The beautiful art of quiet...

This weekend past Kitty and I escaped to the beautiful Kogelberg Nature Reserve and Mountains for a Silent Retreat.  We went together with my oldest friend from school, we are still connected after all these years.  We had been planning this trip since April and it was hard to believe it had arrived.  Our hearts were expectant and our bodies were ready too.

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We arrived on Friday afternoon and the drive into the mountains with all those yellows and greens were like my color palette in life form.  I couldn't believe the synchronicity of that.  It felt like I was in another country.  As we hit the nature reserve, the cellphone signal was gone and I thought I would struggle, but I really didn't.  Plus our schedules were full on so I didn't have too much time to think about connecting outside.  We were connecting right here in the present.  Digz and Corks were also away for the weekend doing a stage race.

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Our days were filled with yoga, meditative yoga and quiet and gentle sessions of being introspective, intentional and deep thinking.  We also shared beautiful intimate meals together.  Our teachers were really two of the most beautiful people I've met in a long time and our little group was quite something.  Some of us knew each other from gym and other places and there was a unity with us that often happens when one is on retreat.  I never forget how meaningful this is.  It was hard work and deep work too.  It was a slower yoga than some of the gym classes I do and I've realised I love this way more, it suits my temperament and nature much more.

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I think I will tuck this experience away deep inside as one of the most moving things I've done in a long time.  The yoga was the most beautiful to me.  I learnt so much about was my breathing technique and also my tummy.  I don't know why that affected me so much but I think it has to do with the work I've been doing this year in surrendering.  Funny enough the name of the retreat was "LetGo".  I realise I hold my tummy in so tight all the time, without knowing it, I'm always clenching.  I am still holding on so damn tight.  Although I've been doing the daily work in yielding and moving with rather than against... you know, like my paint, creativity, life or everything else really, I still have so much work to do.  I shared more about it previously, in this blog post here.

It hit me hard this weekend and my body isn't quite there yet.  It felt like deeper work in this area.  Like bringing my body in line with the thoughts I've been having this year.  Maybe deeper levels to complement the work I've been doing with Gillian, my art and creativity.  I don't know, I'm still unpacking it.  But as I slow down and contemplate, release my tummy and breathe out, I will continue to do the work and that this was the start of something rather beautiful.

Mister Finch Inspired...

I know most of you have seen me share this image on FB/Instagram but I wanted to share it here too.  It was a delightful surprise that happened on this piece and I'm so captivated by the outcome.  And rather grateful too.  I've been needing something to captivate me and hold my thoughts.  As I was contemplating how to move forward with this smallish portrait.  I had stumbled upon these incredible fabric moths on Pinterest at the beginning of the year and I knew I wanted to paint them.  I was just trying to find the right time and right amount of courage.  I had saved the image but not the details and I wasn't sure how to find it again.  I shared this image on Twitter when a kind friend introduced me to Mister Finch, as I shared in a previous post.  I am so utterly captivated by his fabric works and I am completely smitten.  I can't wait for his book to arrive.

How utterly incredible to find flowers on moth wings, quite simply the most perfect combination to me.  Long may I stay here, captivated, intrigued and deeply moved.  I hope I will continue to find simple beauty and mystery in this place.

Thank you Mister Finch for adding so much beautiful to the world, especially mine at a time when I needed it the most.

#captivatedCompletely

Paint your Heart and Soul 2019

Earlier this year Olga Furman invited me to join her as a guest teacher on her year long art class called:-

Paint your Heart and Soul 2019

I'm thrilled to be sharing my intuitive painting ideas with you and I am especially excited to be walking and working alongside Olga and her great team of participating international teachers for the variety of art techniques we are going to explore together.

WOW!!!

All of us are very excited to share our knowledge and tips and tricks with creative people like YOU.  The course includes over 50 downloadable video lessons and PDF documents, which will be provided weekly, starting January 2019. Artist instructors will share their unique creative process with students, from start to finish, including a list of art supplies they use.  This course is designed for individuals of all skill levels, ranging from a total beginner (no previous experience in drawing/painting is required prior this course) to an experienced artist!

We will also have a closed FB group where students are encouraged to share their progress, receive support and meet likeminded friends. This is a very friendly and inviting environment.  Being a part of the art community has a tremendous positive effect and makes the learning process even more exciting! 

In this course I’m going to provide two lessons.  My first lesson will be around creating intuitive and emotional portraits and my mini lesson on the study of things.

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This course is now open for registration (insert your affiliate link) and if you register by December 5th, you can purchase the course at a DISCOUNTED PRICE of $99 (save $30 from regular price of $129!) Don’t miss out!

And what’s more - I’m going to give one of you a FREE spot in the course, please see details below!

GIVEAWAY

To enter the Giveaway raffle, do the following: 

 
  • Share this link on your Social Media (FB, Instagram, Pinterest)
  • Comment on where you shared the link and I will add you to the raffle.  Each share on a different social media counts as one entry – multiple entries are encouraged!
  • Sign up for my newsletter here.
 

I will announce the lucky winner on the 19th September 2018

*If you’ve already paid for the course and win the spot, you will get a full refund!

I can’t wait to start creating together!

Love, Jeanne-Marie

Building a body of works...

Thank you for all the calls and messages about Gillian's class and I've loved giving feedback.  Not to ever take away from the classes I've done before because they have been so part of my journey and my creative process and for that I will be forever grateful.   It wasn't by any stretch of the imagination easy for me and it was deep and hugely vulnerable at a time in my life, that I really needed it to be... about my art and my creative process.  

It was one of the most intensive and deeply life changing classes I've ever taken.  I loved the smaller intimate aspects of this class and of course, the mentoring was quite something. 

This is what I had to share about Gillian's class...

 Gillian's Studio

Gillian's Studio

 
This class has by far been the most enriching and challenging class I’ve ever taken and I think it came along exactly when it was meant to. I was ready to go this deep and deeper. I felt I had reached a cross roads in my art and my creative process and I wasn’t sure how to move forward. I wasn’t sure I was going to cope with non instructional videos being a visual person but actually it has been the greatest gift about this class. I now see how important this step was for me because it forced me to do the work and find things out for myself, what’s inside of me and doing my art, my way. I will continue to do the work with these tools as I continue to learn, grow and go deeper. Researching, free writing and intensive mentoring has deeply changed the way I approach my creative process. I realized that this approach has been something I had been longing to learn for a very long time. Thank you Gillian for your gentle but firm mentoring and your deeply thought provoking material that has deeply changed my creative life.
 

I hope this helps you as much it has helped me, I know I have a long journey ahead of me but I'm on this road and I'm so thrilled that I got to get a space in this class.

Let's talk about color...

Color keeps coming up for me this year and it was a full chapter in Gillian's class.  I was afraid to face it when we got there - not sure why exactly because I'm a big color person.  I have this thing with color where we dance together but I don't really know the steps, right?  Admitting that I'm clueless felt a little shameful to me on some levels.  But as I started exploring it, I realised it wasn't the big boogie man I was making it in my head and dare I say I'm soooo enjoying exploring it more.  Giving myself permission to use it unashamedly.  Gillian said some things to me in the class and my notes that brought up some childhood memories around my relationship with color that moved me deeply and maybe even shifted something for me.

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Corks shared this wonderful app called Adobe Capture with me.  One of it's lovely little features if you are moved by a color scheme or mood in front of you, hold up your phone to capture it and it works out the color palette for you.  I did this against one of my latest paintings and it's pretty spot on.  It has other awesome features too.  I hope you love this as much as I do.

This is a great little secret to help me in my studio notes book and research journal.

I love finding clever little things like this.

Beautiful pages of love...

I love art books and I love buying them and finding gems that help fill my creative love tank.  I am so thrilled to have found two beautiful books this week.  I haven't done too much book buying lately to finding these two books has been such a gift.  I am thrilled to share them with you.

Ivy's ColorFlow book couldn't have come at a better time, I've been doing color practice in Gillian's class.  I am so thrilled about this perfect little book and as for Mister Finch, well he's new to me and I'm giddy about this find.  I found some of his incredible creations on Pinterest at the beginning of the year and lost track of the details around these works and today I found it again.

I've been soooo inspired by his works.

#InMyStudio...

My creative process has felt different this year and while I was working on this piece and I was painting her mouth, I realised hey haven't painted an open mouth portrait this year.  I wasn't sure I was going to be able to.  I felt rusty but I'm happy to see that came out quite nicely without too much difficulty.  Phew.

I see I've also got a little locked into doing straight on faces and I need to practice variations more.  I know I have so much work ahead of me and so much to think about and not enough hours... gulp.  Otherwise I've loving the darker elements here.

 
 Palette - Venetian Rose, Olive Green, Warm Grey, Process Black, Titanium White.

Palette - Venetian Rose, Olive Green, Warm Grey, Process Black, Titanium White.

 

Finishing old pieces...

I started this piece in 2015 and never finished it.  It originally had two figures and it was part of my first year of 365Faces, 1faceaday journey.  The faces were lovely but the bodies were unfinished.  It has been waiting patiently for me all this time.  With many many layers and frustrations later, even scraping and sanding back... I started to find my way.

I love working this way.  I don't mind the messes and the fixes at all.  I almost can't get through any painting lately without what feels like has become this necessary step in my creative process.  I don't fully understand why exactly but I'm moving with it.  I think it might have to do with discovering new paints and how they work together with my old paints.  I'm intrigued.  Yes, I'm still very much in my green mode and I'm hoping to linger here a little longer, without feeling guilty about it.  I'm playing with the different shades of green and what happens when I add different blues to it, yellows and black and whites too.

So for now this is where I'm playing, repeating and playing some more.

Vegan butter... yummy

Ingredients 

  • 1.5 x cups of coconut oil

  • 0.5 x cups of almond or soy milk

  • 0.5 x cups of olive/avocado/sunflower oil

  • 4 x tablespoons soya lecithin granules

  • 2 x teaspoons apple cider vinegar

  • Salt to taste

My friend's hubby is vegan and while we were having dinner, it opened up many delightful conversations especially for Kitty and myself as we have been doing lots of research around vegetarianism and veganism.  We have been slowly making lifestyle changers not only in the way we eat but also in the way we buy food.  I'll share more about that soon.  They kindly introduced us to their homemade vegan butter.  I was intrigued and it tasted like pure heaven.  They gladly shared the recipe, which I tested today.  I used a fairly strong olive oil, which has added a taste variance because he used avo oil.  I also used almond milk and not soya milk.

All in all, rather delicious.

Method

 Smooth and buttery

Smooth and buttery

  1. Add almond milk and soya licithin granules into the blender and make sure the granules are covered by the milk.

  2. Add Apple cider vinegar and salt to the mixture.

  3. Add the olive/avo oil and coconut oil next.

  4. Blend together until thick and creamy.

  5. Place into your containers and refrigerate / freeze.

Notes:-

  1. Start your blender off on the slowest dial and move up to a faster speed.

  2. Blend for a fair bit of time.

  3. If mixture is runny and separates relatively soon after you have poured into your containers, then you have not blended enough.

  4. Mixture must be thickish and creamy in consistency.

I love butter, all kinds and I don't use synthetic alternatives at all.  When I'm very lucky, my mom shares goat's milk butter with me, which is a rare treat.  I am currently waiting for my vegan butter to set so I can tuck in and I'm going to be testing alternative recipes in the next few weeks.  For our next dinner date we are going to be having a vegan butter tasting to start off our evening.

I love this.

#ImperfectAugust...

My sweet friend, Anne (aka Annetoile on Instagram) started #ImperfectAugust

It about being fully present for August.  Not to produce perfectly finished pieces but just showing up even if it's just for 15 minutes a day or something lighthearted and simple.  Just being there...  To start something, finish something, sort something or prep something.  And I have to say it just got me so amped to be #inmystudio.  It has come around at the perfect time, the back end of finishing Chapter 4 for Gillian's mentorship class and I'm fully ignited and fully engaged and fully happy.  So I've been starting new pieces, making handmade journals, finishing old pieces and stitching too.  I have lots of ideas swirling around my head at the moment.

I'm exploring and playing and it feels good.

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I am using this as a spring board to get me started on new pieces.  So maybe I will have a bunch of pieces started and I will have pieces to work on going forward.

HappyHeart, HappyAugust and HappyPlay

A body of works...

This come up in FB today, all my latest images grouped together, like this.  I was so pleasantly surprised.  I have been purposefully working and sticking to a theme of color, pattern, line and texture the past few months.  Being completely intuitive, I don't usually do anything on purpose but I've been understanding and learning more about that in Gillian's class. 

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It's really blown my mind a little and I'm really loving what I am discovering about this and my creative practice.  I don't have it all figured out at this stage but a lot of what I'm doing is simply playing, experimenting, total exploration and a lot of repetition.  I'm hoping out of it will come something that I can feel deeply connected to and something that I can be fully proud of. 

I am loving learning so much.

Neverending July...

July seemed to go on forever and when I look back over the month and see how much happened, it's hard to fathom it was only 1 month.

We had family over for the holidays, a lot of them.  It was challenging, wonderful and beautiful too.  We did beautiful things together in Cape Town that made me so happy - I love sharing my city with special people.  We didn't have internet for most of the month of July, which made it excruciatingly long and the loss of connectivity with the outside world seemed to paralyse me in new ways.  I am giggling when I'm saying that out loud because I do realise how insane that is on every level, right?

 The catch up was brutal.  But I'm so happy to share, we are back on track and our fibre was installed yesterday so I feel like our internet woes are behind us.

We live in hope.

July was visually big and beautiful even without internet.  We DID so much.  Corks got home, the girls went back to school after the winter holidays and life is returning to a semblance of normal.  If there is even such a thing.  7 to 8 months in and it finally feels like we have settled into this year, at last.   There seems to be a gentle joy between all of us and my heart is feeling a little restored.

#HappyHeart

Fixing little sacks of love...

Ahhhh it's been different to find myself back at this place, painting on teabags.  I had six teabags left from my 2016 journey and they needed some extra love and extra layers of paint. I wasn't happy to sell them the way they were.  These final six will be going into my auction in October.

And then it will truly be the end of this season for me.

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For old times sake, I made a little time lapse video of me painting this tiny sack.  I am a bit rusty for sure but I do still love painting small.

The girl is back...

I can't believe she's home already.

She 100% experienced life as a young adult in Europe and wow what an experience.  Not only getting to ride her bike in a riding city and cycling culture but she learnt so much about this style of racing.  Bunch riding, racing at full steam in a format so different from home.

We are so grateful and so proud of her time away.  As a team, they had to deal with illnesses, family loss and grief, travelling to get to races in other countries and navigating that in different languages all while cooking, cleaning and maintaining life.  They pretty much rode everyday and raced twice a week.  They raced late in the afternoons which meant getting home around midnight after races.  Sometimes commuting 50km's to a race, racing 100km's and commuting home late at night.  She got a few life "hidings" and other personal victories and I am trusting she has grown in abundance and expanded in ways that will leave her changed and matured for some time to come.  She loved touring too and I'm so grateful she got to see part of Europe and what better way to see it while riding your bike.

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Having her home and quality time has felt like Christmas.

Thank you to all who made this incredible opportunity and dream a reality, you will never know how much this means to us and to her.

#InMyStudio gently showing up...

Still working in this theme and hoping to go deeper still.  I know I'm just scratching the surface of whatever I'm doing and I am looking forward to really getting lost in time with where I'm currently at.  We have just finished Chapter 4 in Gillian's mentoring program.

And it's been brilliant and I'm learning so much and I'm beyond excited and I know I will share more once I'm on top of my life a bit more.  It's been quite a journey just to get me to this point and I know I will need to go back and dive deeper into the material, concepts and practice.  Like I do with any class I'm in.

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I am deeply motivated and excited for the next few months as we narrow our focus.

I also have my auction that I'm prepping for.  So much joy ahead of me.

Much love always, Jeanne-Marie

Playing with strings...

Oh I'm loving this space and I am learning so much and I can't wait to keep discovering.  I know my work is a bit clumsy but I'm okay with that for now, while I learn and experiment.  For now, it's such a happy space for me and the colors are pure and delicious.

I'm making plenty of mistakes and there has been unpicking.  Don't doubt, it's hard work.  It's heavy on the eyes and hands and although I'm working mostly at night by the fire, I can't see the colors at night or the eye of the needle, if I'm being honest.  I have to shine a torch on the threads to see or I realise in the morning it was the wrong color and I have to unpick.

All in all, I'm loving this year of experimenting and this has been a delightful addition to my work.

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I think my biggest challenge is knowing when to stop or knowing when I've gone to far.  I am working intuitively still and allowing the piece to lead me all the way, together with the colors. Sometimes it's purely about what colors I have available.  I am not over planning anything and I don't have my colors mapped out first.

I had my first critique from Gillian in class and I can't wait to try some of the very constructive things she suggested.  I'm so excited to be diving deeper.

#200 is my number today...

Wow, I'm so thrilled to have reached #200 in my #365tinycaptures project.

If you have been following me for a while then you will know I love projects and this is one I have been trying to do for 3 years now.  I am so happy to tell you that this is the furthest I've managed to get with this little project.

It's a visual feast for my eyes and it makes me so ridiculously happy!

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The more shocking thing to me is realising how fast this year is going but taking stock everyday is making me so aware how the days are merging into each other at such a rapid pace.  I'm not going to lie, it frightens me a little.  I'm grateful to be taking a moment to see, capture and hold close these moments.  Some aren't momentous but some are precious and others are enough.  Some are perfect and others are hard.

But whatever they are, they are life this year. my life. our life... up close and exposing and vulnerable and that's truly beautiful to me.

And for the first time, I think I want to share them.

A stitch in time...

One stitch at a time.

I'm loving the slowness of stitching.  Like photography, it slows me right down to breath in and out quietly...  To think... To dwell... To quieten down.

It's meditative.  And I love that.

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All I know is that I need more of that in my life and how beautiful to do that while my hands are gently moving one stitch at a time.

Winter in Cape Town...

We have been having beautiful rain and I'm happy to report that our dams are around 50-60% full.  It's not perfect but it's a way better than day zero.  We have this beautiful thing in Cape Town in the middle of winter called Indian Summers.  Yes, they can last 2 to 3 weeks at a time where the days are so beautifully mild, warm but not hot.  Not a breath of wind and it is utterly pristine.  As close to perfect as one can get.

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This is when I love touring and getting around my City from one end to the other.  Indian Summers are a beautiful reprieve from the cold days and visually, it's brilliant.  It feels a lot like hope and love and a lot of kindness and it seems to come along just when one needs it the most.  As life had it, we actually found ourselves in the City centre quite a bit, there is a tangible energy in the City that is quite something and as a family, we are mad about it.

We usually hibernate during the winter holidays and don't leave the fire place and sure, we have had those days.  But this winter, Corks was away and we got to have Kitty one on one to ourselves.  And we did lots of beautiful things together.  We also had lots of family over and did the tourist thing.  It was busy but really special.

xoxoxox

6 Months Done and Dusted...

Wow I have to say I'm so chuffed with my little project so far.  In many ways it's felt a little private and a little delicate and kind of just going on in the background of my life.  There has been so many other things going on that it hasn't taken the lime light and I love that.

I have been using this project as a way of capturing tender moments, how much I'm creating weekly or monthly and just small intimate moments of the inside parts of our life.

And when I look back at June, it was intentional and visually beautiful.  Thank you, I needed a month like that.  I hope that this is a big ramp up for me to see the rest of the year through.

As I lay these images out on my studio desk, I was struck with the realisation that I have finished 6 months of this project and I now have 181 tiny, milky images showing beautiful, crazy and oddly mundane moments of this year.  Which started me visualising 365 of them lying together like this and I've started imagining how I could display them all said and done.

I feel like I may want to display them.