A blog about what I love….photography and bicycles!

city of choice

And now “The Kiln’s” second permanent exhibitor, co-founder Doug Morton

Before this post, please keep your eyes open regarding what we are going to be doing, Doug has some very interesting and exciting plans and we are planning a number of specifically Kiln activities. Also do not forget that it is the Karkloof Farmers Markets birthday in two weeks so on the 24th September they will be having their birthday market. So keep watching and now for my post…………..

After introducing our first permanent exhibitor and co-founder, Fran Simmons, now it is time for our other first permanent and co-founder, Doug Morton, in his own words……………………

Born in Pretoria in 1947, Doug was introduced to the bush at the age of four years when his family moved to Cullinan, near Pretoria. He preferred the veld to anything that school had to offer, and learned to hunt fearsome butterflies, observe everything around him, to run away from snakes and to treat all wildlife with respect. He developed a deep and lasting love of birdlife. By the time he and Terri married in 1969 Doug had been trained as a combat photographer in the SA Defence Force. He’s retained some of that expertise and now spends every available moment with his digital camera in hand, recording the people and the flora and fauna of South Africa. He’s ardent about nature and conservation, and hopes his efforts contribute to the environment for the enjoyment and education of all South Africans. He and Terri live in Pietermaritzburg, as do their son Deryk, his wife Elise and their daughter Claire, while their daughter Shayne, her husband Angus and their daughters Joely, Ella and Jess live in Surrey, United Kingdom.”

The Kiln Gallery, our first invited guest, Andre de la Rosa

Our first invited artist at The Kiln Gallery is local artist Andre de la Rosa.  Andre will be exhiting ar The Kiln for September 2011.  A little bit about Andre and her art follows….

For as long as I can remember I have had a passion for creating.  As a child, a sketchpad and coloured pencils were a part of my life and I would while away the hours creating my “masterpieces”; and not much has changed since.

 After school I pursued my love by studying Fine Arts at the then Natal Technikon.  However for a number of years my art took a bit of a back seat but when I found myself at home with young children, out came my sketchpads, pencils, canvases, easels and paints.  Before I knew it I was running a successful screen printing business, designing and printing fabrics for the craft industry.  What started out as something to keep me busy at home is still going sixteen years later.

 A few years ago I attended a painting course in Pietermaritzburg where we were taught the Classical painting method.  For me it was like a revelation and I took to it like a duck takes to water.  I also was fortunate to have found a friend and mentor in well-known wildlife artist David Langmead.  His expert guidance from time spent in his studio has assisted me in becoming what I am today.

 Although my subject matter may be diverse, ranging from a marmite jar, a leopard in the tree, a rusty old fence post or a rural scene bathed in the golden rays of dawn, I love to paint it all. I love to see the beauty in the simple things in life, that we so often take for granted or do not even notice. So if you have that special image of the old family homestead, or a favourite view, then let me capture it on canvas and for posterity.

 I invite you to visit my world, whether it is to take in the artwork, buy a painting or discuss a commission piece with me. Or perhaps you would like to sign up for one my art classes, or bring a group of friends for an art express workshop.  I look forward to meeting you in our gallery.

Visit my website www.andresart.co.za

Email me andre@andresart.co.za

033 3303116 / 082 551 4202″



Pietermaritzburg City of Choice (Part 2), in the Station

After having got to the site at 06h15 on Sunday morning and spending an hour wondering around the depressing smelly area of the Station we went to the working part. As noted on the previous post this is a very beautiful old building. Victorian, red brick, intricate facades, lovely finishes all in one building. The grand old place now needs a bit of love, there is rubbish lying around signs need a lick of paint, areas have been excluded from normal traffic by bundling balls of razor wire in the passages, glass panes need replacing and the clock has been stuck at 12h00 for a while. Little care has been demonstrated in the upgrades implemented. It seems that areas need to be more defined to help people to and from the trains. Rather than using barricading that blends in palisade has been used. Apart from all my whining the building is still being used and is in good shape.  There are two large Encephalartos natalensis (Natal Giant Cycad) out the front hidden from view by creepers and trees. What the area could do with is a little love and respect. Here are a couple of photographs taking in the station and along the track.

Before we start I see that Dougs post on the day is up as well so pay that a visit on http://www.douglasimages.co.za/index.php?option=com_blog&view=comments&pid=49&Itemid=2

As you enter you walk passed these old ticket booths, hardwood frames, steel bars and intricate brick work. Did Ghandi walk through here and buy his ticket before being thrown off the train for not being white??  The blue of the bench caught my eye.  The broom and coke bottles are a little reminder of where we are.

Another view of the booths. Notice the work in the brickwork as well as the wood, really lovely.

It has been 12h00 for a while, eternal lunchtime here in Africa.

The signs, a real blast from the past, Platform 1, notice also the old lettering on the information board.

And then there was the scale………

And then the awful pallisade at the Platform 4 and 5 steps.

And finally, a view of the station from the Durban side, this is where the Welcome sign is situated.

The last two posts have been rather negative and for this I apologise. The slow demise and disrespect of our local heritage hurts. I hope that with the new administration in PMB we might see buildings like this saved. Maybe AMAFA can put a bit of pressure on SPOORNET. Who knows??

Pietermaritzburg, City of Choice (Part 1 : Pietermaritzburg Station)


The title “City of Choice” above is the marketing slogan for the City.  Pietermartizburg has, over the last few years experienced a slow decline resulting in the municipality going into administration.  We all await the changes the new administration promises.

I was born in Pietermaritzburg, have moved away a number of times and always returned. It is a great place, great weather, in the country and is the capital city of the province.  Nothing is permanent and things have changed in the last couple of years.  Areas of the city, once slick and efficient have become run down and soiled. What seemed important to people 10 years ago is less so to others now.  Pride in the city has been replaced by turning your head to what you don’t like and missing the potholes.  A while ago Doug Morton (www.douglasimages.co.za) posted some photographs taken at the old Pietermaritzburg railway station. This is one beautiful building. Built with the well known Pietermaritzburg red brick in beautiful Victorian style this is where Mahatma Ghandi was thrown off the train in 1893. I saw Dougs photographs and said that we had to go back. He agreed and this Sunday we visited the station very early.

The detail on the building is incredible. The signage is from another era, the clock, stuck on 12h00 is huge and suspended from the roof in a teak box, the brickwork and glasswork is wonderful to see. Then there are the areas of decay, not 500m away. Here rubbish and sewage are seen everywhere, old damaged containers overgrown with weeds litter the place. Old brick buildings no longer have roofs and the infrastructure has been vandalised. In the station building the lovely building has been brought into the modern era with the introduction of razer while on the stairs and palisade fencing to guide people around. This first post shall be of the old abandoned area that we visited first. The filth was incredible, sewage running down the road and millions of rand worth of infrastructure vandalised, abandoned or abused. We arrived very early to a very harsh sky. I noted to Doug that the land and the sky were about 3 stops apart. That said we got stuck in. 

While walking down among the old sheds I noticed a wooden wall burned black. There was all sorts of old ironwork on or near it but what tickled me was the sign advising people not to smoke in the shed!!!

And now a few shots of the damaged and vandalised infrastructure, the first is what greeted us, a large very well lived in (???) shed.  Rubbish and other matter was everywhere and the smell of sewage hung in the air.

Directly behind us was the old toilets, roof broken, toilets ripped out.  There was a very good looking Aloe bainsii to cheer the shot up.

And then there was the local Villa, I nearly stood on a rather grubby lad in this building, As I walked by a pile of carpets one lifted up and a head popped out to see what was going on.  By the colour of his eyes the last thing in the world he wanted to see was someone with a camera so he pulled his head back in and remained there for the rest of our stay.  The place had been badly vandalised and I have no idea where the all important control valve has gone……….

People live here, enough said.  The fluid in the front is raw sewage.

Another view of the “home”

The next post shall be of the inside of the station, not nearly as depressing as this one so watch this spot in a few days. I also suspect that Doug will have pics up later and he got some good stuff so visit www.douglasimages.co.za .