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, December 31, 2013

Here's to a creative 2014!

2013 has been an amazing year, filled with lots of sketching and painting, love joy and inspiration. A brand new year lies at our feet and here's to putting the past behind us, opening a new door, stepping through and experiencing lots of new pleasures, meeting new people, spending time with our loved ones and, above all, being madly creative!

Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Guinea Fowl in my garden

Birds are indicators of the environment. If they are in trouble, we know we’ll soon be in trouble.

- Roger Tory Peterson

Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
Helmeted guinea fowl (Numida meleagris)

I used to have dozens of guinea fowl pass through our smallholding here in Tarlton (Gauteng, South Africa), but these days it’s like Christmas seeing just a few of them. When we moved to Tarlton in the middle 70’s, we were one of a few owners living on the smallholdings and there were large tracts of open land with hundreds of mammals, birds and reptiles that crossed our paths daily. Snakes were rife and regularly had to be removed to a safer place, now we only see a snake a couple of times in the year. I used to have wild hares entering my garden and eating my Marigolds; I haven’t seen an hare for about 7 years. The same with hedgehogs, monitors, tortoises and jackal.

The area is now totally built up and our smallholding is now flanked by people on all sides, property fenced and surrounded by high walls – there are few, if any, empty tracts of of land anymore and I’m just wondering where all the wildlife has managed to find a safe refuge…


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Season's greetings 2013

What do we love about Christmas;
Does our delight reside in things?
Or are the feelings in our hearts
The real gift that Christmas brings.
It’s seeing those we love,
And sending Christmas cards, too,
Appreciating people who bring us joy
Special people just like you.
- By Joanna Fuchs

The holiday season is upon us and here in South Africa, my 7 Little Robins will be cheerfully chirping and singing to sunny skies and braaivleis (barbeque) over the Christmas period! Our weather will be bright, hot and sunny and half the nation normally spends their Christmas on our beautiful, white beaches.

Wherever you are spending Christmas this year, I wish you and your family a happy, festive season!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I live in a landscape

I live in a landscape, which every single day of my life is enriching.
- Daniel Day-Lewis

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

A scene in Tarlton (Gauteng, South Africa) after all the beautiful rain we've had.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Fun and practical art - Calendars for 2014

A collection of Daisies in watercolour and acrylics - Front Cover

Looking for a calendar for the new year? Something different? Who says art can't be practical? Keep track of your yesterdays and tomorrows with my fun and functional Redbubble calendars.This one above is from "Daisies in Coulour", a collection of daisies in watercolours and acrylics. I have quite a wide selection, you can choose from 'Crows - A Corvid Collection', 'Wildlife of Africa', 'Chickens', 'Africa | Ethnic', 'Birds', 'Affirmations - Heal your Life' and many more.

RedBubble calendars are printed using marvellous futuristic technologies, so complex I can’t go into them here, but I can tell you they are lovingly printed on a luscious 200gsm satin art paper at the striking size of A3 (that’s 297×420mm, or 11.69×16.54”).

They also have very handy wire binding so you can hang them from things like ‘hooks’ on exciting places like ‘walls’!

You can select your own start month, and order right into the future. Everything about them is brilliant, except you’ll have no excuse for missing your sister’s birthday any more!

The back cover of the calendar showing all 12 months' images



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Artemis and the girls

Ink sketch and W&N watercolours on a coffee back-ground – Nescafé instant, strong! – Bockingford 300gsm

As I sat on the lawn the other morning, enjoying our gorgeous summer weather (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa), I decided to do a quick sketch of Artemis keeping a watchful eye on the girls as they scratch for titbits on the lawn. As long as they are happy, he won’t move, so he makes a perfect subject.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

The year's last, loveliest smile!

 Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm 12″ × 8″
For me, Autumn holds a special fascination. First of all because my birthday is in Autumn in May, and although May could officially be classified as Winter, here in South Africa some of our most gorgeous days are in May – clear, cloudless skies, temperatures still in the early 20 degrees Celsius and a landscape filled with colour, with Nature unwilling to let go of her summer finery. It is also the month for mid-year tax returns, and I always enjoy getting that out of the way!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Expressing your creativity

Modern image processing has become quite an art form these days. With the advent of the computer age, numerous opportunities have arisen that challenge the way in which we explore the world surrounding us. Engineers use computers to process data and visualise results, while artists found in this new media an attractive way to express their creativity.

I am by no means au fait with the array of image processing programmes available these days, but I do enjoy playing around in PowerPoint and PhotoShop (which I still haven't QUITE got the hang of!), adding my art or photographs to back-ground textures, many available for free on the internet.

Above I have added two of my sketches to a back-ground texture by Kim Klassen, using PowerPoint. Below is an image from Country Roads on Pinterest, where I have added photographs of my chickens using PhotoShop.

'A walk down Memory Lane'

Watercolour forest scene with a wolf (clipart) added in using PhotoShop

Two of my watercolour Arums added to a back-ground texture by Kim Klassen
using PowerPoint

Watercolour daisies added to a back-ground texture by Kim Klassen 
using PowerPoint