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I learn to Paint.

In 1979 I headed North from Croc Camp headed for Serondella on the banks of the Chobe River. I had been to this place before, on school holidays, but this time I was headed there to set my tent up under a particular shade tree that I knew, and set about trying to paint watercolour paintings using the materials I had brought from Durban. This all happened 40 years ago and I can't remember whether I was serious or not about the painting. I remember knowing that I had to spend as much me in the kind of wilderness that I loved before it all disappeared, but that I also had to have a good reason for being there. Learning to paint stopped me from thinking that I was wasting my time. This was to be the beginning of several very tough for me financially. I did everything on a shoestring, lived hand to mouth, pretended to be a professional artist and got painfully thin. But I did experience wilderness freedom in a way that is impossible now. Actually, looking back I must have been completely crazy!

1/11 : The tree where I set up camp at Serondella in 1979
An aerial image of  a riverbank with a very prominent acacia tree at the center, showing also the road to Ngoma and the Chobe River on both sides of the tree
2/11 : 1971, myself next to that same tree 8 years previously on a school holiday.
An image of a younger Paul Augustinus posing in front of a tall umbrella shaped acacia tree in evening light.
3/11 : In 1979, as soon as I got to Serondella I set up camp under the tree.
An image of  a vehicle and a tent under the shade of a huge umbrella shaped  acacia tree.
4/11 : For several months in 1979, 1980 and 1981 I toiled inside my white tent learning to paint in watercolours.
An image of Paul Augustinus, working with art materials on the floor of his tent, surrounded by camping gear and cooking utensils.
5/11 : Flies nearly drove me mad and mice ate the paint out of any tubes left lying around.
An image of an artists workspace aith pots of paint, tubes of colour, pencils and so on.
6/11 : Lots of trial and error, errant blotches of water and insect blemishes on every painting.
An image of  Paul Augustinus standing outside a tent and displaying a freshly finished painting experiment.
7/11 : There were often distractions outside my small window. It was hard to concentrate.
An image of Paul Augustinus inside his painting tent looking out the small window at an elephant that is only a meter or two away from him.
8/11 : At night I was visited by curios lions. Once they stole my outside groundsheet!
An image of
9/11 : Every night elephants would cross the clearing between me and the Ngoma track.
An image of  Paul Augustinus sitting outside his tent at night and in the distance his flash has illuminated elephants crossing a clearing.
10/11 : My shade tree also had a family of Genet cats that would come alive at night.
An image of  a genet cat, looking down at the camera, from where it is sitting directly above Paul Augustinus.
11/11 : I made some great friends in Kasane where I got my supplies and fuel, foremost of whom were Pat and Heather Carr-Hartley.
An image of a man and a woman on their open sided verandah.

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