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, March 29, 2016

Rattail Cactus sketch

Ink sketch and watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm

Sketch of my Rattail Cactus (Aporocactus flagelliformis), on my patio (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa). It is fairly easy to care for and maintain. It grows stems up to a four feet long, that hang and display brownish colored spines, which are terribly sharp and fine and somehow manage to get everywhere when you’re handling it!

The flowers are an absolutely beautiful (2in – 4in / 5cm – 10cm wide) pink tubular type (see photograph here) that usually bloom in spring for up to 5 days. These flowers will grow from any part of the stem, 4-5ft long, and you can expect plenty of them. Similar to many other cacti, they are very easy to grow indoors and outside (as long at the temperature is not too cold outside.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Aloe flowers - Nature's silent healer

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

Several Aloes have flowers with nectar that can be consumed. Among the sippable blossoms are A. ferox and A. marlothii. A. zebrina has edible flowers and buds after being boiled. In Angola they are pressed into cakes. A. greatheadii flower buds are a delicacy after being boiled in three changes of water. There is no report on the edibility of Aloe vera flowers. But since that plant is medicinal, I would not eat them.

The genus is native to Southern Africa.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Small sketches and paintings

I've been churning out a lot of small sketches and paintings lately, the urge for the brush was greater than trying to plan something big and wonderful! Smile!

Daisies singing in the rain - small watercolour on note paper 4.5" x 6"

Winter fires - small watercolour on note paper 6" x 4.5"

Hibiscus beauty - Black ink sketch and watercolour on small sketch pad 6" x 4.5"

Arum lilies - small ink sketch and watercolour on sketch pad 6" x 3.5"

 Herbs in pots - small ink sketch on sketch pad 6" x 4.5"

I have plenty more, so don't go away!


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mother-in-law's tongue

W&N watercolour on Bockingford 300gsm

A pot of Mother-in-law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata laurentii).

Indigenous to South Africa, it is also known as the Snake Plant. It is a truly remarkable and striking easy care house plant native to tropical West Africa from Nigeria east to the Congo. I remember my dad having one on a windowsill in our house, where it stood for absolutely years without any seemingly extra care. The modern trend in the average home is to keep the plant separate from others and have it standing bold and alone.

Summer growers. As with all succulents, Sansevierias require a well-drained mix and moderate watering. Water frequently during the warmer months and keep fairly dry through winter. To maintain their best shape and colouration they are best grown in dappled sunlight. Grows up to 3 or 4 feet tall.

Propagation is by division or leaf cuttings. Sansevieria is easy to divide because it has shallow roots. Simply turn the pot on its side and pull out the entire plant. Use a sharp knife to cut through the thick roots and pot each clump separately. To propagate Sansevieria by leaf cuttings, cut leaf into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces and place them right side up (the way they were growing) in moist perlite or cactus potting mix.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Blue bottle fly (Calliphora vomitoria)

Pencil sketch and watercolour, candle wax, on Bockingford 300gsm

Blue Bottle Flies (Calliphora vomitoria) are from the Blow Fly family. They are larger than house flies, growing about half an inch long. Their head and thorax (front and middle sections) are grey, the abdomen (large rear section) is bright metallic blue. They have red eyes and clear wings. Blue Bottle Flies live just about anywhere and the world, including woods, fields, parks, and farms. They seem to prefer shady places.

This fly eats from dead animals or meat, living animals with open wounds, animal poop, or some other decaying matter, so it is not a fly we want in our homes! But living on a farm or a smallholding, where dead animals are sometimes a daily fact of life, this is sometimes unavoidable.

I found this one in my lounge window and after swatting it gently with the fly swat (they don’t squash easily!), I was able to examine it more closely, using my magnifying glass, and do the sketch.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Echeveria imbricata in wooden planter

W&N watercolour on small Bockingford 300gsm (5½" x 7½" – half of A4)

Echeveria imbricata in a wooden crate on my patio. Contrary to the belief that succulents are drought resistant, this Echeveria (E. imbricata) thrives on good soil and lots of rain.