Stephen Quirke



Stephen Quirke


Welcome to all those who signed up for this newsletter since my last edition.

Off the board

At last you may review and purchase my work online.  This has been a busy year.  For the last two months I have worked to set up the SJQW business process.  And before this there have been commissions, calendars and exhibitions.  Now I am getting back into the swing of painting again.

The cat – a commission

Levi the Cat is my latest commission.  The creatures living alongside us are such a gift.

watercolour of a black cat

Watercolour on 300gm Arches Cold Pressed – 280 x 190 mm

The Pipe

I also took a ride down to The Pipe and did a small watercolour there.

watercolour of the beach

Watercolour on 300gm Arches Hot Pressed – 190 x 280 mm.

It was good to sit in the sun and paint and listen to the waves again.  My watercolour was drying in the sun as I packed away.  I heard someone say “That’s nice”.  Thinking it was a surfer checking the break I turned to chat.  But it was a young guy admiring my watercolour.  We chatted a while which lifted my spirit.  The year has been so intense.

The stove

A friend showed me a primus stove in a tin box.  His father had used it on honeymoon with his mom.  It was some neat design, so I did this little painting.

Some portraits

I have also done a few portraits.

Watercolour on 300gm Bockingford

250 x 190 mm

watercolour of a girl

Watercolour on 300gm Arches Hot Pressed – 310 x 200 mm

The calendar – is moving - fast

The 2022 calendars that I created with PATCH Helderberg Child Abuse Centre are flying off the shelves.  My next website task is to put calendars and the selected watercolours for sale on my gallery.

In the meantime you can order your calendar by sending a note to

Bread on the water

Setting up the SJQW business process has been complicated.  So much input to sift and so many decisions.  I have leant heavily on my experience in priming leaders and teams to define and execute strategy.  We know priorities are essential.  My priority has been getting the operation to work.  My operation must work before I focus on Marketing.  (Thanks to Kaplan and Norton for the insight).

four themes diagram

The four themes of internal process – you can read this blog posting about this model.

Painting the watercolour is one step in the operation.  This part works OK (nê!).  But each watercolour must be logged, filed (physically and electronically), posted on Social Media and on my online gallery.  I have learnt how to use scanning, photography and Gimp to create professional images.  Then the online selling and distribution process must work well.  It took me two weeks to figure out how to work with Woo Commerce, WordPress and Avada.  Fortunately there are excellent resources online.

When the process is bedded down I will be able to spend more of my time putting out the work I want to offer.  This newsletter represents the move towards marketing.  In my next newsletter I will make an offer to stimulate purchases on my site.

You may have noticed I have renamed the newsletter.   “light is sweet”.   In his book of brutal reality, Solomon expounds on the futility of life “under the sun”.  But he pauses a few times to exhort his reader to enjoy life.

In chapter 9 he says:  “eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart, for God has already approved your works.”  “Enjoy life with your beloved wife all the days of the fleeting life that God has given you under the sun - Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might …

I like that “do it with all your might”.  But then he picks up his refrain:  “...for in Sheol, where you are going, there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.”

In chapter 11 he says:  "Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.  So if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all.
But lest we forget he adds:
“But let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many.”
For of course
“Everything to come is futile. “

But indeed Light is Sweet and watercolour is about light.  Therefore:  “Light is Sweet”

In the plan

My plan is to work my plan for the next 12 Weeks.  This includes my7:4:1 strategy.  A painting a day, a painting a week and a painting a Month.

I have a very exciting commission for watercolours of apple orchards for a boardroom.    Here is a first sketch.

apple tree

Mmmmm!  Gnarled  trunks, new leaves and blossoms.  It is all quite daunting.  But I shall post my progress on IG and my blog.

I have also been approached by our local Lourens River protection society – “The friends of the Lourens River” to consider an exhibition and a project to create a 2023 calendar.  I am excited by the prospect of painting the source of the River, and the mouth, the scenes through the farms and the town and the people who live along the river-banks.

I will be posting the work on Instagram and my website.  And of course will let you know how it unfolds in up-coming newsletters.

Thank you for supporting this newsletter.

      Leave A Comment