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!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sketching in old books

“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”
- Martin Luther

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

Landscape done in an old soft-cover book I found lying around.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tarlton Stream

“An ant may well destroy a whole dam.”
- Chinese Proverbs

Tarlton Stream - the slow flow through the dam - done in Amedeo 200gsm mixed media pad - Maree©

Sitting on the edge of the Tarlton "dam", I was watching as the little stream feeding it was struggling to find it's way through all the growth in the centre which has sprung up since the dam wall was broken and all the water flowed out. I was sitting in the shade of a big old Blue gum, and even as I sketched the empty dam, the feed was already slowing down to a trickle. Tomorrow it will be dry once more...

Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day!

Monday, December 28, 2009


Another glorious day, the air as delicious to the lungs as nectar to the tongue.
- John Muir (1838 - 1914)

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

A quick sketch of a corner of my garden as we had a heavy down-pour the other day.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Little Stream of Hope...

“To be happy in this world, especially when youth is past, it is necessary to feel oneself not merely an isolated individual whose day will soon be over, but part of the stream of life flowing on from the first germ to the remote and unknown future.”
- Bertrand Russell

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

Tarlton Stream - watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - Maree©
Size - 12" x 9"

The little stream feeding the Tarlton Dam has been dry for years, but after the recent good rains we have had, it is once again flowing, rushing forward as if looking forward to reaching its destination. Sadly, the dam will not fill up this time, as someone thought it wise to break the dam wall down and allow the water to flow into nowhere, drying up quickly as the feed slows down. It is sad that a part of Tarlton's landscape is forever changed through this action.

I did this sketch yesterday afternoon and finished it off this morning.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sunrise in Tarlton

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”
- Martin Luther

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

Sunrise in Tarlton - watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - Maree©
Size 9" x 12"

The sun rising through our Blue gum forest on Sunday morning - the flowers are a wish for the New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas 2009

Watercolour in Amedeo 200gsm mixed media pad - Maree©

My first Christmas of blogging in My Sketch-book here on Blogger and I'd like to wish EVERYBODY a beautiful festive season and, of course, the most stunning 2010!

This year has been a year of meeting fabulous new friends on-line, learning many interesting things and beautiful memories collected over the past year that will stay with me always!

I would like to thank everyone (and yes, that means YOU!) for making my blogging experience such a pleasure and for being so understanding and supportive of my attempts at sketching and all the lovely comments I've received will for ever stay in my heart.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Keeping an Artist's Journal

Weeds in my garden

Well, the on-line art class "Keeping an Artist's Journal", offered by Cathy Johnson, has come to an end after 5 weeks, and this was an exercise in one of the lessons where we had to explore using various techniques in your art journal. Here I used some salt on the wet foreground, making for some interesting texture.

In the above exercise I explored collage - a piece of Hessian glued onto the page and used for the foreground of this watercolour scene, with some threads pulled up to give texture to the grass.

Although I've been journaling for many years, I found Cathy's class extremely informative and organised, beautifully laid out with great in-depth detail, covering every possible aspect of keeping an art journal.

I normally have been keeping various journals for various things - a Daily Journal for my deepest, inner thoughts, in which I often sketch and paint as well; A Gratitude Journal, where I write about what I'm thankful for every day, accompanied by little sketches; a small Moleskine note-book for to-do-lists, reminders, etc; a separate Moleskine Notebook for graphite and ink sketches and a Gardening Journal, where I note progress on my garden, visiting birds, etc. It's mayhem when I want to record something, and cannot find the relevant journal quick enough!

And this habit of having many different journals comes from my love of writing and note-books and sketch-books - I just cannot walk past a Moleskine or a pretty sketch-book without buying it!

Cathy's class helped me decide to integrate virtually everything into ONE journal. My daily gratitudes are now accompanied by little sketches, my To-do-List is at the back, together with my shopping list, also with little sketches. Pencil and ink sketches are done at a whim and my gardening progress, with sketches, dried leaves, flowers and dates is also incorporated as well as all the insects, birds and wild life in my garden - all together in one place, and easy to take anywhere!

My Feint 6-Quire Daily Journal. I mostly use it as my daily thoughts journal, but also do some accompanying sketches.

The only one that I'm keeping separate, is my Daily private journal. I use a large, thick, 6-Quire Feint, much too heavy to carry around and besides which, it is lined, beautiful to write in with my Parker fountain pen and has come a long way with me, helping to clarify thoughts and work through problems.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Rain in Tarlton

I saw in the northwest first rise, in the rose-tinted horizon sky, a dark, narrow, craggy cloud, narrow and projecting as no cloud on earth, seen against the rose-tinted sky - the crest of a thunderstorm, beautiful and grand.
- Henry David Thoreau

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

The Rain in Tarlton - watercolour 16" x 12" (41cm x 30cm)
For sale

We had a lovely down-pour a couple of weeks ago, and as the rain moved on, the sun appeared, shining brightly on the surrounding landscape. The contrast was beautiful and luckily I could capture it before it disappeared.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Magaliesburg Hotel

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.
- John Muir (1838 - 1914)

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

Water feature at Magaliesburg Hotel dining area - watercolour in Moleskine Watercolour sketch-book - Maree©

Had supper at the Magaliesburg Hotel 3 weeks ago, sitting outside under the thatch next to this little water feature. Luckily I had my Moleskine sketch-book with me, so I quickly captured this in between sips of my glass of wine.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cosmos on the road

There’s nobody living who couldn't stand all afternoon in front of a waterfall .... Anyone who can sit on a stone in a field awhile can see my painting. Nature is like parting a curtain, you go into it .... as you would cross an empty beach to look at the ocean.
- Agnes Martin

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

Farm in Magaliesburg - watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - 12" x 8.5" - Maree©
For Sale

Every time we go to Magaliesburg, as we come over one of the hills, the Farm of Maloney's Eye stretches over the horizon, the sun casting golden shadows on the fields. This is also the place where the Magalies River originates, bubbling through the earth, forming a swampy area covered in the most exotic ferns and trees, rising up from the deep depths of the Sterkfontein Caves about 15kms away. As we drove past, the Cosmos was standing fresh and tall after a lovely down-pour.

I did this sketch from memory.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Moon - Waning Gibbous

Moon - Waning Gibbous 5th Dec 2009 - South Africa, Southern Hemisphere - Maree©

The moon was 84% of full tonight, and waning, peeking through the rain clouds after a lovely downpour. I decided to try and sketch it, but substituted half of the black tree-lined foreground with water. This was my first attempt at sketching at night and quite a new experience for me!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Veld fire in Tarlton

"There may be a great fire in our soul, net no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke."
- Vincent van Gogh

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

Veldfire in Tarlton in October 2009 - watercolour in Moleskine Watercolour sketch-book Maree©

This was another veld fire in our area, very late for the season - we stopped on the side of the road and this time I had my watercolour pencils with me! Did some quick preliminary colour and finished it off at home. The sunset was actually stunning behind all the smoke - should have stayed longer and gotten more detail on the clouds ... ah well, next time!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Harrismith landscape

"Harrismith landscape" - Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - size 12" x 8.5"
For Sale

I drive down to Ballito on the North Coast of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, about 6 or 7 times a year, and have done this route along the N3 South for so many years, the scenery is etched into my mind. During June/July, our winter months, the Drakensberg mountains in the distance are covered with snow and makes for a beautiful sight.

Passing through the Free State, you come upon the town of Harrismith, close to the border of KwaZulu Natal, which is one of the major stops for fuel on this 670km trip(about 420 miles). Here the landscape changes dramatically from miles and miles of totally flat farming landscape to mountain vistas and an area called "The Valley of a 1000 Hills", and there are thousands of hills as you descend down Van Reenen's Pass for the next 20 kilometers or so into KwaZulu Natal towards the coastal region.

I did this watercolour from memory.