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, February 25, 2014

Plants in Terracotta pots

'We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.'
— Lao Tzu

I just love terracotta pots; love planting in them, love sketching them and just love collecting them!

This Angelwing Begonia seedling standing on my bathroom window sill looked so brave, proudly displaying its three new leaves, I just had to capture it. I started this plant from a cutting, one leaf, from another Begonia plant.

A Geranium I had on my window sill before trans-planting him into the garden. (Why do I think of it as a “him”? Maybe because he’s such a robust fellow…) It was just starting to flower, the tiny buds soon to be the well-known red geranium flowers.

Bunny Ears cacti originated in the wild (North and Central Mexico) and are popular garden and house plants here in South Africa. I bought my Bunny Ears two summers ago and after a nice rest this past winter, it is now showing lots of new ‘ears’. I’m just wondering if I will have any flowers while it is in a pot…


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Parsley in a pot

W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm mixed media paper – no preliminary sketching 

My little bit of Parsley in a small terracotta pot on a shelf in my bathroom garden.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Marigolds and Geraniums

The humble Marigold sharing space with a pot of Geraniums on my patio .....  

Watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm – 12″ × 8″

Marigolds are easy to grow and I used to plant them amongst my vegetables – not only do they add a beautiful splash of colour, the scent is strong and somewhat unpleasant and they help keep the away aphids. The relationship between plants and insects is known as ’companion planting’, it’s by far the safest, natural way to garden organically. And to my consternation I found out that the wild hares that used to frequent my vegetable patch absolutely LOVED Marigolds as well!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Such Geraniums!

Such geraniums! It does not become us poor mortals to be vain—but, really, my geraniums!
- Mary Mitford, ‘Our Village’

Memory sketch – W & N watercolours on Bockingford 300gsm – 8″ × 12″

Geraniums in a tall Everite pot that I used to have in my previous garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa), from the days before Asbestos was banned in South Africa in 2008. These pots were extremely popular in South Africa and had a perfect surface for painting, either with PVA or enamel paints. Painted with PVA, they would weather into a lovely vintage look, getting more beautiful as time passed. I’m just wondering what the company Everite produces now….?

Asbestos once accounted for three percent of the value of South Africa’s minerals. South Africa was previously the fifth largest supplier of chrysotile, produced 97% of the world’s crocidolite and 100% of all amosite.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Another shelf in my garden shed

I savour the treasures around me with camera, pencil, pen and paint.  

W&N Watercolours on Bockingford 300gsm – 12″ × 8″

Tools lined up in satisfying rows, scissors and twine within arm’s reach, a sink just for arranging flowers—the potting area ranks up there with the mudroom and flower room as the ultimate country fantasy. Don’t think you have space for one? You may want to think again.

My potting shed consists of an old carport, walled on two sides, with shelves on the walls and a couple of old tables and benches to make life comfortable. Wheelbarrows, hats, watering cans, terracotta pots and all sorts of paraphernalia to use in the garden is stored here. All you need is a little corner, partially protected from the elements, and Bob’s your uncle!


Saturday, February 8, 2014

To what lengths will you go when you're bored?!

“I’ve got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom!”
Thomas Carlyle, Scottish Historian and Essayist, leading figure in the Victorian era. 1795-1881

Done in my Moleskine 200gsm Watercolour sketch-book

It’s amazing what you’ll do when inspiration fails to materialise. I just couldn’t think of anything to sketch – a landscape? No, boring! Some animals? No, boring! I was at my wit’s end, trying to come up with something, so I decided to really challenge myself and do something I really hate – still life!

I looked around the kitchen and grabbed a couple of things lying around and just started sketching. Before long I was totally immersed in capturing the see-throughness of the plastic wrap and the vibrant colours on hubby’s favourite mug – even my hake lying close-by got roped in!

Moving out of my comfort zone and doing something new made me realise that we so easily become entrenched in the ‘known’, that excitement and passion can easily ebb away and leave us feeling drained.
“Often what we call procrastination, a lack of inspiration or boredom, is really just being trapped in the shell of our own comfort zone. Our comfort zone offers a safe haven, a trusted beaten path for us to follow. However the comfort zone can easily become, over time, our liability zone!”
- Dr. Sharon House – Creativity for Life


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A shelf in my garden shed

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. 
 - Lindley Karstens

W & N Watercolours on Bockingford 300gsm – 12″ × 8″ 
A shelf in my garden shed where I keep my collection of Terracotta pots and watering cans, seedling trays, egg shells to plant seedlings, tools, hats and all else a gardener needs to make her life easy! 

I think the true gardener is a lover of her flowers, not a critic of them. I think the true gardener is the reverent servant of Nature, not her truculent, wife-beating master. I think the true gardener, the older she grows, should more and more develop a humble, grateful and uncertain spirit. One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides and my green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view! When one of my plants dies, I die a little inside, too. On every stem, on every leaf,… and at the root of everything that grew, was a professional specialist in the shape of grub, caterpillar, aphis, or other expert, whose business it was to devour that particular part. Despite any gardener’s best intentions, Nature will improvise. It takes a while to grasp that not all failures are self-imposed, the result of ignorance, carelessness or inexperience. It takes a while to grasp that a garden isn’t a testing ground for character and to stop asking, what did I do wrong? Maybe nothing.
- Compiled from some of the thousands of quotes I have on my MAC