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Friday, August 24, 2012

Gallery hopping

One of my favorite things at the moment is to visit galleries with my artist friends....something I'm not getting to do much of late. Its fun, it keeps you in the loop as to whats out there and, for me, most of all ,its hugely inspiring. We visited Artspace, David Krut and Gallery 2...a fairly new gallery, all off Jan Smuts Ave in Parktown.

This is the art work of Kendal Geers who had a solo exhibition at the Goodman Gallery this month.
The pieces were very interesting as they were diverse, with the use of various media, multi-faceted . The use of flattened, cut and shaped razor wire to sculptures of forefinger and thumb forming chains (loved this) and interesting sculptures of sculls.

These are some of the paintings which are currently on display at the Standard Bank Gallery in Jhb. The theme, being the human form, artists like Matisse, Monet, Wilfred Lam, Gino Severini, Francis Gruber and Francis Bacon to name a few

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The adventure (and lessons) of life

Having just returned from Cape Town, I've had a pretty euphoric week....up till two days ago!

This wonderful lady works at a Kalk Bay, dock-side fish-n-chips 'restaurant' called 'Kalkies'.
A free spirit, a happy soul, that is as loud as she is funny.
She pretty much runs the show..she's the one who shouts out the prepared orders "Nummer 35"....."NUMMER 35!!!!!"
Love her!!!
She sat next to one of her male customers for a photo and just as the shot went off...she leaned over and stuck her tongue in his ear.
Great mirth!!!

This is the view we get, driving into CT from the airport. Tin-shack townships are as much a part of South Africa as the mountains themselves.

There's surprisingly little rubbish lying around...comparing it to Gauteng (Joburg) that is...but then, CT is run by the DA and not the ANC. In Gauteng, ones car tyres are constantly being shredded by pot holes, beautifull old buildings are vandalized.
Driving all around CT for four days, there wasn't a single pot-hole to be seen and old buildings were being renovated.....hmmmmm

Very exciting things are happening all around....and some really not nice things as well.

I was invited by a gallery owner, a few months back, to become involved in a brand new concept involving the entire art world...from all artists, known and 'unknown' and multi-crafts persons, through to framers, restorers, students and art equipment suppliers, etc. Again, I cannot divulge anything as I had to sign an NDA a few weeks back, but shortly , all will be revealed and I will happily post the details on my blog. Basically, its something which will be of complete benefit, the artist and people in this line, who need to be paid and recognized for what they do and offer in their respective fields. I had to meet with some of the others involved in this exciting venture, to discuss strategy and progress and we all came away feeling "wow".
Although a very positive person, I'm a born septic and battle when it comes to trusting people that I don't know... but especially, my own abilities with something you will read in my previous 'projectile vomit' of a blog.

One of the wine estates we stopped at, Rust en Vrede, in Stellenbosch
This estate makes the most expensive bottle of wine in the whole of SA, the1694 Classification 2007...selling for R1200 per bottle!!

Their Estate 2009 is wonderful...consisting of a blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Shiraz. Yum!!

There is neighboring wine estate called Bilton which has tried to sell a bottle of wine for R3000...obviously (and thankfully) its not selling.
How on earth is that price validated!!?

Then, my eldest daughter is getting married soon and we have been running in between dress fittings, venue's, cake-makers, material, haberdashery and stationary shops. I am making 80 wedding invitations with various types of paper, ribbons and pewter and these have to be completed at least by the end of September. I totally suck at working out fonts and fact, anything that involves computers and technology (I lie....I CAN fix the odd kettle, leaking cistern and washing machine :o) ) but honestly, am finding that I do not have the time or patience to faff with stuff anymore. Just want to get things done!

My darling and precious daughters in one of the bridal fitting rooms.

How I love them!!

Some not-so-nice things: Two of my very close friends have family members with a terminal disease and are battling quietly in their own ways to deal with the impending losses. Here again...the Lord sending people into my life who, through their own personal struggles, have taught me... and are busy teaching me.... such valuable lessons in coping skills. I am in complete awe of them...beautiful, spiritually strong women who, despite everything, still impart such calm wisdom, kindness and unwavering love to all and everything around them while battling with these weighty and sad issues in their own lives. To be able to share not only the good, but the bad, is precious.
Recently, after the rarity of me becoming vulnerable with a friend, I was told that she couldn't be my 'therapist'. I felt awful, believing that I had been a burden, but I have since realized, that we are ALL unqualified 'therapists' in some form or other,..... at some stage of our life,..... as a family member or friend. The only thing that qualifies us in this role, is LOVE . Trust is the mutual catalyst. Like breast feeding, a gift which is offered and received unconditionally, thoughtlessly and willingly by both mother and child... if the baby doesn't latch,or if your milk dries up, there's nothing you can do except offer a don't stop feeding the baby. You may feel disappointed or a sense of rejection......but maybe....its not what the baby needs to grow strong and thrive.

While in CT, I got a call from my daughter that her husband-to-be was beaten up...having a glass (??) smashed in his face. He was defending her my other daughter from the advances of a lecherous old fart.
I am entirely besotted with my children and know in my heart, that if I had received the call while here at home, I would have arrived on the scene in my dated slippers and gown, donning a baseball bat!!! (what can I say....I have all the class of a Hillbilly, having being raised in a mining and farming community). Happily, he's mended well and I've removed the ten stitches from various parts of his face today.

Taken the day after he was beaten future son-in-law. He is a very big chap, a rugby player, and could have done some real damage....if he was that way inclined.

Love him, dearly, dearly

There were days in the past when I felt really angry at my father's decision not to let me go into teaching. I realized profoundly this week, that there have been times when my 'forced' profession as a nurse and midwife, has played such an important role in my personal life...with my husband, my children, my friends....and now, two days ago, a complete stranger. It didn't end well but my experience allowed me to do what I could, calmly.

The husband of a domestic worker, who works for a friend, collapsed. We were sitting in the studio painting when we got the frantic call.....All hell broke loose!!.....running around, tears, screaming, crying, praying.
I last did CPR about 25 years ago as a student nurse, but its amazing how the mind kicks in with the fright and flight response. When I reached him, I knew that it was already too late...he was 'chain-stoking', having drowned in the mucus which had flooded his diseased and scarred lungs from a bad bout of pneumonia. Other than being a heavy smoker all his life, he had been released too early from one of our useless government hospitals....they had given him an oxygen tank...without tubing or mask for heaven sake...and obviously, without instruction on how or when to use it!!

I was desperate to try and save him as his wife was kneeling next to me, wailing out prayers. I tried for around 15 some stage, I remember feeling his sternum crack with the force of my compressions....all to no avail. He took his last breath,I believe, while still in my arms before I had even started!!.

I was rattled to the core by the whole episode...more than I care to admit, but having mastered the art of suppressing emotion pretty much all my life, I calmly continued my day, and even slept well that night. However, I woke up feeling such love for my family and friends and had an urgent need to tell them that. I know that one or two recipients of an email telling them so, probably think that I've lost the plot....but that's ok. I haven't. I just realized how quickly life can be taken from you...there IS NO TIME TO LOSE, when it comes to love.....there is no wrong in expressing it and least of all, showing matter how ill received :o)...the only wrong is not telling someone how much they are valued when you have the chance!!

I recently read something...I don't know who the quote is from but it is worth sharing:

"We make up and break up with people and continue as if nothing has happened. But we all know it has. What do you do with the inventory of adventures you had with people, good and bad?
You sort of arrange them, mural-like, on the inside of your heart, and have exhibitions every now and then, so that you can confirm your worst fears and sometimes happy thoughts and everything that is preposterous and glorious around you".

Friday, August 3, 2012

Out of the blue ('s)

For the longest time...or so it seems...I have been feeling a sense of impatience and drought in my creativity. I have been all but stuck in the rut of trying to reproduce a photo with oils, and haven't felt the freedom of simply being able to produce something from "me"...which would be of any value, that is. I've had the odd emotional explosion of recklessness, related to hurt and anger and frustration...and, come to think of it,loss...but the violent colors, the garbled and pathetic attempt to try and release whatever it was that I was trying to deal with, let go of, is worthless and meaningless to the world....or anyone who supposedly, 'appreciates art'. It's worth or worthlessness, is mine alone.

So what am I?? The age-old question, which I believe every single artist who ever existed, has asked them self, so, so many times. Am I even an artist when I have achieved nothing remotely close to that of the standard set and required to qualify that title?

Do I measure my worth or talent...or lack thereof, through the eyes of a cynical, critical, and fickle society which I have never embraced as my own...where seemingly, everybody is an expert and knows what good art or bad art 'educators' who feel sanctioned to rape and pillage your soul, intellectualizing what they see, through their own bias and insecure need for conformity and norm and a need to recognize like-mindedness.
Saying this...I'm, stuck in my very own conformity and window-less box. I cannot see out. I cannot see any other world except my own...and I'm not even trying to look. Is it that I do not care to?? why? Arrogance?

What a hypocrite I am!!! that I see a solid red circle , roughly splattered on a blue painted canvas,... as absurd!
But then, I don't see myself as an artist, so what does my opinion matter?!!!
I don't care to be seen as one. I refuse to be governed by a label to substantiate who I am or what I do.(by what or who's authority anyway...when tomorrow it will change??) I can use nobody or nothing as a yard-stick.... only the strength I gain through times lessons.... my own frailties....I know nothing except that which I have experienced for my opinion - on anything - is really meaningless.
It's therefore shocking and almost unbelievable that anyone who looks at my work , finds any value in it. Nobody knows what drives me least of all me. I can only act within the circumstances which the Universe delivers...things that, through my own positive or negative energies and decisions, allowed to filter through into my life.

Out of the blue, my aunt commissioned me to paint a stallion which she wanted to give away as a gift to someone of royal birth (I'm really not at liberty to divulge exactly who). I haven't painted horses in ages, so was at a loss.

I had mixed feelings about the reference I chose as the angle at which I chose to paint it (rearing up), made it seem a bit like a darn Ferrari ad! However, I have learned from past experience, always to go with my initial gut feeling and so I did. When she received it, she was adamant that she was going to keep it. Not to be.

The background took a fair amount of time as creating the mood for this picture was very important.

Next came the silhouette of the horse...which by the way, was not painted in black, (a color which I seldom use as it's a really 'dead'... no, seriously) but instead I used different shades of Van Dyke brown.

I slowly started to work in the highlights....using an array of colors...Payne's grey, yellow Ochre, raw umber, purple etc....not only white as it would appear here. I loved doing the fine detail of the tail and mane!!!

I decided NOT to paint the eye in....feeling that if I did, it would leave nothing to the imagination of the viewer...the painting would always just be an interpretation of my own.

Lastly, I added the foreground, trying to keep the detail but at the same time, toning down the color's so as not to detract from the subject matter. Lastly, I added in a little dust....or at least, attempted to.

I have now been commissioned further, to paint three of 'Madame Secret's' Shires.....the most beautiful animals that I have ever seen in my life......with possibly more to come. hmmmm....whereto from here.??

One of the best art-related quotes I've read in a while: " There's no need to be perfect to inspire others. Let others get inspired by how you deal with your imperfections".