JUST ME :: and a stack of blank pages

:: Living creatively ::

About me

This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realise it is play. The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is. I’m here to tell you that the path to peace is right there, when you want to get away. When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. That is very serious!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Abstract Spring

“Rays from the sunrise drew forth the buds and stretched them into long stalks, lifted up sap in noiseless streams, opened petals, and sucked out scents in invisible jets and breathings.”
- Thomas Hardy

A daily practice of sketching and painting gives you a chance to exercise the big three P's - practice, practice, practice!


"Abstract Spring" - watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - 12" x 8"

Spring has arrived in South Africa, and although you wouldn't believe it today (we had another cold front creep in like a thief in the night!), the changing colours of the landscape is proof enough, as well as the appearance of the black-headed Oriole, delighting in the rich nectar offered by the Aloes (which are winter-flowering), and which will still offer their sweetness to the birds as if to make sure they are well-provided for during the last of the cold.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Golden Daffodils


Daffodils - watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - 5.5" x 7.5" - Maree©
(From my "No sketching" journal)


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
- William Wordsworth, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," 1804

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Moonlit beach

"When the storm is over and night falls and the moon is out in all its glory and all you're left with is the rhythm of the sea, of the waves, you know what God intended for the human race, you know what paradise is."
- Harold Pinter

A daily practice of sketching and painting gives you a chance to exercise the big three P's - practice, practice, practice!


Acrylic on primed Acrylic un-stretched Canvas - 12" x 9" - Maree©

Today, or should I say tonight, is full moon and like many artists, I am quite fascinated by the phases of the moon. The shape varies from a full moon (when the Earth is between the sun and the moon) to a new moon (when the moon is between the sun and the Earth). When two full moons occur in a single month, the second full moon is called a "Blue Moon." Another definition of the blue moon is the third full moon that occurs in a season of the year which has four full moons (usually each season has only three full moons). A full moon appears as an entire circle in the sky. The full moon is given different names, depending on when it appears. For example, the "Harvest moon" is the full moon that appears nearest to the Autumnal Equinox, occurring in late September or early October.

This is one of my few forays into Acrylics and I really enjoyed working on this one.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A new start

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
- Maria Robinson

A daily practice of sketching and painting gives you a chance to exercise the big three P's - practice, practice, practice!


"A new start" - Watercolour on Visual 140gsm 13.5" x 10" - Maree©

Looking at this picture, one could either perceive a ruin and the sad end of something or a new start of a wonderful experience. This one is a family building their new home, preparing for a new adventure at the foothills of the Magaliesberg Mountains.

This was done from a photograph I took on our last trip to Hartebeespoort Dam.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Journey

“I haven't a clue as to how my story will end. But that's all right. When you set out on a journey and night covers the road, you don't conclude the road has vanished. And how else could we discover the stars?”

A daily practice of sketching and painting gives you a chance to exercise the big three P's - practice, practice, practice!


Magaliesburg Farm Road - watercolour in Moleskine watercolour sketchbook
8.5" x 5" - Maree©


A farm road in our area passing through Spring Farm, which we often use as a short-cut to get to Magaliesburg (Gauteng, South Africa). I did a quick ink sketch in my Moleskine Watercolour Sketch-book and completed the colour when we got home.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A glint of Green

Yesterday the twig was brown and bare;
To-day the glint of green is there;
Tomorrow will be leaflets spare;
I know no thing so wondrous fair,
No miracle so strangely rare.
I wonder what will next be there!
~L.H. Bailey


A Glint of Green - Done with Fountain pen ink - Parker Quink Blue, Rohrer & Klinger "Verdura" green and Rohrer & Klinger "Vernambuk" red - on Ashrad 200gsm watercolour paper.

SPRING! is surfacing in South Africa (August 2010) and little bits of green are appearing everywhere! From tiny leaf buds to the greenest of grass stalks peeping through a black charred landscape, the world is turning greener by the day! Hooray!

Here I played with some Rohrer & Klinger and Parker fountain pen ink.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Road through Broederstroom

“The road leading to a goal does not separate you from the destination; it is essentially a part of it.”
- Charles de Lint

A daily practice of sketching and painting gives you a chance to exercise the big three P's - practice, practice, practice!



This is the road to Harties through Broederstroom, a village located in the foothills of the Magaliesberg, 35km from Pretoria (South Africa), situated on the Crocodile River (where I sketched the open gate) and overlooking Hartebeespoort Dam from the East side.

The many routes we have as an option to Harties are equally as fabulous as the destination. Leaving the tar road, there is this short-cut over the mountain and virtually only fit for off-road vehicles, but the scenery and the wild life crossing our path more than makes up for such a bumpy ride.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Magnificent Nature

I know no subject more elevating, more amazing, more ready to the poetical enthusiasm, the philosophical reflection, and the moral sentiment than the works of nature. Where can we meet such variety, such beauty, such magnificence?
- James Thomson

A daily practice of sketching and painting gives you a chance to exercise the big three P's - practice, practice, practice!


Magnificent Nature - Watercolour in Moleskine Watercolour Sketch-book - 8" x 5" - Maree©

Trees and mountains - the best nature has to offer! And *such* a pleasure to try and capture the beauty on paper! Denise Levertov said, "You can live for years next door to a big pine tree, honoured to have so venerable a neighbour, even when it sheds needles all over your flowers or wakes you, dropping big cones onto your deck at still of night!" How true! I cannot imagine a garden with no leaves - not only do they supply the earth with natural compost, but the Thrushes think it's heaven scratching through them, finding the most wonderful little tit-bits! My gardener has a very easy job, no raking is allowed in the garden!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

H. hortensis

Flowers have a mysterious and subtle influence upon the feelings, not unlike some strains of music. They relax the tenseness of the mind. They dissolve its vigour.
- Henry Ward Beecher

A daily practice of sketching and painting gives you a chance to exercise the big three P's - practice, practice, practice!


Hydrangeas - watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - 15.5" x 17.5"

Hydrangea H. hortensis, the common garden species, is a native of China or Japan. Here in South Africa they are also known as "Christmas Roses" as they normally flower in December.

For us in South Africa, Summer means a bright, sunshiny Christmas and it also means Hydrangeas! They start flowering during late November, through December until January, and are also called 'Christmas Roses'. Instead of Holly and Ivy decorating tables and mantles, it is the Hydrangea that takes pride of place!

Last Christmas (2009), a friend gave me a huge bunch of Hydrangeas and, after sketching them, they were hung in my potting shed to dry. Provided you hang them in a fairly damp-free area, they maintain their full, bright colours.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Road through Noupoort

"A man may surely be allowed to take a glass of wine by his own fireside!"
- Richard Brinsley Sheridan


"Road through Noupoort" - watercolour in Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook 8" x 5.5"

On the way to a friend's farm in Noupoort a few weeks ago, just the other side of Magaliesburg (South Africa), I stopped to do a quick sketch of the road disappearing past a hillock and did the colour over lunch, some chatting and a glass of wine. I think it got a bit over-worked, I couldn't put down my pen while chatting!