Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Water in a Pink Bucket


It is not often that I paint smaller works in oils, so this was a good change for me. I purposefully went for a more painterly feel in this one, and I enjoyed it immensely. I was able to complete this in two sessions, which was nice, since I did not have to wait for weeks until I could enjoy the finished work.

Maun can be a terrible place to live in, if you want a reliable source of running water. The town’s water utilities have now set up a couple of watering points, these consist of large green tanks, which water trucks top up when empty. There is always regular activity found at these watering points. As people come and go, some carry the water back home in buckets balanced on their heads, while others use donkey carts, or wheelbarrows. It was at one of these watering points that I saw these two sisters, the older one with a pink bucket of water on her head.

Fortunately we are living on the banks of the Thamalakane river, and we pump water directly from the river so are not affected by the lack of water as others are. However that does not mean we do not have our own water problems. We are using an electric water pump, which works very well. But the filter on the end of the pipe, which is situated about 20 meters from the shoreline sometimes gets blocked with water lily stems, and other aquatic vegetation. The pipe is very heavy and cannot be pulled out easily, which means someone has to wade in, and manually unblock the filter. My brother normally does this bit (I mean what younger brothers are for?)However, at the time he was in another town.

Now normally I do not mind swimming in rivers, or dams, in fact I love swimming. However, there were a couple of things on my mind when I went in to unblock the pipe. My first thought was Crocodiles! It had only been a month ago, that a crocodile had killed some dogs, not far from where I was now busy splashing about. My second thought was Hippos, a large Hippo had visited the very spot where the pipe ended only a few days before while munching water lilies, was he still around?

I must have been dreaming when I thought that I would wade in, fix the filter and be out in 5 minutes. Therefore, it was a little alarming when the water started lapping around my neck and I had still not reached the end of the pipe. I also discovered that there was enough aquatic vegetation beneath the surface to feed Ten Hippos, which I wondered why they had not eaten more of, as I was, became hopelessly tangled in the stuff. Anyway, after much wrestling with the heavy pipe, while trying to stay afloat, and scanning for crocodiles all at the same time, I was able to bring the end of the pipe to the shore. I then spent the next 15 minutes shivering while I cleaned the filter and unblocked the valve, which was blocked full of weeds. It took another 5 minutes to take the pipe back into the river, after that it was simply a matter of priming the pump and switching it on. Therefore, it was music to my ears when I finally heard the water cascading into our tank, bringing with it the realization that I did not have to re-enter the river and do it all over again, well at least not for today. The things we do for water!

Monday, August 13, 2012

On the way home.

Here is the finished painting of the Herero Lady and her son.This was based on some photos taken in Bodibeng Village which is about 120 km west of Maun.Very likely they had just arrived back from Maun with food supplies which she is carrying on her head and paraffin in the blue bottle that will be used for their stove and lights.I loved the evening light in this painting and the contrasting shadows.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Orange teapot dress

Last night was the first time I have done some serious painting since my exhibit in Gaborone.It is of a Herero lady and she is part of a much larger painting ,which I will reveal when it is all finished.

The Herero people live mainly in Namibia a country that borders on the Western part of Botswana.The Herero spread into Botswana during 1904 after they rebelled against the German rule of that time and were defeated.About 2000 fled into Botswana ,however without any cattle or livestock they had to worked for the Tswana until they once again amassed for themselves their own herds of animals.

Today many Herero are big cattle farmers,and are known to take good care of their livestock thereby contributing to Botswana's beef industry. The Herero woman are easily identified by their long dresses,these outfits are made by themselves are are only worn by married women.The Victorian style of dress was influenced by the German colonization in Namibia during the late 1800 century .The outfit also consists of some kind of headdress (which I call horns) and it normally matches the dress.This style of dress has change little over time, except for the fact that you can now find them in all kind of bright colors, and even with teapots on them.