"Victoria Falls," colored pencil and ink by Kerry McFall
Victoria Falls is on the Zambia side of the Zambesi River…. I think. My geography is about as accurate as anyone’s would be after they got off a merry-go-round on a good day. After the mind-blowing things I’ve seen in the last week, it’s worse than usual though… However, I can attest to the fact that Dr. Livingstone did not actually discover this part of the world, much in the way that Christopher Columbus did not discover America… but it lives up absolutely to everything you’ve ever heard, read, or seen on National Geographic!
We have been out of touch for awhile (Lions don’t do internet as it happens) and will leave tomorrow for Tennessee, so here’s just one more sample of what’s been going on:
"Mophane," colored pencil by Kerry McFall
Woke up with aching joints like home… no wonder, it’s finally raining! This is the “rainy season” they tell us, but we’ve been here 12 days and this is the first Pula we have seen. In the Botswana language, Pula means Rain, Life, and Money, all in one. It’s also what you say instead of good-bye, wishing for rain for the future. Very astute.
Mostly I’ve been “arting” with the kids since we arrived in Botswana. That’s what Masego calls it – it’s the all inclusive verb for painting, drawing, using markers or crayons, whatever – as in, she sees a flower she likes and trills, “Grandma, let’s art it!”.
"Botswana Baskets", mixed media by Kerry McFall
“Botswana Baskets”, mixed media by Kerry McFall
“Red Mimosa?” mixed media by Kerry McFall
“BotswanaTradition”, mixed media by Kerry McFall
“Her Name Means Comfort”, by Kerry McFall
As we said goodbye to London, I put together some of my mental “snapshots” into this:
Farewell to London by Kerry McFall
We will miss the thrill of the Big City, the different flavors of the neighborhoods, the people we got to know. Thanks to everyone who helped us have such a marvelous couple of months! Here are a few of my London sketches that didn’t get posted in the rush of heading to Botswana:
"Coyote's Doppelganger" mixed media by Kerry McFall
I have been closely examining my impressions from these last few months, in terms of art specifically, and in terms of life, the universe, and everything. (Have I left anything out?)
The art I have studied has been humbling, overwhelming, and inspiring. More than once I was sure my head and my heart would explode. The Victoria and Albert was my favorite museum, and I barely scratched the surface there.
The art I have made has been exhilarating, satisfying, and I remain very humble. More than once I considered investing in companies that make erasers.
"Close but no Cigar," pencil and chalk, by Kerry McFall
Sketching in the many places we have explored, I gained an appreciation of the value of the classical Western methods of learning art – here is the technique, here is the masterpiece, look, draw, repeat, look, draw, repeat. Just like a young athlete repeats the critical motions over and over, until muscle memory takes over, then begins to experiment with variations, tweaks, and subtleties, so a middle age artist repeats and experiments. Some of the motions are already second nature, and some of those must even be unlearned. But the exhilaration of learning is almost enough in and of itself. The going is as good as the getting there. The joy is in the process. I haven’t been able to post many sketches recently, but for every one I’ve posted I have a dozen others that I like and two that I don’t like and one I have jettisoned. Here are a few more.
"Marble Feet," by Kerry McFall"Fiona's Roses" mixed media by Kerry McFall
London, we will miss you.
Last week we flew in to Botswana , where we are finally thrilled to meet our Botswana “grandchildren”, Wedu and Masego, and are enjoying a very warm welcome (not just the weather)! We have seen “the Lands”, where the family has started a farm with avocados, mangos, and oranges, and where the sound of cowbells drifted in from the bush. We made a quick car tour of Lily’s home village, where a child on the street pointed at us and laughed the Botswana equivalent of, “Gringos!” So far the major “wildlife” visible as we travel through this capital city of Gabarone are the random herds of donkeys, goats, and brahma cattle that wander along the shoulders of the four lane highways, thoughtfully munching on thorn bushes as traffic mostly manages to avoid them. Thus does village life get overtaken by urban development – eventually the livestock will disappear from the highways, but for now they are tolerated or at least ignored. It’s too hot to bother chasing them down, and I suspect they provide a good income for the auto body repair folks!
We leave in a couple of days for a week long safari…. Looking forward to drawing elephants…– and lions… – and maybe even the crocodiles of the great green Limpopo River!