Ronald West’s Artwork Is All Vibrant Colours And Love Of Life

Local artist Ronald Martin West was born in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, in 1974 and his formal art training started in 1989 when he joined the PJ Olivier Art Centre with sculpture as his main subject.

The Beach Gala
The Beach Gala -- oil on canvas (click to enlarge)

“I love Italy, the Italian and French way of life, food, wine, street and café scenes, Tuscan scenery, the cobble stone streets, the vibrant colours, tango and lambada, bicycles and old cars.

Although I wasn’t around to experience the 1950’s and 1960’s, I think (or dream) that it must have been an amazing era to have lived in Italy or France.

When I close my eyes, I can smell the fresh roasted coffee, the freshly baked baguettes, and the sound of the chef, on his old bicycle, doing his daily deliveries.”

He studied briefly at the Cape Technicon Graphic Design School while working for a very well-known office automation company. In 2002, after a vivid dream, he resigned from the world of commerce and took up his brushes and paint as a full-time career. Ronald says from that point on he never looked back (12 photographs).
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Gold In South Africa And The Ancient Indian Connection

Relief depicting Ancient Dravidian Seafarers
Relief depicting Ancient Dravidian Seafarers -- click to enlarge

Like most South Africans of my generation, as a schoolboy I learnt that the recorded history of Southern Africa started in the mid 17th century with the arrival of the European explorers.

Did ancient Dravidian Seafarers establish the first gold mines in Southern Africa?

We studied detailed accounts of these early settlers and their exploits as well as the references to the Portuguese explorers, such as Bartolameu Dias, who preceded them by about 100 years.

According to this history the Khoisan or San people inhabited the Southern African region and preceded the Bantu people who gradually displaced them as they migrated south into the coastal regions of what is now known as the Cape. In a previous post, which you can find here, we covered the many languages spoken by the Khoisan.

The truth may be very different (6 photographs).
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Hermanus Two Oceans Whale Festival Line Dancers Strut Their Stuff

In this short video clip the dancers, from Rythm-in-Line based in Hermanus, are strutting their stuff at the Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival 2011.

This world-renowned event takes place over 5 days, from 30 September through 4 October. Literally hundreds of thousands of visitors come to enjoy the local Hermanus hospitality.

Hermanus is known as the best land-based whale watching destination in the world and the whales are always the star performers of the festivities. This year is the 20th festival and it looks set to break records with the number of visitors peaking at an estimated 200 000 on Saturday.

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Southern Right Whale Placenta Washes Up On The Beach

Southern Right Whale placenta washed up on the beach
This Southern Right Whale placenta was washed up on the beach on the Southern Coast of Africa near Hermanus -- click any photo to enlarge

One beautiful sunny morning, a few days ago, while walking the long stretch of beach named Grotto Beach near Voëlklip on the Hermanus coastline, I came across this amazing sight — the after-birth of a Southern Right Whale, washed up on the beach. At least, that’s what I think it was.

The whale that is seen most often in Walker Bay is the Southern Right Whale, so my assumption is that it once belonged to a Southern Right. However, other species do make an appearance occasionally so one can’t be certain.

I didn’t know what this was at first. It looked alien lying there half buried in the sand. I took these photographs and it was only a few days later, after doing some on-line research that it finally dawned on me — it was a whale’s placenta.

You can get an idea of the size (once you’ve gotten over the gross factor) by comparing the footprint in the sand on the next photograph. At about 3 meters (10 feet) long it’s huge (3 Photographs).
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7 Reasons Why Private Sellers Should Not Be Selling Their Homes

Private Sellers
Private Sellers are sometimes misinformed about what agents can do for them

At first glance, selling your home privately can seem like an attractive proposition. You’ll save the agents commission, right?

In fact many private sellers are home owners in financial trouble, and are hoping to avoid paying the agents fee in order to clear an outstanding mortgage loan without “paying in”.

The reality is that many of these homes end up as “distressed sales” and are auctioned by the bank at greatly reduced prices.

Sadly, in many of these cases the result can mean even greater financial hardship for the unlucky owners. In some cases the shortfall translates into a long-standing debt that will represent a financial burden for many years to come.
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Drone That Crashed Inside Pakistan – Is It The Festo SmartBird?

Alleged US spy drone
The alleged US spy drone that crashed into Pakistani territory last week looks suspiciously like the Festo SmartBird Robot

An alleged US spy drone crashed into Pakistani territory last week.

Strangely, it looks like nothing seen in that theatre before. Stranger still, it looks a lot like the Festo SmartBird Robot that was featured on this website in March this year.

The thing is, there are some significant differences. For one thing the Festo SmartBird flaps it’s wings while the drone that crashed in Pakistan is thought to have had some form of propulsion — like a propeller perhaps.

According to an Express 24/7 correspondent, Mohamamd Kazim, the drone was surveying the border when it crashed near the Pishin Scouts Frontier Corps Base compound in Chaman, 300 meters inside the Pakistani-Afghani border (5 Photographs).
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Aviation Artwork of Local Hermanus Artist Derrick Dickens

Fairey Swordfish of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm -- this painting was chosen by HRH Prince Phillip and now hangs in Buckingham Palace -- Artist: Derrick Dickens

Internationally renowned artist, and local Hermanus resident, Derrick Dickens’ aviation artwork featuring aircraft of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, as seen here, is the subject of a recently published book.

This magnificent work of 168 pages is entitled Illustrated History of the Fleet Air Arm – Stringbag to Shar 1938 to 2006. It features paintings of every type and mark of fixed-wing front line aircraft to serve in the FAA from 1938 to 2006.

The forward was written by the Admiral of the Fleet, HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip also chose the painting Swordfish, on page 6 of the book, which now hangs in Buckingham Palace.

The first print run is sold out and is currently being revised and updated. The next issue will be available toward the end of 2011. All paintings from the book are available as giclée limited prints (12 Photographs).
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Top 10 Tips for Buying A Bank Repossessed Property

Property Bank Repossessed
Property repossessed by the Bank is an attractive buy!

One of the advantages for buyers of property in the current economic climate in South Africa is the increased availability of Bank Repossessed homes on the market.

When borrowers default on the payment terms of the mortgage loan, eventually this will lead to legal action by attorneys instructed by the mortgage holder.

A judgement is obtained in the High Court and the property is then attached and sold by the Sheriff of the High Court at a sale in execution. If the auction fails to achieve the bank’s reserve price, then the property will be bought by the Bank and placed on the market again. This is called a Property in Possession (PIP).
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Fish and Fishing in the Bot River Estuary

Fishing in the Bot River Estuary
Fishing in the Bot River Estuary is not what it seems . .

It seems that Fishing in the Bot River Estuary, one of the largest estuaries in the Cape Province, is not as straight forward as one would think.

This vast expanse of water is the subject of a study carried out by researchers of the Department of Zoology at the University of Cape Town in the mid 1980’s. The estuary teems with over 32 varieties of fish.

Conventional wisdom, and experience, has it that garrik, steenies and large mullet are the most likely catches. These along with leervis, steenbras and elf are popular angling and table fish. Continue reading Fish and Fishing in the Bot River Estuary

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Adriaan S de Lange Local South African Sculptor and Painter

Day on the beach
Day on the beach - Oil on canvas - 35 x 40cm

South African artist Adriaan S. de Lange is featured here as a sculptor and painter who works in the countryside outside Stellenbosch in the Western Cape of South Africa. That’s just 150 kilometres from my home town, Hermanus. That means he’s a local in the broader scheme of things. Well, we like to think so, anyway.

This is an excerpt from his bio on Worldart:

“A distinguishing characteristic of his work is the photographic stillness with which he explores the serenity and reality present in his imagination. He possesses a technical facility that enables him to paint with precision and detail. The effect created with these extremely fine brush strokes is further enhanced by the attention he pays to colour, space and subject matter – thus creating a tangible yet serene world which serves as a starting point for the viewer when enjoying an artwork by him.”

De Lange’s work for me has a quality that echo’s the ethereal and the attention to detail of some of my favourite artists including Hunderdwasser and Dali (6 photographs).
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And the Long, Short 'n Tall of it