Physically, I am home.
Mentally, I am still in the grips of travel. I like to think of travel as a state of mind. That place where you are permanently unsettled, uncomfortable and unroutined. Things change constantly and you find yourself playing catch-up on situations long after they have passed( What did that signpost say? Did I really just see that in the back of a passing car? What on earth was he selling?....you get the drift).
Like getting off a boat and still feeling the water moving under your feet hours later, travel leaves you with senses zinging, confused and exhilarated, exhausted.
But home I am.
First thing I did was walk into my studio and close the door behind me. I deliberately left it clean and tidy with my latest work on display. I knew I would be fragile on my return so I created a warm welcome. I arranged the paintings to all face me as I entered, like an audience to a stage. It was fabulous. I drew deep breaths, longing for some stinky turpentine whiff, but smelling only oily paint. The studio air -temperature was bone-chillingly frigid, but the glow of all those paintings left me in no doubt that I was home and ready to stay for a while.
Now I am waiting for the fog of jet-lag to leave me and am preparing for a serious few months in the studio. I have a so many projects I am working on, so much to do and say.
I was totally inspired by my travels and physically, I sometimes itched to paint.I resisted any half-arses attempts whilst away because painting requires great thought and planning and I have used the last month to do exactly that. Sitting still, observing and writing it all down have kept me focussed and allowed me to develop some ideas.
I visited galleries whenever I could. I wanted to view some Pierneef's and was rewarded by visiting the Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch and seeing 32! Jackpot! I bought a beautiful book on the work of Frederike Stokhuyzen, an artists that I was hitherto oblivious to and am who now has me as an ardent fan. I went to The South African National gallery and various contemporary galleries in Cape Town. I marvelled at everything because it was all marvellous.
I am predominantly a landscape painter and South Africa did her best to provide me with some outstanding vistas. I look forward to offering up my interpretations in the following months but will leave you with a couple of photos.
I feel so blessed and grateful to have had the opportunity to travel, see family, old friends and see the glorious landscape as we travelled 5000km across the country from Cape Town to the Kruger National Park and back. Safely and with great company.
Now if I could only just stop yawning.......