Raw – Wild – Wonderful

“Road D1275”    acrylic on gessoed paper, 4″x 4″ (archival mat – 8″x 8″)   $80

We turned off of the B-1 tarmac road after re-fueling the 4×4 camper in Rehoboth…west, onto the C24, a road like many we had seen before on this trip of a lifetime. Rough, yellow-orange gravel lay before us and there was no turning back. We had been back in the capital city of Windhoek for two days, (after being out on the road for two weeks traveling with my sister and brother-in-law). We had three nights of dinners and partying with great family members of my brother-in-law, and other friends and artists. On the third day it was time to ready ourselves for our next eight days out in the wilds of Namibia! Laundry had been on the to-do list, so the three of us had clean clothes…and we made a trip to the big Maerua Super Spar to provision, filling the long pull-out drawers in the bed of the camper with food, coffee, bottled water, wine, and toilet paper…because you just never knew.

View of back of 4x4 with long pull-out storage drawers for food and essentials.

View of back of 4×4 with long pull-out storage drawers for food and essentials.  Water and cocoa after “dawn patrol” hike of the dunes in Sossusvlei.

Our yellow-orange gravel road turned into a “tertiary road,”…translate – bumpier and narrower, skittery gravel on top of dust…the D1275. It is the connector, the skinniest red line on the map…between the tiny town of Nauchas and the outpost of Solitaire….via the fabled Spreetshoogte Pass.

Spreetshoogte Pass, Acrylic on cradled panel, 8

Spreetshoogte Pass, Acrylic on cradled panel, 8″x 8″ Sold. (Available as an archival pigment print – limited edition of five – 8.5″x 11,” $65 signed and numbered)

These roads etched tiny lines on the massive escarpment reaching heights of 5,800 feet in elevation with sections of road sporting a 22% grade! From the dizzying heights of the escarpment we could see an expanse of desert and distant mountains that seemed to drop off of the back edge of the horizon. I had never been on any road so steep. It used to be all gravel, but some of the steepest sections have now been paved with bricks to cause less washboard and slippage. We made our way down gingerly, never escaping the feeling that the camper with its roof tents was going to tip over. But the angle of the grade lessened and we made it to the bottom of the wild plateau.

road D1275 between Spreetshoogte Pass and Solitaire - close the air vents!

road D1275 between Spreetshoogte Pass and Solitaire – close the air vents!

Onward to Solitaire…for a stop at Moose MacGregor’s bakery for apple crumble pie and tea!

Smell of apples and cinnamon hit us as we climbed out of the truck in the outpost of Solitaire

Smell of apples and cinnamon hit us as we climbed out of the truck at the outpost of Solitaire…saved some for breakfast!

We didn’t pass many other travelers on the Namibian back roads, but if we were following one, we gave them plenty of distance to avoid eating their dust. The small painting above, “Road D1275” was inspired by one of the sections of road from that day. You can see a car and it’s dust plume as it disappears around a curve.

The painting “Road D1275” and others can be viewed on my Available Work page. If you have questions or are interested, please let me know.

Here are a few more images of the outpost of Solitaire in the Namib-Nakluft desert…on the way to Sossusvlei.

Photos by John Wiley. 

©Teri Capp-All Rights Reserved

The season of brittle beauty

“Etosha Pan – Ostrich” acrylic on gessoed paper, matted and framed. $150

I often find myself thinking in terms of temperature when describing color in landscapes.

In Namibia, Etosha National Park was exceptional in its white-hot quality. Rolling and bumping over the gravel and dust in our rented 4×4, ours was several days of first impressions. A strange array of colors kept hitting my senses…rosy grays, pale yellow-greens, tan – silvery blue, white and pink…all moving across my line of sight like a mirage.

The season of our first impressions was winter in the southern hemisphere; June and July. Any bright green that had been produced by the rain in January and February had succumbed to the parched palette we observed.

I liked it. It had a brittle beauty – that I could feel. The days were short-sleeve warm, like the pinks, corals and tans of the plants and earth underfoot. When daylight left the horizon, we felt the coolness descend on us like a cloak. The air became a 3-dimensional veil of magenta, lavender, blue and silver. The earth became tones of cool brown.

Namibia delivered its winter weather like clockwork. Cool sunrise, warm-dry-hot days, sunset, cold nights…all at 3,600′ elevation. Our hats, fleece and puffy jackets that were on call were put into action as the sun dropped in Etosha.

The dry season drew animals to the remaining water holes. One hot afternoon, we drove around a curve in the road and up a slight rise to find ostrich and black-faced impala in our view. They joined together at a blue hole in the shimmering mirage of the Great Pan. (the Etosha Pan covers 1,860 suare miles)!

I loved this place! – Etosha with its thorn trees and rose-white-dust. I felt an aliveness among the expanse…and small, in relation to the giraffe, elephants and rhinos and hundreds of other animals and birds that I was privileged to watch for a few days. My awareness of the trivial part that I play, was heightened by a sense of reciprocity, with all that share this planet.

If you have questions or comments let me know. If you are interested in this painting, please contact me. You can see it and others on my Available Work page.

©Teri Capp  All Rights Reserved

Brush marks, small paintings and flashbacks

“Orange kraal – Road to Tsumeb” acrylic on paper, 5″x 7″ in a rag mat that measures 10″x 12.”   Available for $150.

All I have to do is start reading my journal…look at my sketches and pore over the thousands of photographs and I feel a spark…my memory travels to…somewhere in Nambia, Africa. The music in my studio may be Geoffrey Oryema, from Uganda or Joni Mitchell and I’m traveling…in my mind and heart. I guess that is part of the richness…the value of travel…the “aliveness” that I carry with me even when I return home.

These four paintings are small acrylic paintings on gessoed paper. I had them displayed in my show in June, but they were not a part of the official “Namibian Portfolio project” so I did not talk about them much. Having not posted them before, here they are!        I have added them to my Available Work page.

I will post one each of the next three days and tell you about that moment’s adventure!

They were painted as ideas for larger paintings, but they stand on their own as studies… bits of the story…of travel, of immersion in another place. Decisive sketches and faster brushstrokes…moments that allowed me to release a feeling or a moment in a small painting. These are memories that hit me from my travels in the vast, strange landscape of Namibia. If you’ve traveled in arid, desert country, on any continent, you can probably understand the words, “the land of lost horizons,” as Namibia is described in an older Spectrum travel guide.

Tucked away, many times out of sight of ‘we road travelers,’ were tiny kraals, or villages, where families lived and herded goats or cattle for a meager living. They were groupings of thatched huts with a fence made of thatch surrounding the kraal. The scraped, dry ground inside and out were the result of the constant padding of feet, both human and animal. Fallen branches from nearby trees or thatch were fuel for their cookfires. Sometimes, the kraal fence was made only with wood, depending on the region. Thatch was plentiful in the areas near rivers where the papyrus and reeds grew tall.

The bright orange buildings in this kraal caught my eye as we drove north from Etosha National Park to the town of Tsumeb. John was taking a turn, driving the Toyota 4×4 truck that we had rented. I asked him to turn around and go back so that I could make some photographs. The building materials on this stretch of road, on Namibia’s landscape, were mud and wood…so the kraal was painted brilliant orange over the smooth mud walls. The fence was a spare form made with skinny sticks.   Art in life.

Thanks for reading, if you made it this far! Let me know if you have questions or comments or have interest in my work.

©Teri Capp All Rights Reserved