Spring is in the air, the weather is warming up splendidly, and the outside calls. I decided it was time to stop gazing fondly at the massed primulas and daffodils outside my study window, and to venture out in search of colour, interesting people and something to stir the soul. So I did. I went to the monthly gathering of Artists Under The Sun at the Zoo Lake.
There was a larger group than usual as it was also open to artists who were hoping to become regular exhibitors. Spread over a deep expanse of grass under a warm blue sky, with pockets of shade supplied by spreading trees, it was an attractive sight. Artists engaged potential customers in conversation, stood in animated groups with others, or sat patiently waiting. I fell into a very interesting discussion with Dennis Hutchinson, which started over his painting of a fish eagle and then took flight into all sorts of areas that we found we had in common. His paintings of birds as well as views of Arniston, Hout Bay and other scenes appealed to me greatly.
Tearing myself away, with my credit card pleading to be used, I wandered on. The variety, styles and methods employed were amazing – sometimes quite startling. I kept stopping to wonder at the creativity that lived within these artists and which was set free in so many different ways. For some time I stood and gazed at an African woman who appeared to be walking out of a mist of grass, in such a powerful portrayal that I expected her to approach me. Everywhere I turned the beauty, majesty and colours of our land were evident, as seen through different eyes and interpreted by different minds and hands. There was space and peace, clutter and noise, detail and impressionism, and it all told a tale. And, as with all art, something of the soul of the artist spoke through each work, so that a second story was told at the same time.
My last stop was at the section displaying the paintings of Derrick Onderstal. I was sorry to find that he was not there at that moment, but two of the works that I particularly enjoyed were on show – The Chapel At Renishaw and A Walk In The Woods. I am attempting to sketch them in pencil, as part of my own steps away from “I can’t” towards “Hey, I can!”
Artists under the Sun was started in 1960 and has grown to be the largest exhibition of its type in Southern Africa. All the artists are carefully selected to ensure a consistent high quality. Here you can meet and chat to them, and also see a variety and quantity that would not otherwise be possible. They gather, normally on the first Saturday and Sunday of each month, at the Zoo Lake from 08h30 to 16h00. There is no entrance fee and no pressure on people to purchase anything. For a quiet browse, or a serious search, it is just the place. The next exhibitions are on 2nd and 3rd October, 6th and 7th November, and 4th and 5th December. The website (follow the links alongside) has all the details, information on some of the artists and thumbnails of a selection of the artwork.
Maropeng Star Gazing evenings
The Sotho and Tswana call it Selemela, and the Zulu isiLimela, who believed that these stars die in winter dusk and are reborn in the rainy season (the pleiades reappear in the evening sky in October). The Selemela are “the hoeing stars”, or “the digging stars”, indicating their importance as an agricultural sign.
Join Maropeng’s resident astronomer for a basic introduction to astronomy, featuring the spring season’s “Hollywood” astronomical objects.
After dinner, you are invited to participate in a laser guided binocular tour while stargazing through our large aperture telescopes.
The star-viewing evenings are weather dependent. Please bring your own binoculars.
Stargazers will be pleased to know that Maropeng is offering an accommodation special for the Friday and Saturday of each stargazing weekend. Prices are R770 per person sharing per night, or R1170 if you are spending the night on your own.