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, December 24, 2015

A Merry Christmas 2015!


Here's wishing you all a very merry Christmas for 2015! I send my thoughts afar, and let them paint your Christmas Day at home!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fifty shades of brown

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm.

Using various shades of brown mixed from a variety of colours on my palette.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I love a tree..

W&N watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm watercolour sketch-book

When I pass to my reward.
Whatever that may be,
I’d like my friends to think of me
As one who loved a tree.
I may not have a statesman’s poise
Nor thrill a throng with speech
But I may benefit mankind
If I set out a beech.
If I transport a sapling oak
To rear its mighty head
Twill make for them a childhood shrine,
That will not soon decay.
Of if I plant a tree with fruit,
On which the birds may feed,
Then I have fostered feathered friends
And that’s a worthy deed.
- Samuel N. Baxter


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Rosemary and Parsley

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Herbs on a windowsill in my kitchen (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa)

I just love herbs in terra-cotta pots. Clumped together, they make a beautiful, as well as useful, arrangement on a window sill or just outside your kitchen door.
Rosemary, (Rosmarinus officinalis) is known as a symbol of remembrance and friendship, and fills a garden with aroma, flavor, and activity — busily pollinating bees love the blooms. The secret to beautiful rosemary is to give plants a hot, dry footing. Grow plants in well-drained soil or a raised bed and they look beautiful in terracotta pots.
Curly leaf parsley (Petroselinum) brings a crisp taste to salads, vegetables, and herb butters. The only maintenance this fuss-free herb requires is planting and harvesting. Give plants evenly moist, well-drained soil, and you’ll enjoy fresh green flavours in no time.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A cool Sunday morning outing...

A scene near Magaliesburg, Gauteng, South Africa - Ink sketch and W&N watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm watercolour sketch-book

Sunday morning dawned with clear skies and lovely cool weather, so hubby and I decided to take the MGB Midget roadster out for a run to Magaliesburg and have breakfast at our favourite countryside tea garden. A 20-minute drive with hair blowing in the wind and we arrived, chose a table in the shade and I ordered my favourite, Mince and Cheese Jaffel with salad. By the time we finished eating and lingered, chatting for a while, temperatures were soaring in the early 30℃! The drive home was hot and bothersome and I wished I had taken a hat!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bloekomdraai


W&N watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm sketchbook

A scene a couple of kilometers from where I live - a gravel road through Tarlton (South Africa) on the way to Randfontein. It's a short-cut we often take past all the veggie and flower farms, the rubbish dump where all the Seagulls (600km from the coast!) gather and where tall Blue gum trees flank the road. This section of the road is known as Bloekomdraai. Here you will find many old farmsteads dating back to the 1800's and early 1900's, but unfortunately most of these have fallen into disrepair and neglect and are more and more making way for more modern and comfortable homes.

There is also a vlei (marsh) area here that extends for many kilometers all the way to Tarlton and the hills fairly sing with the sound of birds and waterfowl. I presume this was the original feed for the Tarlton Dam, which is now empty, broken and no longer in existence, although the water still flows down the course during heavy periods of rain.







Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A scene at my pond

W&N watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm watercolour sketchbook

I have this bit of Celtis forest (Celtis africana - White Stinkwood) at my wildlife pond and it's my favourite pastime to sit under the thatch umbrella and sketch part of the scenery. A few weeks ago the bare trees were just beginning to sport green leaves. This is also the area where Torti, my Leopard Tortoise, used to live before I relocated her to her new home at the Krugersdorp Game Reserve.


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Sunday, October 25, 2015

The last signs of winter

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

The last signs of winter are fast disappearing as spring comes to an end. We've had a bit of rain and Mother Nature is replacing her landscape of browns and yellows with various shades of green, one of my favourite colours. A walk down our smallholding revealed fresh grass, beautiful little wild flowers and birds preparing new nests and many of them already rearing a brood. My Fiscal Shrike has four little ones, keeping her busy the whole day!

(By the way, for those who saw my (hasty) post (deleted) that I won't be blogging here any more, my apologies, I just can't seem to give up my passion of sharing my art! The problem is that I have too many blogs and I am trying to find a way of prioritising which ones to keep, such a difficult decision! lol!)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Blue gum fantasy

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm in small sketch-book
Blue gum trees on our smallholding (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa)

Blue gum eucalyptus, Eucalyptus globulus to the botanists, have been a part of the South African landscape since the Gold Rush, long enough that legends have sprung up about how they first made it to the country. The usual story is that 19th Century gold miners encouraged planting of the trees as a quick-growing source of quality lumber, then were disappointed to find out that South African-grown eucs produce wood unsuitable for much besides rough fenceposts and firewood.

The stories have some factual basis: there was a speculative eucalyptus-planting rush in the first years of the 20th Century, with people planning uses from fine furniture to rot-resistant railroad ties. And the home-grown trees, which grew far more quickly than their Australian counterparts, did not turn out to make lousy timber! The logs were extensively used in our mining industry and to this day they are still popular as fence posts and roof timber.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sketching again

Black ink sketch and colour wash on Amedeo 200gsm

I feel it's time for sketching again, have been neglecting it of late, been preferring just putting colour straight to paper.

Black ink sketch in Moleskine 200gsm watercolour sketchbook

Black ink sketch in Moleskine 200gsm watercolour sketchbook

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

The dark forest

W&N watercolour in a small sketch-book with Bockingford 300gsm watercolour paper

A different depiction of the blue gum bush on our smallholding (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa)

Woods creaked, the sounds of the forest was heard
A hoot and whisper’s in the darkness
Eyes lurking, bushes moving
Hunting beasts wandering,
crouching,
waiting in the shadows…

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Friday, September 18, 2015

The road West

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm with a couple of ink scribbles

Taking the road West from us and going from Rustenburg towards Botswana, the landscape suddenly changes from bushveld to a somewhat dry and arid landscape, especially in winter, when everything turns to lovely yellow and brown hues.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The road to a friend

 W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

The road I take to visit a friend in Hillside (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa)

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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Short-cut through Spring Farm

 W&N watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm watercolour sketch-book

Often, when I go to Magaliesburg (Gauteng, South Africa), I take this short-cut through Spring Farm past the little dam. It’s a gravel road, forcing one to travel slower and take in the scenery and I often have tortoises, hedgehogs, guinea fowl and small buck crossing my path. I much prefer it to the quicker route along the main tar road.

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Winter at the pond


W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Winter is almost nothing but a memory and now spring is fully upon us, with the first spring rains having fallen over the past couple of days. But together with that came freezing temperatures as low as 12℃ yesterday. But soon all the cold will be in the past and I look forward to my wildlife pond once again bursting with summer colour.

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Cactus trichocereus

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

I'm absolutely in love with my two cacti! (C. trichocereus). The one at the back made a baby, which I transplanted into a pot and placed it next to its parent. I'm sure they whisper endearing comments to one another all day long!

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Autumn - wonderful time of the year!

A small W&N watercolour in Moleskine 200gsm watercolour sketch-book

Autumn (fall) in South Africa (mid-February to April) offers the best weather of the year. Very little rain falls over the whole country, and it is warm but not too hot, getting colder as the season progresses. In Gauteng, autumn is fantastic, with hot sunny days, blue skies and warm, balmy nights.

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Sunday, July 5, 2015

My favourite Aloes

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - Aloe ferox

Two of my favourite Aloes - A. ferox above and A. marlothii below - every winter I wait with excitement for their beautiful flowers, attracting a myriad of insects and birds and providing much needed bright splashes of orange colour to my winter garden!

 W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm - Aloe marlothii

This is the first winter in 4 years since I acquired my A. marlothii that it has flowered!

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Enter the wilderness


W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
A farm road ito a smallholding in Magaliesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.
 
Alienation from nature and self is a uniquely modern malady. “Progressively, over the course of the centuries, Western humankind indulged in a mental separation from the totality of all physical phenomena, building up the wall of civilization against Being, elevating ourselves above all other living organisms.”
- (Francois & McGaa, 2007)

The modern world is slowly realizing that our disconnection from nature has become self-destructive. Take up some eco-therapy and go into the wilderness, take a nature walk, leave behind our man-made fences separating us from nature, allowing greater connection with ourselves.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Poppy


W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm
Poppies in a friend’s garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa)

High on a bright and sunny bed
A scarlet poppy grew
And up it held its staring head,
And thrust it full in view.
Yet no attention did it win,
By all these efforts made,
And less unwelcome had it been
In some retired shade.
Although within its scarlet breast
No sweet perfume was found,
It seemed to think itself the best
Of all the flowers round,
From this I may a hint obtain
And take great care indeed,
Lest I appear as pert and vain
As does this gaudy weed.
~ By Jane Taylor

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

En route to Magaliesburg

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Whenever I go to Magaliesburg (Gauteng, South Africa) just 13km from us, I choose to take a short-cut through Spring Farm and although it is a gravel road, I do away with lots of traffic and getting stuck behind trucks on their way to Rustenburg or Botswana and, to top it all, I see lots of wildlife. It’s a route we used to take with the horses during my horse riding days.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Visiting a friend

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

The driveway to a friend’s house on their smallholding in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa. Always a pleasure to visit as, besides her bubbling personality! the driveway is lined with gorgeous big Oaks and other trees.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Solly's chickens on our smallholding

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Solly's chickens having a snack close to his living quarters on our smallholding. The Bluegum bush at the back is where I often walk to sketch.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A labourer's cottage

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

A labourer’s cottage on a smallholding just down the road from us in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

A farmer's cottage

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

A farmer’s cottage on a smallholding not far from us in Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Dusk in Magaliesburg

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

As dusk settles over Magaliesburg, the neighbouring mountains are cast in a hue of purples and blues.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Friday, April 17, 2015

Aloe ferox painting 2

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Aloe ferox (also known as the Cape Aloe, Bitter Aloe, Red Aloe and Tap Aloe), is a species of arborescent aloe indigenous to Southern Africa. It is one of several Aloe species used to make bitter aloes, a purgative medication and also yields a non-bitter gel that can be used in cosmetics.

Die Bitteraalwyn (Aloe ferox), inheems aan Suid-Afrika, is ’n struik wat deel is van die aalwynfamilie. Die plant blom vanaf Mei tot September. Die struik is ’n stadige groeier met ’n enkelstam en dik, doringrige, vlesige blare en buisvormige, oranje-rooi blomme. Dit is ’n uitstekende struik vir die rotstuin en verkies vol son en matige water. Die sap van die blare word vir medisyne en skoonheidsprodukte gebruik.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The river trees...


Mixed media on Bockingford 300gsm – W&N watercolour, acrylic and candle wax

The Magalies River at Wicker Tea Gardens (Gauteng, South Africa) is as beautiful as ever. Drove into the now non-existent tea garden on the weekend to have a look at the river.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cosmos in March

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

March and end-of-summer in South Africa heralds Cosmos time! Every year these beauties grace the fields and road-sides all over the country.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Autumn colours

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

We're nearing the end of Autumn and soon these trees will all be stark and bare, a beautiful sight in its own right.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Small paintings in a sketch-book


I have this small, hand-made little sketch-book with satin-finish linen paper, which is exquisite to paint in. The paint takes on a life all of it's own when it his the paper and the outcome is always unexpected! But it is very unforgiving, doesn't take well to pencil or ink and cannot erase on it at all. So whatever gets put down, that's it! But I just love churning out these small little 7"x5" paintings!















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