George artist Bruce Hancocks's sense of humor led him to call his home art gallery "Life is a Beach". Besides painting, he also makes interesting sculptures from driftwood and tree trunks he gathered while sailing the Caribbean. Photo: Pauline Lourens
GEORGE NEWS - Former 'sailor' Bruce Hancocks nowadays has the peaceful life of a landlubber, but for more than 20 years he sailed the Caribbean sea, taking tourists day-sailing on chartered boats.
It was a life he loved as it had all the natural elements that he embraces: light, sun, water and colour.
His navy training and youthful ventures in boats prepared him for a career as professional yachtsman.
As a Springbok Sea Scout he learned to love sailing and went on to become a naval officer. While in the South African Navy he travelled to the South Pole.
After obtaining his degree in fine art, he taught art, as well as history of art, at Mansfield High School in Durban for several years.
After marrying his South African soulmate Lorna, the couple went on an adventurous trip, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in their own boat, remaining the best of partners during the two-month journey.
Their faithful dog Beuda (an island mutt from the Caribbean island Barbuda) accompanied them everywhere and took to the water like a duck.
Bruce sketched and painted marine scenes and made wooden sculptures from mangrove tree driftwood and Lignum Vitae (the 'Tree of Life', found in the Caribbean Basin and the Lesser Antilles islands).
Because Lignum Vitae has been over-exploited, Bruce planted seeds when he could and these seedlings are now young saplings on uninhabited islands and in a nature park.
He has a great respect for the mighty mangrove trees which protect the shorelines and the marine life. It is one of few tree species that can survive the shallows and live off salt water.
Their roots hold the soil together and create the perfect breeding ground for small fish and shrimps.
A slow-growing tree, it is strong and can withstand storms and hurricanes.
So it is with great circumspection that he collected dead tree stumps and sculpted them into artworks. It is his way of paying tribute to these environmental giants.
Bruce has been working hard at his woodwork and at capturing on canvas the sea life scenes which he so admired while gazing across the bow of his boat.
His colourful paintings, done in acrylic paint, centre around the starry skies, unusual sea birds, whales, sunsets and dolphins and can be admired at his home gallery at 53B Stockenström Street, George.
For an appointment contact him on 072 041 3016.
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