When I don’t paint everyday, I always feel anxious about picking up my brushes. I know it’s silly but it’s just a little quirky thing for me. Usually when I feel like this I move around in circles skirting my work space or rather the inevitable... to just get on with it. I’ll tidy up, tinker around and finally I will pick up an old piece or a canvas I’ve been struggling with. It does feel less intimidating than a blank canvas when I do that and of course, I already have a starting point. The other day when I went away for a few days to paint, I was struggling with this canvas and I abandoned it for a week or two and it became my under painting to this piece. I love painting like this and working alla prima. It reminds me all over again, why I love paint so much. Thank you sweet little 6”x6” for bringing me joy tonight and warming me up ready for creativity and filming tomorrow.
I so loved working on this piece and I took my time with all those therapeutic dots... this piece was inspired by our beautiful Guineafowl that are endemic to Africa. They roam freely on my parents farm and most places actually and have always been very much part of my childhood. I love their perfectly spotted feathers and beautiful colors.
At one stage on this piece, I froze and was overwhelmed to finish but I’m so pleased I pushed through. I love the circle elements that I can see that help take my eye around this piece and I am pleased that I kept their faces neutral with everything else that’s going on. On the whole, this piece really filled my love tank. I’m so grateful for this studio time.
I worked out this week that I haven’t done any filming for 8 months. I literally couldn’t bring myself to do anymore. Now looking back, I think I might have over done some things. My camera is set up above my table and over my creative space and I had worked out literal parameters to work within. For a while I felt so hemmed in and bound by my “shooting square” and I was feeling like I needed to break out of that tiny zone. Even if it was self imposed and self inflicted.
Surprisingly the break did me good. Changing my studio and the way I work and stand has been ergonomically good for my body but also my soul. Setting up my new studio space with my camera rig, this week past has felt refreshing and filming my mini lesson for PYHAS was a pure delight. I’m so grateful for the break and I’m feeling so inspired to turn my little camera back on, even if it’s just slowly and in small “byte” sizes. I want to be careful not to overdo it.
If you haven’t already, it is still not too late to sign up for PYHAS, see my button below and if you are already signed up, I hope you love my mini lesson. I had so much joy putting this together for you.
Thank you Olga Furman and PYHAS for having me on your platform this year.
What a crazy few weeks….
Digby has been so hectic at work with his financial year end and more, I had tax filing season and tax certificate filing season for all my clients. Corks had her 1st semester exhibition and exams, which has been her toughest semester yet. It was all conceptual and a tough subject. Kitty had her first set of exams for the year, at the same time registering for University and meeting with our dear friend Ingi to help design her degree choices. Ingi is a curriculum advisor and she helped Kitty understand her options and possibilities for next year. She also went with a friend to his matric dance which is like final year prom - she looked exquisite. When we are all operating at full throttle… I can feel we are all feeling the crunch collectively. I’m happy to say as of today we are all on leave. I’m pretty much off until the end of June. I’ll be doing some odd days work in between but mostly I’ll be flying low. Kitty is leaving for Art Tour and Corks will be hanging with us for the next few weeks which is always a treat of treats.
As we slowly start exhaling from the whirlwind of almost 6 months of this year, we are starting to reap some of the rewards of hard work. It makes the hard days a little more worth it.
I am aware that with social media and even with #365TinyCaptures that the visual story being told with perfectly selected pictures that are atheistically pleasing that it could come across that we are living this perfect existence, right? But we know the truth is that life is messy. I’m noticing that there is this delicate balance of good with the bad, hard with the easy, crazy with the sane and of course so much joy mingled in with sadness too. Always. This is our life… our crazy crazy imperfect, unpredictable and at times unmanageable life. The gift of #365TinyCaptures is that it gives me but a moment to cling to in each day that feels like goodness, mini reminders that I can find moments of beautiful in what can sometimes feel like a harsh place at times. And for that I’m so grateful and collectively the images are just so pretty.
Thank you to those who have been following my daily gratitude for the 2nd year running, it truly means the world to me.
A little video of me creating in my handmade journal.
I’ve been loving putting this little journal together.
I thoroughly enjoy collaging pages and working over two pages too. They aren’t big but just a very comfortable size. I haven’t filmed myself doing anything for ages. I haven’t been ready to put my rig up or set up my camera so I kind of just balanced my camera on top of something on my desk and I managed to capture some random creative play. Some days I don’t get huge amount of time to create, but it was more than enough to fill my creative love tank for that day.
We have around 14 weeks to go before we arrive in Italy for our sweet little class in Orvieto and as life would have it.
2 SPACES have become AVAILABLE….
because planning a class two years in advance means that sometimes life gets in the way and some things you can’t for-see.
Our class filled up so quickly so it didn’t leave space for people to dwell on the notion of coming because it is such a big beautiful decision and worth taking the time to think about taking a sacred pilgrimage for your art. I am so excited to be returning this year alongside Ivy and with Michelle and Adventures in Italy and of course with old friends and new.
What I do know…. About Italy and my beloved Orvieto.
I can unequivocally say - I fell head over heels in love with Orvieto in 2012 and it’s been a love that’s renewed each visit thereafter. This old world seeps under your skin and into your bones and it lingers there, always inside of you. I think perhaps me and Italy will never be done with each other. Travelling again, in my 40's is not by any stretch of the imagination easy. However, I do think it's necessary... all my trips to Italy have impacted me so deeply and have profoundly changed me and my art after each visit. It's deep and nourishing and this kind of expanding from the inside out - is never comfortable, growth is never comfortable but I believe growth is imperative to who we are as humans.
If you are considering coming to Italy to join my beautiful friend Ivy and myself, I feel I need to say, it's not a vacation. It's a kind of pilgrimage and we work and play hard #inthestudio and out of the studio. Creatively, there is something so sacred about the beautiful artisan village of Orvieto, with art around every corner. It’s a visual feast. The intensity of culture, history and more. I know for myself, what I gained in the group learning, kept me unpacking what we discovery together in the classroom for months to come.
In the next few weeks as we draw closer to departure date, I will be unpacking memories and images and moments of sacredness of that precious place and walking those ancient streets, cooking beautiful meals together, creating art together and making friends that last a lifetime.
I’ve been so inspired by Illustration works lately. Courteney got me hooked. Whenever she finds a new artist on instagram that she thinks I will like, she points me in that direction and a lot of them are illustrative. I know it’s definitely not an easy way to work but I’m loving the challenge and the layers. I have been doing a lot of research about it and my Pinterest art board is filled with it at the moment. I’m going to be practicing a bit over the next while and doing some studies of artists I’ve been enjoying. I’m currently working on this piece which was originally inspired by a combination of an illustration I saw of guinea fowls mixed with garden / plant illustrations.
Gosh so much to learn about this style and how I incorporate it into my own style and theme. Once again I’m smitten with the play. And I hope to linger here a little longer.
Digby and I have snuck out of town for a few days and hoping to finish these pieces while we are away.
I was sitting in my writing chair the other day and this piece was up #inmystudio and I saw her halo and I was wondering how it would look if I gave her a bit of a body. Oh I loved moving beyond the embroidery ring. It wasn’t easy because I do very thick stitching and folding my already stitched zone back into the ring was challenging, but I was careful and I loved adding the extra section.
There seems to be a kind of wisdom and maturity coming from her. Finding any kind of emotion within the threads is equally if not more challenging than in paint which I’m loving very much. There is something sacred about picking up a stitched piece and it’s loaded with layers of thread, feels almost old world.
We have decided to renew our house lease for another 2 years. This will bring us up to 10 years being in our quirky little house. The shock of that hit us squarely in the chest the other day.
When we first signed the lease - we said it would be for just a year until we were back on our feet and recovered from our relocation from the big city. Now we are steaming towards a decade. It has made us stop and take stock. The truth is where we are situated has been so perfect for us. We are on the outskirts of the city where I have mostly been working for the past decade and of course we are right under our beautiful mountain with the forest literally on our doorstep. We can escape the concrete jungle whenever we like without taking a road trip. We are close enough to the harbour to hear the foghorns blowing on foggy mornings. It’s been a 5 minute trip to the girls school and even though that is now coming to an end, the university is even closer. In terms of location we are very well situated. For a while now we had to give up the dream of being able to own a property this side of the mountain. It’s just too expensive. Cape Town property is off the charts especially this close to the city. We made peace that we will continue leasing until we know what direction we will want to go. In the next six months Corks will be 21 and both our girls will be in university at the same time. Our dogs are also on the other side of the half way mark of their lives. Things are changing for us and our little family and we don’t know what that’s going to look like going forward and we have been apprehensive to lock anything down permanently.
We love our home and it’s quirkiness and all the ease it offers us, but I think the thing I love the most about it, is when we came here, Kitty was so little that she measured below the door handle and now she towers over us. It will also be the longest place we have stayed so far in our married life and once we reach 10 years here, it will officially be the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place in my whole life. Which is a huge milestone, in itself. I had a very nomadic childhood. These restless patterns continued into adulthood and having this level of stability and what that holds for me… is huge. Being able to give that to my girls has been important to me. I love that they have loved this home so much and so many beautiful memories are held within these walls. It’s where my girls grew up into their own adulthood.
So for now… we are embracing this new renewal and all the comfort it gives us in it’s small and humble and beautiful simpleness. The little knowing at the back of my mind that makes me smile when I’m in my kitchen preparing dinner, when my big girls walk in and help me prepare and I see the door handle behind them and remember that little girl that now kisses my forehead while looking down on me.
This is our home even with all it’s impermanence.
On the 11th March, I hurt my neck badly. I wish I could say I was doing something utterly spectacular while doing it but literally it happened in my sleep. I started off with physio and acupuncture believing it was muscular but what I should have done was start with Chiro manipulation because it was spine alignment that was required. My C2 and C4 were radically out of alignment and for a prolonged time, causing muscular and nerve damage. My left arm was lame and performing simple tasks like putting my car in gear was excruciating. Nevermind the dull, nagging pain across my shoulder and face, down my arm and my back. For the first time in 2 months and 1 week, I’m starting to feel relief from the pain. I gently continued with Vinyasa yoga practice through this time using alternative postures to help support healing through movement.
I seldom use pain meds because my stomach can’t handle it, so I was mainly relying on heat pads, massage and stretching. I am so grateful for the medical support I have been receiving and I will continue with maintenance work over the next while. I am also grateful to my yoga teacher’s gentle patience with me too. I am making progress and I am being careful. What I do know is how patient I’ve had to be with myself too. I have zero tolerance for being “down”. I wanted a quick fix but my body needed something else completely and I had to lovingly come along side myself and give myself time and permission to heal.
This is a massive shout out to all the people I know and don’t know who suffer with prolonged periods of pain. I know it’s not an easy road you walk. Sending you all so much love and grace.
This was an old canvas I painted over.
Last year I painted some realistic paint tubes and I love doing them and I have kept two of my fav tube paintings around my studio but the others I’ve been painting over… at first I left the painted words from the tube showing on her face but it was a little odd - I do love odd! But Kitty wasn’t loving it so I moved along.
I can’t wait to keep growing this little series… 6”x6” at a time and of course I continue to inspired by nature and plants around me and painting teeth. This theme has been appearing in all my paintings this year. I think for now I’m going to continue working with it and be delighted by these sweet characters that keep showing up.
I have been dying to do another little stitching piece because after Threaduary I kind of hid away from my threads and needles. I know that sounds funny but working that intensely can be overwhelming and my stitching in February was intense. That being said, I have been ready to be back here. She’s tiny and she’s on a little calico sack that Chrissie sent me in my beautiful parcel a while back. So far all my stitchings have been on strange little fabrics that I have had in my sewing box. I kind of like that idea very much. Some of my fav works in the past have been on scraps of paper, fabric or canvas.
There is a kind of no pressure vibe to it, that my artist self must find enjoyable and playful and therefore a lot less intimidating.
I have been wanting to only stitch pieces that are inspired and based on some of my previous paintings. It’s just a concept I’ve been trying and playing with. She is inspired by my last 6”x6” piece. I know she probably looks nothing a like but she’s where I started from.
Speaking of Chrissie’s parcel… my special friend sent me what felt like a Christmas box of goodies a while back and I can’t even tell you what this beautiful gesture did for my heart. Soooo much goodness, so much thoughtfulness and so much love. Thank you beautiful friend, for your love and care in each delicately wrapped piece. Blown way by your kindness and unbelievable generosity.
Look at those gorgeous silk threads on beautiful old wooden reels and my beautiful beautiful Chrissie eye. That beautiful piece of art is up #inmystudio on my desk and it makes me feel that little bit closer.
Love you sweet friend. Thank you for everything.
If you are following me on Instagram, you might have noticed I’ve been sharing a variety of different images and not only art. It’s part of me working hard to share more transparently about our everyday life this year, in a way that’s honest and vulnerable. I want to share about the small things that are adding beauty and joy to our life everyday. I am a simple girl so on the most part it’s nothing earth shattering and just moments here and there about life.
I am so simply and easily pleased by little things around me... like our neighbourhood otter’s gorgeous hands, seeing my garden slowly start to come to life after years of struggling, sitting around the fire, rainy days in the city and beautiful books.
She’s BIG, she’s fierce and she’s been captivating me for months.
I don’t know if you remember my post about working on her for the month of December, no matter where she took me. I couldn’t finish this project in December because I couldn’t fit her in my car on holiday. My canvas is around 30Inches wide. I continued with her in January instead when I got home. Sometimes on bigger pieces, the backgrounds can really freak me out and for some or other reason the background got so bright that it completely overwhelmed me. I kept moving towards her and away from her… but now the more muted background has me completely moving towards her and at last I am starting to find my way… and I’m starting to really love her.
I have called this piece The Way of the Warrior Spirit… which is what Budokon means, I love Japanese words so much. And I love how she appeared for me when Kitty and I were deeply intrenched in our Budokon practice together. And the practice of finding our warrior within. The notion profoundly affecting us both.
I love the synchronicity of that.
I’ve been working with this precious size and I’m kind of loving working in series.
My next three 6 inch by 6 inch block canvases are ready and waiting for me. For now these canvases are the size I’m working with for daily paintings. That’s my idea and plan to paint a new little one everyday but let’s be honest they don’t all work out that way… sometimes they captivate me for days because smaller doesn’t always mean easier.
For now, super fun and the more I’m going the more expressive I’m getting, which is always my hope.
Boy did we journey together…
And she was really hard to photograph. Sorry if my image isn’t brilliant here. I did love the journey this mysterious one took me on. I knew I wanted her hair to be full of leaves. That’s all I knew. From the beginning her face alignment was all wrong and I ended up doing her eyes around 3 times, her nose about 4 time and her mouth… much the same. That being said, all in all I loved the process and this limited palette. My muted green is now finished and I can’t get anymore so in many ways I’m back to the drawing board with a fair amount of things. Firstly, in the paint department and secondly, I know this year I am hoping to do more figure work and not only produce faces.
All I do know is that I’m looking forward to continue practicing and going deeper.
So around mid March I realised I hadn’t painted much since my auction last year October and my last lesson for Life Book around the same time. I had been stop start and a little inconsistent. Six months is a long time to be off my painting regime. I found that pretty hard. I had a busy film season (my day job) and as I shared in my last post, I needed a change. Moving my studio was a huge shift for me and it gave some much needed new life. Plus I’ve been writing again and reading creative books and so much more.
But mostly I committed April to working everyday #inmystudio. One of my old disciplines that have always worked for me… Keeping bank hours. And I’m loving it so much.
I’ve been rusty for sure. And getting back into my regime has required grace and patience. I’m unfit. I know I have been dabbling with lots of mediums and I will obviously continue with that, but in case my mind forgot… I have been reminded just how much I love painting. Period.
It makes me so happy.
Looking forward to getting lost and more expressive the more I paint regularly.
I’ve been deeply challenged about sharing on social media the last while and it’s something I’ve been struggling with for some time. I realised in February I didn’t share a single post on Instagram. I felt like a deer caught in the headlights. I want to share more deeply and more vulnerably leading to great authenticity but deeply challenged on how to do this all the while honoring privacy and sharing appropriately. Is it even possible? To me it’s a delicate balance and one I’m not sure I fully know how to do. It seemed easier when the girls were younger and Instagram was a different place.
I want to share more of my life together with my art but also honoring my families need for privacy and their own right to share their own stories especially now with the girls being older. I’ve been doing lots of research about it and listening to podcasts and I hope I’ll have it figured out at some point but right now I will continue to make every effort effort to share as best as I can.
Corks did this piece at art school which just summed up my struggle. She used her Identity number, a very private piece of information and shared it publicly but in a way that’s still private.
I love this!
I continue to be delighted again this year with the small findings in each day. Sometimes I am challenged in what to capture. This past week nothing special happened, it was just work and home and resting in between. But it made me seek deeper and find smaller moments, like the sun catching my Monstera leaves after my afternoon nap or two birds sitting outside my studio window. It’s small goodnesses that could so easily be missed.
I was watching Brene Brown on Netflix last week and she said this beautiful quote and maybe I’ve heard it before but it just felt so perfect for this project…
When I can’t get to pull out my paints, I’ve been playing with my beautiful compressed woodless charcoal. They are a local brand which comes in soft, medium and hard and they are a delight to work with.
I hope I get to play more in this beautiful simple way.