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!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Why the environment has to be preserved

Every time I have some moment on a seashore, or in the mountains, or sometimes in a quiet forest, I think this is why the environment has to be preserved.
- Bill Bradley

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

Done from my imagination, no preliminary sketching - W & N watercolours on Bockingford 300gsm - 12" x 8"

We're still having a lot of rain here in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa, and my palette is definitely being affected by this - I'm drawn to all the wet and cool colours as we haven't being seeing much of the sun at all. Our dams are filled to capacity, rivers are swollen and causing flooding and, of course, the gardens are smiling!

I'm not sure whether us humans are all to blame for 'global warming' and the strange weather patterns, because Mother Earth has her own natural cycles of warming and freezing, but the mess that us humans make on this planet is of major concern to me. Isn't a beautiful landscape enough incentive for each and every one of us to take responsibility for our mess in order to preserve it....?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My dream of a Cottage by the sea

“We plan our lives according to a dream that came to us in our childhood, and we find that life alters our plans. And yet, at the end, from a rare height, we also see that our dream was our fate. It's just that providence had other ideas as to how we would get there. Destiny plans a different route, or turns the dream around, as if it were a riddle, and fulfils the dream in ways we couldn't have expected.”
- Ben Okri

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

Aaaah, the dream.... (probably on the West Coast of South Africa.) Done from my imagination – W & N watercolours on Arches 300gsm - 10" x 7"

My dream of a cottage by the sea… There are songs written about it, there are books written about it and poems written about it – the sea. How many of us have the dream of owning a cottage by the sea?

I don't mean a unit in a complex by the sea, I've had one of those in a busy, busy seaside town... I mean a place of peace and tranquility, far from the madding crowd, quiet walks on the beach with not a soul in sight, collecting shells and drift-wood, sitting on a rock watching the ships go by… listening to the sound of thunder and lightning on a windy stormy night, intermingled with waves crashing on the beach, feeling save in the warm glow of the fire crackling in the hearth...

“The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire, the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.”
- Robert Kiyosaki

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gone to the forest

“This is what I believe: That I am I. That my soul is a dark forest. That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest. That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back. 'That I must have the courage to let them come and go. That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognize and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women.' There is my creed.”

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

W & N Watercolour on Arches 300gsm - 10" x 7"

I was feeling a bit down the other day and decided the best remedy is to paint.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Magical process

"Painting is a magical process that I like, where you conjure something out of nothing; you get a little idea that leads you through ... You can go into a trance while you're doing it, so it's a nice contrast to real life."
- Paul McCartney

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

Watercolour on Arches 300gsm

Stuck indoors again, lots of rain, so no field sketching at the moment! This is one of the 6 paintings I did while it poured outside and being without electricity (and therefore internet as well!) - having to boil water for coffee on the little gas burner and sitting close to the window (for light). Did this from my imagination, taking inspiration from the blue, wet hues outside, the bright green of all the grass and all the muddy patches everywhere.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Give yourself the Gift of Time

"In order to hear your calling and answer it, you must generously give yourself the gift of time. It's not how fast you make your dream come true, but how steadily you pursue it."
- Sarah Ban Breathnach

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

This was my sixth painting I did yesterday, for various reasons. I normally do two or three a day anyway, but yesterday the Universe played in my favour. It rained virtually the whole day, keeping me from pursuing my normal activities like gardening, taking a walk on our smallholding, generally just checking on everything and finding subjects to sketch and the electricity was off the whole afternoon, leaving me computer-less and not spending so much time on-line! Sitting at my studio window, which was the only source of light, I relaxed, determined not to get het up by the situation

These are small studies (10" x 7") done on Arches 300gsm watercolour paper (from my imagination and no sketching beforehand) and this particular one was inspired by all the rain we are having - my lawn is totally water-logged, as I discovered when I went outside to do a quick check on my new baby chicks, sinking ankle-deep into pools of water. They were fine, Mother Bobby had led them into the newly built chicken coup (next on the sketching list) and they were happily nestling under her feathers.

Monday, January 3, 2011

African Joy and Sorrow

"The triumph of life is the joy experienced thereafter."
- Maree

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

Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - done from a photograph of Guinea standing on the wall, forlornly calling his missing wife.

A couple of years ago, one of my guinea fowl sitting on eggs was killed by a dog, leaving 10 eggs, on the pint of hatching, without a mother. I gathered all the eggs and put them in a basket with a hot water bottle, trying to keep them warm to see if any of them would hatch. Two days later still nothing, but on the third day I heard a weak peep-peep from one of the eggs. None of the others showed any sign of life, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and open the one that was peeping. I gently peeled away the shell and lifted out a perfectly formed little guinea fowl, and placed him on the warm towel, drying his little body with a soft cloth until he lifted his little head and stared me straight in the eye.

That was the beginning of a beautiful, long relationship with "Guinea", who spent five years following me everywhere and providing us with endless hours of pleasure with his surprising antics. He even lured a wild guinea fowl female from the wild (they used to pass through our property in large flocks, travelling from one field to another) and together they reared 5 clutches of beautiful little guinea fowl, all of whom stayed on our property for many years.

When Guinea's wife disappeared one day, he was inconsolable, standing on the wall and calling for hours in that haunting 'phe-twee, phe-twee, phe-twee' that is so typical of the South African bush. After that, he would often disappear for a day or two until, one day, he didn't come home at all. I hoped and presumed that he had found another family and was happily roaming the fields surrounding our property.

“This life as you live it now and have lived it, you will have to live again and again, times without number, and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and all the unspeakably small and great in your life must return to you and everything in the same series and sequence -- and in the same way this spider and this moonlight among the trees, and this same way this moment and I myself. The eternal hour glass of existence will be turned again and again -- and you with it, you dust of dust!”
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Vintage Coffee Roses

Oh, my love’s like a red, red rose,
That ’s newly sprung in June;
Oh, my love’s like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
- Robert Burns

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

Coffee and watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Some more painting with coffee, this time with a bit of Cadmium Red added - the rose on the left is from my garden and the one on the right is done from an inverted image of one of Elizabeth Kendall's roses on FaceBook.