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Launching our new field guide

Southern right whales – a painting from the field guide.

Autumn at the Cape is the time of the twin constellations, for when Orion is lying on his back in the dipping west just after sunset, and across the celestial dome Scorpio with its red Antares heart is rising in the east, it is time for a journey to begin,  to cross the mountains along a sandy track between spectacular fynbos slopes till I reach Walker Bay, and to stand upon the shore as I have done so many times before.

For the time of the twin constellations is the time of the whales, and each year I return here to witness their arrival, knowing that for the past few weeks they have been following invisible pathways crossing the vast southern ocean that joins the cold waters of Antarctica to these bays of their birth. And in the same way as the swallow’s return marks the beginning of summer, so too does the whale’s arrival mark another earth’s rotation, and opportunities to spend time with these magnificent ocean mammals that are perfectly adapted to a life below the waves but separated from us by the surface of the sea. In their returning they evoke our imaginations and invite us the spend quiet moments with them at the edge of the sea.

Last night Struik Nature hosted a small gathering to celebrate the launch of our new book, Watching Whales and Dolphins in Southern Africa, an event that consumed most of my studio time this week. This posting is an opportunity to share this occasion before returning to the studio in preparation for next week’s addition to the 52 Artworks journey. The right whale painting is one of the images published in the book.

For more information or to order copies, go to


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