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!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Daisies on Mother's Day

'Tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes!
~William Wordsworth, "Lines Written in Early Spring," Lyrical Ballads, 1798

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

Asters - watercolour in Moleskine Watercolour sketch-book - 8" x 5.5" Maree©

I did this sketch of some Asters in my garden last month - these Shasta daisies are real die-hards and sometimes carry on right through winter, but require quite a lot of work dead-heading or else they can really look messy.

I received a wonderful Mother's Day card from my daughter in Ballito (on the North Coast of KwaZulu Natal, S.A.), but no flowers this year! so I picked a bunch of these Shastas for the kitchen table and they looked quite perky in my white enamel jug.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Standing out in the crowd

Sometimes I think we may feel that we have to do the big things in life to stand out from the crowd, but I think all you have to do is be yourself.... like this little daisy....

LinkWatercolour on Visual 200gsm watercolour paper done on a textured back-ground by "GHOSTBONES"

I've been experimenting with some textures lately and for this one I printed the texture on watercolour paper first and then painted over it. I had just read an article a few days ago on 'standing out in the crowd', and as the painting looked a bit bland and mono-tone, the little daisy came to mind.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Please don't kill my Gemsbuck...

Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

The Gemsbuck (Oryx gazella) is one of the most handsome antelope in Africa, with it long rapier-like horns and striking markings. They can form herds of up to 20 - 30 animals. Gemsbuck are grazers but will survive on browse in times of drought. When wounded they can be very dangerous animals to approach on foot. The horns of the calves grow extremely fast and when they emerge from concealment after birth their horns are very evident. This has lead to the myth that a Gemsbok is born with horns.

Females have longer, thinner horns and that's pretty much the only outward difference between males and females and as such, many hunters mistake females for males.

Please don't kill my antelope,
She hasn't bothered you.
She hasn't kicked you in the shin
Or spit inside your shoe.
She hasn't bitten off your nose
Or stomped on your rear end.
Please don't kill my antelope,
My antelope's my friend!
- Author unknown

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Daisy in Acrylic

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

Acrylic on Visual 200gsm watercolour paper - 8" x 12"

The Daisy follows soft the Sun
And when his golden walk is done
Sits shyly at his feet
He, waking – finds the flower there
Wherefore, Marauder, art thou here?
Because, Sir, love is sweet!
We are the Flower, Thou the Sun!
Forgive us, if as days decline
We nearer steal to Thee!
Enamoured of the parting West
The peace – the flight – the Amethyst
Night’s possibility!
- Emily Dickinson

One of my rare acrylics - as happens often, this one was done over another acrylic which I decided I don't like! But I've also found a blessing in that, because all the paint on top of one another provides a wonderful texture!

From my portfolios of "Flowers":http://www.redbubble.com/people/mareeclarkson/collections/4602-flowers-1 and "Acrylic Paintings":http://www.redbubble.com/people/mareeclarkson/collections/4333-acrylic-paintings

Winter Setting in

“People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.”
- Anton Chekhov

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"

Although the lawn in my garden is still thick and green from all the rain we've had, the veld and roadside is starting to show the effects of Winter - all the Cosmos is gone and the tall thatching grass is yellow and dry, just waiting for the first careless cigarette to be flicked out of a car window - this Black Wattle tree still hadn't recovered from the ravages of last year's fires and got a second dose when the property owner did his fire-break this week. Pity, but fire-breaks are a necessary evil if we are going to be protecting our properties from these, sometimes dangerous, fires.

From my portfolio of Landscapes on redBubble

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Poinsettia and the Daisies

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

Watercolour and acrylic on Bockingford 300gsm watercolour paper 
- 12" x 8"

Did you know that the poinsettia has a special day all its own? By an Act of Congress, in the U.S., December 12 was set aside as National Poinsettia Day. The date marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who is credited with introducing the native Mexican plant to the United States. The purpose of the day is to enjoy the beauty of this popular holiday plant.
So, be sure to give someone you love a poinsettia on December 12, National Poinsettia Day!

The star-shaped poinsettia has become one of the best known floral symbols of the Christmas season and is considered the most popular potted plant during that time of year.

They were introduced to the United States over 125 years ago when they were brought here in 1828 by America's first ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel Poinsett. Native to Mexico, the “Flor de Noche Buena” - flower of the Holy Night, was thought by many eighteenth century Mexicans to be symbolic of the Star of Bethlehem

A charming story is told of Pepita, a poor Mexican girl who had no gift to present the Christ Child at Christmas Eve Services. As Pepita walked slowly to the chapel with her cousin Pedro, her heart was filled with sadness rather than joy.

"I am sure, Pepita, that even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes," said Pedro consolingly.

Not knowing what else to do, Pepita knelt by the roadside and gathered a handful of common weeds, fashioning them into a small bouquet. Looking at the scraggly bunch of weeds, she felt more saddened and embarrassed than ever by the humbleness of her offering. She fought back a tear as she entered the small village chapel.

As she approached the alter, she remembered Pedro's kind words: "Even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes." She felt her spirit lift as she knelt to lay the bouquet at the foot of the nativity scene.

Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into blooms of brilliant red, and all who saw them were certain that they had witnessed a Christmas miracle right before their eyes.
From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the Flores de Noche Buena, or Flowers of the Holy Night, for they bloomed each year during the Christmas season. Today, the common name for this plant is the poinsettia!


From my portfolio of Flowers on RedBubble

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Winter moving in

Brew me a cup for a winter's night.
For the wind howls loud and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I'll toast our bright eyes,
my sweetheart fair.
~Minna Thomas Antrim

Acrylics on canvas panel 12" x 9"

I've been experimenting a bit more with Acrylics these days, trying to break away from that "watercolour" look I'm still getting with my acrylics, and as the old adage goes, "A daily practice of sketching and painting gives you a chance to exercise the big three P's - practice, practice, practice!"

South Africa is famous for its sunshine. It's a relatively dry country, with an average annual rainfall of about 464mm (compared to a world average of about 860mm). While the Western Cape gets most of its rainfall in winter, the rest of the country is generally a summer-rainfall region.

The Western Cape gets most of its rain in winter, with quite a few days of cloudy, rainy weather. However, these are always interspersed with wonderful days to rival the best of a British summer. The high mountains of the Cape and the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal usually get snow in winter.

Winter in South Africa (May to July) is characterised in the higher-lying areas of the interior plateau by dry, sunny, crisp days and cold nights. So it's a good idea to bring warm clothes.
The hot, humid KwaZulu-Natal coast, as well as the Lowveld (lower-lying areas) of Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, offer fantastic winter weather with sunny, warmish days and virtually no wind or rain.

A subtropical location, moderated by ocean on three sides of the country and the altitude of the interior plateau, account for the warm temperate conditions so typical of South Africa - and so popular with its foreign visitors.

At the same time, temperatures in South Africa tend to be lower than in other countries at similar latitudes - such as Australia - due mainly to greater elevation above sea level.

On the interior plateau the altitude - Johannesburg lies at 1 694 meters - keeps the average summer temperatures below 30 degrees Celsius. In winter, for the same reason, night-time temperatures can drop to freezing point, in some places lower.

South Africa's coastal regions are therefore warmest in winter. There is, however, a striking contrast between temperatures on the country's east and west coasts, due respectively to the warm Agulhas and cold Benguela Currents that sweep the coastlines.

Being in the southern hemisphere, our seasons stand in opposition to those of Europe and North America, so, yes - we spend Christmas on the beach!
From South Africa Travel Info

From my portfolios of Landscapes with Water and Acrylic Paintings on RedBubble

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The purest joy that Earth can give

Like the musician, the painter, the poet, and the rest, the true
lover of flowers is born, not made. And he is born to happiness
in this vale of tears, to a certain amount of the purest joy that
earth can give her children, joy that is tranquil, innocent,
uplifting, unfailing.
- Celia Thaxter, An Island Garden, 1894

Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - 12" x 8"

Painting flowers has become quite a passion of mine, after spending years avoiding them. My thinking behind that: there are so many wonderful flower artists out there, excellent at capturing their beauty, how much more could I add? After trying a couple, I fell in love with it and realised that there are thousands of ways to portray the beauty of flowers, and that artists will NEVER be able to exhaust the many ways of showing off one of nature's wonders!