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, February 21, 2011

Together we make a difference....

Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?
~Maurice Freehill

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 W & N watercolours on Arches 300gsm 10" x 7"

One of the paintings I did, stuck indoors again, lots of rain, so no field sketching. In between painting I also read this little story and it actually inspired this scene with the lighthouse.

There was in a certain city a harbour where ships from all over the world would come and dock. However, the harbour was in between a treacherous and rocky shore. During stormy nights, ships would see the city lights off in the distance and head toward the lights hoping to find refuge from the pounding surf.

The ships would struggle against the storm as they made their way to the safety of the harbour. As they drew near, seeing the dangerous rocks, the captain of the ship would try to turn and avoid striking the rocks but it was to late. Many ships were destroyed and hundreds of sailors lost their lives because they did not know of the danger. You see, the people of the city did not feel that it was necessary to build a lighthouse. Besides, it would cost too much money to build a lighthouse they reasoned. So, year after year and storm after storm, ships would be ship wrecked and many lives lost.

There was a man in that city that saw the need. He felt grief and heartache because the people of the city were content to let the ships be destroyed and were not willing to rescue the drowning sailors. So he took it upon himself to do something about it. He tried to recruit volunteers to help him but no one wanted to. He persisted, looking for someone to help him, but they all just laughed at him and said that he was crazy to risk his life to try to save strangers and people who looked different.

Determined to make a difference, he sold everything that he had and bought a piece of land close to the shore and built his house there. It was a lighthouse.

So during stormy nights, the man would make sure that the light from the lighthouse was shining as bright as it could so the ships could be warned of the dangerous rocks. His lighthouse saved hundreds of lives and ships from being ship wrecked that year. But it wasn't enough because even with the lighthouse some of the storms were so powerful that the ships struggling to come into the harbour were tossed about by the wind and the waves that they would get smashed against the rocks.

Being a compassionate man, he would run to the roaring sea at the risk of his own life to rescue as many sailors as he could. Then he would bring them into the warmth and safety of the lighthouse. Once there, he would heal their wounds and feed them until they were able to sail again.

The man laboured by himself for years rescuing sailors and caring for their needs. Each person that he saved was so grateful to him that they couldn't thank him enough for rescuing them from certain death. But all the man could feel was sadness because many more sailors died in the sea than he could save. "If only I had help," he would say. "If only someone would see the need as I do and come and help. Lord please send someone to help, I can't do it all by myself," he prayed.

Then one day it happened, his prayers were answered. His generosity became well known in the land. People in the city began to volunteer to come and help the man keep vigil during stormy nights. Men began to take shifts keeping watch and helping rescue sailors. Then women started cooking and preparing bandages for the wounded sailors. The children did whatever they could to help lift the spirits of the sick.

Ships still wreck along the treacherous shoreline, but now, because there are so many people there to help the man, many more lives are saved than are lost.

Together Everyone Accomplished Much. Together they made a difference.
- by Danny Lizarraga

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Farmhouse somewhere in the Karoo

I had to live in the desert before I could understand the full value of grass in a green ditch.
- Ella Maillart

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

W & N watercolours on Bockingford 300gsm - 12" x 8"

The Karoo (a Khoisan word of uncertain etymology) is a semi-desert region of South Africa. It has two main sub-regions - the Great Karoo in the north and the Little Karoo in the south.

The Great Karoo has an area of more than 400,000 square kilometers. From a geological point of view it has been a vast inland basin for most of the past 250 million years. At one stage the area was glaciated and the evidence for this is found in the widely-distributed Dwyka tillite. Later, at various times, there were great inland deltas, seas, lakes or swamps. Enormous deposits of coal formed and these are one of the pillars of the economy of South Africa today. Volcanic activity took place on a titanic scale. Despite this baptism of fire, ancient reptiles and amphibians prospered in the wet forests and their remains have made the Karoo famous amongst palaeontologists.

Western people first settled in the Cape in 1652, but made almost no inroads into the Karoo prior to about 1800. Before that time, large herds of antelope, zebra and other large game roamed the grassy flats of the region. The Khoi and Bushmen, last of the southern African Stone Age peoples, wandered far and wide. There were no Europeans and no Africans of Bantu extraction.
Info from "Wikipedia"


Monday, February 7, 2011

Downtown Shopping

To explore your creative side, express yourself,
in depth and knowledge.
There is no need to be quiet.
There is no need to hold back.

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 - 12" x 8"

The Cape Malay community is an ethnic group or community in South Africa. It derives its name from the present-day Western Cape of South Africa and the people originally from Maritime Southeast Asia, mostly Javanese from modern-day Indonesia, a Dutch colony for several centuries, and Dutch Malacca, which the Dutch held from 1641 - 1824. The community's earliest members were enslaved Javanese transported by the Dutch East India Company. They were followed by slaves from various other Southeast Asian regions, and political dissidents and Muslim religious leaders who opposed the Dutch presence in what is now Indonesia and were sent into exile. Starting in 1654, these resistors were imprisoned or exiled in South Africa by the Dutch East India Company, which founded and used what is now Cape Town as a resupply station for ships traveling between Europe and Asia. They were the group that first introduced Islam to South Africa.
~Info from "Wikipedia": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Malay ~

I did this from my imagination, starting off with two figures, letting it develop as I went along. Therefore, here the image was the inspiration for the words, whereas, often a song or certain words will be the inspiration for my sketch.

Most of the Malay people (about 166 000) live in the Bo-Kaap at the foot of Signal Hill in Cape Town and some of their recipes are world-renowned as "traditional South African dishes". Here's a recipe for an age-old favourite :


Bobotie is a sweet curry mince dish set in an egg custard traditionally served on yellow rice, but is delicious with Basmati too.

1 slice of white bread soaked in milk
2 onions, chopped finely
2 t crushed garlic
500g topside mince
15 ml curry powder
2 ml salt
2T Chutney
2T brown vinegar
2T Worcester Sauce
2t Turmeric
2T Brown sugar
100 ml sultanas
2 eggs beaten separately
1 cup milk with a pinch of Turmeric

Heat oven to 180 deg C. Fry onions in oil. Add mince and brown.
Add the curry powder and other spices.
When well browned, remove from the heat.
Mix in the Sultana’s and one beaten egg and the soggy bread.
Spoon into a greased oven dish.
Mix the milk and second egg together.
Pour over the mince mixture.
Arrange some bay leaves on the surface.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Softly the evening came

Softly the evening came. The sun from the western horizon like a magician extended his golden wand o'er the landscape; tinkling vapours arose; and sky and water and forest seemed all on fire at the touch, and melted and mingled together.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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

W & N watercolours on Bockingford 300gsm - 12" x 8"

This painting was inspired by the above poem by Longfellow – 'his golden wand o'er the landscape' – what beautiful words!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Seeking Nature in Spring

Who are you, Nature?
I live in you;
for fifty years I have been seeking you,
and I have not found you yet.
- Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

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

Watercolour in Moleskine Folio 200gsm watercolour sketch-book 12" x 8"

Ever since I attended a watercolour class with Angela Eidelman in Magaliesburg (Gauteng, South Africa) almost a year ago, I've been experimenting with bolder and bolder colour, something she taught me, "be bold and never be scared of colour!" It certainly pays off with watercolours, especially if the work is fairly small. Here I took my cue from all the Spring colours abounding in my garden last Spring at the end of a hard, cold winter.