Saturday, May 15, 2010

Inspiration from the pond...

The word "koi" comes from the Japanese, simply meaning "carp." It includes both the dull grey fish and the brightly colored varieties. A homophone of koi means "love, affection" and koi are often used as symbols of love and friendship in Japan.

Koi have many different colors. Some of the major colors are white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream and it was this magnificent play of colours in the pond outside Peter's studio that have inspired these two magnificent artworks.

Prints available. Please contact The Pharoah Gallery for more information. Koi Print Enquiry

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Applecart Man

Dirkie has been a regular visitor to our home for the past six years or so...

He is not normally welcomed by Odi, our rather noisy, but ineffectual ‘guard’ dog, whose ears prick up as he shuffles up our driveway, her shrill barking announcing that a very scary intruder is on the doorstep!

But Dirkie is harmless… A ‘coloured’ man of indeterminate age from the local township, who arrives most mornings with a large gap toothed smile and a joke for the ‘masa’. He hobbles up the steps to the front door then watches the koi in the pond outside the studio as he waits patiently for someone to come out and greet him.

He is a familiar figure tottering along the roads of our small suburb and one often encounters him enjoying a sandwich and coffee on the doorsteps of those who don’t shoo him away. No one knows exactly how old he really is; but we think that the fact that he walks the streets of Wilderness keeps him healthy and impervious to the vagaries of his difficult, yet interesting life.

According to Dirkie, the reason that he has been unable to work for most of his adult life has nothing at all to do with consuming vast amounts of cheap alcohol and everything to do with the fact that he fell from an apple cart when he was young and gainfully employed at a farm in the Langeberge.

What made him creep into our hearts is that he has never once asked for money, preferring a less obvious approach. He stands on the doorstep and shoots the breeze for a while then leaves us chuckling, confounded by the stark contrast of his razor sharp wit and his outwardly dilapidated appearance.

When I decided to paint him, I wanted to capture the warmth and vitality of his extremely weathered face. I rendered him very loosely, hinting at his obviously poor eyesight and trying to capture the warmth of his character in his defining feature; his one-toothed grin…

Once the artwork was completed, I waited impatiently for Dirkie to visit again so I could show him the painting.. When he finally arrived and encountered the artwork which is quite large, measuring 116x116cm. He gazed at it in silence for a while then turned to me, shaking his head and said; “Sjoe masa, maar ‘n ‘hotnot’ is mos ‘n lelike ding…”*

*Afrikaans “Heavens! But a hottentot is an ugly creature”

Visit to view more of Peter Pharoah's artworks.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Peter Pharoah Fine Art Print Collection

Find out more about the stunning new prints now available as part of the Peter Pharoah Print Collection.

Remember that a limited selection of our prints are also available from African Kirikara in Hout Bay.

Visit them at African Kirikara Art & Craft
Old Post Office, Main Road, Hout Bay - Cape Town, South Africa
Tel/Fax +27 21 7908358 or visit their website at

Friday, February 19, 2010

Inspired by Life - Peter's imagination takes him places

Wilderness artist, Peter Pharoah draws inspiration from many things; one of them is Island Lake where his studio is located, he often stalks the herons and little egrets in search of the magical mix of colour, light and pose that will translate into an inspired artwork.

With his camera at the ready, he has become attuned to capturing that perfect image which may become the inspiration for his next painting. Recently his wife Tracey, who is an advertising, marketing and web consultant, spotted two boys en-route from the Wilderness Heights squatter camp to the Bundu CafĂ© with a handful of coins… she captured their animated discussion of how these unexpected riches would best be spent and Peter used it to create an artwork entitled “To the Spaza” which is now part of his limited edition Print Collection. “It’s not often that one of my photographs makes the grade... so I was thrilled when Peter told me that he would use it for reference for one of his paintings,” Tracey said.

One of Peter’s recent paintings entitled Bafana Bafana (which means "boys boys" as well as name of the South African national soccer team) captures the energy of a group of young boys kicking around a ball in Tanzania and was painted with a view to commemorating the excitement of the 2010 Soccer World cup tournament as a first ever African event.

With a pioneering aviator grandfather Victor Smith, and father Hugh Pharoah, who only recently retired as 747-simulator instructor as well as two brothers who fly commercially, it is small wonder that Peter too loves flying, although he often admits that hang gliding is his first love.. The couple are fortunate to have travelled extensively through Africa and South Africa and although over recent years, their wings have been somewhat clipped with two school going children, Peter still likes to wing it around the country in his Jabiru J430, visiting faraway places in search of inspiration. He has recently returned from a trip to Cape Agulhas and Augrabies.

Experimenting with textures and techniques which are applied with brushes, knives, or even his fingers to achieve unconventional effects is what makes Peter’s work so unique. The fiery, warm colours in many of his paintings has drawn people from colder climes to take a "special memory of Africa" home with them. His gallery is in Wilderness on the banks of the lagoon and on the N2. By: Pauline Lourens (George Herald 2010 02 18). View article on the George Herald website :

Find out more about Peter's amazing collection of artworks and prints by visiting his website at

Monday, January 11, 2010

Freedom of the Skies

It's early morning and the seagulls have the beach to themselves. I approach cautiously, enjoying their apparent disregard for this earthbound human who often desperately wishes to join them in their effortless "Freedom of flight".
Visit the website at

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Augrabies - Place of Thundering silence

The Khoi people have called it the “Place of Great Noise”, yet I came here to enjoy the silence, the tranquility of this stark, rocky region of the North Western Cape, just a stone’s throw from the Namibian border.

Although few sights are as awesome as water thundering down the through the gorge when the river is in full flood, it is the silent sentinels of the kokerbome that inspire me, the silhouetted klipspringers that watch warily as I stroll through the rocky terrain enjoying the early morning light and the freshness of the air.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In Search of Inspiration

An Artist is only as good as his last painting, and Peter constantly strives to explore new horizons with his art… whether it means a new approach, new technique or style or even a new subject…

Luckily for Peter this means that he often gets to visit out of the way places where the heart, soul and spirit of Africa stills beats to its own majestic rhythm.

Not all these expeditions are about gathering reference but rather a journey of rediscovery as an artist. An opportunity to reconnect with the African bushveld that reawakens ones love for the simple things like an early morning stroll in the bush or the whispering of the wind in the trees or even the heat of the rocks against your back as you become lost in the vast expanses of the the African skies.

For more on Peter's artworks, visit

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


After a really eventful trip to Cape Town where our car was stolen and we were left stranded camping at Mouille Point and the rains came down... It was with a sense of relief that we escaped the cold and miserable winter to enjoy a quick sojourn to the desert wonderland of Abu Dhabi.

What an amazing experience!! 51 degree heat and by our third taxi, we had given up trying to find the gallery where we had a midday appointment.

Abu Dhabi is a land of contrasts - desert vistas that take your breath away, and opulent luxury with an Arabian style that is distinctly different from anything we have experienced before. Exploring the emirate’s old souqs, sipping fragrant Arabic coffee, experiencing the amazing desert landscape on an exhilarating desert safari then taking a skiing trip at the Dubai mall - indescribable...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The 'Oooh Ah' Factor

So much energy, thought and passion goes into each painting. It gets stared at, poked, prodded even dream't about until all the pieces fall into place. This means having to pass the “ooh ah” test. This is done very scientifically, the "art critic" - commonly known as my wife, is brought into the studio blindfolded, not really but the effect is the same. She averts her eyes and walks over to the designated spot in the studio where the best first impact will be made. Before she can bring herself to look she does a crazy thing, something I’m yet to understand, she gets beside herself with anxiety, whether this is because she knows our income relies on each painting being ‘genius’ or the fact that she knows she is incapable of faking the “ooh ah” that is needed to liberate the painting from the studio and onto the gallery wall.

This is probably a little foolish as; not only is my wife a great art critic, but I am a firm believer in giving my best at everything I do. Sometimes, this is very frustrating as it means that even paintings that are working well (but not perfectly) get painted over or reworked as many times as necessary to make it through the “ooh ah” test. This being done; the paintings are hung in our gallery on the banks of Wilderness lagoon in the Garden Route and if my wife has done her job well enough; the painting sells too quickly.
Yes, the contradiction is intentional, although the money is always nice; I do miss them and would like more people to see them before they are sold, which is why I have decided to create a book as a retrospective – an opportunity to revisit some of my old favourites, paintings that are now living in other parts of the world. The book provides me with an opportunity to allow others to experience my creations. I have chosen from a list of many hundreds, the ones that I would most like to see live again... I'm looking forward to sharing them with you.
If you would like to know more about the book or our print collection, please send an email to:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


The sun beats down relentlessly on the parched, dry earth of the African savanna. The lone Masai herder guides his small herd of cattle in the direction of the riverbed. The mournful calling of these skeletal beasts a stark reminder that they are experiencing the worst drought in Kenya for the past twenty years.

In many parts of Africa, a man’s worth is measured by the number of cattle he owns. His respect in the community grows with the birth of every calf and the bond between man and beast is almost tangible. Young boys grow up herding the community’s cattle. It is a time of discovery both without and within... They spend many hours out on the African plains, savouring the solitude and warmth of the African sun. They learn to sense danger, they learn to spot signs of a predator lurking in the bush, they learn to find water and the sweetest grazing lands; but most of all, they learn patience and wisdom. Time spent in solitude dreaming of the future, their hopes and aspirations, not to mention - the young girl in the village who smiles demurely as he passes by...
Kijana (means 'Young man' - Swahili)
to order.