When I began my formal studies of painting I was required to acquaint myself thoroughly with the history of art and architecture. The two books that were most important were Banister Fletcher's History of Architecture and and Helen Gardner's Art Through the Ages. Getting to know the work of artists of previous generations was both humbling and exciting. I soon realized how difficult it would be not only to achieve their excellence but to come up with something new. My home town, Kimberley, did not really have an art museum of any kind but the city Hall had many paintings by important South African artists such as Pierneef and Thinus de Jong and I made frequent visits just to look at and admire their work. We did however, make a yearly trip to Cape Town and there in the Gardens , near the houses of Parliament, was a wonderful Art Museum which had not only paintings from earlier times but also examples of modern art including artists who were being influenced by Picasso. I began to realize that the style in which I painted was as important as the subject matter that I had chosen to represent. I also realized that simply representing an object, or landscape, or figure, while challenging, was not the only thing I could do with paint and brush. So I began to experiment with shapes, line and color. In fact I was learning how to operate with abstraction without having that concept available. After four years of study I submitted my final project which I named "The Mathematician's Dream" which was an abstract landscape . My fellow artists who had chosen a more traditional route were amused and thought that I was crazy for submitting such a painting to the national jurors, but my work was positively evaluated and upon graduation brought it home with p,ride. In my next blog I will tell the story of how I came to study with D. J. Madge.