This week two paintings went to new homes. The first, a triptych, Sinister Pools, is set in a beautiful part of the Southern Drakensberg just off the Underberg Road. When I re-read the post, I realised just how much I loved being near the mountains. During my last few years in South Africa, the mountains were the theme for several paintings. A deep connection to place, to country, remains.
When I arrived in Brisbane, I needed to acclimatise myself to Australia. I needed to find motifs that would speak to me in a personal way. I felt I had to move forward and discover the special places in my new country. In some ways, I was too emotional to keep painting South Africa. A clean break was necessary. Now I feel ready to revisit my history and paint the landscape of my birth.
High in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa near Garden Castle, the Umzimkulu River spills out of the mountains and starts its journey to the sea. The river twists and turns its way through fertile farmland. As one turns off the main road from the village of Underberg to drive into the mountains, the river is alongside the road. The water tumbling over rocky cascades thrills adrenalin junkies on canoes. In between there are deep dark pools that are part of the lore of the local trout fishermen. The mist rises off the river in winter at dawn and I imagine the atmosphere is dark, cold and sinister, hence the name.