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
2/11 : 1971, myself next to that same tree 8 years previously on a school holiday.
3/11 : In 1979, as soon as I got to Serondella I set up camp under the tree.
4/11 : For several months in 1979, 1980 and 1981 I toiled inside my white tent learning to paint in watercolours.
5/11 : Flies nearly drove me mad and mice ate the paint out of any tubes left lying around.
6/11 : Lots of trial and error, errant blotches of water and insect blemishes on every painting.
7/11 : There were often distractions outside my small window. It was hard to concentrate.
8/11 : At night I was visited by curios lions. Once they stole my outside groundsheet!
9/11 : Every night elephants would cross the clearing between me and the Ngoma track.
10/11 : My shade tree also had a family of Genet cats that would come alive at night.
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.