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!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Painted Dog

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals.”
- George Orwell

I did this painting with coffee on a tea-stained back-ground (Nescafé instant, black, and VERY strong!) – Bockingford 300gsm – 12″ × 8″

The Painted dog or 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 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 less. 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 centered in northern Botswana and Eastern Namibia.

Whilst the largest population resides in the Kruger National Park (South Africa), some wild dogs have been released into Madikwe, Pilanesberg and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, South Africa.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Autumn song

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

We've seen the last of Autumn here in South Africa and Winter has settled in with cold but bright days.

Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the heart feels a languid grief
Laid on it for a covering,
And how sleep seems a goodly thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?
And how the swift beat of the brain
Falters because it is in vain,
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf
Knowest thou not? and how the chief
Of joys seems—not to suffer pain?
Know’st thou not at the fall of the leaf
How the soul feels like a dried sheaf
Bound up at length for harvesting,
And how death seems a comely thing
In Autumn at the fall of the leaf?
- By Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A winter's morn

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm 

A winter's morning at a dam in Magaliesburg (Gauteng, South Africa) 

It was still ash-grey on a Sunday morning, but winter was awake already. She was whispering everywhere. She was shaking shaking everything in her path. She seeped through the gaps around the doors and windows. She crawled down the walls and flooded the room with her ice-cold breath. She crept into my bed. Then woke me up and penetrated my duvet. Surrounded by her, I found myself shrinking like an earthworm. I then had to compromise my bed. She enjoyed taking possession. I was trying to sleep with my knees squashed to my head and my arms around my ankles. I was shaking when I felt her presence. I got up and closed the windows. She were trapped, inside. 
- Unknown


Monday, June 3, 2013

Geranium or Pelargonium?

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm 

Geraniums originated from South Africa, as well as Reunion, Madagascar, Egypt and Morocco and were introduced to European countries such as Italy, Spain and France in the 17th century. 

Actually, the plants that gardeners have grown under the geranium name for several hundred years is not a geranium, but a pelargonium. Both plants, as well as a few others, are all members of the geraniaceae family. The problem arose when the plants were first brought from their native home of South Africa into Europe. All the early imports were labeled “geraniums” and continued under that blanket name for many years. When some observant botanists finally started a closer examination of these lovely new plants, they discovered many differences and then decided that the imports were not all the same plant type, but there were differences so were then moved into different named classifications. 

One group of plants was given the original name of geraniums. A second group was classified as pelargoniums, then there were erodiums and sarcocaulons/monsonias. The plant we label “geranium” was put into the pelargonium category, however, it had become a well loved plant of gardeners in Europe under the old “geranium” label so although the botanists told them that the lovely pot or bedding plant they grew in such numbers was a pelargonium, they persisted in using the old name. 

I’m now more confused than ever! 


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm 
Barn Owl (Tyto alba) 
Afrikaans : Nonnetjie-uil 

Ghostly pale and (not) strictly nocturnal, Barn Owls (Tyto alba) are silent predators of the night world. Lanky, with a whitish face, chest, and belly, and buffy upperparts, this owl roosts in hidden, quiet places during the day. By night, they hunt on buoyant wingbeats in open fields and meadows. You can find them by listening for their eerie, raspy calls, quite unlike the hoots of other owls. Despite a worldwide distribution, Barn Owls are declining in parts of their range due to habitat loss. I for one do not see them as often as I used to. 

Once welcomed by farmers as one form of pest control, the population is now under threat from modern farming techniques, e.g. the destruction of hedgerows & meadowland, which affect their prey, the removal of old barns & buildings, which were their nesting places and the use of chemicals to control rodents. 

The Owl Rescue Centre is the only raptor centre in South Africa that primarily focus on owl species. They give all their time and attention to owl species because of the high mortality rate of owls in South Africa, making owls vulnerable to a decreasing population. They rehabilitate and release 200 – 250 Spotted Eagle Owls, 100 – 150 Barn Owls and 80 -100 other owl species each year.