1. The Beginning

Dear Sade,

You are only five years old as I write this, so I must visualize what you will be like when you are old enough to understand these 'writings' of a grandfather who loves you very much. This is not too difficult for me as we have always spent time together in my studio, drawing, painting and talking about art. I already have a file with your contributions to the art world - at your present age you have over a hundred drawings and paintings in my file. So it's a pretty good start, A short while after you were born the following words, submitted by me, appeared in the classified section of our local newspaper, The Hermanus Times: Sade: She's got everything she needs. She's an artist. She won't look back. They are taken from the lyrics of a song by Bob Dylan and to me they announced the arrival of another artist in the family, although she weighed only 3,8 kg at the time. How did I know that you will be an artist one day? This revelation came to me from "The Place of Great and Wonderous Secrets' known only to grandfathers who are artists themselves. Years later as we sat together drawing you told me that you are going to be an artist. Recently when you and I and Dembo the Duckchaser climbed the mountain path behind our house - watched by the francolins, those fleet-footed fowl that chitter incessantly - you once again confirmed your wish to be an artist. Unknown to you at the time I had been writing to you about art in a big old hardcover book for some time. When Paul asked me to write about my thoughts on art the whole thing fell into place, not by coincidence but by Godincidence, and I knew that the letters should be released thereby giving them a broader application. If I can help you to achieve you 'artistic' goal in life through my letters then I will rest contentedly. At the same time if they help some young searching artist to paint better pictures or they help a potential buyer of art to purchase a painting that they never tire of then I will be grateful. Moreover, if 'The Art Letters' are read by someone who has bought one of my paintings then they will gain some insight into the mental acrobatics that took place when their painting was created. I have found that when people come to my studio to buy paintings they place great store in meeting the artist. Through my letters to you, Sade, many others will get to know the artist too. Enough said. Come, let us inhabit the wonderful universe of art together.

Love Gramps
October 1998