Escher’s Butterflies Migrating Over The Rivers of Africa

I’ve really found Escher’s work to be inspirational and it’s so nice to be able to take it into a new dimension. I re-imagined Escher’s Butterflies in one of my earlier posts and now I’ve finished mapping the whole continent’s rivers I’ve been able to realise a new, more complete, look for the idea.

Escher's Butterflies Migrating Over the Rivers of Africa
Escher’s Butterflies Migrating Over the Rivers of Africa

I particularly like the granularity and textures in each butterfly’s wings and bodies – if you look more closely you’ll see what I mean.

Detail of Escher's Butterflies Migrating Over the Rivers of Africa
Escher’s Butterflies Migrating Over the Rivers of Africa – Detail

Please check out my Instagram feed to find a selection of the Rivers of Africa images that I’ve been posting. Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing these!

The Fish and Scales Topographic Map of South Africa

MC Escher produced his famous Fish and Scales print in 1950 – at the same time as The Butterflies. And so, following on from my re-imagination of The Butterflies in yesterday’s post, I’ve used the same method to produce the Fish and Scales Topographic Map of South Africa. You should be able to pick out the country’s coastline easily. The north-eastern edge of Escher’s print follows the curves of the Limpopo River whilst in the north-west it follows the Orange. I’d like to think that he would appreciate the playful colouring!

The Fish and Scales Topographic Map of South Africa
The Fish and Scales Topographic Map of South Africa
Escher's Fish and Scales
Escher’s Fish and Scales

MC Escher’s Butterflies Print Re-imagined

MC Escher’s work has always amazed me with the way he transforms reality: peeling it away in layers to reveal new structures and perceptions. Lately I’ve begun to wonder if I couldn’t use one of his prints – The Butterflies – to blend his work with how Geographers use Geographic Information Systems to portray the Earth’s surface. After all, Escher was always interested in landscapes too.

So I scanned The Butterflies from my 1972 copy of The Graphic Work of MC Escher and then removed all of the white areas from the print leaving those areas transparent.

MC Escher's Butterflies Print
MC Escher’s Butterflies Print

This meant that when I overlaid it on to my map of Africa’s rivers then the coloured areas showed through to become the wing colours of the butterflies. You can clearly see the distinctive shape of Africa’s horn in the top right and the central large green butterfly is right over the Congo River.

Escher's Butterflies on the Map of Africa's Rivers
Escher’s Butterflies on the Map of Africa’s Rivers

For my next attempt I flipped the Butterflies image vertically and overlaid it on the topographic map of South Africa. This makes them fly up from the south coast over the mountains of Lesotho and on into Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Escher's Butterflies on the Topographic Map of South Africa
Escher’s Butterflies on the Topographic Map of South Africa

This was a fun thing to try and it’s given me some lovely new African designs and ideas to work with.

The Silence of Elephants – a haiga

I found this lovely haiku by Ingrid Baluchi when I was recently browsing through back issues of The Mamba Journal – it’s the Africa Haiku Network’s online publication that comes out twice a year. Right away I knew I would like to put it to imagery and – fortunately – we had already booked a visit to Woodbury Tented Camp at Amakhala Private Game Reserve. Our ranger (Brad Louwrens) was extremely helpful in positioning the vehicle during our game drives and that was a big help in getting the video clips I needed to make this haiga.

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Lockdown Safari to Amakhala Private Game Reserve

In September and October South Africa began to ease the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and our local Game Reserves began to open up. We were desperate to get out of town and into the bush so we took advantage of the special offers for residents and had day game drives to Kwandwe and stayed for two nights at Woodbury Tented Camp, Amakhala.

We were treated to spectacular game viewing in beautiful landscapes. It was so nice to get out with the camera again for some nature photography that I’ve put together this little video of our time at Woodbury Tented Camp. We went mid week and so were the only people staying there. I think you’ll agree that it was memorable!


The Yoga Teacher, the Blue Sea Moon and Ernst Haeckel’s Pitcher Plants

I wanted to make some yoga art with a difference and asked beautiful Cape Town based yoga teacher Shelby Kleynhans (@yogi_shelby) to send me some yoga pictures and ideas to work with. She told me that she had a special affinity for the moon, the sea and anything blue. So I masked out the background from one of her pictures, stood her on the ripples of a wave covered beach, framed her within a giant crescent moon and placed this all beneath the galaxy high above.


The Yoga Teacher and the Blue Sea Moon

The Yoga Teacher and the Blue Sea Moon

Later I was inspired to do some overlay work using Ernst Haeckel’s wonderful images: you’ve maybe already seen her as a mermaid stepping out of his illustrations for ferns and corals in my other post The Yoga Teacher, the Mermaid and Ernst Haeckel. This time I’ve placed her as a carefree mermaid strolling through a forest of carnivorous pitcher plants. They are clearly no threat to her!


Shelby strolls through Ernst Haeckel's Pitcher Plants

Shelby strolls through Ernst Haeckel’s Pitcher Plants

This is a new photographic direction for me to follow. Overlaying my own imagery and classic work to create new pictures with inspirational people like Shelby and Meagen. It is something that I want to do more of so if you are reading this and want to collaborate (either online or with a photoshoot) please get in touch

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