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, July 31, 2013

African silhouettes

The shadows now so long do grow, That brambles like tall cedars show, Molehills seem mountains, and the ant Appears a monstrous elephant.
- Charles Cotton 

Watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm – 12″ × 8″ 

Elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the shadow of a mountain on their way to water in the northern parts of the Kalahari desert (South Africa).

A portion of the Kalahari Desert transforms for a brief period each year from a parched expanse of arid wasteland to a bountiful floodplain packed with channels, lagoons, swamps and islands — and it has the Okavango River to thank for this temporary transformation into paradise.

During the annual inundation, the Okavango Delta region draws migrating animals like a magnet, among them herds of Kalahari elephants. Elephants must have water on a regular basis, so as the dry season reaches a peak, they follow ancient instincts across the scorched and desiccated sands to the promise of boundless waters in the west.

As the elephants slowly make their way toward the delta, many can survive on what little resources they find until they finally enjoy a respite in the rich lands touched by the Okavango. Other herds will not complete the migration and may lose members to the harsh and competitive environment of the desert.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Jonathan Seagull

“To fly as fast as thought, to anywhere that is,” he said, ”you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived…” 
- From ‘Jonathan Livingstone Seagull’ 

After I read “Jonathan Livingstone Seagull” and because of all the Seagulls that often fly over my garden in Tarlton, South Africa (600km from the coast!), I was inspired to do some more Seagull sketches again – I’ve always been enamoured by these birds, especially their plight of constantly being trapped with plastic and metal rings around their necks and feet. It’s a passion that has been lying dormant for some time and awakened by this wonderful little book again.

Something I didn’t know, is that Seagulls are most closely related to the terns (family Sternidae) and only distantly related to auks, skimmers, and more distantly to the waders. But whoever they are related to, I personally would categorise them with Crows, one of my favourite, most intelligent birds! The same as crows, most gulls will take live food or scavenge opportunistically. And their love for man-made “junk food” defies belief! They will go to ANY length for some tasty hot potato chips with tomato sauce!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Jack Frost's colours

W&N watercolour on a coffee back-ground (Nescafé instant, black and strong!) on Amedeo 200gsm 

There are popular and scientific myths about the causes of fall colour in trees. Jack Frost is alleged to paint tree leaves with his chilling touch, bringing on colour change along with a frosty coating. Another twist on this myth is that Jack Frost brings reds and purples to autumn trees by pinching the leaves with his icy fingers. A less poetic explanation of fall colour, favoured by scientists for decades, is that the autumnal colouring of leaves was caused by waste products accumulated in the leaves and revealed to us with the fading of green chlorophyll pigments. As it turns out, the waste product theory now seems to be considered a bunch of, well, crud. The fall colour pigments are produced, or revealed, only in living leaf cells of deciduous trees during the critical, seasonal process of leaf senescence. In fact, if Jack Frost did his thing too early, or, in other words, if there was an early killing frost, the leaf colour display would be dulled, if not stopped altogether.
- Info from Why Tree Leaves turn color in Autumn


Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Cheetah

Cats (the Cheetah) were put into the world to disprove the dogma that all things were created to serve man.
~Paul Gray

  Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)- W&N watercolour, using only Sepia, on Bockingford 300gsm 

The cheetah is a large-sized feline (family Felidae) inhabiting most of Africa and parts of the Middle East. The cheetah is the only extant member of the genus Acinonyx, most notable for modifications in the species’ paws. As such, it is the only felid with non-retractable claws and pads that, by their scope, disallow gripping (therefore cheetah cannot climb vertical trees, although they are generally capable of reaching easily accessible branches).

Monday, July 8, 2013

My favourite outfit

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

This used to be one of my favourite outfits. Unfortunately the jacket is all frayed on the cuffs and my little red pumps have seen better days! I find it really difficult to find nice jackets. South Africa is never really cold enough for anything too thick, and this cotton one with a satin lining was just perfect.