Friday, September 25, 2015


After relaxing for a few days, we decided to drive to Qwantani resort and managed to get booking online. This would give us a few days out of Johannesburg and also a chance to gather reference for my paintings, and to do some serious birdwatching. There were many wonderful scenes on the way down and I saw the rocks shown in the painting above on the way into the park (8"x 10", oil on canvas). What interested me so much was the interplay of evening light and shadow against the cooler blue of the sky so I knew I would have to do a study of it.

This watercolor painting above was done in my sketchbook and is typical in the area as being one of the many such landscape features we passed on the way down - I'll probably do an oil study of this scene later on. Never having driven this way before, I found this part of SA fascinating and began to see more mountains as we approached the Drakensburg. I could see that this type of scene would be one that I would return to often in my SA paintings.

Along with the spectacular landscape were many birds. Apart from the more usual roadside birds, we also saw a large flock of Long-tailed Widowbirds. At first I had no idea what they were as in Winter, the males resemble the females so it took us a while on the side of the road to figure that one out. Driving on a little further, we were very excited when we came across a party of Ground Woodpeckers (Steve Pearse photo above). They are endemic to Southern Africa and were very happy to add them to our rapidly-growing bird list. Next, a new dawn in the Drakensburg!


John Holmes said...

I remember Harrismith as my first stop on my first visit to SA....saw Ground Woodpeckers near there, too. Great bird !

Jeremy Pearse said...

Great spot John. Isn't SA birding incredible? Note to self- stay longer next time!!!!