Packing (art) for the US of A ... - 2017 July

My sister-in-law Paula, lives in the States and keeps on at us for a visit.

Well. Not yet.

For now, my art continues to travel there.  And soon, Sacred Walk begins the journey across many miles and seas.  

This work has had a special meaning for me and I have found myself a little reluctantly preparing and packing it up to be collected by the couriers.

Even now, I have not enclosed it in its final wrapping.

My good-friend and art-partner Joan Martin often reassures me with "... there's more". She's right.  There is lots more work to come (I trust); but that moment of creating this particular work and the time and space I was in, is behind me now.  

Time is sacred.

Special Gifts - July 2015

Last December, I travelled with my husband Patrick to join his family in a private game reserve so that we could scatter Dad Fossey's ashes (rip beautiful soul whom I loved so much) amongst all that is wild and free AND REAL .... rock, wild grass, antelope, elephant, lion, cheetah, rhino .... sunsets and dust. 


It was a special time.  The luxury of the lodge was impressive, but not nearly as impressive as nature.  She always is.


Our earth provides us with all we need, and I wish we not only respected her much MUCH more, but that we more regularly thought to partnering with her in simple ways of enjoyment. Sitting under a tree with (real) grass and dust beneath our feet and between our toes is far more rejuvenating and enjoyable than spending a few hundred at a spa under a man-made canopy that holds out the light and the air with some employed person massaging our feet.  


I took along my little case of oils and a few small-size prepared canvases to paint as gifts for the family members that were there to mark the occassion.  

I'd sneak off daily to paint as many strokes as I could before my company was missed and my lack of presence questioned.  The solitude was particularly special as I sat beneath a living work of art enclosed in the wooden window frame at my 'studio' desk.  With each new hour and passing light, it evolved to something new.

I'd packed simple tissue paper as wrapping, knowing that I'd have at my disposal a wide choice of material to decorate and finish off the gifts.  I might just have had more fun wrapping the artworks than making them :-) 


We don't have to travel into nature reserves to find  beautiful treasures.  They can be found anywhere ... well, anywhere where Mother Earth is still allowed to 'be'.

These sold works were parcelled for a buyer, who bought them as gifts for her friends. They were finished-off from special finds found in my own Melrose garden.

The Earth is a generous mother.


You can see a few more photos of the beautiful reserve here:


Trying so hard to finish up ...

Final days to our exhibit ... and i just can't seem to finish ... gosh! But my studio's still my place of joy and sanctuary, and escape from all that lies outside.  Of course my Sienna to keep me company makes it all the more glorious.




Romantic notions of Wine .... and ...

My last posting probably compounded the already (not-so-accurate) notion that working in one's studio's a rather tame, pleasant affair where between one's efforts, sips of wine are enjoyed and perhaps even, one would recline back in a chair to enjoy the day (night's) efforts.

This is not entirely so.

My daughter Andrea caught a snapshot of me working last weekend;  huddled over, sanding, scraping ... burning (I often burn my works down with a heat gun ... the effects are amazing).  Sometimes I lose works without intention .... and then I'm sad ... other times the rawness of breaking down a surface reveal gems. I seldom know the outcome.

The work comes with hard effort, frustrations ... finger cuts, a few burns, and sore knees too :-)

The important bit though ... is to ensure as best one can ... that a great amount of enjoyment is had.



The first image is of a work that now no longer exists ... the second image currently exists, but who knows for how long :-)



Till Late in my Studio 8

Having a full day to myself, and in my studio's a luxury and a treat. 

I had a great day's work and am excited about the direction my work has taken. 

At the end of the session, not having a clue what the time was, I walked out into the dark of night with not a light on in the house .... I turned 'round to notice my studio lit from inside and thought of the saying "It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light - Aristotle Onassis"


You can see a few more pics here

Studio Spring-Clean and Seeing

With a crazy year behind me, I finally got into my studio on the weekend ... and landed up doing an extra-super spring-clean.

My family tease me saying that I clean more than I paint/create ;-) but I think the line between the two's not that clear.  

As I re-arranged canvas, tidied tins of paint, lined up turps, thinners and linseed oil and sorted through drawers filled with an array of the things I delight in ... pins with shiny round heads, ancient nails inherited from Gramps, rusty bottle-tops, twigs-a-twisting, pressed leaves, used old postage stamps, stencils that outline things, pretty pens, waxy crayons, Willow Charcoal and sticks of incense of Sandalwood and Old White Musk .. I realized that far more was going on than a mere clean-n-tidy. 


I found myself re-acquainting with 'hidden-treasures' that had been put away for safe-keeping;  Forgotten feathers found still brightly coloured, I was remembering the importance of delighting in the simple things that make me happy.  Discovering a packet full of torn map pieces, I was determining that it was time for new direction.  And then seeing beautiful butterfly wings that had been tucked between the pages of my journal, I  thought …  it's time for new dreams and for looking forward, however fragile our futures sometime seem.

Special Delivery ...

Two of my artworks were sold to a buyer who bought the works for her sister's 50th, so I had a little fun wrapping them to make it a special delivery ... I love doing things like this and wish I had more time on my hands to make and to wrap and to give gifts like this ... :-) 

Barefoot Dancing in my Studio

After a looooooong day working .... one step into my studio and I'm happy. I light the incense, in this case MYSTIQUE (it's usually Sandalwood, but this smells pretty much the same) ... and I turn on the tunes. Tonight we're rockin to good ol' Creedence Clearwater Revival ... for whatever reason.  Pat's out practicing golf, Andrea's at lectures, James is chillin somewhere - who cares for supper ... I'm here and very happy :-) ... see more here!


Sortof-a-secret for now

Another New Year. Another new chapter in my work.


I can't tell you much about the work as it forms an integral basis to the exhibition that Joan and I are working towards for a joint exhibition at the start of 2013 .... suffice to tell you it's sold whilst still wet on the easel, to great new friends from Jhb. They had to leave it behind as it'll take a while to dry still ... and truth be told, I need to hang onto it for a while.

I can't even tell you the title ... that might give away what I'm up to ... ;-/ ... but I'm thrilled with the outcome. Love it ... and so, sharing it with you.

 "untitled" - Oil on Canvas - 40cm x 120cm - Sold



The Artist Way

Over the last 14 weeks, I facilitated Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way" in my studio for a group of seven ladies.

We had a lot of fun together along the way to rediscovering, or discovering our creativity.

Last evening celebration .... !

Dawn Benyi, Yvonne Haswell, Linda Nicolin, Ma-Dawn Benyi, Karin Dankert

Mia: Jen Ducray (in London) and Nadine Paul


Lucky me ...

I seem to have had quite a 'lucky run' of late. It all started two years ago after I'd bought four large brushes from an annual sale in Jhb. As August is my birthday month, the timing is always good and I'm well justified in spending some cash on a few treats. However, I wasn't so lucky in that the brushes after using only once or twice distorted.

After following up with the local supplier for nearly a year, I finally decided to contact Winsor and Newton  directly. I WAS AMAZED at their POLITE and HIGHLY EFFICIENT service.

To my complete surprize, withn two days I received a note to collect a parcel from the post office. 

Arriving home and opening up the parcels, I was delighted beyond delight to find two

full packs of brand new brushes ... LUCKY, LUCKY ME !!

My Studio


Last week, I started photographing things that MAKE ME HAPPY ... there are sooooooo many ... too many to photograph, save, compress, edit and load up!! In the process though, I got to take pics of my studio ... and thought to share these online ... this is my little piece of heaven, my safe haven ... my place to retreat, recover, renew and re-energize myself before slogging away in the outside world ... I'm very, very, very happy when I'm in here !!

My beautiful Sienna ... my constant companion:
devoted and undemanding ... well, in a sense
... she does need to be kissed and hugged
and spoken to and told she's the most
beautiful Bullie there ever was,
MOST of the time :-)


So inviting ....

Sienna's water bowl ... handcrafted one of a kind of course.

A favourite spot in the chilly Durban winter.

Another wonderful piece of memory ... my grandparents dining room set ... I remember all our Christmases around the table with it's extention ... but remembered it as such a laaaarrrgge table ... :-) ... Also lots of fond memories sitting at the end drawing posters and horsey-pics.


This was my Grandfather's tool box. It was a dull brown ... I took the plunge and burnt off the paint, and sanded it a little. I'm rather chuffed with the result :-)



You can tell it's winter by all the 'comfort drinks' :-)

The leopard painting is a work-in-progress piece for a commission - not normally my style, but sometimes I relent ... not often though ;-)

Like my home, my studio's filled with happy family 'treasures'. Ontop of these artist boxes is my grand-father's old nail-box ... with exquisite beautiful vintage rulers ... I'll need to photo them so you can see what treasures they are.


My and Sienna's spot for breakfast and quiet-time.

I love the reflection in these cottage pane windows.

the little "prayer-bench" where I sometimes sits to think ;-/


Looking out from my back kitchen door ... waiting for the new herb and veggie garden to grow ... !!


In My Studio

I have a great studio where I can escape to ... Ooccassionaly I have artist-friend visitors ... and share in a cuppa or glassa :-) and typically looooonnnng chats. Lucky for me, Joan Martin and Maggie Strachan are regular visitors!