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, October 29, 2013

Inner mystery

Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - inspired by Maya Angelou's poem

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.
Extract from 'Phenomenal Woman" Maya Angelou 


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Go ahead! Throw the first stone!

Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm 

Sin is a very liberating thing. It’s a shame we have forgotten it. Just think what might not have happened in the world if we had had a little more respect for personal sins, a little more knowledge of our own, a little less condemnation of everyone else’s. We may have been spared the shame of the stocks in Boston, the Magdalene laundries in Ireland, the penal colonies in Georgia, the back-alley births of so many children of single mothers, the front-page pictures of professional people found drunk in public and, in our own day, the Web pages of sleazy private information released to justify the impeachment of a president.

We love making sinners “stand in front of us.” In public. How else can their sins take attention away from our own?

It isn’t, of course, that there’s no place for accountability. It’s just that there’s no place for condemnation once we face our own sins. The problem is simply that there’s no place for stoning if we are the ones supposed to be pure enough to do it.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The nameless, the hopeless...

“To name oneself is the first act of both the poet and the revolutionary. When we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual. Immigration officials did this to refugees; husbands routinely do it to wives.” 
- Erica Jong (American writer and feminist, 1942) 

Coffee and watercolour on tea-stained Bockingford 300gsm – 11″ × 8″ 

For the lost, hopeless and nameless, it might be a good idea to start talking about where you’re going instead of about where you are, and where you’ve been. Because, as you talk about where you are, or about where you’ve been, that’s the signal that you offer—and that’s the signal that everything Universally is responding to. That’s why it feels sometimes like you’re stuck on this spot. You’re not stuck because things are always changing. But if it feels like you’re stuck, it’s because they’re changing to the same thing over and over again.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Unusual winter in South Africa

W&N watercolours on Arches 300gsm 

A couple of years ago, in August 2006, South Africa was struck by an unusual phenomena, snow! It is something we rarely experience and it therefore always creates great excitement as well as hard-ship. Especially in the farming community, as livestock is always at risk because of the vast sizes of our farms and the large numbers of livestock we farm with – no barns really big enough to house all of them. No protection against the freezing temperatures and also a great problem with feed supplies. Luckily, people like us on smallholdings (8.5ha, which is 10 morgen or 21 acres), have fewer animals, making winter much more manageable, but still not worry-free.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

A written word lives forever

I’ve got a vendetta to destroy the Net, to make everyone go to the library. I love the organic thing of pen and paper, ink on canvas. I love going down to the library, the feel and smell of books. 

Black Pilot Calligraphy Lettering Pen and wash in Moleskine 200gsm Sketch-book 

Sketching with my pen gives me great pleasure - very often a few lines and a mere doodle start taking shape and something appears that can be worked into something more substantial.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Cumulus humilis (Cu hum)

“We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us. The sooner we get them out the better.” 
― Walt Stanchfield

W&N watercolour on Aqua 300gsm (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa)

While sketching this landscape, I was fascinated by the colour of the clouds. So as soon as I finished, I decided to research some clouds and came up with some interesting information.

Cumulus humilis (Cu hum) is the smallest non-ragged cloud and usually shows a light-grey shading underneath.

These are small fair-weather cumuliform clouds of limited convection that do not grow vertically and generally do not produce rain showers. Being at or near the beginning of the convective cloud’s daily life cycle, they lack the moderate vertical extent of cumulus mediocris. Consequently they are commonly classified as low clouds. Cumulus mediocris (Cu med) achieves moderate vertical development, has medium-grey shading underneath, and can produce scattered showers of light intensity.

Striking cloud colorations can be seen at many altitudes in the homosphere, which includes the troposphere, stratosphere, and mesophere. The first recorded colored cloud was seen by Nathan Ingleton in 1651, he wrote the event in his diary but the records were destroyed in 1666, in the Great Fire of London. The color of a cloud, as seen from Earth, tells much about what is going on inside the cloud.

Cloud droplets tend to scatter light efficiently, so that the intensity of the solar radiation decreases with depth into the gases. As a result, the cloud base can vary from a very light to very-dark-grey depending on the cloud’s thickness and how much light is being reflected or transmitted back to the observer. Thin clouds may look white or appear to have acquired the color of their environment (cloud iridescence).

Colors occur naturally in tropospheric clouds. Bluish-grey is the result of light scattering within the cloud. The bluish color is evidence that such scattering is being produced by rain-size droplets in the cloud. A cumulonimbus cloud that appears to have a greenish/bluish tint is a sign that it contains extremely high amounts of water; hail or rain.

Yellowish or brownish clouds may occur in the late spring through early fall months during forest fire season. The yellow color is due to the presence of pollutants in the smoke. Yellowish clouds, caused by the presence of nitrogen dioxide, are sometimes seen in urban areas with high air pollution levels. This info from Wiki

So, either our veldfire-season has started already or I’m living in a highly polluted area!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Unobstructed view

“The whole essence of good drawing – and of good thinking, perhaps – is to work a subject down to the simplest form possible and still have it believable for what it is meant to be.” 
— Chuck Jones 

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gms

After the winter veld fires and now that we've had our first summer rains, the landscape is once again turning green and we have an unobstructed view towards the Magaliesberg Mountains in the distance.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tread softly

“Cares melt when you kneel in your garden.” 

Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm watercolour paper 

A sign in my garden – A powerful message that needs no more words.



Friday, October 4, 2013

No rain yet...

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams. 
- Ashley Smith 

 Ink sketch and colour wash of a scene in Magaliesburg in my Moleskine Nature sketchbook

It's the first of October, heading for mid-summer here in South Africa and we've had no rain yet. Normally we have the winds in August clearing up old growth and our first spring rains early in September, but the wind has been blowing right through September, seemingly blowing the clouds back to whence they came from.

I'm having to water my garden every day, we've had some very high temperatures, but nothing seems to give life like even just a couple of millimetres of rain...