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!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Laughing Dove

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
- Pablo Picasso

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

"Laughing Dove" pencil sketch with watercolour in Moleskine watercolour sketch-book- Maree

This is Flutterby, a Laughing Dove I was blessed enough to have in my life for 6 months, kind enough to roost contentedly on a rock in my garden while I sketched her.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Botanical - Butterfly

Botanical - "Monarch Butterfly" (Danaus plexippus)

Another watercolour done from a photograph taken by Crista of NATURE AS IS, a wonderfully accomplished photographer (even though she insists she's still learning!) whose works portray excellent clarity and composition.

I'm going to try and do a whole range of botanicals of insects and plants and see how they turn out.

In the USA, the Monarch Butterfly undertakes a massive migration of 2,000 miles from Canada to 200 miles South of Mexico, where they over-winter before their return to their North American breeding grounds.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kalahari Elephants

Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye... it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.
- Edvard Munch

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

"Kalahari Elephants" watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm watercolour paper - Maree

I must be honest, I mostly stay away from animal programmes on TV, especially if it shows hard-ships or cruelty. The other night I was watching a program about one of our South African deserts, but included was this story of the elephants that are restricted to the northern parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and their heart-wrenching migration of having to travel for miles to find water.

A portion of the Kalahari Desert transforms for a brief period each year from a parched expanse of arid wasteland to a bountiful floodplain packed with channels, lagoons, swamps and islands — and it has the Okavango River to thank for this temporary transformation into paradise.

During the annual inundation, the Okavango Delta region draws migrating animals like a magnet, among them herds of Kalahari elephants. Elephants must have water on a regular basis, so as the dry season reaches a peak, they follow ancient instincts across the scorched and desiccated sands to the promise of boundless waters in the west.

As the elephants slowly make their way toward the delta, many don't survive on what little resources they find until they finally enjoy a respite in the rich lands touched by the Okavango. Other herds will not complete the migration and may lose members to the harsh and competitive environment of the desert.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Blackberry Blossom from Nature As Is

"Blackberry Blossom" - a quick pencil sketch and watercolour done from a photograph taken by 'Nature As Is' - on Bockingford 300gsm watercolour paper - Maree

The colours in the photograph are actually much more subtle, (but what's artistic licence for?!) with the flower being almost white with tinges of pink, almost light purple - will re-do it at a later stage and try and capture the correct colours.

Thank you for allowing me to use your amazing photograph Crista!

Photograph by 'Nature As Is'


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Birds - White-Eye

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost."
~ Martha Graham

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

"White-eye" sketch with watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm watercolour paper - Maree©

The White-Eyes are regular visitors to my garden. They normally flit around furiously catching the tiniest insects hardly visible to the eye and never sit still for long. Did a quick out-line sketch of this chappie as he gave me the cocky eye and finished it off once they had moved on.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Gloomy picture?

"When it is gloomy outside, I find the sunshine within me. I smile and show others my sunshine. In return, others smile and show me theirs."

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

"Farm Cottage" watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm watercolour paper - Maree©

I did this painting yesterday, taking my inspiration from the weather outside - dark, gloomy, and only 13ºC outside! with intermittent rain - quite unusual for Gauteng to have rain in Winter, we're a summer rain-fall area - could the seasons be changing?


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Birds from Your Garden

Painting birds from your garden can be extremely rewarding. Not only does watching and photographing them provide hours of pleasure, but it gives us a little insight into their habits and daily living survival techniques.

The Fiscal Shrike below is a resident of my garden and she takes her job of keeping other Shrikes at bay very seriously. She knows when I bring mince and suet to the bird feeder, and immediately starts clearing the area, making sure the Robin doesn't get too close either.

"Fiscal Shrike" water colour - Maree©

I had the pleasure of rearing this Grey Lourie from a baby after she'd been rescued from some dogs in a neighbour's garden. She turned out to be a most loving and intelligent pet and we spent many happy hours together.

Grey Lourie and Fiscal Shrike water colour framed  - Maree©

She fell in love with my male Cockatiel and for weeks the two were inseparable until, one evening, she never returned home to roost on the top of her cage, as usual.

The next morning the reason was clearly apparent - she spent the whole day in the garden with a male that must have heard her calls. I put her food on a special bird table and they stayed for a couple of days and then, one morning, they were gone, never to be seen again.