  • Segmented colours create a gentle mottled effect, the interplay of warm and colour blues gives you skies atmospheric depth.
  • On the other hand if you fiddle too much with segmented colours, your painting will look tired and overworked.
  • Transparent pigments make clear fresh skies. Segmented washes create moody skies.

 Working with segmented pigments:

Basically two ways of applying segmented pigments:

 Pre-mixed washes:

Using segmented pigments in your palette mixtures, makes lovely grainy hazy atmospheric conditions, eg:

  • Skies: Mixtures of French ultramarine blue and Light Red.
  • Mist: Mixtures of French ultramarine blue and burnt sienna or burnt umber.
  • Dust storm: mixtures of raw sienna, burnt sienna and a touch of French ultramarine blue.
  • Grainy shadows: Mixtures of Winsor violet and burnt sienna or burnt umber. The tint of colour depends on the ratio of pigments involved. That is how warm or cool you want the colour of the sand, walls, rocks, etc.

Dropping-in method:

Constitution secret

Dropping-in effects. Note how earthy pigments tone done some of the colours.

When dropping-in segmented pigments into fresh transparent washes, watch carefully how they interact and mingle with their host wash.

  • Cool effect on warm painted areas: Drop-in cerulean blue into a still semi-wet warm coloured previous wash and see how refreshing the effect looks.
  • Toning down an over-bright spot: When you have a bright red roof of a house in the distance, you don’t want it to standout of place perspectively. What you do to tone it down, is to drop-in an earthy brown pigment, like burnt sienna or burnt umber in the previous damp red paint of the roof.
  • Shadows: A shadow isn’t black. Shadows are colourful. Shadows are a darker colour and possibly a complementary hint, of the surrounding sunny breached areas. For example: If you want a cool shadow on a hot day you will drop-in a blue tinge into the shadow areas. And if it’s a cool day, drop-in a warm colour, eg magenta, in the shadow areas.

`Cabbage’ effects:

Constitution secret

`Cabbage’ effects.

The ‘cabbage’ effect was applicably named and coned years ago by artists. It occurs when you drop-in a colour into a previous damp wash, and your brush has too much liquid on it. The excess water and paint spreads quickly out of control and floods your painting, causing ugly lacy patches in your painting. This occurs when you are impatient or not concentrating on what you are actually doing.

Sometimes you can use the cabbage effect purposely to your advantage:

If you watch carefully what happens after dropping-in a fresh colour, you will see how the different washes meet and re-act with each other.

Depending on what each wash consists of, the second wash will push the first damp wash ahead of it, creating a ridge darker than the first wash. This can make lovely silver-lining cloud effects if your imprimatura wash is still damp!

And depending on how wet, some of the grains of paint rebound back creating a cabbage leaf effect. See illustration. And if the previous wash included a segmented earth pigment the cabbage effect will be crusty.

You can use the cabbage technique for:

  • Painting fruit or delicate edged flower petals, like the artist Paul Riley does.
  • I once saw a watercolour painting of actual cabbages in rows, in a vegetable garden scene, using the cabbage technique!
  • Sometimes I use the cabbage effect to portray leaves and buds between flowers, eg: a painting of flowers in a vase.
  • If your brush isn’t too wet you can make lovely starry-edged effects. For example: stars in a dark night sky. Just blot the wet tiny spots to ensure `whiter’ shiner stars.
  • Some artists actually wet and blot semi-wet areas to create special effects. One artist who did this was John Blockley. He actually poured tap water over his paintings, and where the paint hadn’t yet dried it was washed away, leaving the dried paint areas exposed.

The secret is that you have the power to do as you please with this knowledge. Experiment for yourself, to find your power over watercolours. If you want some exercise to experiment with try those in the free download “Watercolour Doodle” book on page ‘Free art books

Like to hear from you, as to what you have gained from the “Watercolour Secrets” catalog series.

See How Watercolour Paintings Evolve

  • Paintings evolve stage by stage, layer by layer.
  • Each layer is planned to get the best results.
  • Watercolours start with light washes of colour.
  • Tips on how and when to apply paint.
How watercolours evolve

This watercolour was painted, starting with the sky and trees.

Watercolour procedures:

With watercolours you work from light to dark. That is: you start with light washes of colour and with each additional layer of paint the painting gets darker and darker. So it is wise to control how many layers of paint you use and what you intend to do with each layer.

You can start with a light imprimatura undercoat or be selective of what area you wish to start painting in.

Imprimatura wash:

An imprimatura is an overall wash, first layer of paint that works as a background colour. It helps to link and unite all the objects within your composition. The tone-level and colour you choose for your imprimatura wash is important.

  • If the imprimatura wash is too dark, your painting will turn out dark and look depressing.
  • The colour you choose to use as our imprimatura wash is the overall undertone colour of the scene you wish to paint.
  • Imprimatura washes have an impact on how your painting is perceived. For example, if you use a light wash of raw sienna it will radiate up through the topcoats as through the sun is shining through your painting.
  • Imprimatura washes are usually warm colours. A cool colour will make you painting look cold and uninviting.
  • If your imprimatura wash is a complementary colour to the topcoats, the end result will be a grey picture, eg: Green over pink makes grey. So to keep your painting fresh be careful which colours you are using over others.
  • If your imprimatura wash is covered by another primary colour, the result will be a secondary colour, eg: Blue over yellow makes green.
How paintings evolve.

Example of starting with separate areas.

Examples of selective painting:

  • You generally start at the top of your watercolour paper and work down. That is, starting with the sky, then the background hills and lastly the foreground. This prevents smudging and the sky sets the overall tone level of the land below.
  • When painting clouds, you paint the blue of the sky first, leaving the white of the clouds. And while the paint is still wet soften the lower edges with a light grey underbelly. The tops of the clouds usually have sharper edges than the bottom edges.
  • If you are painting a bowl of flowers you generally start with the centre flowers and work outwards. Then paint in the background and vase. Lastly the foreground (table top).

Dry-to-dry procedure creates too much detail:

If you start with dry paper you’ll get neat sharp-edged brushstrokes. And once you have neat detail, it restricts creativity. It’s not so easy to soften or change anything later as most pigments stain the paper.

But, if you start with large wet blurred mass shapes, you can alter the shape of things somewhat. That is: soak up and blot paint or add paint as you wish. Working this way, working wet-in-wet, gives you more leeway for your paintings to evolve.

The wet-in-wet procedure:

  • Start by wetting (finely spraying) your paper with water before painting with colour. Wetting your paper allows your brush and paint to flow easier.
  • Add an imprimatura wash, or apply separate washes of colour that blur and create mass shapes on the wet paper.
  • As you work always watch the drying process, so as to know when to add (brush-in) more colour and shapes to build up the basic composition.
  • Also always watch your brush behaviour. So that you not only apply the brush to the right place, but how the hairs of your brush are spreading the paint on the paper. Should you level your brush horizontally or use the tip. Roll or twist your brush to make the right brushstroke shapes, etc.
  • As you add more colours, take time out to watch how the colours merge and blend. How are they interlacing with each other? Decide whether you should you tilt the paper and control where the liquid colours are running into or not? Warning: don’t interfere too much before the paint starts gelling and drying. If you leave it too late your painting will look tired and overworked.
  • Starting out with big undercoats and blurred mass shapes allows you to create atmospheric contours that are easier on the eye than sharp edges.
  • As you proceed you are defining shapes, until your painting is complete.


Before applying paint:

  • Always consider what your colour scheme you intend to use, before mixing your colours on you palette, so that you get the correct shade and tint. This saves many a dramatic mistake.
  • Always watch the consistency of your paint before applying it. Will the colour be too dark or too light? Is there too little or too much liquid on your brush?
  • What is the state of the paper? Do I want this application to blur in a wet spot or make a sharp-edged brushstroke in a dry area?

 While applying paint:

  • If you want to paint next to something and don’t want the colours to touch run and mingle, make sure the paint of the object concerned is dry before applying more paint next to it.

Planning your composition:

Because paintings evolve layer-by-layer, stage-by-stage it’s only obvious if we want our watercolour painting to be successful that we should plan the format of our paintings beforehand.

Unsuccessful watercolour paintings are generally due to starting out willy-nilly, impatiently adding more and more paint, hoping by chance the end result will be great.

If you plan your moves you’ll know what to do at any given moment. If you understand procedures and the constitution of your medium it reduces so many problems. You won’t have to force issues or make so many corrections later.

  • First take time to analyze and digest the scene you wish to paint.
  • Decide how you are going to compose the composition and how that will affect each layer of paint.
  • Whether you are going to start with an imprimatura or work selectively areas by area.
  • Investigate and think what possibilities there are. If you did this or that, what do you think will be the outcome?
  • What is the mood? What is the overall undertone colour?
  • What colour scheme should you use? How do the colours relate? Can I change the colours to make the colours more dramatic and vibrant?
  • What basic shapes are there? Take note of the main symbolic shapes, the flow of gestures and angles? How objects, forms and space relate to one another.
  • Sharp strong contrast of tone and colour shouldn’t be scattered all over your painting? That’s confusing. Where you place it is important. It should mainly be at the main paint of interest.
  • Be selective with detail. Simplify what you see and eliminates unnecessary detail. Where possible group small things together and make mass shapes out of them.
  • What possible bright highlight spots are there? If there is bright highlights, which ones do you need to use and retain the white of the paper? And if there are light fresh green leaves, start with a light green wash in that area and darken around them as you proceed to give them their mass shape.

For free downloads:

For more info, go to the page that has free manual books on painting watercolours.



Cottage Gallery

Cottage gallery photo:

Photograph of country cottage

Photograph of an Artist’s cottage gallery in the town of McGregor in the Cape.

This photo is of an artist’s cottage gallery in the main street of the little town of McGregor in the Cape. She told my daughter and me that during the week she resides on a farm outside the village, but comes into town and opens her cottage gallery over the weekends for public viewing. Wonder what she would have thought of another artist taking their time to paint her cottage? But why not! It is so picturesque, don’t you agree?

Notice the photo doesn’t show the gate or pathway. I remember there was something peculiar about the gate, can’t remember what now, but once in the garden going up the pathway I do remember having the urge to look around me, closer at the flowers because the garden was so fascinating. But I thought perhaps the artist wouldn’t approve of us wondering around her garden, so moved up to the front door.

The artist had a few small paintings which she had called the little big five. They consisted of tiny insects. The larger paintings were of figurines in fine abstract format.

My demo painting of the above photo:

Oil painting

Oil painting of a cottage in the town of McGregor in the cape

First an overall imprimatura wash of raw sienna. An imprimatura wash consists of a mixture: a little amount of pigment and lots of pure turpentine. When applied, it helps to eliminate the possibility of white spots of the canvas showing through later in between and surrounding the objects placed in the composition. Laying in an imprimatura wash ultimately unites the elements with atmospheric conditions within the composition.

When the imprimatura wash was completely dry, I added a light wash of pink to the sky and blocked-in the foliage areas and the thatch roof with brown. Brown is a subdued red and red is the complementary colour to green. In this stage you are composing the composition and establishing light and dark areas.

The photo is rather cool, ie with green and blue colours. To liven it up I added some warmer colours. You will see I also added a gate and I pathway. I wanted folks to feel they could enter and pass through the gate posts and down the path to the house, just as we did.

With artistic licence I didn’t give the gate posts equal dimension. Perfection can be uncomfortable in its exactness. I wanted a more romantic artistic approach.

Interest facts:

You have to take into consideration that the Old Dutch styled houses that were built long ago by the first immigrants to the Cape weren’t perfectly built. I first noticed this when I went to Bishop’s Court to paint Desmond Tutu’s portrait. Door frames weren’t neatly rectangular and the steps were at odd angles to each other.

The charming cottage we stayed at in the town of McGregor had rough plaster and uneven tiled floors. If Cape Dutch styled houses are built neatly, or an artist paints them with perfect straight neat contour lines, been a stark white cottage they look severe and less picturesque.

Check out other Cape Dutch cottages painted by Ada Fagan in the ‘Photo Demo’ page and under category listing.

Quality of Modern Art?

What type of modern art do you like?

  • Morden abstract art
  • Fine art
  • Authentic realistic art
  • Impressionistic art
  • Cartoon art
  • Naive art
  • Ethic art
  • Surreal art
  • Weird art

    Modern art

    Oil painting of Dutch Cape styled house in the town of McGregor. Late afternoon with mist coming over the Riviersonderend mountains.

Modern art: What is out there today?

Sometimes you walk into a gallery and what do you see, but a bright kitsch rudimentary painting hung in a prominent position. You’re stunned, can’t believe it, how can they pass that as art? Why is the gallery promoting it? Perhaps the artist is a relative they’re trying to help out?

And modern art on the internet: most of the artist’s websites these days seem to lean towards abstract or naive art. What has become of art? What is considered art? It seems art doesn’t have to be a painting or a carved statue. Photographs and anything that is a creative artifact is accepted as art.

Google has a wide selection of images of art, including works of the old masters. Thankfully you can ask for a selection of aesthetic watercolours, oil paintings or pastels, depending on what you would really like to see. And there are some wonderful works of art, showing there are still professional artists out there with exceptional style.

 What is happening to the quality of modern art?

We have to remember there are a lot of artists out there, each with diverse inclinations and aptitude skills. We mustn’t discourage budding artists, we all had to progress through practical experience. And trends come and go according local and global fashions and environment issues.

What I like:

I think art should be something between reality and fantasy.  Aesthetic brushstrokes and detail contrasting with blurred atmospheric conditions. Paintings with emotional impact that stir your senses, every time you look at it you see something new or fascinating about it. And as my husband says, “Paintings which you can spin a story”

It seems this is a somewhat controversial subject! Everyone to their own taste and opinion!

 What do you think of modern art and what you think it should be?

What are your first impressions of modern art? What is so dynamic that grips your attention? What is your personal preference? What appeals to you? Colour combinations, line, mood, what?

What artists’ websites would you seek out and what would keep you going back to see what they are doing on their sites? Is it their talent? Or is it the way their website is set out? What is it they have on their sites? Is it their type of content? Is it entertaining, interesting or factual, what?

If you aren’t an artist, what message would you like to send out to artists?

Love to hear from you…

Heron Nature Trail

Heron nature trail in the Vrolijkheid reserve:

Vrolijkheid nature reserve is situated between Robertson and  McGregor in the Cape. The reserve is close to the little quaint town of McGregor and has two main trails and dams.

  • We did the Heron Trail. Erected along the trail are placards giving descriptions of plants and wildlife. We saw many wild birds and even a tortoise from one of the bird hides.
  • The Rooikat trail is much longer. At the beginning of the trail there is a stone wall (built between two farms over a hundred years ago).  Along the trail you will come across Klipspringer Gorge and later perhaps you will see baboons in the hills.
Photograph of Heron Trail

Shrub land along the Heron Trail

The Photo: I took many photos and this photo and demo is of the shrubs on the way to the first dam. I thought the dark bush silhouetted against the blue of the surrounding mountains beautiful. This particular scene captures Karoo-like shrub, which I thought quite appealing.

Watercolour of the Heron Trail

Watercolour of the shrub land along the Heron Trail.

The demo:  The photograph looks somewhat dark, so I reduce the amount of shrubs and  lightened the ground area to give the scene some contrast. The photo is rather cool in nature, so I incorporated a little warmth to give it a little more emotional impact. If the painting (A5) is viewed from a distance the undergrowth doesn’t look so spotty because I reduced detail wherever possible.

South Africa is a beautiful country. So many lovely places off the beaten track to visit.

Klipriver Nature Reserve

Klipriver Nature reserve

Klipriver nature reserve in winter.

Photo location:

Klipriver nature reserve is situated between Alberton and Kibler Park, below Mulbarton. There is no entrance charge or fence restriction.

When we went there at wintertime, there were youngsters on two quad-bikes having fun riding up and over rough terrain. Maybe they were there practicing, because nearby there is a popular cross country bike track grounds close to the reserve.

Klipriver dam in winter

Sand bank dam in Klipriver nature reserve.

There is a sand bank dam in the upper part of the nature reserve is surrounded by reeds.  Previously I have done an autumn colour oil painting of the dam. With silver shimmer on the dam water and the sun setting low, it gave the scene a golden-pinkish atmospheric haze. I’ve shown the dam in a photo, but I can’t show the painting I did because the painting has been sold. But why I have mentioned it? Because its a lesser known nature reserve and should be updated and upgraded as a tourist venue. I only hope its reserved for wildlife and folks don’t carelessly destroy it with sport vehicles and pollute it with rubbish.

Wildlife and birdwatching:

Some of the reserve is open velt (grassland) and a part with rock outcrops. But further along below Kilber park, there is marshland with a stream running through tall reeds. Naturally where there are reeds, there is always a possibility of finding water bird life, birds and ducks like weavers, Egyptian geese, coots, egrets and herons.

Winter, lower Alberton

Watercolour demo of bare winter tree.

Now a watercolour demo of the Klipriver nature reserve:

I mainly use Winsor Newton pigments because of their quality, but sometimes use other products to create special effects. It all depends of cause on what art materials are available in South Africa.

  1. First a light overall imprimatura wash of raw sienna, and when that was dry a light wash of French ultramarine blue in the sky area.
  2. Next, the distant mountain range was put in, leaving a jigger (rapid jerky up and down strokes) contour bottom edge for grass outline. The camera always makes distant mountains look flat and insignificant. I always like to enlarge distant mountains and exploit the colours to enhance my paintings.
  3. The trees were put in before the middle ground and foreground. The big bare tree was painted with burnt umber with French ultramarine blue dropped-in.
  4. For me it’s always fun adding fine twigs to trees. Notice the light extra wash of blue and pink is added to the twigs. This aura softens the contrast and bareness of the branches and twigs of the tree, preventing the painting from been stark.
  5. For the dry winter grass I used raw sienna, and where spots were reserved for highlights I added Rembrandt gamboge yellow. This pigment is more translucent than Winson Newton’s gamboge yellow.
  6. The chiaroscuro over the tree’s roots gives the painting involved dimension. That is, not only visually stepping over the roots, but somewhat like you were climbing over them, up the bank.
  7. A tinge of sap green was added here and there. And the blue of the sky is recaptured below in the lower part of the painting.

There are more photo painting demos:

Check out: “Photo Demos” page and  previous “Old Willow Stump” blog.

Can women be prolific renowned artists?

Why choose this topic?

I’ve always wanted to let woman know they have every right to be accepted as renowned artists. In fact women use more of their left-brain than men, so they have more intuitive sensitivity to assess situations quicker.

women artists

So can women make it?   Yes!  …. By listing their priorities and making time to succeed.

Often you hear women say, “But I haven’t time to paint!”.

Make time to paint! If you don’t make time for yourself, others are quite willing to keep you busy!

Schedules are not everybody’s `cup of tea’. I hate been restricted by ever re-occurring duties, doing it the same way, same time, every day. But working out a time budget and making a list of things you need to do next, helps to keep you focused.

 “But our families are so demanding”.

Yes I know. You have a job and you’re tired at the end of the day. And if you have babies, you still have to keep house and see to the needs of the rest of the family. And families aren’t very encouraging. They don’t think what you do is important. Painting to them is playing, a waste of (their) time! But to you it’s your life’s blood, the thing that keeps you sane in times of madness.

You know your family and what their needs are and what possible hitches to your schedule could occur in any given day. And work out possible alternative contingency plans. It’s a fact that women can do more things at a time than men.

So now you’re wondering: That’s easy to say, but how did Ada cope?

As my history has been briefly stated on my “About the artist” page, I had five children.

I was grateful I had any children at all. At first I used my talent to embroider motifs and slick fun patches on their clothes. By the time our third child was two I had started doing copper-work and painting in oils. I sold my art at a small picture shop in Durban.

While at my parents’ home in the Drakensburg, I would paint berg scenes while the children played in the brooks. When we went down the south coast of Natal, I painted seascapes while my husband fished and the children swam in the tidal pools. When the three eldest children were on holiday from school, I would prepare food, biscuits, etc and put it in containers and in the fridge, so they could help themselves anytime of the day when they felt hungry.

By the time the last two children arrived there had been a gap of ten years and the eldest was working away from home and we were living on a ten-acre plot. While the children were at school and hubby at work, I found time to continue doing research, painting and teaching art in the mornings. The people who came for art lessons came from all walks of life, even an art TV presenter at one time. His art was eerie though, he showed God as a disembodied face in outer space!

I learnt the best way to get things done in your day is to work according to your energy levels. It was easier to `do my thing’ in the mornings after a good night’s rest. I reserved the afternoons for the children and the evenings for my husband. I heard years ago of a woman who had eight children and lived in Italy, her best time was to paint in the evenings, I’m presuming after the children were all asleep!

Opposition in all things:

Accepting challenges opens up opportunities, new perceptions and practices.

Of cause things weren’t always easy to accomplish because we started living on the plot without a house to live in.  I drew the building plans, just the basics, no cupboards, art studio or outbuildings at first. I had to stay at home because of theft. In between painting (when one loses concentration) I would do housework, and see to gardening, the chickens, cattle, etc., no matter what the weather. Once, the hail came down as big as cotton reels while I was herding small calves back into their improvised shelters.

On Fridays I would travel into Johannesburg to teach art, slept over and do demos at galleries on Saturdays. At one time I packed my art things into our vehicle at four thirty on winter mornings to do demos at one of the venues. To cope, I listened to taped music as I travelled between home and assignments, and home again to make dinner.

Country milieus are inspiring though. It was great to listen to birds singing, see wild flowers waving in the breeze, cattle meandering in the velt (glasslands), hawks soaring high as majestic storms brew, filtering strange light after the storm, etc.  The break refreshes your consciousness and imaginative powers. So that when you get back to painting you are able to assess its faults and or potential.

The secret:

Don’t expect too much of yourself or your family. There does come a time when the family want your paintings to hang in their homes, when they get married!  Through your steadfast perseverance others realize success is possible.

Seeing the world through positive eyes, staying calm and using humour are the best coping mechanisms.

The power of creativity lies within you.

Talents must be used often – if you want an increase… You are more productive when you enjoy living and working in the moment of creativity.

Selling Artwork Effectively


You are not accepted as an artist until your artwork sells. If you want to survive as an artist you need to know what paintings sell best and what you need to do to get your art sold.

Selling artwork: The sea in action.

A5 watercolour: The sea in action.

Which paintings sell quickest?

Is it paintings with…..

  • Bright bold dramatic paintings with simple format?
  • Should paintings be unique or fanciful?
  • Have interplay of warm and cool colours?
  • Have emotional blur verses definition focus?
  • What is most acceptable to public: abstract format, creating illusion suggestion or precise authenticity?
  • Should artists adhere to the latest trends?
  • What of dramatic action? Example: seascape with clear wave breaking around a lighthouse or over rocks with spray.
  • Paintings with life in them, eg: people and children, wild animals.
  • Dramatic weather conditions, eg: sunsets or stormy skies.
  • Does the price make a difference?
  • Big or small paintings?
  • Best venue, right place and time?

Unexpected sales:

The very painting you think won’t sell sometimes sells first! Why because it generally has one of the following attributes:

First impressions when selling artwork:

  • Paintings with bright colours and simple format certainly attract peoples’ attention.
  • Emotional impact of colours:  How the combination of colours relate, ie complementary and analogously blends.
  • Instant reaction to the quality: Wether the artist is an amateur or professional: Composition format and how the brushstrokes were applied.


Shrewd gallery owners and investment seekers want to be first in on a new trend. When aspiring artists copy other artists they are judged by those artists’ expertise. Don’t jump on someone else’s bandwagon. Cultivate and get known for your own particular style and brand image.

Emotional impact when selling artwork:

People buy according to their feelings.

Negative reaction:

  • Monochrome paintings are boring.
  • Paintings with only cool colours like blue and green make people feel cold and depressed.

Positive reaction:

  • The interplay of warm and cool colours stimulates peoples’ senses and emotions.
  • Paintings with little children and cute little animals are appealing to the inner parent in us, the need to nurture.
  • Paintings with houses gives comfort, people want to feel safe within their home environment.
  • And sometimes it’s because the buyer has personal attachment or sentimental value to that subject.


  • There must be something about your paintings that allows room for people to fantasize, and take time out from the harshness of reality of life, to make-believe and dream a little.
  • When paintings are seen at different times of the day and in different light conditions, can people see something new, ever-changing and fascinating within your painting? So they don’t get bored with your painting.

Blurred illusions:

People like using their imagination.

  • Precise definition and sharp neat contours throughout a painting suggests hard facts and jolts the flow of visual perusal, and therefore there is nothing left for imagination.
  • Misty scenes and blurring suggests mystery.

Dramatic action:

People enjoy television because there is action. It takes them places. Want to know what happens next, etc.

  • Putting life into your paintings, eg: people, animals, etc.
  • Put action in your paintings, eg: oblique lines and contours, conflicting and contrasting interaction lines and brushstrokes within the composition format.
  • Mash landscapes can be made dramatic with contrast of tones and colour temperatures.

Drama is powerful:

People love power and have an inner need to be in control of their environment. So they are drawn to paintings with dramatic weather conditions. It  gives them a feeling of power. Paintings that make bold statements, such as huge dramatic crashing waves swirling around a lighthouse or a seascape with a clear wave and violent erupting spray seen against a massive rock or cliff face.

Big or small paintings:

My husband thinks paintings should be big. What do you think?

Big dramatic paintings are usually found in large business forays, to impress customers and business associates. But not everyone can afford a large painting for their home. Most modern homes have small rooms and small paintings fit nicely in hallways.

High or low prices:

Quality and expertise must meet the price and demand. Like any business, there needs to be a fast-moving ‘bread and butter line’ too. Selling artwork also depends on what type of market place you are promoting your art.

Selling artwork

Watercolour flower painting


If you want to get your paintings sold you can’t hide your talent. You need to be were the people are, on a tourist route or next to a busy important popular shop, where people are already on foot. Or place yourself in a home based gallery (to cut overhead costs) within an affluent milieu, with easy access parking.

What is your opinion on the topic of selling artwork?

Have you anything to add? Comments are welcome, whether you are an artist or just an observer of what a good painting should be.

More secrets:

What Makes a Famous artist?

What makes an artist famous?

Is it because you have natural talent, brilliant artistic flair? Have an impressive portfolio for gallery acceptance. Have the right composition format. Your paintings have impact and your style is unique.


What do you think makes an artist famous?

  • Do you think having the right connections helps?  Friends or family who owns a gallery? You have a `bishop’ (sponsor) that believes in your talent or you have a great PR agent?
  • Do you think it is okay to be self-taught or have attended university, had the opportunity to go to prestige art colleges in Europe, or trained by a famous artist in Paris?
  • Had a talented background: Won art prizes while at school and internationally. Have a list of noteworthy galleries on your CV where you exhibited at.
  • Having plenty of capital to back your talent, like owning your own gallery and paying for regular advertising?
  • Lucky to have a fascinating out-going character. Be able to tell great stories and experiences to divulge on TV?
  • Being in the right place at the right time?
  • Belong to a renowned prestige art group or painted a famous celebrity’s portrait commission?
  • Media platform: Published art books and magazines or seen doing impressive demos on YouTube.

Artistic flair:

Over and above knowledge of composition rules, the artist must have free aesthetic expression and unique style. Fussy detail and neat sharp contours is a sign of an amateur.

Social networking:

Observe edict policies before joining art groups. But that doesn’t stop you building your own social group with other like-minded artists. And as to your personality –you must be an interesting person to interview, know what you are talking about, without coming across as pushy and aggressive.


Your background and connections do count to some degree. But if you are self-taught (done a lot of research) paint often and your talent is really good, it’s likely that someday someone, somewhere, will believe in your art too. If you persist and market your art frequently. Believe in yourself. Life is what you make of it.

Seen doing your thing:

No one knows you are a good artist unless they see your talent! It’s great to have your own gallery but you need time to produce your artwork. People like to watch artists doing demos or painting out on location, like painting along the sea-shore, doing stage production props or restaurant murals, etc. This gives you the opportunity to be a `big fish in a small pond’ before been accepted as a `great big whale out at sea’.

Celebrity commissions:

It’s not easy getting celebrity portraits unless the standard of your work is well-known. And you have examples of your work to show agents. When meeting with the celebrity and actually doing their portrait, don’t waste their time, be fully prepared with the right equipment, colour swathes, etc before you or they arrive.at the appointed venue.

Prosperity beliefs:

Most people believe an artist isn’t a good artist unless he or she dresses weird! Some people like ethnic art and think the in-thing is for an artist to live in a hut. On the other hand some believe success is seen as having a posh car and house. Art is an expensive career, so shouldn’t matter where you live. The superiority of your talent should count!

Do you agree with any of these statements?

What do you think? Have you something to add? Looking forward to your comments, whether you are an artist or not. Maybe you have a success story of your own to share with us, what you did to put yourself out there?