Each of us needs to find our element- the place where things we love to do and things we are good at, come together

Archive for the category “Words”


Finally. Atmosphere. Moody! Dark! Done in less than the allocated time (as you can see). It reminds me of that line in a song from way back when, ” I see a Bad Moon Rising…” Ha ha!

I am in good company however. This is what President Lyndon B Johnson had to say about having his portrait painted in 1967 by Peter Hurd. He only allowed Hurd one sitting, during which he fell asleep! Hurd hence had to use photographs of Johnson to finish the painting. Johnson did not like his self-portrait, declaring it ” the ugliest thing I ever saw”.

Before the best emerges, we get the worst, or did I just make that up? You can’t deny that it has some atmosphere, eh?


Self- Portraits

Now where were we? Portrait painting. Keeping the smile. Painting the atmosphere . Using unusual colour combinations. Loose strokes? Finding comfort in famous quotes…

I haven’t painted many trees but this one rather speaks to me:
“I have painted many portraits of people and I have painted many portraits of trees. Trees are more tranquil to work with, never demanding, never complaining their portrait doesn’t look right.” (Cosbie)

I kept thinking, this doesn’t look like me. So. I cheated. Yep, I don’t normally do that kind of thing but I’m afraid I did. Did it help? No,Not really. Want to know what I did? I used a photograph. It is probably allowed but not on my mission, which was painting from life. So what happened ? You did ask me that didn’t you? Well, my proportions went even more haywire, I hit mud ( poor colour mixing), and I couldn’t resist the temptation to nip and tuck and lick and spit and fiddle and and….

This much I can say: the next one has a ton of atmosphere , you just wait here patiently and I will show you soon…



I find it rather difficult to paint myself. Also, I try to put on a friendly face but as I go along it seems to settle into a rather serious look, so to keep on painting and smiling turned out to be quite a mission. And the colours are foreign to me… And I keep wondering, do I really look like that? When is it going to look like me? And yes, I was taught not to start sentences with ” and” , so let’s get that out of the way! And to top all that, I keep wondering how much time I have left ( put a time restriction on myself as you may remember )

I am beginning to agree with Umberto Boccioni who said,” A portrait, to be a work of art, neither must nor may resemble the sitter…one must paint its atmosphere . I think to myself, ” Wonderful, exactly right! It is after all also merely an exercise!” And then I wonder….does it show any atmosphere?!

All I can say is, wait till you see the rest! Atmosphere developing plus a few other things…


Catching Sunshine

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows,” Helen Keller.

Catching the sunCatching sunshineCatching SunshineCatching Sunshine
“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles,
to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”
Joseph Addison.

Why Blog?

Some blog for fame and fortune, others to amass a great following. For many it is a platform to test or flaunt? their opinions, their passions, or their creativity in whatever form. Some share their knowledge, their skills, others their dreams or their path of pain. The reasons and motivations are intriguing and as varied and unique as our fingerprints. One wonders what people did before the avalanche of social media caused us to start ‘living’ online? I, for one, prefer face to face living but blogging has brought even me online!

I have not blogged for many months….and as many reasons. The short version is that “life happened” and it was not at all good. You know the story of the flea? Well, it can jump very high and far but put it in a jar and close the lid?? It will still try to jump only to be blocked by the lid every time. After a day or so  it will no longer try to jump out. It will believe it can only jump to the height of the jar lid. So, all I can say is that my jumping became limited and my mindset followed shortly after.

I started blogging as an exercise to help me track my progress and to explore and find my place of passion, whether it be in art or a form of art. Sometimes we do things because we can and not necessarily because we want to. Also, at the time I felt dissatisfied with the realistic precision of my paintings (that’s about the same as saying I don’t want to me any more!!). I longed to break free of my box, to paint with loose, uninhibited strokes of colour upon colour. I felt unable to portray what I saw, how I perceived the beauty around me, and also  those pictures that “dropped” inside of me…so clear, yet so hard to paint. I wanted to know (or feel) that not one talent or ability given to me was going to waste…to come to the end of my days knowing that I have run the race and run it well.

It has been a long lonely barren desert walk. Often I have felt unable to take the next step, unable to find my element. So, in order to survive, I reduced my thinking, my painting (small blocks), my living….until I ended up just existing. I can safely say that living small does not produce life. It saps all that is still alive.

Now the floods have come. Torrential. Relentless. Sweeping away the drought, the barrenness, forcing me into change. No not the rain. Pain and more pain. Pain in all its forms. Isolation. Doubt. Fear. Sickness. Death and more death. Loss. Grief. The things that make us overcome and grow. And so it is time to leave the desert, literally and figuratively. Take off the lid. Be what only I can be. Myself. You don’t find yourself in another country. You wont find yourself on a different continent. You are everywhere you go. You find yourself when you dig deep enough. Inside yourself. And you let go. And be. The best that you can be. And so it is time to blog again…

This blog is really for my eyes only but life happens to us all and chances are that you have been through the same and more. I believe we are here to “rub off” onto one another, work through the negative and grab hold of the positive, help each other up when we are down. So feel free to travel the road with me , to share in my progress, creativity, wisdom and words, the beauty and pain around us and in us and may I rub off onto you as positively as some of you in blog world rub off onto me.

Time to say Goodbye

Painting flowers was a good journey. It is time to say goodbye.

Change the route. Plan a new trip.

Yep, hard to believe but I only painted one!

Yep, hard to believe but I only painted one!

In my travels through Australia, Zambia, Singapore, Bali and back and forth to South Africa, I  have

left house and garden behind. My goods went into storage. My garden became a gift of plants, pots

and furniture to all my friends. So I decided to build a vertical garden, small blocks of canvas, all the

flowers that crossed my path….. As you know, I am a ‘serial painter’ … I can never stop at just

painting one of a kind, so they ended up in sets of three or more.

Looks lonely. Hard not to paint a friend...

Looks lonely. Hard not to paint a friend…

I initially struggled to paint small (the blocks are mostly 20x 20/30 cm) but was motivated by lackof studio and space and reading this somewhere:  Work small, learn big. I did. I am familiar withpainting figures, not flowers…now I cant stop painting flowers! Building my ‘flower wall’ was veryfrustrating initially but turned out to be a great challenge and lots of fun. You know how we misswhat we had until one day we realize the present is  not actually bad, just a new way of doing thingsand then the enjoyment kicks in. So, here is a bit of my wall. I know what comes next but you’ll haveto wait and see…

Kitchen Talk

Flies are lonely creatures (note : this is not a scientific study), or shall I say, single flies. Probably  a bit human in that respect. There is no food attraction in my kicthen. The house is empty, awaiting furniture. Just me and Fly (ok ok, not a study in grammar either). Flies have a short lifespan so we definitely havn’t met before. For that reason I cannot claim that this fly likes me, therefore my conclusion that it is lonely. It has spent the morning  following me everywhere.

I am considering talking to it.

Second observation: flies are good listeners, they do not intrrupt at all.

Third: they are tactile creatures. Always touching you somewhere. As our conversation gets more interesting, it parks on my shoulder, to hear better. It is very intrigued by the fact that I can talk and write at the same time, so every now and then it lands on my hand.

Fourth: they are vain creatures. It has realized there is some glory to be had in being the main character in my scribbles this morning, so it is now perched on my brow to see if I write with sufficient praise. Truth is irrelevant. Facts are a waste of time. It has given me permission to include two paintings of kitchen scenes. (maybe that is because we are now sitting in the kitchen, the only place with a chair).

Last observation: flies have a short attention span. Or maybe it just got bored with all this talk about kitchens and paintings?

Oh dear no! It’s having tea. My tea.

French Kitchen 30 x 40 cm Acrylic on canvasFrench kitchen 45 x 50 cm Acrylic on canvas


I hear the drops faintly go blip…blip….blip. I stare into the darkness, feeling the utter silence

that amplifies each sound. I can feel him. I can smell him, but he does not make a move.

An eternity passes, years added to my life without me having a say in it.

I am no longer afraid.

I get up and walk to the door and keep walking into the dark night.

I know I will find my way.

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