25 April, 2013

Gratitude and the gift of hardship

An artist I have followed by blog and have admired over the past few years has suffered a horrendous injury. He has lost his sight. If he will regain it in full or only part of it is still uncertain, but my heart goes out to him. This is his thing, it is what he does, he is an artist. A visual artist.

He was talking about being grateful for the ordinary that allows us to lead such extraordinary lives.
"It is easy and seemingly natural for us to lament all we do not possess, while hardly registering the innumerable natural advantages that make our everyday lives possible and worthwhile."

Six years ago I fell deathly ill. During one very dark night I felt I might not recover. I was sad for my family, my children but I was enraged , furious, that I had not allowed myself the chance to paint . It was one of those things that I had set aside , an indulgence, until I had enough time/energy/space ( oh, the excuse list was endless! ) to devote myself to painting. I had let myself down and I knew it.

But, I did not die, I lived. I remember recovering very slowly , focussing on how my life would be different, grateful beyond reckoning for this second chance. I carry that gratitude with me and I remember that dark night' anguish whenever I become frustrated with my progress or some trifling in my life. I stop often, I smell lots of flowers, I admire many views and I do not hang around negativity or allow it to hang around me.Above all, I paint. I love painting. I think back to those times whenever I am at some kind of crossroads and gain instant clarity of what it is I want to do and be. That dreadful time, in retrospect, was a gift.

The recent Boston Marathon attack was just a reminder. What happens to a runner when his legs are blown off? What happens to an artist when he loses his sight?

Please have a look at David's work, it is beautifull.


My parents leave in a few days time and I shall miss them terribly. I imagined them driving home, past the the informal settlements of the Cape, to their home and their lives. So I painted this.

Informal settlement
oil on paper

22 April, 2013

Doing the headless chicken two-step

I am running around, post exhibition, delivering paintings, thanking kind patrons and generally sorting out the after-math of what turned out to be a marvellous and affirming weekend.

Despite the torrential downpours on saturday and sunday( drought has broken!) , people still came to see the exhibition. The friday evening opening was a jumping affair...over 80 people all laughing and having a whale of a good time. It was amazing and I came home exhausted , smiling and gratified at having sold 16 painting on opening night.  I imagined it could get no better than that ,so you can imagine how humbled I was when I sold a further 10 over the next few days.

I was advised to exhibit 20 to 30 paintings, but the space was so amazing and I felt I could afford to show the diversity and range of my work so I showed 43. To have sold 26 paintings at my first solo exhibition ...o my. I cannot tell you how good that feels.

I have met so many people and will be working with a few of them in the near future. I garnered a few commissions and some joint projects, ideas for my next exhibition and some wonderful insights into this world I am entering.

This is how my Oscar Speech goes: I could not have done this without the loving support of my family and I thank them. My long-suffering husband Charles, my two boys,Lucien and Julius, my parents, Audre and Norman who curated the show and made sure the kids were fed for the last two weeks, my lovely, dear friends and David Lloyd, for offering me the venue in the first place.

David Lloyd Gallery


Pre -exhibition

Time to get these brushes moving on the canvas again!

Watch this space!

14 April, 2013

Inspiration, information and the internet

I live semi- rurally, in a smallish town. Twenty years ago I would have considered myself isolated, but in this day of internet magic ( honestly, don't you  feel that way about it ?) I can be in the Rijksmuseum at the push of a button, taking an online tutorial with a favourite artist, watching a painting demonstration or conversing with a fellow painter across the globe without much effort at all. I do not have to battle crowds, find parking, beg an audience nor suffer the financial strains of travel. I also do not have to suffer bores, obnoxious people, those who are plain rude or those with whom I might butt heads with over triflings. If an artist is tedious, I move way silently from his or her site and find another who inspires and delights. It is far easier to deal with the world at arms length sometimes!

I subscribe to an ever increasing list of blogs and websites, mostly art related, but also life enhancing in their outlook. These artists have inspired, led and encouraged me  to follow my own voice and I really appreciate their openness and generosity when sharing what they have learned. I believe the more one shares, the more you receive in return and the richer you are for the experience of having met so many people through the sharing. The same information will be available from a variety of sources, but the willingness to share without financial gain is remarkably generous when you factor in the fact that most artists are poor!

I have been spending valuable time with my parents over the last 3 weeks. They visit from South Africa each year for a month, a generous chunk of time, but it goes too quickly. They are both assisting me get my exhibition together and have been an invaluable help. This is especially poignant for me as it was these lovely people who first took me to art exhibitions and fostered my interest and have been my staunchest supporters. I have not been able to paint much but have enjoyed the opportunities to discuss painting and visit galleries with them. Sometimes the downtime is as important as the doing!

I did, however, take a gazillion photos and worked up numerous sketches with notes for future painting ( you know, when winter sets in , the weather turns to custard and I camp in front of the fireplace, bemoaning the cold). I enjoyed being at the sea and will hopefully schedule a painting getaway up north to Matakana and Mahurangi East again soon.

A few examples from my Blog List:


I also subscribe to Plein Air magazine( and you can do this digitally) and Southwest Art magazine.I am lucky that my local library has a subscription to International artists and Australian artist and I borrow those . So, surf the net, graze through Pinterest, skull through YouTube and the blogosphere....educate yourself! There are amazing people doing amazing things out there. Bless them !

So, I leave you with this painting that was a commision. It was a joy to paint.

06 April, 2013

Learning to sail

My lovely little neighbour , Shannen, is a sea scout and is learning to sail on this lake, from this yacht club.
learning to sail
28 x 24 cm
oil on canvas

03 April, 2013

Exhibitions and apologies

I am all at sixes and sevens, trying to arrange an exhibition, facilitate a wonderful annual holiday with my beloved parents and still paint,blog and continue life as normal. Something had to give and, dearest blog, it was you.

I have had a wonderful time with my parents who are visiting from South Africa, have painted a bit and  am enjoying their input and support as I arrange my first ever solo exhibition. To say I am excited would be an understatement . It is ALL can think about at the moment.I must be tiresome conversation at the present.

So, I apologise, dear faithful blog, that I have been remiss and ignored you for the past two weeks.Lets kiss and make up.

You are ALL welcome to my first, solo exhibition at the fabulous private gallery of David Lloyd (extraordinary force of nature ) 19-21 April, for an exhibition of original paintings featuring the bucolic countryside and lifestyle of my everyday existence.

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