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, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Time moves through us, weaving its own plaids and patterns, creating an endless swath of fabric that waves in the breeze of who we are.


Ring out the old. Invite in the new. As we say goodbye to one year, we can look forward to the hope and possibilities of another one. They say you learn something every day. I've learnt to live by choice, not by chance. Here's wishing that your 2013 will be filled wonderful choices and I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

And have a blessed 2013!

::

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

ARUM LILY (Zantedeschia aethiopica)

 W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

My Arum lilies started flowering a couple of weeks ago and the rain we have had over the past few weeks will certainly give them a push-start for the rest of the summer. Mine don't seem to mind full sun as long as they get enough water. I just love sketching them - their simple, fluid lines allow one to play with the shadows and in just a few brush-strokes they are complete.

::

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Season's Greetings 2012!


The magic of Christmas is in the air and New Year is just round the corner. It’s the perfect time to take a break from work and cherish the warmth of the season. Hope you have a wonderful festive season and for those travelling, be safe!

::

Steal an hour

W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 300gsm

As the year draws to a close - steal an hour to reflect on the beauty of Nature.

When breezes are soft and skies are fair,
I steal an hour from study and care,
And hide me away to the woodland scene,
Where wanders the stream with waters of green.

Yet, fair as thou art, thou shunnest to glide,
Beautiful stream! By the village side;
But windest away from haunts of men,
To quiet valley and shaded glen;
And forest, and meadow, and slope of hill,
Around thee, are lonely, lovely, and still,
Lonely—save when, by thy rippling tides,
From thicket to thicket the angler glides,
Or the Simpler comes, with basket and book,
For herbs of power on thy banks to look;
Or haply, some idle dreamer, like me,
To wander, and muse, and gaze on thee.

UNKNOWN

::
 
 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Crow's dream


W & N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
Coco, my Black Crow (Corvus capensis) having a dream

::

To build a nest
with twigs unrest
lying here, lying there
to lay some eggs
and breed some chicks
to teach them how to click
to swing in the branches
and spy through the arches
to bathe in the puddles
all cool bathed rooms
in search of green woods
fully loaded with ripened fruits
all life did I stood
for life and livelihood
my nest my homes
one for one crow-hus
same straws yet new nest
next time I breast
sweet life, luxurious breeze
small problems everything within reach
friends of mine
plenty and more
we dine together
that is where we gather
we dirt eat to purify the earth
our souls divine burn the heaps holy
Yet I dream of cages untold
where parrots feed on milk and grains
mellow fruits are ripe and ready
anytime to taste without buddies.

 lalitha iyer

:: 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The beauty of Autumn

W&N watercolour on Aqua 300gsm 

Autumn is a beautiful time of year for personal reflection and coming to terms with our position in life. There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough to pay attention to the story ...

::

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Murder of Crows

One crow, sorrow, 
two crows, joy, 
three crows for a girl, 
four crows for a boy, 
five crows for silver, 
six crows for gold, 
seven crows for a secret that's never been told.
 - Ashe Corven 

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


A collection of crow sketches done on a free Textured back-ground from Boccacino - first I print out the texture on watercolour paper and then paint the sketches on top of that. 

Although cultures around the world may regard the crow as a scavenger, bad omen, or simply a nuisance, this bad reputation might overshadow what could be regarded as the crow’s most striking characteristic – its intelligence. 

::

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The True nature of Peace

Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth. 
- Walt Whitman 

W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 300gsm 

A peaceful scene in Tarlton (Gauteng, South Africa). 

For me, total peace is to be found in nature – the biggest problem seems to dissipate in the face of the beauty of a sunrise or a sunset, the birds singing, or while walking in the rain… And as you lose yourself in the moment, you realise that this Peace is the natural radiation of Living in the Now, seeing only the Present and nothing of the Past or the Future.

::

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What will I find?


Driving up one of the gravel roads in and around our area always fills me with expectation - what will I find over the horison? Neat, green fields? A little stream? Or some antelope crossing the road? I can't remember how many times I've been blessed with some wonderful finds, a Hedgehog sprinting for the cover of grass, a Duiker quickly leading it's fawn back to the safety of the trees, a Kestrel sitting on a fence post devouring its prey.

::

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Windpomp in the Karoo

Ink sketch and watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm 

A depiction of a ‘windpomp’ (windmill) in the Karoo. They are such a part of our countryside here in South Africa and they play a specially important part in dry areas like the Karoo where both humans and animals are very dependent on them for water. 

These windmills extract the life blood of the earth and it is usually poured into a cement dam close-by the windpomp. Many farm children swim in these cement dams on sweltering days and I have seen flocks of Egyptian Geese taking a quick, cool dip on their way to somewhere.
::

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

View across the road

'I open my eyes and see the world in a new light. I view everything as if I were a child seeing a freshly opened flower for the first time.'

W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 220gsm heavy-duty sketching paper 

The view across the road from my studio – I stare at this every day, and every day I am amazed at the different play of colours on the landscape….

::


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Morning pleasures

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. 
- E. B. White 

 'Morning' - W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 300gsm

It is SUCH a pleasure waking up to sunshine at 5am in the morning after months of darkness until about 6.30am. Getting up early is one of my long-standing habits and when my biological clock wakes me up at 4am on a cold winter's morning, still pitch black outside, it upsets my whole day because I can't carry my first cup of steamy coffee out onto the patio to greet the day. And early morning really is one of the great pleasures of the day, when only the birds are chatting to a still half-asleep world.

::

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Playful Crow



 

“Even the blackest of them all, the crow, Renders good service as your man-at-arms, Crushing the beetle in his coat of mail, And crying havoc on the slug and snail.
 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Coco, my Black Crow - Pilot Fineliner Black Ink sketch and watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm Watercolour Sketchbook

Crow – Corvus capensis. Found: Africa

Ample press is given to charismatic animals such as dolphins, chimps and the like, but few, when talking of intelligent beings, think to mention the crow or raven. It is, however, easy to understand the natural aversions some people have towards these birds: They’re lacking in any type of floral-like beauty; they have a cacophonous and sometimes incessant caw, and are cunning thieves to boot. 

But if you look closer, and get to know these beautiful birds on a more intimate level, you will see not just see ‘plain black’ feathers, but beautiful iridescent colours of purple, blue, green and brown. And discover a great intelligence, and even a sense of humour, not normally associated with birds. 

They are smart, ingenious, protective, adventurous, and full of engaging play; I recall my 27yr-old crow, Coco, watching intently as I planted my pansy seedlings, only to up-root them the minute I turned my back, cawing in laughter as she fled my mock chase! 

::

Monday, September 17, 2012

Usual summer garb

How does one do it? How does one weave a hat of straw and create a finished product that serves as art upon our head? It seems magical. Or, perhaps it is the magic and the grace which carries the hat that is the thing which makes that hat seem so special. 
- Bohomamma 

W&aN watercolour on DalerRowney 190gsm 

Summer is here and I’m back in my straw hat and brown pants, my usual summer garb. I’m by no means a hat-lover, but straw hats, watering cans and garden gloves go hand-in-hand when you enter nature’s domain.

::

Friday, September 14, 2012

The sensations of Summer


W&N watercolour on Aqua 300gsm
The beach at Zinkwazi, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

Zinkwazi – home of the Fish Eagle – is a small village of unspoilt sub-tropical beauty. It is 85kms north of Durban, 6 hours from Gauteng and 45 minutes from Durban International. A 7km lagoon is situated among the lush sub-tropical vegetation of the Zinkwazi conservancy. It is reported to have 180 species of birds and is an excellent stepping stone to the Zululand birding route. There are endless unspoilt beaches both north and south and a safe protected beach in front of the lagoon. I just love sitting in the shade of the beach vegetation, listening to the call of the Fish Eagle and watching the waves, which are quite wild on this stretch of coast.

Sprinkle, squish between my toes,
The smell of ocean to my nose.
I can feel each grain of sand,
It falls from air into my hand.
The shells I find along the shore,
Picked up by birds that fly and soar.
They sparkle like the ocean’s waves,
And carry sand from all the lakes.
I walk along the tip of the sea,
That’s where my feet leave prints to be.
I walk all the way to the end of the land,
The land that holds this beautiful sand.
- Morgan Swain

::
 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A new beginning

W&N watercolour on Aqua 300gsm watercolour paper

Summer peeking through on our smallholding...

Every spring, a new beginning…

I open a door
Stepping boldly thru
I have no idea
Where it leads
All I desire
Is a new beginning
But then …
Every day
Is a new beginning
If you let it be!

- Unknown

::


 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Delicious Autumn

W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 300gsm – Autumn in South Africa

George Eliot said, Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns! How I agree! Delicious mild days when there is no hurry,
 no thing to be done
 and no event that is 
out of order, when Nature seems to pause between summer heat and winter ice, weaving this world 
like needle and thread, 
every action
 a divine rhythm.

::

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Barren and bare

W&N watercolour in hand-crafted sketchbook with linen satin-finish paper

Here in South Africa most of the landscape is still barren and bare after winter's onslaught, but Spring is making a concerted effort to show herself - her reign is normally short-lived, quickly being ousted by Summer's determination to make the most of the months ahead until Autumn has her turn again.

*The garden like a lady fair was cut
That lay as if she slumbered in delight,
And to the open skies her eyes did shut;
The azure fields of heaven were 'sembled right
In a large round set with flow'rs of light:
The flowers de luce and the round sparks of dew
That hung upon their azure leaves, did show
Like twinkling stars that sparkle in the ev'ning blue.*
~ Giles Fletcher

::


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Listen to the Guinea Fowl

Be grateful for nature. Pay the thunder no mind – listen to the Guinea fowl. And don’t hate anybody. 

W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 220gsm heavy-duty sketching paper. 

The Helmeted Guinea Fowl is an African family of insect and seed-eating, ground-nesting birds resembling partridges, but with featherless heads and spangled grey plumage. They are the ultimate low-cost, chemical-free pest control and if your garden is already established and can withstand the scratching, you’ll have a healthy and pest-free garden. 

And be rewarded with some wonderful antics from these lovely birds. It is interesting to note that they are monogamous, mating for life. The hens have a habit of hiding their nests, and sharing it with other hens until large numbers of eggs have accumulated. Females lay 25-30 tough-skinned, smallish, creamy eggs in a deep, tapering nest and undergo an incubation period of 26-28 days. The chicks are called “keets” and are highly susceptible to damp. In fact, they can die from following the mother through dewy grass. 

After their first two to six weeks of growth, they can be some of the hardiest domestic land fowl.

They are highly social birds, and hate to be alone. When you see a lone guinea fowl, it usually means trouble, like that the family has been scattered by a predator. Guineas spend most of their days foraging. They work as a team, marching chest to chest and devouring anything they startle as they move through the grass. 

When they discover a special treat — a rodent, for example, or a small snake — they close ranks, circle their prey, and move in for the feast. All the while, they keep up a steady stream of whistles, chirps, and clicks, a sort of running commentary on the day’s hunt. 

::


Monday, July 30, 2012

The clothesline said so much...

W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm – 

A clothesline was a news forecast 
To neighbours passing by. 
There were no secrets you could keep 
When clothes were hung to dry. 
† 
It also was a friendly link 
For neighbours always knew 
If company had stopped on by 
To spend a night or two. 
† 
For then you’d see the fancy sheets 
And towels on the line; 
You’d see the company table clothes 
With intricate design. 
† 
The line announced a baby’s birth 
To folks who lived inside 
As brand new infant clothes were hung 
So carefully with pride. 
† 
The ages of the children 
could so readily be known 
By watching how the sizes changed 
You’d know how much they’d grown. 
† 
It also told when illness struck, 
As extra sheets were hung; 
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too, 
Haphazardly were strung. 
† 
It said, “Gone on vacation now” 
When lines hung limp and bare. 
It told, “We’re back!” when full lines sagged 
With not an inch to spare. 
† 
New folks in town were scorned upon 
If wash was dingy grey, 
As neighbours raised their brows, 
And looked disgustedly away. 
† 
But clotheslines now are of the past 
For dryers make work less. 
Now what goes on inside a home 
Is anybody’s guess. 
† 
I really miss that way of life. 
It was a friendly sign 
When neighbours knew each other best 
By what hung on the line! 
† 
- Author unknown

::

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Beach at Mvoti

W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 190gsm 

One of my favourite haunts when I visit Ballito is Mvoti Beach at Blythedale (North Coast, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa). It is one of the few beaches on the North Coast that still has lots of vegetation and is also very popular with fishermen as this is where the Mvoti River flows into the Indian Ocean. The estuary is a haven for winged creatures and a must for bird lovers, worth a visit to spot the African spoonbill, chestnut-branded plover, lesser sand plover, white-eared barbet, scaly-throated honeyguide and blue-mantled crested flycatcher. 

 I can sit for hours watching common ghost crabs as they scurry around on the intertidal beach – the time between low and high tide – during which time they move from their high-shore burrows to feed.

::

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Enjoying the scenery

“Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” 
- Eddie Cantor 

W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 200gsm - no preliminary sketching 

The dam at Spring Farm (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa) is always full and I've often wondered where the water comes from. Today I was told there's a natural spring further up on the property that has been slowly running at the same, unchanged speed for years. This is also the place where I often sit and watch the cattle and do some quick sketches - there's always something new to discover.

::

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

If I was a Wind...


… I would steal your secrets … 

A cold, windy, wintry morning in Tarlton (Gauteng, South Africa). 
Ink sketch and watercolour on DalerRowney 200gsm sketching paper 

::

Sunday, June 24, 2012

In life...

 

we 
all 
need 

an open heart . crisp paper 
a breeze ... be it cool or warm 
a friend who says call if you need to talk 
white linen . weekends . joy of music . a rest 
sun on our back . a chair for the garden . wings to fly 

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm 

::


Monday, June 18, 2012

Trying to fence in freedom

“Fences are made for those who cannot fly.” 
- Elbert Hubbard

  
W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 220gsm heavy-duty sketching paper 

The Tarlton and Magaliesburg area (Gauteng, South Africa) is full of abandoned and broken down fences - maybe a reminder of the futility of trying to fence in freedom... 

::

Friday, June 15, 2012

Watch what we believe

 
W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm 

This was Coco's (my Crow and companion for 20 years) typical stance when she was relaxing, and to me seemed wistful, pensive and deep in thought. I'm sure crows can be deep in thought - she certainly had enough to ponder - whether she should go into the kitchen and beg a tit-bit, where next to dig up my seedlings in the garden, which of the dogs to harass by pulling their tails or stealing their food or even wandering into the bedroom or bathroom to collect some items to stash up her tree. 

Crows often appear in groups and I've often wondered if she missed the company of other crows. Though there seems to be no variation in their caw-ing to each other, each caw actually has a different meaning. I would immediately know when she's hungry by the caw she uttered and their complex vocabulary is one sign of their intelligence, and is also a sign of their significance as power animals. When a crow explores something new, others watch closely to see what happens and then learn from it. They often make great noise when hunters are around, warning the animals and other birds. Crows recognise potential danger and hence always post lookouts when feeding. This is their most vulnerable time. This helps us understand that we must watch what we believe, to test our habitual ideas about reality against a more universal standard. 

Coco passed away at the age of 27 after a stroke and I can honestly say no other animal enriched my life like she did. 

::
 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Gathering in the cold

 
Ink sketch and watercolour on DalerRowney 220gsm 

Freezing cold weather here in South Africa and on the way to Magaliesburg to buy some new art materials I was wondering why all these crows were gathering on the telephone lines. Maybe some carrion just out of sight behind the shrubs...? Or were they just basking in the sun for warmth? 

::


 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

No cold can touch me

When you know who you are; when your mission is clear and you burn with the inner fire of unbreakable will; no cold can touch your heart; no deluge can dampen your purpose. You know that you are alive. 
- Chief Seattle


W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 300gsm 

The hills of Magaliesburg (Gauteng, South Africa) are dressed in their winter finery, cold shadows falling across the landscape as the sun tries to warm the valleys below. We've had some REALLY freezing weather, but today it's warming up again. 

::

 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

View from my Studio window

 
W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 220gsm heavy-duty sketching paper 

We've had some lovely Autumn days, but winter is now really settling in. Today the temperature is 12°C and when it's too cold to go outside and sketch, the next best thing is the view from my studio window. I've used some artistic licence here and left out the tractors and implements I sometimes have to stare at (but it is our bread and butter, so I don't really mind!) and instead enjoy the weeds, Dandelions and birds that forage around in the grass. 

::


 

Friday, June 8, 2012

This fence

if i was a landscape, i would not be fenced

 
W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm 

On our way through Hartebeesthoek (Gauteng, South Africa), this fence in the middle of nowhere caught my eye - there must have been a reason for it at some time and it reminded me of Robert Frost's quote, "Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up." 

::


 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Crow on a bough

 
W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm 

Coco, my Crow and companion for 20 years 

I'm a crow on a bough 
battered by the winds 
I've got shelter indeed 
but Ill brave it for my sins 

I'm the sun on a snowdrop 
opening from it's sleep 
I've got a world to light 
but on it's petals I'll beat 

I'm the dogs at your door 
begging to be fed 
but if you feed me once 
your step will make my bed 

 like a worm in a worm hole 
thoughts tunnel my mind 
I am all of these things 
these exist within mankind 
- Unknown

::


Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Winter walk in the Park

“In the summer I have this friend who I am closest to, and sometimes, in the winter, I long to call her up and say, come here and live with me, in this cold place. But we are summer friends. There is a rule it seems, that summer friends don't get together in the wintertime. Now, sitting here, waiting for her, I realize that I have never seen her in a winter coat, and for some reason that makes me sadder than anything else in the world.” 
- Jacqueline Woodson 

W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 300gsm Cold Pressed watercolour paper. 

Just because the trees are bare and there’s a chill in the air doesn’t mean you have to forgo your daily walks. In winter, sunlight and just being outdoors can do wonders for lifting your mood and self-esteem and leave you with an improved sense of well-being. 

Researchers say that winter walking could provide an effective, easy-to-stick-with therapy for mild-to-moderate depression. They also say that not getting outside during winter months slows down production and decreases the body’s store of vitamin D, which is important for keeping bones strong. 

So all you hibernating lazy bones, come join me for a walk in the park! (We'll leave the jogging for the more energetic!) 

 (It’s good to be outside again and breathing fresh air. We need to do this more often!) 

::

Monday, May 28, 2012

I'll wait for your return...

The sound of birds stops the noise in my mind. 
~ Carly Simon 

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm 

At the beginning of April my Greater Striped Swallows were getting increasingly more restless until, finally, on the 8th April, they were gone. Nobody to greet me on the bathroom wall, no twittering and chattering coming from the TV satellite dish, no more watching them throwing their little heads back and uttering their little gurgling song... I DO wish them a safe journey to their summer destination and I will expectantly be waiting for their return in September.... 

The Greater Striped Swallow (Hirundo cucullata syn. Cecropis cucullata) is a large swallow. It breeds in Southern Africa, arriving from its central African non-breeding grounds around July-August in the Limpopo Province, Western and Eastern Cape. It reaches Swaziland, Botswana, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal during September-October, eventually leaving the region around April-May.

::
 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Scare people...


:: 

go be that starving artist you're afraid to be. open up that journal and get poetic finally.  volunteer. suck it up and travel. you were not born here to work and pay taxes.  you were put here to be part of a vast organism to explore and create.  stop putting it off.  the world has much more to offer than what's on fifteen televisions at tgi fridays.  take pictures.  scare people. shake up the scene. be the change you want to see in the world.  you'll thank yourself for it. 
~jason mraz~ 

Done from a photograph on Pinterest. 

::


 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chilly whisper in the breeze...

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm 

There is a chilly whisper in the breeze reminding us that winter will soon be here. We've really had a cold past two weeks, but today the sun is shining brightly, the temperature is in the middle 20C's and it's now turning into that blissful time of year when it's a joy to be outside in nature before we settle indoors to sit out the winter. 

So, 
IF YOU NEED ME... 
I’ll be somewhere outside, 
soaking up those last few rays 
of autumn sun… 
what are you up to? 

 :: 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Shasta Daisies in my garden

Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get. 
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr. 

 W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm 

The Shasta daisies in my garden are all but finished now, already cut down by the Autumn cold. I'll be lifting the bulbs, putting them into storage until spring. I'm just wondering where the little white Crab Spiders go that live on them throughout spring and summer...? 

::
 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Friendship isn't a big thing...

... it's a million little things.


::

The original is a birthday card sent to a very special friend. 
W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - card size 

::

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A State of Consciousness

A landscape, like a book, is a state of consciousness varying with readers.


W&N watercolour on DalerRowney 190g/m² sketching paper

There is a chilly whisper in the breeze reminding us that winter will soon be here. We've really had a cold past two weeks, but today the sun is shining brightly, the temperature is in the middle 20C's and it's now turning into that blissful time of year when it's a joy to be outside in nature before we settle indoors to sit out the winter. It's still very green here in Tarlton, I mean, we've had April showers!

::

So, IF YOU NEED ME...
I’ll be somewhere outside,
soaking up those last few rays
of autumn sun…
what are you up to?

::


Monday, April 23, 2012

In my imagination...



    “In my imagination I can see what the eyes cannot see. I can hear what the ears cannot hear. I can feel what the heart cannot feel.”

    Watercolour on X-pressit 300gsm

And Einstein said, "I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." 

How often do you, as an artist, work purely from imagination? I have found that, the next best thing to painting en plein air, is to paint from my imagination. Sometimes I do have an image in my mind, but most of the time it's just letting the colour flow and watching what emerges. And I'm sure that much of our 'imagination' is fueled by what we have experienced in the past, but it can also be a wonderful journey into the new and unexpected...

::

Monday, April 16, 2012

Passion - your path to success,

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”
 ~ Goethe 

W&N watercolour on X-pressit 300gsm 

I have found that you can bring greater joy, financial flow, and deep fulfillment into your life through a business that is aligned with your highest path, something that you are totally passionate about. 

It's all too easy to pick a career in order to make enough money to "someday quit and do what you really want to do". Education or even talent aren’t worth much without passion. So do the stuff that you love and you've always wanted to do because without it, you'll feel stuck and unfulfilled. 

Whatever journey your path takes you on, the most important thing is to have passion in what you do. So the answer is to have complete clarity on what is most deep and meaningful to you right now. "Our passion exists in the space of awe and amazement that we so willingly stepped into as a child. We can not see our dreams, know our true calling, hear our true voice when we look with a sense of desperation, impatience or doubt. Only looking with Eyes of Awe will its radiance greet you and invite you to play with it." 
From "Finding your Passion" by Keri Coffman-Thiede

Successful people have made an important discovery - that the journey itself is even more important than the goal. So choose how you want to spend your life - choices made with intention bring peace.

::

 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

On the other side of the fence

W&N watercolour on grey cardboard 

The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be. 
- Robert Fulghum 

 How true that saying is that the grass is greenest where it is watered – the same as with any lawn or garden, if we don’t tend to our life and our relationships, soon everything will be barren and dead… 

 A friend’s driveway on their farm – Magaliesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dominion

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” 
- Unknown 

 Pencil, Ink and wash sketch on Bockingford 300gsm 

Renowned for its majesty and nicknamed "the king of the jungle," the lion possesses both beauty and strength. For me their eyes are their most striking feature and can speak volumes. Looking straight into the eyes of a lion is a deeply moving experience and when that happened to me during my one-and-only, EVER, visit to a zoo, I saw disdain, don't-actually-care, boredom and a deep sorrow that will stay with me for life. To me, zoo's are akin to pet shops. Some people might argue they serve a purpose, but that's a discussion I'd rather not enter into. 

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I am the Earth

W&N watercolour on smooth cardboard - no preliminary sketching 

A rocky outcrop on the way to Magaliesburg (Gauteng, South Africa) - I have walked to the top of this little hillock just to have a look at all the rocks, makes one wonder what forces of Mother Nature were at work to have scattered them here....

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I smile...

Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment. 
- Thich Nhat Hanh 

W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm 

I bought a No. 26 (3cm - 1¼") Hog's hair flat brush and, of course, I just had to try it out! My No. 12 round brush is my favourite, and next in line is my No. 10 Round. I very rarely use a flat brush unless it's a big painting and then I use a large flat brush to fill the back-ground. Painting this entirely with a flat brush was totally strange to me, also resulting in a different style and outcome for me. So I smile! 

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bamboo Flower arrangement

One sure way to lose another woman's friendship is to try to improve her flower arrangements. 
- Marcelene Cox 

W&N watercolour on X-pressit 300gsm 

A wonderful artist and friend of mine needed an idea for a flower arrangement she had to do for one of her flower arranging classes and this is what I came up with. She did indeed use Bamboo in her arrangement, but with a flat bowl filled with water and pebbles and it turned out beautifully! 

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nature's Peace

Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” 
- John Muir 

W&N watercolour on X-pressit 300gsm 

I bought a No. 26 (3cm - 1¼") Hog's hair flat brush and, of course, I just had to try it out! My No. 12 round brush is my favourite, and next in line is my No. 10 Round. I very rarely use a flat brush unless it's a big painting and then I use a large flat brush to fill the back-ground. Painting this entirely with a flat brush was totally strange to me, also resulting in a different outcome to what I expected. With Autumn just around the corner, my palette naturally leaned towards browns and yellows. My two favourite colours. 

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Engraved in my memory...

W&N watercolour on smooth cardboard

 On our previous property, also an 8.5ha smallholding in Tarlton (South Africa), we had a low rock wall surrounding the 1-acre garden, which gave us a measure of security but also allowed the flocks of guinea fowl roaming the area to visit for a snack. I used to put out seeds for them and would watch their antics and paint them whenever they came for a visit. They got quite used to me and didn't pay much attention because, after all, they had their sentinels posted on the wall, keeping an eye open for danger! 

That smallholding gave me such pleasure for the 27 years we lived there that each detail - trees, flowers, plants, birds - is still deeply engraved in my memory.... 

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Deep Summer

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”
- Sam Keen


W&N watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm watercolour sketch-book

Hot days, summer showers and cool breezes - what more could one ask for?

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

You ARE free

“Come along then.” said Jonathan. “Climb with me away from the ground, and we’ll begin.”
“You don’t understand. My wing. I can’t move my wing.”
“Maynard Gull, you have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way. It is the Law of the Great Gull, the Law that Is.”
“Are you saying I can fly?”
“I say you are free.”
- From Jonathan Livingstone Seagull


W&N watercolour on X-pressit 300gsm

I've just read "Jonathan Livingstone Seagull" again for the third time, and every time I discover another lesson... It's such an amazing story, full of heartache, bravery, uncertainty, positivity, the empowerment of believing in yourself and, above all, the realisation that we are all truly free...

  • You are free.
  • You’re so free, you can choose bondage.
  • You are so free, that no one can do anything to you.
  • You are so free, that you are the only one who is causing anything to happen in your experience.
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