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Monday, October 22, 2012

Actually, who cares

Five more weeks till W-day!! Why am I not panicking? My daughter has just sent me a to-do list which has more "reds" (to-do's) than "whites"(done). So far, I have made 30 small parish invites, 80 invitations with pewter, silk ribbons and little diamantes, and a meter and a half tall Eiffel Tower for her Bridal shower made entirely out of wire! My hands looked like they had been plunged into a bee hive.


Over and above that, life continued with the usual things... tilling a shower floor, painting a few meters of external railings and scrubbing grouting etc.....and then, squashed in the middle somewhere, was my sons operation ( a 3 1/2 hour ACL reconstruction) my commission, up to 7 new sheets of trumpet music per week and a new website about to be launched.  

No, actually,  things have gotten crazy where my life-long need to maintain balance has been challenged to the enth.  There are sporadic visits to church, to my friends, to gym and quiet moments that are spent reading or scribbling down garbled thoughts and amateurish pictures....or rather doodles of a somewhat un-wired and unimaginative mind which has been laid flat from chasing my own tail!

The rhythmic motions of the day have almost become my "hommmmmmm" meditation, where my mind competes in its own race between calm, agitation, practicality, light and dark.  I have learned to befriend them all.  The winner is the one which comes closest to touching the outside world.. so as to be fueled by it.

What value is this to anyone?  None whatsoever..dead-ass boring really, but  I learned from "practicality" today, that one cannot influence ones value in the eyes of another ....that your perceived value is as a direct result of what you have given out in your personal capacity as mother, wife, friend, sibling or artist for that matter.  Its recognition is influenced by the values that the recipients themselves have.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Weapon of mass distruction

 My CD player has not been working for a while so I've been forced to listen to 702..a chat radio station during the week, but which has fantastic music over the weekends.

By the end of yesterday, I wanted to slit my blumming wrists!!!!!!  I listened to producer after producer discussing topics pertinent to our current news:  i.e. A step-father/child-rapist who's life sentence for raping his 12 year old step daughter, was commuted, because she "did not scream" while being raped, she "consented" for rewards, and there is no "evidence" of physical or psychological harm.  I won't elaborate at this point, as to how I felt about this judgement, or how I reacted to it, except perhaps to say.... "give that peadophilic b@#$%rd to me (and lots of ladies I know),.... they want screams,..... I'll give them screams"!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I thought the life sentence for child-rape in this country was mandatory ...!! Obviously not.

Then, there was a story of our police force...that most of them are overweight and failed their fitness tests...UNABLE to run 2 km in 20 minutes!!! With that in mind, the next story was of a truck-driver who died of his head injuries, and another who was burned alive in his truck yesterday, during the trucking strike (which happily ended today).  Where were our police???  (other than sitting in their cars with a cell phone to one ear and a "double Mac" being shoveled into their mouths) Their response was that the perpetrators "disappeared into thin air".  Case closed.

The mining strike is continuing and so far has cost this country over R3B....and our state president is, all the while, building a mansion in Inkantla, Natal, for his gazillion wives and children, of which R2M will be payed by the tax-payer.

On a positive note however, the controversial "Spear" painting was declassified yesterday...which has now allowed me to put it onto my blog.

For those who are not familiar with this story, In May this year, SA artist, Brett Murry, exhibited his painting called The Spear" at the popular Goodman Gallery.  Its a painting of Jacob Zuma with his rather nasty-looking third leg exposed.
The reaction was very mixed.  The ANC condemned it as disrespectful and a law-suit was opened against the gallery, followers of Jacob Zuma were vociferous in their anger at Bret Murry, calling hm a racist amongst other things and then proceeded to deface it.

The painting was still bought and is now safely (defacement and all) in Germany.

 Then, a few months letter, a black artist called Ayanda Mabulu painted our president with those same nasty bits exposed ( obviously, after being slammed in a door), which he exhibited in Cape Town.
He called his painting "Umshini Wam", which roughly translated into English means "My Weapon".

Interestingly, there has been a play on words by both artists, comparing his genitalia to a weapon....could this be due to the rape case that once stood over his head....or his claiming that a good shower could prevent AIDS?

The reaction to this particular painting, however more detailed and graphic it is, was subdued.  The ANC just politely asked all artists to "respect" our president.

 Is it because the art work was done by a black person instead of a white?...the "racist" card obviously could not be used.

Throughout history and the history of art, the earliest contemporary pieces always gave voice to the voiceless, exposing troubling social issues which were largely left unchallenged because of fear and politics...or both.

If this man commanded a deep respect from his people, through his leadership, through his governance, through his intelligence, words and actions, I wonder if these paintings would have been done.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


 My eldest daughter is getting married in 7 weeks time which I believe, over these last few months of planning and preparation, is bringing about an emotional transition within me as a mother..from protective nurturer to bystander and more important, explorer, discoverer of a completely different world. A very strange and even frightening place for me to be.  When I walk into her bedroom now, its as if my mind consciously wants to absorb everything as it is: clothes lying around, make-up and jewelry, strewn everywhere, her smells, her pictures, her tacky little pot-plant...I feel a strange panic come over me that soon, this bedroom will be empty of all this and of my little girl. I will be handing the responsibility of her welfare to a man who has only known her for five years....and not 24....I will be handing her over to go and make decisions for her own family, her own life, and have to step back when she makes decisions which could potentially harm her or take her out of the comfort and protection which I as her mom, have striven  to give her, all her life.

My own parents still phone me often. I can hear the unvoiced concern in their voice...I can hear them reaching to me in love and I understand the desperation they feel's when their children hurt.
My fear is:  Do I have that incredible strength, to continue with my own life and detach myself when my heart is breaking, if my children move to different continents and I cant share their day-to-day life like I do now.
My role as a parent is taking on a whole new direction and Lord, it's scary...but also exciting, and wonderful.  I will be gaining a fantastic new son and, God willing, be blessed with beautiful grandchildren.

But right here, right now, its a matter of getting my head around all these changes...having the maturity of spirit to understand that this is all necessary, a natural progression of life...a generational transition, that every single human being ever created, has to go through this....the transience of life itself where each phase has its own importance and blessing.

I have been really busy lately but predominantly on my own. The voices in my head have been cruel, funny, calming, inspirational and I have listened to them all.  I have thought of love and being in love, the love of family and the love of friends:


Other than my family and "love" itself (Malvolio???) I love music .  my days are filled with all genre's of music, My trumpet has become my outlet and diversion. I wish that I had started to learn music sooner 

This is my all-time favorite love song..simplistic but beautiful


If a picture paints a thousand words then why can't I paint you?
the words will never show, the you I've come to know.
If a face could launch a thousand ships then where am I to go
There's no one home but you.You're all that's left me too. 
And when my love for life is running dry, 
you come and pour yourself on me.

If a man could be two places at one time, I'd be with you.
Tomorrow and today, beside you all the way.
If the world would stop revolving, spinning slowly down to die
I'd spend the end with you and when the world was through,
Then one by one the stars would all go out 
Then you and I would simply fly away.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ghosts and their horses

 This is a progression of the first commission which I completed recently. It is the first of a few references which I received from a "high profile" individual, who, frustratingly,  I know very little about.  The little I do know, I'm not at liberty to divulge. I really try and personalize my commissions but knowing next to nothing about this family, and given strict instructions to paint "the reference"only ("yes sir"!!!)  any artistic license which I may have been tempted to claim, has been squished!!
 Step two:  completing the background in layers, waiting for each to dry.  Patience is a necessary virtue here....hell on the nerves if you have two weeks to complete it by!!  If your paint is thin enough, it should work out well.
 Next, I started layering from the top left-hand corner, deciding on the base color and painting in the natural direction of the muscles, thinning out and thickening where the shadow occurs.  This makes it easier when working in the last layers of light or shadow
 I continued with this, working in sections.
 Being a dark colour, fortunately, it dried quickly so this part was quick (as quick as an anal artist could find it)  I worked in the white after the darker colors were takes a whole lot longer to dry and there is more chance of smooshing white all over the place ... (like always get covered with blue paint even when the darn tube is capped....whats with that???....or finding spinach in your teeth when all you've eaten is a jub-jub!)
 I worked from left to right as usual but didn't move down to grass level as that still needed layering before I could do the legs.
At this point, I was standing away from the painting a lot to ensure I've managed to capture the perspective, colors and shades and was going from one thing to another to correct and fill in as they came to my attention.
(I once painted an entire penis and only realized it once a fellow artist started laughing and I took a few steps back to actually SEE the picture)
 Once the grass was painted in, in the distance, only then could I start doing the legs and tail.  The fur was largely done using a fairly long rigger loaded with really thin paint. 
 Almost done, I was in a panic at this stage to ensure all the white had been added as the drying time is really long...especially if the weather is cold or rainy (which it was).  the white feet had to be completely dry before I could paint in the foreground. 
Done!  I hate painting in grass.  Its tedious and I'm still learning that less is more....i.e., sometimes using only a little detail in the foreground will create a better picture.

Because thin layers were used throughout, a week's drying time was adequate for me to cover in a thin gloss varnish.  I love using varnish as it enhances the color of your painting, especially if, like me, you are not a colorist.

Happily, my secretive client really loved her painting and a day later, I received a few more to do.