JUST ME :: and a stack of blank pages

Sunday, July 5, 2015

My favourite Aloes

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - Aloe ferox

Two of my favourite Aloes - A. ferox above and A. marlothii below - every winter I wait with excitement for their beautiful flowers, attracting a myriad of insects and birds and providing much needed bright splashes of orange colour to my winter garden!

 W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - Aloe marlothii

This is the first winter in 4 years since I acquired my A. marlothii that it has flowered!

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Enter the wilderness


W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
A farm road ito a smallholding in Magaliesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.
 
Alienation from nature and self is a uniquely modern malady. “Progressively, over the course of the centuries, Western humankind indulged in a mental separation from the totality of all physical phenomena, building up the wall of civilization against Being, elevating ourselves above all other living organisms.”
- (Francois & McGaa, 2007)

The modern world is slowly realizing that our disconnection from nature has become self-destructive. Take up some eco-therapy and go into the wilderness, take a nature walk, leave behind our man-made fences separating us from nature, allowing greater connection with ourselves.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Poppy


W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
Poppies in a friend’s garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa)

High on a bright and sunny bed
A scarlet poppy grew
And up it held its staring head,
And thrust it full in view.
Yet no attention did it win,
By all these efforts made,
And less unwelcome had it been
In some retired shade.
Although within its scarlet breast
No sweet perfume was found,
It seemed to think itself the best
Of all the flowers round,
From this I may a hint obtain
And take great care indeed,
Lest I appear as pert and vain
As does this gaudy weed.
~ By Jane Taylor

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

En route to Magaliesburg

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Whenever I go to Magaliesburg (Gauteng, South Africa) just 13km from us, I choose to take a short-cut through Spring Farm and although it is a gravel road, I do away with lots of traffic and getting stuck behind trucks on their way to Rustenburg or Botswana and, to top it all, I see lots of wildlife. It’s a route we used to take with the horses during my horse riding days.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Visiting a friend

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

The driveway to a friend’s house on their smallholding in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa. Always a pleasure to visit as, besides her bubbling personality! the driveway is lined with gorgeous big Oaks and other trees.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Solly's chickens on our smallholding

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Solly's chickens having a snack close to his living quarters on our smallholding. The Bluegum bush at the back is where I often walk to sketch.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A labourer's cottage

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

A labourer’s cottage on a smallholding just down the road from us in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

A farmer's cottage

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

A farmer’s cottage on a smallholding not far from us in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dusk in Magaliesburg

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

As dusk settles over Magaliesburg, the neighbouring mountains are cast in a hue of purples and blues.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Aloe ferox painting 2

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Aloe ferox (also known as the Cape Aloe, Bitter Aloe, Red Aloe and Tap Aloe), is a species of arborescent aloe indigenous to Southern Africa. It is one of several Aloe species used to make bitter aloes, a purgative medication and also yields a non-bitter gel that can be used in cosmetics.

Die Bitteraalwyn (Aloe ferox), inheems aan Suid-Afrika, is ’n struik wat deel is van die aalwynfamilie. Die plant blom vanaf Mei tot September. Die struik is ’n stadige groeier met ’n enkelstam en dik, doringrige, vlesige blare en buisvormige, oranje-rooi blomme. Dit is ’n uitstekende struik vir die rotstuin en verkies vol son en matige water. Die sap van die blare word vir medisyne en skoonheidsprodukte gebruik.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The river trees...


Mixed media on Bockingford 300gsm – W&N watercolour, acrylic and candle wax

The Magalies River at Wicker Tea Gardens (Gauteng, South Africa) is as beautiful as ever. Drove into the now non-existent tea garden on the weekend to have a look at the river.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cosmos in March

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

March and end-of-summer in South Africa heralds Cosmos time! Every year these beauties grace the fields and road-sides all over the country.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Autumn colours

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

We're nearing the end of Autumn and soon these trees will all be stark and bare, a beautiful sight in its own right.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Small paintings in a sketch-book


I have this small, hand-made little sketch-book with satin-finish linen paper, which is exquisite to paint in. The paint takes on a life all of it's own when it his the paper and the outcome is always unexpected! But it is very unforgiving, doesn't take well to pencil or ink and cannot erase on it at all. So whatever gets put down, that's it! But I just love churning out these small little 7"x5" paintings!















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Thursday, April 9, 2015

A farm fence

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

I'm absolutely besotted with farm fences and gates and just cannot drive past without stopping to take a photograph or a quick sketch. There's something about a fence that says, "This is the boundary, please don't pass" and an open gate is always an invitation to drive through and see what's on the other side!

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Monday, April 6, 2015

African bushveld

W&N watercolour, no preliminary sketching, in small hand-made sketch-book with hand-crafted satin-finish Linen paper

This little sketch-book, which I bought in Gateway Shopping Mall in Umhlanga, is absolutely wonderful to paint in. The 'paper' is very much like material and as you paint, the colour sucks in and spreads, surprising you with the results every time. No sketching though, it doesn't take kindly to pen or pencil

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Friday, April 3, 2015

A farm gate

W&N watercolour and ink sketch on Bockingford 300gsm

Farm gates and farm fences fascinate me. I can sit for hours sketching variations on the theme and just cannot drive by a farm gate or particularly interesting fence without stopping and sketching it. This is a  farm gate on a friend’s smallholding in Tarlton (Gauteng, South Africa).

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

A farm cottage

W&N watercolour on thick sketching paper

Done from a photograph, with kind permission of a dear friend, Maria Lock, Millmerran, Queensland, Australia.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

View across the river

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

View of the Magaliesberg across the river in Broederstroom. Once again Blogger is not playing the game with the colours of my painting, it views much greyer than what it really is!

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Aloe ferox painting 1


W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

A painting of an Aloe ferox in my garden. Each winter my aloes put up the most spectacular show of orange, brightening up the dull winter landscape. I can feel the season is turning already, gets lighter much later in the mornings and soon (well, roundabouts June/July) I’ll be blessed with their beauty again.

Aloe ferox (known as the Cape Aloe, Bitter Aloe, Red Aloe and Tap Aloe), is a species of arborescent aloe indigenous to southern Africa. It is one of several Aloe species used to make bitter aloes, a purgative medication, and also yields a non-bitter gel that can be used in cosmetics.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Singing sweet songs, of melodies pure and true


W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

‘Rise up this morning,
smile with the rising sun,
three little birds
sit by my doorstep,
singing sweet songs
of melodies pure and true,
singing,
this is my message to you.’

PS : I don't know what's wrong with Blogger's colours, but the image I uploaded is not as dark as this and the back-ground is totally white, no grey...?

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Bluegum bush at the dam

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Not far from us is this dam with a lovely blue gum bush on one side. I used to sketch here often a few years ago, but now the dam wall is broken and there's only a stream trickling through when it rains. A great loss to the environment, as it used to offer food and shelter for all sorts of wildlife from Egyptian Geese to a plethora of water birds and lots of small mammals. The price we pay for progress...

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Another forest path

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

The seasons are changing. I can feel a nip in the air during my early-morning walks on our smallholding and already the leaves are changing colour. We've had an extremely hot summer and the cooler weather is extremely welcome, you just gotta love Autumn!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Forest path


W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

A path leading through the Blue gum forest on our smallholding (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa). Walking this trail, I often discover little treasures like rabbits, hedgehogs, tortoises, lots of insects, little wild flowers and the odd snake. We’ve had many enquiries from people wanting to cut the bush down for the wood, but have always declined as many birds call this blue gum bush their home, a little sanctuary as the area gets more and more built up.

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

A blank page

W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm

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a blank page . a new journal . what shall I do
dream / sing / write / wait / think / pause / garden / chat / paint
decided to paint

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Morning is my favourite time

W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 220gsm heavy-weight sketching paper

Morning is my favourite time when everything is new;
flowers drink the morning dew
and skies are painted in a golden hue.
Each tree stands tall and stately -
different shades and different face.
I'm viewing morning's painting,
done with Nature's brush of Grace.
The sun peeks slowly in the East,
then rises with its smile;
Another morning greeting
and we walk another mile.
-Unknown

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Little White Dove


W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

This is Little White Dove, a White Ringneck Dove I found in my garden a year and a half ago, minus a tail and a big wound on her coccyx. After coaxing her down from the tree with some seeds, I managed to capture her and tend to the wound. She recovered quickly, sporting a brand new tail within a few days.
She has now become part of the family, flying around my studio, having regular baths in her favourite bowl, tolerating Tweeti, the Cockatiel’s advances and her and I have long chats, cooing to one another, she just loves participating in conversations!

Ringneck doves are sweet natured and naturally tame. If you should be lucky enough to acquire one, give them a day or two to settle into their new home, and begin to finger tame them. Talk to them and let them get used to your voice and movements. Coax them onto your finger inside the cage, and then gently take them from their cage. They will fly around the room, but will not fly for long and will settle down quickly. Patience and time will pay off, and soon you will have a wonderful new friend…

The White Dove is often thought of as a separate species but it is actually perhaps the most common color mutation of the Ringneck Dove (Streptopelia risoria). This bird is often confused with the domestic white homing pigeon which is used to release at special occasions (weddings, anniversaries, etc.). This bird does not have the homing instinct and should not be released.

These birds have been bred in cages since biblical times as pets and cannot survive in the wild. They often are not able to find food having had it provided to them all their life and because of their white colour they are easy prey for a variety of predators. Thus many of these released birds die or are killed in a relatively short time. Many white doves that have been released end up looking to humans for assistance.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Looking forward to beautiful Geraniums

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

My Geraniums looked decidedly worse for the wear this past winter – I added some fresh potting soil and hope for some beautiful flowers this summer, maybe I’ll add something blue to the pot as well…?

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Friday, January 16, 2015

And the tree asks "Why am I here?"

Winsor & Newton watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Every branch shaking, shifting, and falling in the icy wind,
A tiny leaf at the very end holds strong,
Why am I here, questioning wondering waiting, for that final pulse that will blow him down?
But in that tree was a force, a force of life, a force of strength, a force unmatched by the icy wind.
That tree was a young tree, a tree that never crossed roots with wild bushes,
Bore fruits desired by many, tasted by few and discarded by the very planter,
Questioning why am I here, questioning is this the only way,
Now the broken branch begins to fall, now this tree was not very tall,
No other tree was like this tree, this tree was special,
This tree was bearing the strain of an icy wind,
Just as the branch had hit the ground there was silence all around a calm in the drifting storm
Now this was rare, a tree this young, a tree this strange, a neglected tree, a tree with shallow roots, a tree with hollow bark had survived the storm.
Questioning why me?
This tree was a lonely tree, this tree knew he would grow strong, weak body strong thoughts kept the tree unmoved on broken paths.
Extract from “A tree” – Emmanuel Mohanlall

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

All of life is a journey



W&N watercolours in Moleskine 200gsm watercolour sketch-book - no preliminary sketching

“All of life is a journey - which paths we take, what we look back on, and what we look forward to is up to us. We determine our destination, what kind of road we will take to get there, and how happy we are when we get there.”
- Unknown

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Season's Greetings and a Happy New Year 2015!

Original is W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

The best part of the season is remembering those who make the holidays meaningful. I wish you all the love and happiness this season can bring, and may it follow you throughout the coming new year.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Winter's redeeming qualities

W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm

Winter has very few redeeming qualities. Many animals find that the best thing to do is simply sleep through it. Studies show that human beings sleep more during the winter months as well. One of the few redeeming qualities of winter is snow, something of which we don’t get a lot here in South Africa. But when it happens, there are few things more magical then looking out the window from your house and discovering those first flurries gently falling to the ground. When the snow builds up outside our houses it envelops us in a warm cocoon.

For my Northern Hemisphere friends, the time has come to put on your warm slippers, grab a cozy blanket, and curl up with some hot chocolate!

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Cosmos in December


W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Here in South Africa we know Christmas is near when the Hydrangeas and Cosmos start flowering – Every March and November respectively our countryside explodes with colour when pretty pink and white cosmos flowers bloom in early autumn and then again in late summer. They grow easily in the soil at the side of the roads disturbed by the road scrapers widening the verges. This year the Cosmos are a bit late as the road crews have not been around yet.

Hope you had a lovely festive season!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Another Windpomp and a dam

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

A ‘windpomp’ (windmill) in Magaliesburg. They are such a part of our countryside here in South Africa and they play a specially important part in dry areas like the Karoo where both humans and animals are very dependent on them for water. 

These windmills extract the life blood of the earth and it is usually poured into a cement dam close-by the windpomp. Many farm children swim in these cement dams on sweltering days and I have seen flocks of Egyptian Geese taking a quick, cool dip on their way to somewhere.

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