Kopje guard

Tree&cliff 2



Diana Newton
Kopje guard, 1981
Watercolor
(8.1 x 4.9 inches)
(20.5 x 12.5 cm)






As soon as I stopped giving my driving instructor near-heart attacks and figured out how to handle driving on the left side of the road in Gaborone, a town (unfortunately for me) filled with (tricky, it seemed at first) roundabouts, but fortunately (for whom?) devoid of any traffic lights (no, I'm not kidding), I got my driver's license. From the green Robin Hood bicycle of my UN Volunteer days, I graduated to a sturdy, white, Chevrolet Nomad. It was perfect (with the exception of a stiff gear stick: I needed both hands to shift into reverse). A whole new life opened up. I began roaming further and further in my free time, invariably picking a quasi-deserted, dirt track. The instant something caught my eye, I would stop, park the car (easy to manage on a deserted dirt track, even with my limited parking skills), and sit on the hood ("you mean bonnet", my British friends corrected) to paint. This quick sketch of a solitary acacia tree standing guard on a kopje, a small isolated hill, near Gabane became a greeting card that I mailed to my (Swedish) mother. With their mellow, pastel hues, the (Precambrian) rocks in the hilly parts of southeastern Botswana (the eastern "hardveld", to differentiate it from the "sandveld" of the Kalahari Desert where the sand can be over 300 feet, ie over100 meters deep, and the "Okavango deltaveld") never failed to remind me of the granite on the west coast of Sweden where I spent my summers, climbing as high as I could to look out over the wind-ruffled ocean.