Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sand and Sky

Early morning excursions in a 4x4 Land Rover around the area of Serra Cafema in northern Namibia, one of the most remote camps in all of Southern Africa, offer exceptionally beautiful and quiet views. There is a sense of reverence as you look at this pristine country with no one else around. The bottom two photographs try to capture the immensity and beauty of the view.

The mixed media Sand and Sky provides a glimpse of the majesty and beauty through the eyes of the artist.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ephemeral Rivers

Namibia is mostly desert but does occasionally get enough rainfall to create rivers, which dry up and leave ephemeral river beds all around the landscape, with vegetation growing on the borders. From the small planes we used to travel from wilderness camp to wilderness camp, we could see the rivers from the aerial view (bottom photograph.)

The monotype entitled Ephemeral River (top) captures the colors and quality of the ghost-like rivers and the landscape of this part of Africa.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sand Dunes

Sossusvei, in southern Namibia, is an enormous clay pan, flanked by the famous sand dunes that stand out against the blue sky. These dunes, the largest in the world, have developed over millions of years, the wind constantly remodeling the contours of this red sand sea.

The bottom photograph is of my husband coming down the dune. The top "photocollage,"** using digital imaging, traditional printmaking and collage is called Sand and Shadows.

** I have coined this name for the new combination of processes I am using to create this series of work. What do you think??

Monday, March 16, 2009

Kiss of Rain

The difference between the desert and the lush bush is startling. The greens are varied and bright; the landscape is full of life and color. Here is a view of the bush from our room in Little Vumbura, a wilderness site in a private reserve in the northern reaches of the Okavango Delta. It sits on an island so in order to get there, we flew in a small plane, drove almost an hour by 4 x 4, and then took a 15 minute boat ride. The views and animal sitings were well worth the trip.

This mixed media work Kiss of Rain captures the verdure and lushness of the bush.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Without Rain

Most of Namibia is the Namib Desert and a good part of Botswana is the Kalahari Desert. The rainfall is negligible in this part of the world. Rain is a precious commodity. Now when it rains on my parade and makes my day dreary and wet, I try to appreciate the life-giving water pouring down from the sky, greening my world.

Without Rain, mixed media, celebrates the exhausted earth and the invisible clouds.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Savuti Sundowner

Lois Maher, an emerging artist from New Jersey, asked to see the photographs that inspired the art I am doing from my recent trip to Africa. I have included 2 photographs (top and bottom) and one of my most recent monoprints ( so recent, in fact, that the ink might not be dry!) The Savuti Channel in Botswana has not had water for over 20 years. We were lucky enough to be there when it was filled with water. The Channel is in the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana which is the largest inland delta in the world. Its landscapes were lush and inviting.

Sunsets were spectacular and this monoprint Savuti Sundowner (center) is my interpretation and remembrance of the amazing light and colors of African sunsets. I am not interested in an exact replication but in my emotional and visual memory of the moment and place.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Hartmann Valley

The Hartmann Valley in the north of Namibia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The mountains and distant dunes are pastel colors, the sand is pink and beige, and the sky the purest of blue. There is no one around; it is absolutely quiet. Each turn on the rutted road presents another glorious vista. I took so many photographs on the 30 minute drive through this magical place, not wanting to forget every angle of beauty I saw.

When I got home, I created this "photocollage," a new process I designed for me to capture the beauty I saw there that now dwells in my mind's eye. Using photoshop and collage, I recreated my impressions of the natural and majestic beauty of Namibia.

Friday, March 6, 2009

This Great Sky

I know so little about Africa. When we planned the trip, I kept forgetting how to pronounce the country of Namibia, home of the largest sand dunes in the world. It gained independence from South Africa in 1990 and its capital city is Windhoek. Named after the Namib Desert, it is the second most sparsely populated country in the world (after Mongolia). The sky is a clear cloudless perfect blue that I named "Namibian blue." Most of the country is desert. It is a land of sunburned places, red sands and dry mountains. Exceptional beauty and quiet solitude abound.

This mixed media piece, entitled This Great Sky attempts to capture the beauty and solitude.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Light Continent

In January 2009 I returned from a trip of a lifetime- Africa!! Growing up when I did, I had false images of the continent- Ramar of the Jungle, jokes and cartoons about cannibals cooking white men in large pots, the Dark Continent. The news today abounds with stories of an AIDS pandemic and unstable governments. We put off going to Africa until we realized we better do it now while we could.

Our trip to Namibia, Botswana and Zambia was awe inspiring. The scenery is fantastic! The night sky offers an ocean of stars; the bluest daytime sky is drenched in sunlight; the colors are shimmering and saturated; the people are charming, warm and friendly; the quiet of the wilderness is reverential; the animals were amazing!! There was enough stimulation- visual, sensory, sensual- to inspire decades of art. I am just beginning to scratch the surface and do not know yet where it will all lead. I do know I want to go back. Africa is a complex and vast continent.

The Red Earth is my impression of Namibian sand, mountains and sky.