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Linda Howe Ely

Sketching in Kalk Bay

Over the last few weeks our painting and sketching group has met in Kalk Bay quite a few times. (When it wasn’t raining!) There is so much to see there, we never ran out of things to paint and draw. For those who don’t know it, Kalk Bay was a fishing village, and still has a working harbour and retains its quaint atmosphere. It also has some very interesting junk and antique shops and art galleries. There are plenty of coffee shops and other places to eat. All the sketches below are A5 in size.

Kalk Bay Books, a wonderful book shop on the Main Road.
The Kalk Bay Trading Co, a fascinating shop
Fishing Boats
Kalk Bay Harbour Wall
Cormorants on a Rock

My Favourite Things

When I set up a still life, I try to use classic kitchen items. I have found that I have some favourites that I have painted a few times.

One is a porcelain jug which belonged to my grandmother. It says “CTC Coffee” on it. I believe it stands for “Cape to Cairo”. I like it because it has a simple but elegant shape.

CTC Jug and Plums

This is another white jug, enamel this time. It has a nice simple shape and I have painted it a few times. The cloth is also a favourite which belonged to my mother and has happy memories of family dinners.

White Jug and Guavas

I love enamel and have quite a collection. A lot of the pieces are turquoise, like the bowl below. They belonged to my mother and that was her favourite colour. It’s also a lovely colour to paint.

Turquoise Bowl and Lemons.

The painting below has another classic white jug in it, with a red tin given to me by my niece. The cloth is a favourite which I love painting. I bought a pair of them at a white elephant sale.

Still Life with Quinces


I discovered mountains when I was an art student. A friend invited me to come on a Mountain Club of South Africa meet, and I discovered a new world! I have taken photos on most trips but it is only relatively recently that I have really painted mountains.

Some scenes can be painted over and over, as Cezanne found with Mont Sainte-Victoire. I have not tired of the wonderful view down the valley from a spot called Bergriviersnek, in the Jonkershoek. I have done four versions of this view so far, below is the biggest one.

Jonkershoek View
Jonkershoek View

Apart from the sheer beauty of mountains and their shadows, the other things that fascinates me is cloud over mountains. Recently I did two horizontal works of ridges in cloud and mist.

Eagle's View
Eagle’s View
Mountain in Mist
Mountain in Mist

Another recent work was of the view from high up on the Camps Bay side of Table Mountain.

I have also done many sketches while in or near the mountains and hope to do many more!

Art Society Paintout

The Constantiaberg Art Society held a members exhibition at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden in January. During the show, on Saturday 19 January, members painted near the exhibition hall and promoted the Society and exhibition.

All participating artists were invited and six took part. Jeremy Day was first to arrive and set to work on some paintings of jars of sweets in his detailed realist style. You can see his finished works at

Next to arrive was Karin Davel, who “draws” with a sewing machine! She sat next to Jeremy and was soon busy sewing a portrait of him.

Karin Davel and Jeremy Day. Photo: Belinda Basson

Andrew Mogatla set up his easel across the way and painted the Dylan Lewis cheetah sculpture below the steps in his distinctive style. Read more about him here

Andrew Mogkatla. Photo: Belinda Basson

Belinda Basson and Elsa-Marie Fourie sat on a bench outside the hall with their easels and painted the view from there.

Belinda Basson (front) and Elsa-Marie Fourie.

I sat near Andrew and sketched Castle Rocks and the tea room and garden below.

Kirstenbosch Tea Room with Castle Rocks above.

Visitors to the garden came and chatted to the artists and went to look at the exhibition inside. We all enjoyed the day. Thanks to Kirstenbosch for letting us do this; it was fun!

Back to the Cedarberg

I was lucky enough to be invited on another hiking trip to the Cedarberg last month. We went back to the remote area near the village of Heuningvlei. There was a huge difference compared to last year’s trip in March when it was very dry. This time the landscape seemed much more alive as the streams were running strongly and there were plenty of flowers about.

Pool at Boontkjieskloof

From the Heuningvlei hut we climbed Middle Krakadouw and then went on to the Boontjieskloof hut.


Flowers next to the path

We had quite a relaxed time and I managed to do two sketches.

Sketch of Boontjieskloof Hut

Our last night was spent at the backpackers lodge at Heuningvlei where we enjoyed the hot showers and comfortable beds. Our dinner was prepared by ladies from the Heuningvlei community. It’s a picturesque old mission village and most of the houses have thatched roofs.

House at Heuningvlei

I took a lot of photos of the village in the evening and early morning.

Morning in Heuningvlei

More Holiday Sketches

After leaving the West country (see previous post) I went to spend a couple of nights with friends in a village in Herefordshire.

I did a sketch of the house before I left.

On the way back from Herefordshire I spent the afternoon in Worcester. While I was there, did a couple of small (about 8 x 8 cm) sketches in my sketchpack.

Path on the bank of the Severn, Worcester


Door, Worcester Cathedral

The next stop on the itinerary was Woodbridge in Suffolk, situated on the river Deben about 8 miles from the coast. I sat on a bench one morning when the tide was out and sketched the boats with the Tide Mill in the background.

The Tide Mill on the River Deben, Woodbridge, Suffolk.

The next evening we went to the Star Inn in Wenhaston and I just had time for a quick sketch before we went inside for our dinner.

The Star Inn, Wenhaston, Suffolk.

I spent the last week in Gloucestershire and sketched the Market Hall, in Chipping Campden. Built in 1627, it was being repaired and there was some plastic sheeting on the roof!

The Market Hall, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire.

In Mickleton I spent a happy hour sitting on the edge of a grave, sketching the church of St Lawrence.The atmosphere was very English accompanied by the calls of rooks.

The Church of St Lawrence, Mickleton, Gloucestershire.

My final sketch was a portrait of my sister’s dog, Rufus, who posed very well!


UK Holiday Sketches – Cornwall and Devon

I did a few sketches while on a busy visit to the UK in May and June, more than I did on my last visit – see blog post

My sketchbook was made with half smooth paper and half Bockingford watercolour paper in a square format. I also took along a “Sketchpack” for tiny quick sketches.
The trip started with a week in Looe, Cornwall, with visits to St Ives, Penzance, and Polperro.

St Ives

Quick sketch of a street in St Ives.

St. Ives

It’s a magical place, full of quaint narrow lanes, beautiful views and plenty of art galleries. There were some open studios and  exhibitions at the St Ives Arts Club and the St Ives Society of Artists’ Summer Exhibition There was some lovely work on show.

St Ives Society of Artists Exhibition


An old fishing town with houses on both steep sides of the tidal river, Looe is a visual delight. The sketch below was done sitting on the back of a bench half way up a hill and looking up river towards the bridge. The seagull posed obligingly for quite a while.

A view of Looe with Seagull.

East Cornwall Society of Artists Exhibition, Polperro

We walked the magnificent coastal path to the quaint town of Polperro. Popped in at the East Cornwall Society of Artists Annual Exhibition there. As well as paintings, they had some really nice ceramic pieces on show.


In Penzance I visited the Penlee House Art Gallery: and saw the exhibition ‘Bringing Home the Catch: Art and Fishing in Newlyn 1880 – 1940’. Afterwards I sketched in the Garden of Remembrance next to the Gallery. Open Studios Cornwall was on at the time and we popped in to see the exciting work of Glyn Macey,

Garden of Remembrance next to the Penlee Art Gallery, Penzance.


At the end of the trip we visited Kingsbridge and Salcombe in Devon.  While in Salcombe I looked at the Salcombe Art Club Summer Exhibition, which was very good. I also had time for two quick sketches of views from the window of a pub in Salcombe.

Quick sketches done in Salcombe.

Sketching at the SA Astronomical Observatory

The Urban Sketchers Cape Town had an outing at the SAAO today. The observatory was founded in 1820 and has the atmosphere of a place from an earlier time, in spite of being in a large city. It is surrounded by the waters of the Liesbeek and Black Rivers on three sides and there is a wonderful view of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak. It was cloudy when we arrived but the clouds lifted, with some cloud remaining on the peaks which was dramatic and beautiful. Some wonderful sketches were produced by the group in a short time.

I did a sketch of one of the buildings, and one of the mountain.

The Enamel Bowl

We were hiking at Cape Point a couple of weeks ago when I spotted a small white enamel bowl half buried next to the path. I love old enamel so put it in my rucksack and took it home. Although the rim was rusted away it cleaned up quite nicely and didn’t even have any holes!

I decided to put it in a still life with an old jug that belonged to my grandmother. I filled it with naartjies (tangerines) and put the bowl and jug on an Iranian cloth.

The painting is 25 by 25 centimetres. I really enjoyed painting this one; think it was the colours.


Noordhoek Plein Air Festival 7 April

I was invited to take part in the Noordhoek Plein Air Festival, held for the first time this year.

Noordhoek is a rustic and attractive part of the Cape so is an ideal place to paint outdoors. Over 50 artists took park and spent Saturday painting all over Noordhoek. I started off with a sketch of the beach.

It started getting a bit hot at the beach so I moved on to the common, which has lots of shady trees. I found a nice spot with a path leading through the trees and settled down to do my second sketch. Lots of people wandered past looking at at what all the artists were doing, others were picnicking or playing cricket on the grass so there was a nice atmosphere.

One of the picnickers was Joanna who was there with her son. They looked so nice sitting in a patch of sun on the green grass so I started sketching them.

I had had enough sketching by then so packed up. I mounted my sketches and took them to the Noordhoek Farm Village where the auction was being held. All the works were arranged on easels and numbered. Everything was very well organised.

My first sketch, of the beach, went to the highest bidder, but there was not enough time to sell artists’ second or third works. Joanna was keen to buy the sketch of herself and her son, so she bought that one.

All in all a great day out!