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Monday, June 25, 2012

Finally, I've found my shop!!! (or is it my 'era')

We stopped at this BEAUTIFUL little shop on our way out of Clarens. There wasn't a single member of our group who didn't walk away with something. We were gob-smacked.

OMW!!!!!!!.......the clothing in that store. Everyone who knows me, will also know that I do NOT enjoy shops or shopping AT ALL. Funding this little gem of a store, got me so worked up.

It was a functional period piece and everything in it drew me...the decor, the clothing, the ambiance, even the owner looked asf she had come from a different time-zone, as young as she ancient soul!

There was absolutely nothing that didn't appeal to me....the colors, textiles, design, ....Lord, what a 'Sharon Shop'!!!!!

I'm going back....soon.......who's coming with??

Painting wth Richard Rennie

Last week, I went with a group of artists (and friends)to Clarens on an art retreat, a workshop with water-colorist and landscape artist, Richard Rennie.

What an awesome time was had! The comraderie amoungst not only artists, but women artists, is just really special. A matter of 'anything goes', there was no pressure to be or do anything other than what's good for you. Lots of good food, walks, long talks into the night ( the topics were often quite risque.....because they could be :o) ) sipping wine and liqueurs like 'Hot sex' and 'Nagtmusiek', laughing till we cried, hugs, shared interests.....all made those few days so memorable>

On our way, Nor, doing what she usually does....took a sudden turn onto a sand road and we all ended up at the outlet for the Lesotho Highlands Water project.

Richard Rennie, showing us a very loose technique he uses in his paintings. He's as comfortable with his messed-up paintbrushes as we are breathing! Almost without any thought (and absolutely no cleaning of brushes), he goes about applying his colors in just the right places and quantities.
I was fascinated

One of his water colors.

He taught us to move from dark, down to off-center lighter tones, down to dark at the bottom. There should be a darker focal point in the middle (or rather, center of your subject matter) to draw the eye in.

It all made sense, and although my style is nowhere near close to his, I learned so much.

Some of the pieces which I did in the first two days.

Naive and be critical of my own work....

A silhouette of an elephant....which Richard recons was far too difficult for me to do on the first day....but in fact, this was the easiest painting that I've done in a while...

This is a painting which I did for my husband. With the content changed somewhat, its a painting I did from a photo taken while we were staying in Lake Como, Italy, a few years ago.

Two of the most fabulous ladies in the world!
Aletta, a well-known SA Journalst, with the sharpest sence of humour you've ever come across, (Richard often had to sit down, laughng at her chirps) she's 72 years young, has been married forever with four daughters and 5 grandchldren. Her energy is inspiring in itself!

Then of course, of my soul sisters....a special, special lady!

A group photo...mostly Noreen's students. They love her dearly.

Bucket lists...mine's deep!

This is the smallest free-standing piano that I've ever seen.

We have a small Giessler which my soon-to-be son-in-law and various friends and family have all tinkered on. We bought it for our children who were all going for piano lessons when they were younger....even my son who was only 3 at the time! He, fortunately, benefited from it by learning to play the bagpipes at a very young age.

As a child, I grew up with classical music on a Sunday, blaring through the house, Freddy Mercury and Boston on weekdays, and a mother who sang Ave Mara and other classical pieces, at church functions ..........and while standing on a chair when visiting family and friends.

We had a piano which my mom sold, which she regrets to this day. My dad went to piano lessons as a young man but stopped as his piano teacher used to hit him on the back of his knuckles when he played the wrong notes (@#$^$##@&!!!) My mom, gran and aunt all played.

I had a friend, Brian, who since the age of 3 played the piano, cello and sang, who got me to turn pages at his concerts, who then, as unique people sometimes do, disappeared into a world which seemed to disappear for me too, as I got older.

Music has always been a very important part of my life.


At this late stage of my life, (tongue in cheek) I asked for a trumpet for Christmas and am now learning how to play!!!

.......and loving it!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kimberly The McGreggor Museum

Kimberly, what an awesome little 'dorp'! Its one of the most visually historical places that I've been to in SA, with its huge hole, little miners houses and various old buildings...not much modernization has taken place here. In fact, sadly, rubbish was strewn all over the streets from strikes due to poor service delivery.....the latter is evident in the poor state of the once regal, well-kept historical buildings, the sidewalks and roads which have numerous mini 'holes', and the statues have either been neglected or damaged.
Kimberly was originally called Vooruitzicht but the English found the name unpronounceable and awkward. Something which is not well known, is that a chap by the name of John Wodehouse, a 20 year old Oxford University student!, was the Earl of Kimberly...he was still around (if not in that capacity) during the siege of Kimberly.

Kimberly is said to be the most haunted town in SA - they even have a ghost walk!
Not having much time, I could only pop in to one of the numerous old buildings:

This is the McGreggor museum.
If I had had the time, I would have loved to draw it! Instead, I went ghost hunting.
Apparently, there's a nun dong her rounds in the military room, and the sound of a baby crying coming from one of the trunks.

I had the building completely to myself for at least an hour before someone else came in...they had to switch the display lights on for me....and even then, there were certain places into which I couldn't and didn't venture.

I loved this! Leaded, stained-glass windows at the top of the stars at the entrance.

An awesome fireplace n the entrance. It was very dark inside so the photo did not do it justice.

Going upstairs...the atmosphere was filled with movement of past eras and people who's footsteps preceded my own. Loved it!

Its first function...a Sanatorium for the wealthy and their helpers, seeking a little peace and rest! Thank God for progress where peace is sought in nature and openness, meditative sounds and in solitude!!

There is absolutely nothing peaceful or restful about this place.

More befitting the infrastructure and ambiance, it then became a hotel.

During this time, Cecil John Rhodes used the Hotel to secure himself during the Siege of Kimberly. This is the original bedroom where he stayed.

The ubiquitous Mr Rhodes.

Doing a lot of portraiture work myself, I actually loved the painting. The colors are all very subtle but REAL.

It then became a school run by nuns where sports like hockey and swimming was offered. Its obviously from this period where the ghostly nun decided to remain to watch over her charges.

There was a lot of history of Kimberly on display, but what I found so poignant, was the involvement of the women...the hardships they had to endure, trying to raise their children under such difficult and harrowing times.....feeding them, having to worry about their safety on a daily basis, education, all, with little or no emotional or physical support or means. They all just got on with life as best they could.

Modern women do have hardships but these are of a vastly different nature. I can't help feeling sometimes, that somehow, we have become less resilient and able to deal with life's burdens.

Hand on hip, resolute....

There's nothing in this picture which gives me the impression that they were feeling incapable.

The realty is, they were a single body of women ALL going through the same stuff,...hunger, disease, the loss of spouse and children...they were all in communion...all linked by 'same'.
Perhaps that is the difference between then and now...and the secret to coping.

Who says history has no value???

The displays were pretty good. A lot of archeology and anthropology related to the history of Kimberly AND SA.

Taking the time to read a little got me thinking. The local Eastern Cape Bantu groups murdered, raped and pillaged surrounding Koi villages. Land was stolen from them.

White SA farmers are now dealing with 'land claims' from our black communities...but surely, this should apply to ALL cultures...Swazi could claim from Zulu, and Koi from Xhosa??



The display cabinet had some wonderful old books that I would have loved to read

More. Perhaps you can recognize a few of the titles??

Breaking the mould

I haven't had this much art fun in a while.

Noreen, an ancient but lively and energetic soul who exudes joy and passion in everything she does, jumped at the opportunity to brighten up the new children's radiology unit at Coronation Hospital.

She asked a few of her art students (and a friend) to help her. We had around four hours to complete the job,

I had a switch and two cable outlets which needed masking..the latter became the eye's of the monkey and the switch was covered by a big foot. It worked out rather well.

The colors were soft and bright...just a fun picture

Nor, busy with her elephants.

I have a feeling that this will not be the last mural that we will be doing.

I hope not.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sold and souled-out

The final piece which, happily,sold....even better, to an owner who started crying when she saw it. What greater complement could there possibly be for an artist! I wanted to personalize it a little for her, so painted ten teeny little hearts in between the flowers, to represent each member of her family as well as bees.....for her own interpretation!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Love story

A deep, raging river runs between two worlds, one desolate, arid and woeful the other, seeped in light, tranquility and cheerfulness . Peace, believing that to divide the two lands, was for the best, changed the once, little stream into an impenetrable barrier, where the two worlds, remained apart. Understanding and Tolerance, once, a long, long time ago, tried to cross in their little boat called Hope, but sadly, they were dragged under the murky torrent and were drowned.

One day, Love was walking along the river bank when she heard wailing and weeping, a terrible sound that she had never before heard.

She looked across to the opposite side and her heart was shattered at what she saw.

There, the beautiful Sad, was contorted in grief, pulling at her long hair, bent over double, writhing as unseen demons seemed to be tearing at her from within and without.

Love's heart went out to her, she called out again and again but still, Sad could not be reached from over the great divide, and more than anything, Love wanted to reach her, to touch her.

Love decided to take the pieces of her shattered heart and build a bridge to the other side, leaving her moon, sun and stars behind for this perilous journey. It was to be hers alone.

Slowly, carefully, bit by bit, never giving up, even when the vicious, boiling waves of the angry river dragged her under, she continued to build her frail little bridge, till eventually, it reached the opposite shore.

She walked onto this strange land with just the core of her heart remaining, looking for Sad.
Thick old walls, higher than the eye could see, newly built walls, strong and solid, door-less and unyielding, formed strange fortresses, with degradation, darkness and decay, all around. Ominous and threatening whispers, telling her to leave, for there was danger there. She could be trapped and would die

Love had no fear. She had gladly used up most of her heart to get this far. She couldn't leave now.

Frantically she searched, probing into dark holes, and unknown spaces until finally, led by the light within the core of her heart, she found Sad.
There, in a deep hole, seemingly blind and deaf to everything except the sounds of her own weeping and the dark curtain of hair covering her face as she wept, she slowly lifted her head as Love leaned over and stretched out her hand.

"GO AWAY!"shouted Sad.
"Why did you come here? You know nothing of my world!"
"Your world has a moon, sun and stars, this world has none, you do not understand my pain. You cannot see it like I can"
"I can see nothing and understand nothing except this pain , not even the light glowing from within your heart could avert my eyes".
"I don't know you!" "GO AWAY!"

Love heard the words but they didn't make any sense. It was not possble to walk away from Sad when the light within her heart had grown so strong and to do so now, would mean death. Love had never ignored the light.
She reached over and gently lifted Sad out. As she did so, she explained:

"Yes Sad, there is a sun, moon and stars in my world, but there are also storms which flood and drown things, darkness that envelops and a sun that burns and causes a dryness of the soul"
"Yes, our worlds are different but it doesn't matter because neither are perfectly safe".
I can live in all worlds because I am Love.

Sad had heard the words and they had not made any sense to her. She would not understand any world except the one she had always known.

"DO NOT TOUCH ME" she shouted as Love tried to sweep away the hair from her eyes to wipe away her tears and help her to see the warm glow within her heart's core.
Turning away, Sad slowly whispered:"I feel you but cannot be touched by you and you can never see me for I am tormented by you. You have unwittingly , brought me to this world of mistrust and pain. You are a lie."

Sadly, Love walked away, all the while, her hearts core still aflame, and crossed back over the little bridge.
She knew that she would tend the bridge, and wait patently till Sad allows herself to see Love and cross over to be united.

As time passed, Love would often see beautiful Sad, dancing as if her feet were winged with a lightness that Love alone knows, and she was so happy for it.

But sometimes, when she looked over the raging river, she would see Sad, in a macabre, dispassionate dance of the pain she knows so well.

The bridge made of little pieces of heart still stands.