Saturday, 18 November 2017

And another wrapped candy

Similar to the previous one. I suppose I should stop now, lest I add to the world's obesity problem:

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Wrapped candy

HB mechanical pencil on A4 paper. The drawing is rather smaller than the paper. I can't be bothered to go measure its exact dimensions now...

Monday, 13 November 2017


HB mechanical pencil on cartridge paper, about 15 x 16 cm:

Friday, 10 November 2017

A W.I.P. video

I put up a short video on YouTube of a work in progress, showing my steps in the form of a time lapse photo series. Would have preferred video, but alas, I don't have a video camera.

Here and there the pictures are a bit out of focus, and my humble camera tends not to reproduce color quite accurately or consistently. Apologies for that - I am still learning how to go about this.

Unable to get hold of suitable soothing plinking and plonking background music without running into endless copyright issues, I simply wrote my own. Feel free to download and use it for something else if you like.

Or here is the link, should you want to go see it on YouTube.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017


I managed to complete the drawing I mentioned in the previous post. HB mechanical pencil on cartridge paper, 14 x 15 cm; here are WIP stages and the final drawing:

With HB pencil one can never get really deep darks, at least not over extended areas, so there is always a bit of an issue with lack of tonal contrast. But I have come to like the soft effect it gives. I am revisiting a theme to which I have long been attracted, namely quite humble subject matter seen fairly close up, giving rise to semi-abstract patterns. Next up: perhaps a cupcake. I haven't drawn or painted one in ages.

In the meantime my NaNoWriMo project is still on track. I have no the vaguest clue how the story is going to end, but I know enough to keep me writing for a few more days, and hopefully by then I'll know enough to take me some days further, and so on and so forth, until I have a complete draft to work with by the end of the month.

If all goes well, the book will be available by the end of the year, or early next year. Not sure yet - I think this one is going to need a lot of rewriting. But watch this space for updates!

Saturday, 4 November 2017

NaNoWriMo, and other weird things

I have gotten it in my crazy head to join NaNoWriMo this year. Even though I'm going to cheat  - the story I have in mind is another tween novel that will probably not take more than 30 000 words or so to tell - things will be hectic for a month, so I will probably not get any painting done. Instead, I'll focus on making some small drawings. Here's the first, WIP, and I'll post updates as I work on it:

Pencil, 14 x 15 cm.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Sunflower field

An informal little picture to brighten up a friend's hospital room. Acrylic on board, 10 x 15 cm (= about 4 x 6 inches):

Halloween pumpkin and cat

Coloring picture; feel free to print a copy!

Also see my main website for more...

Monday, 30 October 2017

The Garden Gnome's Journey

After much delay and administrative horrors, my new children's book is finally available. Here are the front and back covers:

You can read the first few chapters for free, on my main website. Or just jump right in and go directly to its Amazon page!


Another coloring picture; feel free to print out a copy:

Also see my main website for more.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Narcissus visits the interwebs

I'm branching out a bit into non-fiction writing. Here is an article I wrote for Medium, about the pitfalls of using social media as marketing tool:

Narcissus visits the interwebs

Also visit my main website for all manner of stuff, including minor freebies...

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Vase of Sunflowers

Coloring picture; feel free to print out a copy. And perhaps color it in the style of Van Gogh?

Also see my main website for more...

Wednesday, 25 October 2017


Something of a companion piece to the Three Strawberries one. Acrylic on board, 10 x 15 cm:

Tuesday, 24 October 2017


And another free coloring picture; feel free to download and print:

See my main website for more in the same vein...

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Free coloring picture!

One of my weird hobbies: coloring pictures for kids. Feel free to print out, give to your kid and enjoy five minutes of peace and quiet!

See my main website for more such ridiculous giveaways...

Brian van der Spuy

Friday, 20 October 2017

Three Strawberries

A quick, small one to brighten up my Friday. Acrylic on board, 10 x 15 cm:

Pumpkin and Chianti Bottle

Acrylic on board, 25 x 20 cm:

Something slightly Halloweenish, to fit the season, even though Halloween isn't really a thing here in South Africa. I have taken a liking to this sort of informal still life, suitable more for a kitchen, roofed porch or other such space than for a more sophisticated environment. 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Recent photos

Recent adventures in point-and-shoot photography...

I tend to forget to put up photos here. But they are all available in my DeviantArt galleries here:

Fell free to use them for whatever purpose, no strings attached. Crediting me would of course be the polite thing to do.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Tulip Garden with Windmill

Acrylic on board, 20 x 15 cm:

Another on the Dutch theme. I notice once again a problem I have had with acrylics in the past: it is somehow extremely difficult to get the colors to reproduce properly in a digital photo. I have no idea why this should be so, or why the problem is worse with some mediums than with others.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Tulip Field with Windmill

I have been busy with all manner of administrative details, and battling it out with properly formatting my latest book for print (and no end in sight yet, due to incomprehensible technical issues). But I made time for  quick painting, this one in acrylics for a change. It's a medium I have something of a love-hate relationship with, so I return to it every now and then, we're blissfully happy for  a while, then we start fighting again and I walk out, swearing never to return.

Acrylic on board, 20 x 15 cm:

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Gnome Alert (3)

And yet another batch of illustrations for my upcoming children's story The Garden Gnome's Journey. This is the lot, I think; still have to do a cover picture in color. Barring any unexpected troubles, the book aught to be available soon.

My other book, a youth adventure novella titled The Ten Horns, is available here:

The Ten Horns

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Gnome Alert (2)

Another batch of illustrations for my soon-to-be-available children's book The Garden Gnome's Journey. Watch this space for updates!

My other book, a youth adventure novella titled The Ten Horns, is available here:

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Gnome alert

Some illustration concepts for my upcoming children's book "The Garden Gnome's Journey." Watch this space for updates...

Thursday, 7 September 2017

A new book

After endless delays and editing and proofing, copies of my youth adventure novella The Ten Horns are finally available. Here are the front and back covers:

Copies can be ordered here:

The Ten Horns

The book is also available on Amazon, but the page there apparently takes a few weeks to build to completion, so at present, the synopsis and "look inside" features are not functional yet.

As I note above, it is youth fiction and suitable for readers at around grade 7 level, though I have known an adult or two who also told me they enjoyed it. Perhaps they were just being polite!

Edit: The Amazon page is functional now:

The Ten Horns

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Four Capsicums

Oil on board, 20 x 15 cm:

Been enjoying playing around with the rich colours and textures of wood. I have long enjoyed this sort of "kitchen still life;" perhaps time to do a series...

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Blue, green and red

A dilapidated old table and chair, repurposed for outdoor duty. Such things are full of character and irresistibly paintable. Oil on board, 25 x 20 cm:

Monday, 21 August 2017

Potted plants in a courtyard

Oil on board, 20 x 15 cm:

As I may or may not have noted in an earlier post, this theme of outdoors, but intimate spaces, currently appeals to me. Not too sure what one should call this sort of painting: it's neither landscape not still life, but something in between. I my just do a whole series.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Does choosing to go on vacation mean you don't enjoy your work?

This question was asked on Quora :

Does choosing to go on vacation mean you don't enjoy your work?
It gave me an excuse for a bit of random philosophizing in my answer:

Not necessarily. We should really look at this from an evolutionary point of view. Early humans were hunter-gatherers. The very concept of work versus leisure did not really exist for them. They just lived. Some of the time they would do things necessary for survival, like hunting and gathering. Sometimes they would just sit around telling stories or singing and dancing, though those things were to some extent also important, forming part of religious rituals or serving as training for the young.
What is striking about their lifestyle though, is its variety. You never knew what the day would bring. Perhaps a good hunt? An attack by a neighboring tribe? Discovery of a bee nest full of honey? Sudden rain?
We tend to think of a life without TV, cell phones and internet connection as one of relentless boredom, but I suspect that “primitive” people actually enjoy more excitement than most of us, simply because there is no set, absolutely predictable routine. I further suspect that this partly accounts for the popularity and addictive nature of social media: it mimics this unpredictable environment. You never know what direction a discussion will take, or whom you will meet next.
Now people who enjoy their jobs are people who find their jobs as interesting as hunter-gatherers find their environment. There are new things happening and new challenges every day. Still, going on vacation makes for yet another bit of variety. Of course, for people who don’t like their job (very often because the job is boringly predictable) their occasional vacation is the only thing that keeps them going.
My uncle was an artist. He loved his job. But he too would have a vacation once or twice per year, during which time he would quite deliberately avoid drawing or painting, just to recharge the batteries, let ideas simmer a bit, and do something different. Now that I work mostly as artist myself, I find the same thing: I love it, but I also enjoy taking the weekend off and getting something else done. During such times I often cook up new ideas for pictures too, so it is not time wasted.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Cat and Sansevieria

Oil on board, 25 x 20 cm:

A subject I have taken something of a liking to lately: this sort of not-quite still life, perhaps in a courtyard somewhere. I kind of prefer living plants to cut flowers in vases, and I may just get it into my head to do some more of this sort of thing.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A few photos

I now and then indulge in pseudo-artsy photography with my humble point-and-shoot camera. Some of the latest ones:

The aloes are in bloom at the moment; makes for an attractive sight in our otherwise rather monotone winters:

There are nevertheless signs of spring in the air. These peach blossoms reminded me of Van Gogh's famous painting of the same subject:

Around here, because of a rather high rate of crime, people tend to live behind high walls and ugly electric fences. Thus, the only way to take a nice photo is to tilt the camera up a bit: