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!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Herbs in pots - Lemon thyme

Ink and watercolour sketch in watercolour sketch pad.
Having herbs in terracotta pots on your kitchen windowsill is an excellent way of always having fresh herbs handy for your cooking.

In cooking, lemon thyme (Thymus citriodorus) delivers the best of both worlds. It has a soft herbal thyme flavour along with a subtle essence of lemon, all without any of the bitterness we sometimes get from regular thyme. It pairs well in everything from salads and vegetable dishes, to meat, and fish.

Lemon thyme is also used for the following :
  • relieving muscle spasms
  • has anti-aging properties
  • immune system
  • easing digestion
  • easing a tight chest
  • constant coughing
  • relieving asthma
  • promotes relaxation
  • laryngitis
  • gastritis

Monday, January 14, 2019

Bluegum fantasy

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm in small sketch-book

Blue gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus to the botanists), have been a part of the South African landscape since the Gold Rush, long enough that legends have sprung up about how they first made it to the country. The usual story is that 19th Century gold miners encouraged planting of the trees as a quick-growing source of quality lumber, then were disappointed to find out that South African-grown eucs produce wood unsuitable for much besides rough fenceposts and firewood.

The stories have some factual basis: there was a speculative eucalyptus-planting rush in the first years of the 20th Century, with people planning uses from fine furniture to rot-resistant railroad ties. And the home-grown trees, which grew far more quickly than their Australian counterparts, did not turn out to make lousy timber! The logs were extensively used in our mining industry and to this day they are still popular as fence posts and roof timber.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Herbs in pots - Oregano

Bladk ink and watercolour sketch in watercolour sketch pad.

Having herbs in terracotta pots on your kitchen windowsill is an excellent way of always having fresh herbs handy for your cooking.

This aromatic, ancient culinary herb (Origanum vulgare), also referred to as “wild marjoram,” originates from the hilly, Greek countryside, and is now grown all over the world. Its pungent, spicy, slightly bitter flavour pairs well with almost any vegetable preparation.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Herbs in pots - Parsley

Ink and watercolour sketch in watercolour sketch pad.

Having herbs in terracotta pots on your kitchen windowsill is an excellent way of always having fresh herbs handy for your cooking.
It’s easy to write parsley off. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is just the requisite garnish that decorates plates at fancy restaurants. Right? Wrong! Parsley is a popular culinary and medicinal herb recognized as one of the functional food for its unique antioxidants, and disease preventing properties.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Sunshine in the rain

W&N watercolour on Arches 300gsm

On cold and rainy days I sometimes feel I just HAVE to brighten up the day with something smiling! Not that I don’t smile during rainy weather, I love it! and sunflowers are the perfect flower to brighten any dark day.

"Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men and animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock."
- Henry Ward Beecher

Friday, October 20, 2017

My favourite outfits

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

I just love autumn shades and these days comfort also plays a huge roll in planning my wardrobe - gone are the days of squeezing into tight jeans or hobbling along on 6" heels - go with the flow is what I say!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Dark reaction

Acrylic on canvas

The dark within awakes.
My very breath it takes.

Bloody black feelings stir
growing shadowy black fur.

A drop of hate -
A torrent of anger -

A sheet of darkness -
A shard of light-

I lost track.
~ Mau Rose

Monday, July 10, 2017

Magaliesberg cliffs

Acrylic painting on gessoed un-stretched canvas sheet
Dedicated to all mountain-lovers!

A view of the Magaliesberg cliffs (NorthWest Province, South Africa), one of the few places where the White-backed Vulture still roams freely.

The Magaliesberg are among the oldest mountains in the world, almost 100 times older than Everest. They stretch for 120km from Bronkhorstspruit Dam east of Pretoria to Rustenburg in the west and separate the highveld grasslands to the south from the bushveld savannah in the north.

Sheer quartzite cliffs face south, overlooking a wide valley and a smaller ridge similar in shape and structure to the Magaliesberg.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Gum leaves - Botanical illustration

W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm

Dedicated to all Eucalypt and Bee-lovers.

A recent study by the SA National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi) in South Africa has found that gum trees provide nectar and pollen for swarms of commercial bees – and bees in turn pollinate about 50 food crops in the country. This “service” bees provide is worth about R10.3 billion a year.

Gum trees are not only important food for bees, but so are many roadside wildflowers, crops, suburban flowering plants and those that many regard as weeds. A major reason for the decline of honey bees around the world is a lack of good forage plants to provide nectar, which is the carbohydrate in the bees’ diet, and pollen the protein. Bees collect nectar from Blue Gum tree blossoms from spring to late summer.

A lack of good quality and variety of forage plants can lead to unhealthy honey bee colonies that are more vulnerable to pests and diseases.

This in turn can lead to insufficient pollination of our important agricultural crop flowers, leading to a decreased yield or quality of the food crop, Insect pollinators are needed for 35 percent of all food production globally – or one of every three bites you eat.

Although most Bluegums have been declared as an invasive species in South Africa, Beekeepers are highly dependent on eucalyptus and if they are all removed because they are aliens it would mean a serious shortage of food for bees – with a knock-on effect on crop pollination.

Because of this, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ legislation on alien and invasive species, updated in 2014, is “nuanced” for eucalyptus trees, not requiring all of them to come under the axe or chainsaw.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Tarlton Landscape

 Acrylic on Giverny 240gsm canvas – a beautiful summer’s day – done on location in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa

Not far from us a friend has a dam on his smallholding. When we visited, it gave me a chance to try my hand at some Acrylics, no sketching beforehand.