Friday, December 30, 2011

The art of asking for help

the offending piece - the flash messed up the colours but you get the picture

If you’ve been following The Bag of Hope story, , with the Amandwe Support Group, you’ll know “Vukusakhe” is Zulu for “stand up and do it for yourself.” An admirable sentiment under any circumstances, but more admirable considering the life these women face on a daily basis. They are proud and will not ask for handouts - they want to help themselves and the orphans in their area. These fine women make good role models - they are humorous, strong and determined. If they don’t know how to do something, they ask to be taught and they learn.
And in this I could take a lesson from them. I have always been a poor student. I too often confidently think “I can do that.” Some times this is rather unwise and turns out a dismal failure. Other times I hit lucky and it all falls in to place. But too often I just am bull-headed and obstinately keep trying to do something that’s not working.
A few days back I started on my new art project of collaboration with the Amandwe Support Group with enthusiasm. I chose the first 2 fabric landscapes and got down to prepping the wooden panels. Then came the time to start painting. Painting 1 started off fine but on day 2, I hit a snag. It just wasn’t working. I scraped, I painted over, I changed colours. All I managed to do was dig myself deeper in to the mire. Painting 2 sat there prepped and ready to go but I ignored it. I was getting myself in to a funk after a few days of this.
Then I set off on my daily walk with my friend and fellow artist, Rosemary of . As we strode around town, I told her about my problem with the first painting and my excitement about my idea for the second one. Rosemary looked at me as if I‘d lost my marbles and said, “Anne, why don‘t you just leave the first painting alone for a while and start on the second. You‘re excited about that one.” Well, hello and duh me. Later at home I started telling Lee the same saga, and before I got to Rosemary‘s pearls of wisdom, he looked at me all long-suffering like and said, “Anne, drop the first one for a while and do the second one. There‘s no order you have to do them in.”
So, why couldn’t I see this simple fact days ago. I’d got myself so focused and obsessed with the first painting, I couldn‘t see the forest for the trees. If I’d asked a few days back for feedback, I’d not have wasted those few days of obfuscation.
So, please feel free to stop by during the next couple of months and see how I’m progressing. I’m all fired up about this project but I obviously need a someone “with clear eyes” to whack me upside the head and say, “What are you doing?“ A good dose of reality on occasion is not a bad thing.
I never make New Year’s resolutions but I think I will try a tad harder to ask for advice on how to do something, instead of just doing it. It might eliminate the all too often “OOPS,” that follows. But, I am calling the project, Vukusakhe” because, well, I do usually just stand up and do it for myself.
Wishing you and yours a peaceful and prosperous 2012 - it’s going to be a grand art year!

FYI : I’m chronicling the progress on my gallery face book page and am starting a page on my website about it…if you’re interested, go to  or

1 comment:

Bob and Rosemary said...

I'm happy to have been able to help! Really enjoying these walks with you. I think it will be good for both of us! See you later,