Autumn harmonies

We’ve been having lovely autumn weather with clear air, blue skies and low angle light that brings out all the changing colours. I’ve tried to capture this in these images and combined them into one pattern of autumn harmony.

Autumn Harmonies

Going clockwise from the top right the inspiration was a bare tree in front of the after sunset glow. At bottom right is a red leaf in a sea of green foliage.  The bottom left picture is a flower in the bracken and the top left is the bark of a birch tree.  Here’s how the bare tree looked.

Bare Tree and Belt of Venus

And here’s a detail of how it looked after combining and overlaying the image eight times.

Autumn Harmony detail

I’m often asked if my images are for sale and the answer is yes.  I’m exhibiting again on the fringe of the National Arts Festival at the Johan Carinus Art Centre, Grahamstown from 29 June to 9 July.  If you’d like to purchase one of these, for example, then just email me using this contact me link and I’ll provide a quote.  Cost for a high resolution 50cm width print of Autumn Harmonies will be approximately R1000 including packaging and courier to South African destinations.  I have also organised having prints made and delivered overseas.

Summer Nights – Festival Gallery Exhibition

In a couple of month’s time Grahamstown’s Festival Gallery hosts its annual end-of.year exhibition.  This year the theme is Summer in Miniatures – artworks have to be no bigger than 30 cms.  I’ve decided to try out a submission with the idea of ‘Summer Nights’ and use a selection of four night pictures taken this past southern hemisphere summer.

The first two were taken on Ganora Farm which is just outside Nieu Bethesda in the Karoo.  Summer Nights 1: Angel and Obelisk was taken in the middle of the night when there was no moon.  I wanted to catch the Milky Way stretching directly above the rock and quite by chance I caught the light of my head torch that I was using to light-paint the top of the obelisk.  Summer Nights 2: Compassberg Star Trails was taken on a night when the moon was full which is why the landscape is so bright.  It’s a one hour exposure looking north to Compassberg mountain and has beautiful star trails arcing across the horizon.

Summer Nights 3 and 4 were both taken looking south from Mountain Drive, Grahamstown: so they are overlooking Featherstone Kloof.  In Summer Nights 3 I was joined by a firefly that flickered briefly past my right shoulder and up into the sky.  It’s another picture taken when the moon was full so I hid beneath a rock overhang to avoid getting direct moonlight on the lens.   For the last picture, Summer Nights 4, I highlighted Pride Rock from underneath with a bright LED as there was no moonlight to bring out the foreground.  The lights on the horizon are from Port Alfred 60 kms away.

If they’re accepted for the exhibition they’ll be priced at around R2500 for a framed print but I can supply a high resolution digital image for half of that. Contact me if you are interested.

Festival fallout

I’d like to start by saying how wonderful it was to receive so much positive feedback from so many people.  That has meant a lot to me and pointed my work, and exhibition next year, firmly in a couple of directions.  I’ll post more of these ideas shortly.  It was quite something to talk about my pictures with complete strangers and that’s helped me get a very clear idea of what my work is about.  I really enjoyed having friends drop by too: some of you were clearly surprised but in the nicest way I think.   Then, of course, it was great to sell my pictures – though the first time a couple of them walked out of the door felt a little strange.  I sold four framed copies and seven prints – so eleven in all – ten was my original goal so I’m pleased.  Here are the ones that sold:

Äsperöd Gnarly (900 x 754) R2200 framed (sold); R1350 print

Äsperöd Gnarly

Äsperöd Gnarly

Aurajoki Runic (643 x 900) R1900 framed (sold); R1150 print (sold two prints)

Aurajoki Runic

Aurajoki Runic

Baobab Temple (900 x 378) R1550 framed; R1150 print (sold one print)

Baobab Temple

Baobab Temple

Natalie Metallica (1200 x 800) R2450 framed; R1300 print (sold two prints)

Natalie Metallica

Natalie Metallica

Aloe Skyscape (800 x 680) R2000 framed (sold); R1250 print

Aloe Skyscape

Aloe Skyscape

Lindesnäs Fjordscape (900 x 404) R1650 framed (sold); R1200 print

Lindesnäs Fjordscape

Lindesnäs Fjordscape

Stendörren Dreamscape (1350 x 529) R2200 framed; R1350 print (sold one print)

Stendörren Dreamscape

Stendörren Dreamscape

Okapuka Sunset (1000 x 997) R2750 framed; R1550 print (sold one print)

Namibia Skylight Half Size 150

Okapuka Sunset

Prints are still available of all of these and so are hard copies where indicated. Portals Exhibition – the catalogue has full details for the other pictures as well.  Contact me if you want to place an order.

What were the downsides?

Well, Carinus Annex is very cold to sit in day after day during mid winter and be told that you aren’t allowed to use the electricity for heating!  This seems more than a little strange when you are paying a daily rental fee. It’s also a venue in serious need of a coat of paint and overall refurbishment.  It looks tatty and that’s not a good atmosphere if you are trying to exhibit.  I know it’s ‘only’ a Fringe venue but this also reflects poorly on the Festival.  It’s been my first time exhibiting but I still I got the impression from artists and visitors that visual art as a whole needs some more support: just look at the ugly wire frame stands for example … I had to prop mine up with folded magazines!

Portals exhibition 2016

Portals exhibition 2016

Finally, a big thank you to Harry Owen for helping me to set up and take down the exhibition.



Almost there …. National Arts Festival 2016

The pictures are framed, the labeling’s done, digital images uploaded for distribution, picture hooks, string and the rest of the exhibition paraphernalia are all just about ready to go.  So I’m almost there!

I’ll be hanging the pictures on Tuesday 28th, with Harry Owen’s assistance, and the finishing touches should be done on Wednesday.  Thursday 30th we open at the Carinus Annex. See you there!

Portals Exhibition: Two Mosaics

It’s been exciting this past couple of weeks seeing everything start to take shape. There will be 19 large format photographs for sale either as limited edition prints or as digital images at reduced size and resolution.  A further 20 images from Symmetry in Nature will also be for sale in digital format along with the remaining six copies of the limited edition print run of the book.

I compiled two mosaics of all of the images that will be on view at the exhibition so it’s easy to see what’s on offer.

Portals Mosaic Final Small Blog Version

Portals Exhibition

Symmetry in Nature

Symmetry in Nature

The pictures have been printed and the framing has started.  Here’s the first two images that were waiting to be collected yesterday from Classic Framers in Grahamstown.

For collection …


‘Giving a work a name is the start of letting it go, making a space to start again.’

Once I’d decided to have an exhibition I was faced with some really difficult decisions.

What would I call it?

What works would I put in it?

What is it trying to show?

Over the weeks and months I’ve made a lot of progress, and naming things – letting them go, making a space to start again – has been a key part of that.


‘Portals’ took a while to emerge as a title.  ‘Follow your imagination’ appeared whilst rewriting (again and again) my 200 word entry for the Festival programme. The funny thing is that once I had the name and the first descriptions I could move on to design what was going to be in the exhibition.  You would think it would be the other way around.

The quote at the top, incidentally, is from Edmund de Waal’s lovely book The White Road, a Pilgrimage of Sorts. I’ll finish this post with more from the book.

I’ve been using shorthand names in the filenames of the images and, eventually, I’ve realised there’s a structure to them I can use for the exhibition.

‘Symmetry’ in the filename almost always means it is a simple symmetrical image that may well be quite abstract.  RFOX8069 symmetry is pretty unimaginative for a filename but I can tell what camera I took the photo with from the RFOX prefix.



This is one of my forest images taken at Björkensdal in Sweden. The filename is replete with time and date information but it also says that I flipped the image and that it’s a simple symmetrical design.

Björkensdal PA180110 flip symmetry - 2015-10-18 at 13-56-16

Björkensdal PA180110 flip symmetry – 2015-10-18 at 13-56-16

When I use ‘Pattern’ it shows that the image is still symmetrical but I have repeated the original many times to make a pleasing design.  If the filename also uses the words ‘Archways’ then it means I originally joined the trees to make an arch.

Safari Archways Temple Pattern 50%

Safari Archways Temple Pattern 50%

Recently I’ve realised that it’s also possible to make ‘endless patterns’ by folding over the symmetrical image to make the lines flow and connect sinuously.  I’ve used the curves of Natalie’s arms and legs to do this in NatalieEndless10%coolblue.



So the exhibition’s going to be structured around symmetry, archways, patterns and endless patterns.

To return to the quote.  I’ve nearly finished reading Edmund de Waal’s The White Road and I have enjoyed it a lot. Near the end he describes how he named a ceramic exhibition and the works in it.

“A title is a letter of promise in a pocket.  Sometimes a title brushes alongside a remembered view or is a conversation overheard, a line from an inventory, a favourite melody, a street.  Sometimes it is a provocation; the claiming of a shared space with someone I care about.  Sometimes it is a stone thrown in the opposite direction to distract attention.  Giving a work a name is the start of letting it go, making a space to start again.”

As soon as I read this I knew exactly what he meant.  I’ve got images called Alice in Wonderland, Baobab Temple and Björkensdal Shields and Spiders. Some titles are places, some are people, some are the journey I was on, some are seemingly random and quirky.  All of them, now they are named and appropriately labelled, are Portals, they are imaginary worlds.