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Friday, December 30, 2011

Saying goodbye to 2011

I'm not in a particularly reflective mood, I guess because I'm still in the moment. But I'm trying to summarize a very busy and interesting year. Having scribbled my life onto endless pages of journals this year, in a way, I have off-loaded. Today s quite simply, another day, a NEW day and a new beginning..... as is every day.

I've received so many blessings: My eldest daughter graduating in her final honors at Wits, five long and hard years of study. My second daughter, getting to live the dream in seeing the world..... and a large part of herself I may add (and coming home safely), my son's academic improvement at school, his music, golf and rugby achievements, my husband managing to keep the boat afloat under very difficult circumstances, both my parents are still with us and thank God, reasonably healthy, my middle sister is in a new and loving relationship, and got to see my eldest sister and her family after 6 long years.
Exhibiting in Canada and London were unforeseen bonuses, a little start to my big, bold dreams.

I don't believe in making New Years is circumstantial. Nobody knows what the future holds. However, I do believe in hope and dreams...that by visualizing them, seeing ourselves in them, tasting them, touching them ...... we can make them happen. I have many :o)!!

There has been downs this year too...many tears were shed and many lessons learned through each drop. It's been a year since Leticia's death. I still cry when I think about her; gentle, strong, deep and beautiful soul that she was. This year has proved to me that its not about the destination but the journey and that the easy path is not always the best.....especially if the destination is worthwhile. The love for my friends and family have sustained me, the hope I have in that love and its source, is what shortens those long, dry winters of my soul.

A while ago, I had a very profound experience wherein, after throwing a rather large branch into the sea, ( symbolic of my past heavy burdens,) the sky had filled with screaming seagulls, directly over the site.

I decided to do the same...well, almost...this year.
After a long run and a quiet walk on the beach, I decided that I needed to get rid of this years 'bad' experiences and memories in order to start the next afresh.

I found a smelly, drying piece of 'red-bait', and ....I didn't understand why at the time, empty mussel shell, tentatively picked them up, walked to the edge of the rocks and threw them into the waves as hard as I could.

There was no acknowledgement from the seagulls this time. there were none......but I noticed a pair of Oyster Catchers.....they simply stood there staring at me with their blood red eyes.

I smiled and proceeded to jump around on the rocks, feeling like I did when I was a little girl....Free.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A full nest again

My daughter arrived home shortly after I got back from London...sheeeesh!!....the energy!!
I never realised how much I missed it till it flooded our home again! Within an hour, the entire house, from kitchen to bedroom, was littered wth 'Bronwen'!...her loud, infectious laughter, bounced off the walls and nearly caused Bobo, our crazy parrot, to fall off his perch.!

She qualified in Hotel management last year so has been doing some traveling. One can't but help envy her, that at such a young age, she has seen more of the world than most people have. She soon dispelled the notion of any 'glamor' associated with her choice of career...pus and badly cracked, red hands were testimony to the kind of work...really HARD work...that this job entails. She was voted second best of all 26 international staff.....her mum's really proud of her!!!

When she got home, she slept for a while then was pounced on by her siblings...she slept in Andreas arms for a while too and it brought tears to my eyes. Like my own sisters and I, there s a bond so strong that I have no doubt in my mind that my children will always be there for each other.
Her and her boyfriend surprised us a day early so it took an hour to round up as much of the family as we could to celebrate. She was exhausted and hungry....craving 'real South African meat', Nicknacks, my popular 'pap pie' and of course, lots of family hugs....she got all in abundance...and we washed it all down with a delicious bottle of 'Bellini' Champagne.

Dave hadn't arrived yet, but we quickly put a braai together and reveled in our completeness as a family (orbs and all :o) )

I know that ones children are only borrowed to you for a time, but oh Gosh, they are so precious and each second that we get to share with them is like a tonic for the soul.

This is the journal that she bought me from Kusadasi, Turkey....I love it. I totally underestimated how much she understood my tastes! I go through journals like air and water but this one is almost too special to use as a day to day journal. This wll be used during a special time of my life.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I was invited to attended the AGM of an organization called MATLA A BANA on Tuesday. What a privilege! I'm not sure how to create the link to their website
( , but please Google them to find out what they are about. Better still, please support them.

Basically, it's an NPO (non-profit organization) established by Kallie and Monique SA couple who were kidnapped and kept hostage under terrible conditions. Establishing this organization was their way of giving back to their country who, more than any other, procured their speedy rescue.

Matla a Bana's function is to address the huge incidence of child abuse and rape n SA through reporting, support and intervention programes.
At the meeting, I was horrified to learn that, two years ago, it was reported that a child was being raped every 24min..this year, that has leaped to EVERY 3 MINUTES!!! This is an utterly shocking statistic!! We are living in a very beautiful country but there is a horrific sickness within its populace which, I'm afraid, is producing a nation of psychologically injured and women.

Someone once said, there is one sure way to destroy a destroying it's women and children!!.

Women are the backbone of humanity, and yet in some cultures, they are treated as sub-human....often, starting in their childhood. That abused child will grow up n fear, sadness, anger and bitterness and thus will her children and children's children, be raised in that legacy.
Mary carried the son of God, Jesus, who is the essence of our Christian faith...and yet, often, not even she, is honored.....not even by Christians!
A MOTHER, A WOMAN, gave birth to every single leader on earth....and yet, often, at best, they are belittled, forgotten, and worse still, they are beaten and they are raped........ as are their daughters and granddaughters!

In previous generations, children lived in silence about sexual abuse.....especially when it involved a family member. Women and children had no voice. They do now!!!!!!

A well known Jewish author and prisoner of a German death camp once said..."success is brought about by 10 % action and 90 % attitude". Our attitude towards the value of our women and children NEEDS TO CHANGE before any action to stop the abuse, could ever make a difference!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pewter and multimeda

I've been really preoccupied with all sorts of things over the last three weeks. My daughter recently got engaged and we had a huge party here at home for her...around 90 guests....some of whom only left on Sunday. More on that later.

I've been trying to catch up on some of my paintings which I've been working on. But I'm working on a portrait and its turning out to be my most challenging one in a while. It's frustrated me almost beyond endurance.

So, I started this multimedia piece, a twelve division box made with fabric paints, pewter, gesso, small tiles, hand engraved rolled lead.........and a little 'old master' in oils on the inside, just to finish it off. The latter is still in progress but I will post a pic of that once it's complete.

I so badly missed the creativity and doing this was so engaging that barely moved for three days!

This is the picture inside the lid. I took a while trying to decide what picture to paint and I loved this one for the the sense of femininity and peace that it evoked within me. I also saw its pertinence to the life of my friend, the recipient of this box and hoped with all my heart that she would see it too.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Southwark Cathedral

This is Southwark Cathedral...the oldest Gothic church in the whole of London......we took a gazillion photos, but this deserved a mention.

The original Norman church was destroyed in the fire and this one was rebuilt in 1212.....this site has actually been a place of worship for 1400 years!!

Nor and I came across it on one of our 'foot travels'. We decided then, this was the only way to visit a country but given that we had such limited time, perhaps its not always that practical

Wesminster Cathedral

This is Westminster Cathedral where I was invited to exhibit on the 19th of two weeks time. Not to be confused with the Abbey, Westminster Cathedral represents the center of the Roman Catholic faith in the UK. It is not anywhere near as ornate and spectacular as the Abbey...which was built as a Catholic Cathedral then converted by the Churches nemesis...good ol' 'Enery the eighth'.

Noreen and I felt the spirituality the minute we walked into it. An entirely different feel of familiarity, sanctity, veneration, calm and peace. This is no tourist attraction, except perhaps for Catholics...this is truly a house of God, with it's partially completed walls and domes...the starkness was initially a disappointment, but only because we had entered as artists. We attended the 9am mass and silently praised God for leading us home the universal be reminded who we are, who we should be and what this whole thing of 'Faith' is really all about.

We decided to tour we were obviously meant to, because while we were still inside, high mass started and the choir...apparently well known world wide,.. started singing.
I felt asif I had landed up in a small part of Heaven...we had never heard anything like this before and both Noreen and I were rendered immobile, speechless, and eventually, reluctantly, floated out the Cathedral with huge lumps in our throats.

This is the original architectural design which is to be found inside the tower. There's a lift which takes visitors up and down and although there's not a whole lot to be seen, (this is a relatively young cathedral which is still theoretically being 'built'), the views were worth the visit.

This is a view from one side of the tower. Wherever one goes in London...'Old' and 'New' is everywhere. It amazes me how the two eras have merged...this is what creates the interest, the drama, the fun, in visiting cities like London. Seeped in history but fully representative of the present and of course, with ample suggestions of the future visible everywhere too...some of the latter being quite worrying.

I had a bit of a laugh at Gods humor here.....this picture was taken with no intention of suggestion at all!!

This is the Last Supper, an oil on canvas... one of the two paintings that will be part of the one-day exhibition at the Cathedral. I painted it in 2008..It took a few years to complete with the research that I needed to do. It apparently got a lot of interest at the last exhibition in July this year, but when people heard the price, purses slammed shut. :o)

This one is called Peace in poverty and was voted the best painting of the exhibition in July. Nothing surprised me more as it was painted quickly and not in my usual style.
I thought this one had sold, but it was its 'twin', 'Blessed Hope' and I think one or two others.

Looking at these two pictures of 'super-critical' self slaps me on the back of my head and tells me:

"Girl you have a long way to go".

And I have. But the child in me...the dreamer who believes that dreams come true, that has endless hope and faith, has also said:

"Never lose faith. Belive in and visualise your dreams, because by faith and hope, they will become real"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Walking (and running) around London

Ok, so thees ees goeeng to bee fun. The 'eye' key on my lap top ees not workeeng. ( thees ees heestereecal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) As the well known SA sayeeng goes "n boer maak n plan".

We were very fortunate that whaal we where een London, the Thames festeeval was on. There were hoards of foreners around....hardly a seengle Breet to be seen......but eet was so festeev. We watched a laav producton, and lots of ferry's and boats gong up and down the reever. (are you takeeng me sereeously here?)

Nor and took a treep on toureesty boat down the Thames. No great wow except perhaps that the London breedge had to open...apparently not often seen.

This is the 'court-yard' of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, next door to the Brompton Oratory where I had my first exhibition. The wonderful thing about this museum, is that entrance is absolutely free, so whole families get to enjoy the art on display.
Its HUGE and although I have now been to see it twice, there is always something new to see and appreciate....I think more so each time one goes!

I loved this so much! Its a sculpture
of the artists daughter. Perfection!

This is a sculpture done in alabaster. I would suggest you enlarge the picture. You need to appreciate the fine carving of the feathers and lace. This work was remarkable in every way. Its place of exhibition was perfect too, as the sun coming through the window mad this sculpture almost opaque.
What manner of man does such beautiful work. The mind that created this must be a mind indeed!

Horsing around....the Victoria and Albert museum has thousands of sculptures. Trying to absorb it all in a day is impossible. Noreen relayed a story of a friend of hers and her husband who sat in front of an art piece for hours, trying to get into the mind of the artist.

Personally, I'd prefer to read an autobiography.

This pub, called "The Anchor", (no, we didn't go in) on the banks of the Thames, was built in the late 1500's, and is the site of the original Shakespeare theater. Romeo and Juliette was performed on this spot, for the very first time.
The famous diarist, Samuel Pepys, witnessed the burning of London from this very site:
"The great fire swept through the central parts of London, gutting the medieval city and destroying the majority of London's homes".
William Shakespeare was an irritating oddball who couldn't speak English...or so I thought while young. When I went nursing, I spent most of my meager salary on books (and pot plants...I needed a machete to get to my bed)....and William Shakespeare was one author and play-write who I grew to love. Strangely(or not), I didn't enjoy Romeo and Juliette, the ending is not fairy-tale enough. My favorite was Twelfth Night, Taming of the Shrew and the Merry Wives of Windsor...I loved the subtle, almost -hidden humor.

This is one of the more recent sculptures to be seen in London, done by Paul Day. Its called "The Battle of Britain" and is to be found on the opposite bank of the Thames. It's so beautifully done, you can see the terror, you can feel the panic and you can hear the bombs fall.

The part miniature of this particular sculpture ("Mini Scramble"), is for sale at the "Plus One Gallery", as well as others he's done in resin and terracotta. He is one of the best modern-day sculptors I've seen in a while. Looking at this piece, I felt almost, that I was looking at the work of a re-incarnated Michelangelo or Rafael ...using classical style to produce an emotive and empathetic and timeless visual of one of the greatest tragedies of our modern times.

Looking pensive but was really just thinking of my family here. There was a scotsman at the bottom of St Paul's steps, playing the bagpipes. It reminded of my 16 year old son who plays very well. It was while traveling through Scotland with him, that he was so inspired to start playing.

I suppose this is a rather cliche photo...fortunately just before the 'royal wave' I gave Nor. I took the usual touristy pictured, but if you want those...well then you'll find better ones on 'Google'.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I've just done this piece. I have been doing a lot of random drawings lately and this is one which I turned into a pewter piece and stuck it onto one of my brass rubbings. The other is a few blogs down. I now wish I had had the time to do more of the rubbings as I really liked the result.

I will leave the interpretation for you...but my title for it is Conflict

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tate Modern Gallery, London

This is the Tate Modern. This is the gallery that was on the top of our "must do" list, while in London. It didn't disappoint....well, not in its diversity at any rate....but in not having a few more well known artists.

Be that as it may, it was an eye-opener and we both soooo enjoyed it.

My artist friends have always told me as a 'newbie', that there is no such thing as wrong or right, good or bad art. Art is all about individual expression and creation, no matter what it is. Its a personal journey where creation is as you see it, as you feel it....and then, just maybe, by chance, by good fortune, by talent, something you create may feed anther's psyche in some way. An artists greatest blessing is to have a single person identify with, appreciate and empathize with your innermost being. We all seek like-mindedness. Its where we get our strength. To find a co-joined spirit is what we as human beings, subconsciously, have been seeking for since our first breath...throughout all our life journeys. Art is a need to openly look for validation and recognition of something within us which is shared with another soul. Sometimes we manage, sometimes, we don't.

This is some of Gerhard Richter's work. I don't identify with the end product, but I identify with the creative process... big squares of simple starkness.

Claude Monet...yay!...really excited to see this. One of his better known pieces. Waaay bigger than I expected. The colours are really beautifully used and you can see the sun dancing on the water....but to me, it looked as if he completed his picture, woke up the next morning with an almighty hang-over and lost the plot.

Personally, this did absolutely nothing for me. I learned nothing from this....nothing inspirational that is! Four humungous pieces of red scribble. At this stage, I was wondering what qualifies an art piece the privilege of being allowed to hang up in the Tate...but then, there's also the question without an answer..."What is art??"

Sorry, another really, really bad picture which, hopefully, I can replace when I get one, but this was awesome. Standing in front of this 'half egg' shell, my reflection showed on the top. The artist that created this has obviously got a resonant mind and a truly creative soul..beautifully done, with thought, patience, passion which inspires an observer to WANT to investigate its meaning, method and how it relates to them.

I loved this. I've always been fascinated (and intimidated) by cubism and the ability to create form and shape from it...especially round shapes. His ability to use colour in creating depth is awsome.

I'm going to try cubism one day,...... possibly after a good dose of mountain cabbage or an entire bottle of Constantia port..... not because it speaks to me, but just for the challenge.
Once again, in this picture, I loved how the colors were used so subtly in creating the shape and depth. As with Picasso, there are not many colors used here, but the ones that are used create an almost realistic effect, more so I think, than if done in bright colors. I know that these artists all started off as 'fine' artists...doing realistic pencil sketches, and experimenting with conventional techniques, but how does one morph into this?

I had an absolute O..M..G moment when I walked in and saw this. This is perfection, this is wild, this is brilliant!

I think every single artist should create something that is big, bold, impractical, useless. This stimulated my mind in a way that few art pieces do because of its sheer size and useless, pointless perfection. Pretty much like the Tibetan monks who work on an intricate sand mandala for a whole week, bent over double, in meditation...only to break it up on completion.
So, what will happen to this piece??..It's made from degradable will simply disintegrate..its huge, where could it be used other than at a gallery on exhibition?....who would purchase this? This is art. This is done to feed one's artistic is not timeless and has no real 'worth' other than for the artist and people like me who were smacked in the chest, just by looking at it.

This artist is a realist, although his technique, use of color is leaning towards surrealism...a British born artist that was a predominantly commissioned portrait painter. So, what is he doing in Tate Modern....ummmmmm....dunno....especially not in relation to some of the other literally-off-the-wall stuff which we saw. Still, after seeing a lot of weird and some wonderful art, this was a jolt home for my senses. I love his work.

This circle of stones may look simplistic, and maybe yes, when looking at the great artists and their talent and ability to create something timeless, maybe this can be seen as a total cop-out. It has its own expressive strengths, but I wondered while looking at this. If the building needed to be evacuated through fire, would anyone really be devastated if this wasn't saved??

How's this???....another O...M....G moment....but this twit has made a gazillion teeny-weeny, hand-painted, little life-like sunflower pile up on a gallery floor. I had to contain myself from running full tilt and diving straight into the middle (in which case I would still be in London).

This is complete and utter 'dribble-from-the-mouth' crazy stuff! Apparently, this is only a small portion of what he has made...there's an entire warehouse full somewhere. This didn't get me thinking, this emptied my mind.....out of self preservation!

Maybe he had 'mouse' issues as a child....maybe he's passionate about sunflower seeds, .......maybe he has just completely and utterly lost his mind (under his pile of seeds??)!! Good for him!

Surrealism....finally, after years of painting, I can identify my art-style.......oh, that it was this good!!
But, yes, I'm a surrealist . I loved this so much: the misshapen torso of the pale, skinny white man, grotesque...proudly 'lording' it over his beautiful, perfect black.......(wherever your imagination may take you)lady friend.

An installation piece.........
Absolutely no comment.

Some other art pieces which were interesting:

Loved this!!!!!

The Tate Gallery has some pretty thought-provoking works. A visit is worth every penny, every second, purely because it's art crosses boundaries of convention and allows the mind to extend beyond whats comfortable.