From the Mountain Hut, Dwarsvlei (Near Middelburg)

Bruce Backhouse
From the Mountain Hut, Dwarsvlei (Near Middelburg)
Oil on Canvas
90 x 130cm
2015 -2018

In 2015 I stayed alone for 8 nights, in a hunting hut high in the Sneeuberg. The location was everything. I looked down upon the vast triangle that is between Hofmeyr, Middelburg and Schoombee. I started out as I always do, doing small pen & ink drawings in my sketchbook. Then onto bigger watercolours, and finally tackling this oil on canvas. Painting “en plein air” presents unforeseen challenges. You have to get up early (4am, just before first light), to get set up. This entails carrying easel, canvas, painting equipment up to the nearby viewpoint. By the middle of the day the light is too flat and harsh. By 9am, the wind picks up. Canvas acts as a sail. Yes, halfway through this painting, it took off, settling at the bottom of a krans. Miraculously, minimal damage. I finished the painting in my studio. But the result would not have been as successful, I believe, had I not stayed in the mountain hut.

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