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, February 27, 2013

Life is still...

I am thinking of the onion again. … Not self-righteous like the proletarian potato, nor a siren like the apple. No show-off like the banana. But a modest, self-effacing vegetable, questioning, introspective, peeling itself away, or merely radiating halos like ripples. 
- Erica Jong, Fruits and Vegetables, 1971

W&N watercolours on Bockingford 300gsm
Fruit in a bowl on my kitchen table 

I really felt like painting but was stumped as to what! My muse seemed to have gone on holiday and I don't really mind, she deserves it. So I scoured the cupboards and the refrigerator for inspiration and all I could come up with was an onion, a rather bedraggled yellow pepper and two apples. Mother Hubbard’s cupboard was rather bare! The bowl belongs to a friend who brought a salad over for a braai (barbecue) we had a while back. 


Saturday, February 23, 2013

You are...

… beautiful! Your true beauty lies in becoming yourself. 

Watercolour daisies on a textured back-ground by Kim Klassen


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Black Wildebeest (Connochaetes gnou)

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm 

Often, when travelling on the Sterkfontein road on our way to Lanseria Airport, these Black Wildebeest cross the road, bringing all the traffic to a halt and resulting in everybody hauling out their cameras and binoculars. I always leave early for the airport, never know what you might spot on the road!

Black Wildebeest, also known as the White Tailed GNU, are endemic to South Africa, found almost exclusively in the Highveld areas of the country in South Africa. It is a very strange and comical looking specie with its black body, erect mane, long whitish tail, forward curving horns and facial crest. They were on the verge of extinction in the 1960’s, but are plentiful today as a result of careful conservation management. They are often found in herds of females and young males, with the older males either being solitary or forming small bachelor herds. 


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Baby Elephant walk

“Be humble as the blade of grass that is being trodden underneath the feet. The little ant tastes joyously the sweetness of honey and sugar. The mighty elephant trembles in pain under the agony of sharp goad.” 
- John Ruskin

African elephants (Loxodonta africana), unlike their Asian relatives, are not easily domesticated. They range throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the rain forests of central and West Africa. The continent’s northern-most elephants are found in Mali’s Sahel desert. The small, nomadic herd of Mali elephants migrates in a circular route through the desert in search of water. 

Having a baby elephant is a serious commitment. Elephants have a longer pregnancy than any other mammal—almost 22 months. Cows usually give birth to one calf every two to four years. At birth, elephants already weigh some 200 pounds (91 kilograms) and stand about 3 feet (1 meter) tall. 
  • Elephants typically reach puberty at thirteen or fourteen years of age 
  • They have offspring up until they are around fifty years old 
  • They may live seventy years or possibly more 
  • A cow produces a single calf and in very rare cases twins 
  • The interval between births is between two and a half to four years 
  •  An elephant´s trunk, a union of the nose and upper lip, is a highly sensitive organ with over 100,000 muscle units.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine roses

 Black ink sketch with Coffee (Nescafé instant, very strong) plus Cadmium Red and a mix of greens

Valentine’s Day reminds me 
of the smile I smile
every time I think of you, 
the emotional lift I feel 
at the sound of your name. 

Valentine’s Day reminds me 
of the strength and comfort I get 
from knowing 
there are people like you in my life. 
Everything good about Valentine’s Day 
reminds me of you. 
Happy Valentine’s Day! 
By Joanna Fuchs


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

African Wild Dog

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” 
- Mahatma Gandhi

Watercolour on Ashrad 200gsm watercolour paper 

The African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) is a medium-sized canid found only in Africa, especially in Savannahs and other lightly wooded areas. It is also called the Painted Dog, Painted Hunting Dog, African Hunting Dog, the Cape Hunting Dog, the Spotted Dog, the Ornate Wolf or the Painted Wolf in English, Wildehond in Afrikaans, and Mbwa mwitu in Swahili. It is the only extant species in the genus Lycaon, with one species, L. sekowei being extinct. 

There were once approximately 500,000 African Wild Dogs in 39 countries, and packs of 100 or more were not uncommon. Now there are only about 3,000-5,500 in fewer than 25 countries, or perhaps only 14 countries. They are primarily found in eastern and southern Africa, mostly in the two remaining large populations associated with the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania and the population centred in northern Botswana and eastern Namibia. 
- This info from Wikipedia Wikipedia 

African hunting dogs are endangered. They are faced with shrinking room to roam in their African home. They are also quite susceptible to diseases spread by domestic animals.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cheetah on the rocks

Black Pilot FineLiner ink sketch and W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm 

Stalks of brittle grass, towering and light-russet in colour, rose several feet high on the breezy African plain. A faint rustle sounded among the grass. Two sparks of amber, the eyes of a creature, lit up the maze of grass like candle flames, and hovered there. The crackle of shifting stalks grew louder until the grass parted, revealing a magnificent beast, dappled pelt rippling as if made of glistening gold. 

Majestically, the cheetah strode into a rock clearing where a light breeze blew swirling dust at her head. She blinked, unfazed. Suddenly, crouching into a stalking position, her muscles pulsed with tension. With explosive speed, she propelled herself across the plain… 
- Read the rest of this lovely story at A Day on the Savannah 

The Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) has unusually low genetic variability. This is accompanied by a very low sperm count, motility, and deformed flagella. Skin grafts between unrelated cheetahs illustrate the former point in that there is no rejection of the donor skin. It is thought that the species went through a prolonged period of inbreeding following a genetic bottleneck during the last ice age. 

Cheetahs are found in open and partially open savannahs, inhabiting most of Africa and parts of the Middle East and they are basically solitary animals. At times, a male will accompany a female for a short while after mating, but most often the female is alone or with her cubs. Cheetah mothers spend a long time teaching their young how to hunt. Small live antelopes are brought back to the cubs so they can learn to chase and catch them. 

Cheetahs do not roar like lions, but they purr, hiss, whine and growl. They also make a variety of contact calls – the most common is a bird-like chirping sound. They are the only existing felines that do not possess retractable claws.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Keep Peace in your Soul

"In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul." 

I just love playing with free textures I find on the web and use them as back-grounds to a lot of my paintings. Here I have used one of Kim Klassen's textures, which worked out well with this arum Lily.

I often print out the texture first and then paint on top of it, but in this case I added my Arum Lily image to the texture in PhotoShop. Printed out on some watercolour paper it makes a lovely every-day card.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Why grow Geraniums in pots?

Because it’s easy! 

W&N watercolour in hand-made sketch-book with satin-finish linen paper 
No sketching before-hand

Last year some time, I was given a small Geranium plant by Redbubble friend Antionette, a lovely little specimen which I planted in a terracotta pot, which now takes pride of place on my patio. I haven’t had geraniums for some time now, so this special plant is highly coveted! 

Whilst in a pot, watering and weeding are easy – there’s just the pot to water and weeding is almost completely eliminated. It’s easy to move them around – you can have color where ever you want it, almost instantly. No garden is required – you can grow them on the front steps, the back deck or your apartment balcony. 

One thing I have discovered is that Geraniums HATE wet feet and will not be happy in soggy soil. And with all the rain we’ve been having, that’s all that’s been required in the waterig department to keep ‘her’ happy.