Stephen Quirke



Stephen Quirke


This is your opportunity to pause.

Sit back.

Close your eyes and take a deep breath.

How good does that feel?

Now open this June 2022 edition of Light is Sweet.

“Light is Sweet and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun”.  Ecclesiastes 11:6

And here is a special welcome to the new subscribers to this newsletter

June has been a busy month.  The watercolours for Calendar 2023 are taking shape.  The business of SJQ Watercolour has taken a small step forward.  And I have done something new.

So let’s get into it.

The 2023 Lourens River calendar

Here is my latest version of the Old Bridge – from the Old Bridge Tavern:

You can just see the white, hyper-efficient, concrete road bridge behind the stonework.  The act of unfortunate expedience of placing the new right next to the old is perhaps mitigated by the preservation of the old bridge which I suppose could have been torn down.  The view upstream from the field below the bridges is very different from this.  It is an important part of the Lourens River story and I intend to paint a watercolour of this in the next month.

I also painted a view of the Mouth from just below the bridge on the Beach Road:

As I took photos for this project, I was given a less-than enticing call from voices in the bushes.  Another hangout for the grubby side of living.

There is a wooded island just below the bridge on Andries Pretorius street.  The city engineers (I assume) shored up the sides of island with gabions as part of their work to clear the river channel.  This created a pretty place.  A place to sit to enjoy the river.

A while back some people created an informal settlement on the island.  Another part of the river story.  A couple of weeks ago I walked down there to collect material for watercolours.

Here is my watercolour looking upstream to the island:

That is Andries Pretorius street in the upper right of the watercolour.  There was quite a community in the bush next to the river.  However we had just had a winter storm and everything was sodden.  It was really quite miserable.  In the watercolour you can see their blankets hanging out to dry.

A week after I had completed the watercolour I saw the community had been moved away.

A watercolour workshop

In the middle of the month I was invited to carry out a watercolour workshop for the wonderful Merissa Slingerland who teaches at Die Kunshuis in the Strand.  I demonstrated some basic watercolour technique and the group practiced mixing colours.  Then I showed how I like to work by painting another Puddle Rock watercolour.  This week the group is meeting to paint their own watercolour.

Teaching in this way is a lot of fun though I can see it requires it’s own particular expertise.

Here is a collage of what happened – thanks so much Claudia and Erika for taking the photos and sharing them with me.

I also tried to contact the farm manager at Lourensford to arrange a visit to the source of the Lourens River.  However on the day I sent him a note he was dealing with a fire on the farm that eventually burnt the whole of the Helderberg.  I always think of the little animals like tortoises which don’t stand a chance in the extreme heat.  Also some houses bordering on the mountain reserve were destroyed in the fire.  It was all such a shame.  Anyway, maybe in July I will be able to get up there.

Posting from the past

As part of this newsletter I like to highlight work I have done in the past.  Here is a watercolour I did a while ago of my son Calvin heading down for a surf on his skateboard.

You can see the story and the other version on my blog here:

I started writing “Light is Sweet” to keep in touch with everyone interested in my watercolours.  I am working on a number of calendar projects for 2023.  The first edition is already out there and my Lourens River Calendar is just over half done.

Having created watercolour calendars for two years I still meet many people who have never heard about this work.  I want to change this.

‘Light is Sweet’ is also designed to provide stories you would want to share with people you know.  Therefore please don’t hesitate to pass this note on to others if you want to.

If you have enjoyed this note and are not yet subscribed please hit this link to my website to subscribe to stay in “light” touch with this slice of the world of watercolour.

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