Saturday, December 29, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

The art of awards

What a great end to the year! I have the singular pleasure and honour of being the receiptant of the 2013 Delaware Division of the Arts Established Fellowship in Folk Art-Visual Arts discipline. I am so excited and happy and astounded at the recognition. The monetary reward is certainly generous... A big THANK YOU to DDOA for supporting individual artists!!

This program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
see their website:

Just can't stop grinning!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

The art of "The Holidays"

I wish....whatever religion, whatever holiday, whatever you celebrate ... may it be joyful and happy.
Copyright 2012 Anne Jenkins

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The art of new media

It's exciting to be working more in charcoal and pastels these days - at least playing around with them in sketches. Seems to suit my sketching style...since I have never really done much sketching and I am not detailed or realism in style, but loose and impressionist - charcoal lets me get the hint of things I want to show or highlight. I'm also adding watercolour to the mix - and it's fun to do. Also really getting in to figurative work... always looking at new avenues to head down!
© 2012 Anne Jenkins All Rights Reserved
© 2012 Anne Jenkins All Rights Reserved

© 2012 Anne Jenkins All Rights Reserved

        for more about me and my art : go to

Thursday, December 06, 2012

The art of the video

So - this Saturday is the Second Saturday art walk in Rehoboth Beach and I am featured ... and we hope to raise some money for the Amandawe Support Group as a bonus.... here's the wee video I made introducing myself and the idea behind it.... please do join us if you are in the area.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Art of a Goodwill Bonus

Visit Anita Peghini-Räber Gallery at 49 Baltimore Ave in Rehoboth Beach, DE and Anne Jenkins Art Gallery at 127 NW Front Street in Milford, DE .... buy some art and 10% will go to the Amandawe Support Group in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. We have teamed up to give the ladies in the Group a bonus. They have worked hard for 4 years making fabric landscapes and scrabbling to make a living and help AIDS orphans... so we thought, it's the season of giving. We think we are having a hard time but we have absolutely no problems or hardships compared to these cheerful, hardworking and dignified ladies - so - it's bonus time for them from us! Come and help us help them...
I'll be at Anita's gallery for the MOSAIC 2nd Saturday Art Walk on 8 November from 6-9 p.m. - we'll offer you a taste of bobotie - and no, I'm not telling you what it'll just have to visit to taste it, won't you? -  and a sip of South Africa's very own Pinotage. See you then!
Meet Anita in this wee video I made... she's wonderful

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The art of giving thanks

Wishing all my American friends Happy thanksgiving - be thankful for all the good things = friends/family! And art - it enriches us all.   Be well and eat well!
© Anne Jenkins All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 05, 2012

The art of the pop up show

it's almost here - 5 - a pop up show... 5 artists, 5 women, 5 media, 5 styles, 5 pieces each ... for only 3 days

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The art of the quick sketch

I've gotten in to the habit of sketching lately, in a big way. Never really have done it much. But it all started a while ago with some charcoals I had lying around  ... and boredom, or inability to decide what to do. Now I am finding it fun - and a learning experience. Which, of course, is exactly what well seasoned and trained artists have been advising me for years. I never was a good student. Too bull headed, have to work it out for myself. Sigh.
A while back I did a water colour sketch of the view from my bedroom. Yesterday morning we enjoyed another striking sunrise. All the leaves on the mulberry tree have fallen off and the Milford water tower and one of the church spires has come back in to view after disappearing behind the lush green all summer. So, I just had to do another sketch - slightly different angle, very slight.
I got to wondering why I am suddenly sketching away happily and often. I figured it might all be because my friend, Rosemary Connelly, is an avid water colour journaling type and I've become infected by her enthusasim. I have been admiring her work for over a year now. She is such a natural talent at this - I look forward to seeing her work when she returns from somewhere. It's more exciting than holiday photos because of her intense personal way of painting, loose and bright. I've just had the privilege of seeing her San Francisco journal and felt like I was back there myself. Maybe one day I'll grow up and be able to do as well as her! HA!
I also saw a sketch my old school friend, and now a famous artist in Australia, Carol Lee Beckx, did in a coffee shop. It's just fabulous - check her website and follow links to her blog & facebook page. Her work is just beautiful - I was in awe of it more than 40 years ago and still am!
So - here's my view from my bedroom window, part deux...
4x6 water colour © 2012 Anne Jenkins All Rights Reserved
Please do check out my website - I have posted all the completed paintings in The Vukuzakhe Project. Let me know what you think!
and you can follow me on facebook - I'd appreciate you hitting the "like" button and sharing the fun!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

The Art of a Studio Tour

I've been involved with or in a number of studio tours and this one in Washington, D.C. is one of the most fun I've done... and written about. The neighbourhood is funky and the artists exciting, original & friendly - it makes for a wonderful day out... especially on a Sunday when traffic is calmer. Do go if you can.
here's the article in American Roads - enjoy!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Art of Lost Time

       A dear friend of mine is going through the painful process of watching her mother descend in to the dark depths of Alzheimers. They have never had an easy relationship, which doesn't help things. I lost a wonderful, bon vivant friend just over a year ago to this most dreadful of conditions. He was too young and too talented to go in this fashion, but I am truly grateful he went quickly. I am a strong believer in quality of life - not quantity. I am also a strong believer in euthanasia. If we can help our pets die without pain and in peace, why can't we do the same for ourselves and our loved ones?
      Anyway, I don't want to climb aboard one of my hobby horses today. My friend is constantly in my thoughts as she tackles this terrible task with much fortitude and strength, and a small dose of humour to keep her going.
      I got to thinking about painting pain and release from pain, and how difficult it is to paint. I started playing with an idea in my mind - and this is the first of one painting. It is small - 4x6 - and it will be incorporated in to a bigger painting. I am calling it "Lost Memories" and dedicate it to my friend, and all who are struggling with aging and dementia.
Lost Memories - acyrlic and pastels © 2012 Anne Jenkins
Check out my website and facebook page

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Art of Time Management

This morning I woke to the daunting task of rehanging the entire gallery - The Vukuzakhe Project gets the whole front room. Tons of lists fly through my head. I have a gazillion - at least - things to do. So what did I do first?
Lee brought me my morning cup of tea, I sat in bed and looked at my view over the river walk. I've been meaning to do a little watercolour sketch of it for the past year. I got out of bed, got my travel kit and sat there sipping tea and painting.
Lee walked through.. stared for a while, and said .. "you're ... PAINTING?"
'Yes,' says me 'I've been meaning to do this for the past year."
"But you went on last night about how much you have to do today?"
"Yes, I do have an awful lot on my mind," I agreed happily. "But sometimes, you just have to stop and smell the roses."
so - here're my roses ... not sure if they helped me or not because absolutely nothing went right today... it is now nearly 5:00 p.m. and the gallery is still a mess. I'm WAY behind with everything. But I like a wee roses and their smell. It needed to be done.
The view from my bed of the river walk

© 2012 Anne Jenkins all rights reserved 
Visit my website and facebook page - I'd be happy if you "liked" the gallery page and follow it in the future... hope to see you at the gallery. It will all be in order shortly. I have no doubt.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The art of new themes

paint still wet but here is "refelcting Chnage" © 2012 all rights reserved Anne Jenkins
I've been engrossed in The Vukuzakhe project for so long now, it was almost a relief to paint in a new direction ... and I named it "reflecting Change... I feel a new series coming on in this theme... in fact, I'm quite excited about a new direction and change of theme. As "they" say - a change is as good as a holiday. :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

The art of the launch

I made a snap decision - I will present The Vukuzakhe Project's first paintings at an opening reception on Friday, September 21 at the gallery, 127 NW Front Street, Milford, Delaware 19963 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. -- no matter how many I have finished. It needs to launch and get the wheels rollin' along. So I made a little "save the date" video invitation: please consider yourself invited....
Invitation to Save the Date for opening reception

You can read more about The Vukuzakhe Project at my website

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Art of Stepping Away

I took a whole month off - I had reached a stalemate of ideas/inspiration/hope/joy. I thought long and hard about why and realized The Vukuzakhe Project is exciting,challenging and I poured my heart in to it but it is also emotionally draining. I wiped myself out trying to do 6 of these big pieces at once. I decided if I was to continue doing them well I need to step away for a while. I left #5 & 6 sitting on their easels and haven't touched them for a few weeks.
The first couple of weeks I did no painting at all. Then I started doing fun stuff. Picked up my charcoals for the first time in, well, years. I love doing figurative work in charcoals. Then I slapped some bright paint around to create some cheerful sunflowers. I'll continue doing this until the time comes to look at the easels waiting patiently.
When will I start on Vukuzakhe again? I have no idea -  it will tell me when the time is right.
So - I'm back! here's a cheerful sunflower to celebrate the glory of summer - see y'all soon!
Copyright © 2012 Anne Jenkins, Milford, Delaware USA  website:

Friday, July 06, 2012

The Art of a Break

Crosby, Stills & Nash way down there - we could see them and certainly could hear them!
So ... I took a break. I didn't paint for a while, I spent a lot of time thinking instead. Usually that can be dangerous but this time I needed it. I had lively discussions with fellow artists and I learned a lot from them. Lee & I treated ourselves - we went to a great concert - Crosby, Stills & Nash at the Wolftrap near DC... it's a National Park, I didn't know that and it's a great facility. We had a superb time, rain and all! Yes, their voices are thinner and not as powerful although the few big notes that counted they hit, but still, everyone rocked. We enjoyed our picnic before the concert, got drenched and soaked through during the concert and had a peaceful drive home. It doesn't get much better than that...
We did the usual BBQ for the 4th - I believe it is considered unpatriotic not to! Lee had his usual fun with me as he warbled, "We won! we won!" and I yodeled back "Nope, we were glad to get rid of you troublesome lot!" - it's the same every year. A lovely fun bun fight.
I was happy to hear from the Anita Peghini-Räber Gallery in Rehoboth Beach - they'd sold a small painting of mine. Yeah! it all helps. I have a show coming up next week with 8 other top notch artists - big works - at Abbott's Grill here in Milford. I hope it goes well.
I am returning to the Vukuzakhe Project next week - it's a "heavy" subject and I found it drained me - hence the break. I feel more refreshed and will finish it soon. Then continue on to find corporate buyers...  wish me luck.
I hope my mind is getting settled again and so - onwards!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Art of Solace

Despondency doesn't make for a good week. Creativity takes a back seat when gloom and doom settle. Optimists have a hard time with despondency, so naturally I struggle with it. I had a couple of nightmares during which apparently I cry out with a sort of whinny and alarmed the cats no end. Lee tries to soothe me without waking me up. It's all rather boring, things happen.
But, there were high points these past few days - most important and joyful was the latest arrival in our small family. Harrison Nigel was born on Friday complete with all 10 toes. And our family welcomed him with great love and happiness. I'd kinda hoped for a girl since the last girl born in our family was 62 years ago. Guess the world didn't want to cope with another me!! It matters not, he is here, healthy and much loved. We're all delighted to have in in our wacky family - we might be wacky, but we love well.
I cooked South African food for new and interesting friends ... food from home is often a cure all. And some was good. But not all of it turned out well. My melktert was too runny and not spicy enough, but that's hardly a train smash. Wine flowed pretty freely during the lively conversation, so none of us would have even noticed a few whoopsies in the food.
The first outdoor movie of the summer had us carrying our chairs over to the amphitheatre by the riverwalk. And it was a quiet delight - also my introduction to the Muppets. Yep, who knew there was anyone in the world who hadn't seen an entire episode, or a movie, of the Muppets? I could claim that until Wednesday. Next week is music, it's a fun series and it's just nice to sit outside and be entertained.
Still my blue funk meant I didn't paint at all this week. Every time I went in to my studio a dull cloud descended on me and my heart sank. I would stare at the canvases in their various stages of completion and think, "Why bother?" or "What on earth am I do do with this now?" and nothing would happen. Luckily I sorta know how it will all end. Whenever I have a down time, which isn't often thank goodness, the next week I am like a creative whirlwind. So I am just riding this out waiting patiently for the light heart to return. It will.
At the farmers market this morning I saw squash blossoms and bought them right away. They will bring a smile to my face when baked, stuffed with ricotta and garlic. The simplicity of the dish always blows me away - like all the simple things in life, they are the best.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The art of talk

Well, such excitement - I am so honored! I was interviewed by Paul Weagraff, director of the Delaware Division of the Arts, on the radio! It is a 20-minute interview and it just went so quickly! He was so professional and made me relaxed in no time. I felt like I was just having a chat with a friend. Grab a coffee or a glass of wine, and have a listen :

I took a couple of paintings along - as a visual person, it was a good aid
and then - please,  tell me what you think. Feedback is a great way to learn - I don't know what folks think unless you tell me. To repay you listening to my interview, I won't write a whole lot today!
Thank you for listening and taking the time! My facebook page is often updated - check it out and "follow" my page. I'd appreciate it!
have a grand weekend!

Monday, June 04, 2012

The Art of Fresh Eyes & Soothing Water

Time flies whether you're having fun or not it seems. I cannot - cannot - believe it is June already. Six months of the year gone and I'm sitting here wondering 'what the hell happened?' I have a bunch of projects going, and I don't seem to be progressing with them at the clip I'd like. In other words, I am dithering around and not getting any where with anything. At least that's how it feels to me.
But when I rationalize it I do seem to be getting somewhere ... the goal is there, the distance to them is ever increasing since I appear to be taking a zigzag approach to everything. Maybe I am trying to do too much for others and not concentrating enough on me. I vowed this year it would all be about MOI. I was going to be a veritable Miss Piggy. Self-centred, self- absorbed and nothing else/no one else matters. Ain't gonna happen. I guess it's not in my genes. But helping others can be fulfilling in itself. SO ... I'll just be partially all about MOI. Perhaps.
On Friday I posted a photo of my studio on my facebook page just to prove I was actually working on 5 paintings at one time. Not much has changed since then, life got in the way. The 5 are still works in progress, and I'm not worried about it. But I must finish 2 this week. There's a deadline and deadlines always seem to fire me up and I meet them. Each painting has a different theme, or subject, and sometimes I just have to sit and look at them and wait for them to tell me what to do.
I've been doing this to one painting because another artist I admire a lot thought - after I'd asked for her help and opinion - I should do something additional. It was an honest critical comment worthy of consideration. But it didn't quite gel in my gut. It worried me that I didn't really agree with her when it came down to it because I really do admire and trust her judgement. And I was also kinda intrigued with the suggestion. Then today out of the blue 2 artists stopped in en route back home to NE Pennsylvania. I'd never met them before and we had a wonderful time talking art and methods and stuff. They looked at the painting, I mentioned what I was thinking of doing but was hesitant about it. They - and I love it when artists do this - stepped back, looked at it hard and critically. They thought on it and then they both said. "No, this is your style. This works. Leave it as it is." It was all I needed to hear to confirm my own decision. Fresh eyes can really be a wonderful help.
Don't forget to also check up on my website to see what's happening with me and my art.
Peace and quiet

Ever peaceful

We saw lots of herons and wildlife
On Sunday Lee and I hired a wee flat bottomed boat and poddled very slowly - grass grew quicker than the electric motor could drive the skiff - - along the Mispillion River. It was blissful - silent, bright, ever changing scenery and the joy of being back on the water was a tranquil balm to the soul. We went too far really and were out 6 hours so now we have sunburned knees and sore butts. But it was soul refreshing and fun. And made us think of living on the water again. It just takes a the sound of a slap of water on a hull to bring it all back. Wonderful.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The art of down time

Been having a wee bit of down time the past week - I have been very tired and so has Lee. We escaped to DC and NYC for a marvellous day each, sauntered about Oxford & St Michaels, Maryland and the Chesapeake Maritime Museum. Weather has been perfect. We enjoyed great meals and relaxed. We've not listened to the news for a week. Bliss... So I will just wish you a happy Memorial Day long weekend if you're in the States and, if you're not... happy weekend anyway.
Home made oyster stew with oyster mushrooms...what a treat!
I have half-finished pieces that excite me and will go at with enthusiasm next week and post news on my art and world then... hambe gahle!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Art of the Catalyst

The names for the 2012 hurricane season have been announced. This is now an annual event that gives me the willies. Since Katrina I can’t help it. And as luck or fate would have it I am preparing for a show on big events over the past few years. I have 2 of the pieces already but decided to do a new piece. It’s always good to break away from the series I’m working on and do something different. A refresher for the brain.
This is a close up detail of part of the painting to show the texture

Naturally the first event to flash before me was the dreadful Katrina. She often lurks below the surface of my mind. The subject also came to me quickly. Houses after the deluge with blue tarp and the searchers sign on the outside of each house noting how many bodies, animals, etc were inside marked clearly.

I was pondering on what to use to aid the texture and had decided on a hard plastic sink protection tray (really!). As I got the canvas ready, I stood in front of my messy paint table and I happened to glance down to see some of the packing paper the excellent art supply shop, Cheap Joe’s - see website:  - uses to send me supplies. A light bulb went off - bingo… it is perfect. It is covered with small triangular cut out sections to make it porous and pliable, totally suitable for the irony of the name of the piece, “Safe as Houses.”

I am about finished with the piece but still have to ponder on it which doesn't really help my state of mind at the moment, which is fragile. Business is difficult, finances are difficult. UGH! And now they are talking of an early start to the hurricane season. It’s like a stupid bloody bogey man I can’t get rid of.
Close up of the collapsed house, I'mstill working on it

But, as my lovely Scots mother would have said, “Mustn’t grumble, just get on with life. You have it easy compared to others.” And aint’ that the truth? I am lucky to have a marvellous family and a big group of faithful friends who put up with me warts and all. I am inspired by so many folks.

For instance, this week I talked with two exceptional people. Amy Stokes of Infinite Family is a recent discovery of mine. I was honoured and excited when she agreed to talk with me. I hope we will now have regular contact. She does wonderful work for the children of Africa and she was so encouraging to me. Her website is:

The other is my supportive and funny friend, Robin Opperman. He heads up Umcebo Design in my hometown of Durban, South Africa. See his website:  He works with many different groups - from AIDS support groups to refugee groups - and produces some of the world’s most imaginative fine crafts. He does it all with humour, patience and no bragging. He is truly a joy to know, to share ideas and learn from - we try and skype every so often to egg each other on. The day I accidentally met him 6 or so years ago was truly a godsend.

With people like this in my life, not to mention Robin’s fat spoilt cat Fergie and my own two furry joys to entertain me, why dwell on an old horror of a hurricane. This painting “Safe as Houses” is becoming something of a catalyst - I can feel myself letting Katrina go to the back of my mind as I work more on it. I hope that is the case.
You can follow more on my art at and follow my facebook page at

Friday, April 27, 2012

The art of life and farewells

In February I mentioned a family member was not doing well. His funeral was held Wednesday. It was a sad, joyous, weepy farewell. He would have approved of the vast amounts of wine and food consumed. He really would have enjoyed the big bunch of balloons his grandkids released as they shouted “Goodbye Oupa.” I wish I could have been there but I sent him bon voyage thoughts from many miles away. A memorable character who loved his family fiercely and gave us all happy memories and lots of good belly laughs. Hamba gahle!

Filling in colour with oil pastels 
I am all about whales and sharks at the moment. I’m doing painting # 5 in The Vukuzakhe Project called “Mkhomazi” which is the Zulu name for the river near the Amandawe region - it means “The place of the whale cow” because whales give birth in the shallows. Nearby is the world famous Aliwal Shoal, listed amoung the top 10 dive sites in the world by Jacques Cousteau. You can dive amoung the ragged tooth shark - or as the locals say “the raggies” - without too much anxiety because the raggies are vegetarian. However, you need to keep an eye out for the odd visiting tiger shark, great white and the like, and then things can get quite exciting. It is a completely different mindset painting an underwater scene. I hope to convey the tranquility and dreamy state of their domain.

It got me mulling over conservation and respect for the natural world and its inhabitants. And particularly how bloody awful we humans are proving to be as stewarts of this great earth. The mass destruction of rain forests, drilling for oil in pristine wilderness, killing off whole species willy nilly seems to the norm. Don’t even get me started on slaughtering magnificent animals like the rhino for their horn for Asian medicine - which doesn’t even heal the things they think it does - it is disgusting and sickening. Hunting is another soap box for me - going out and killing any beautiful creature for sport is just beyond me.

So I will go back to painting and try not to dwell on the negative… think positive and hope Ma Nature doesn’t get too too mad at us.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The art of the week

I got some nice publicity this week with a big feature piece in the Milford Beacon... thank you to Christine Miller the arts reporter! Here's a link if your haven't seen it...

I finally decided painting # 4 in The Vukuzakhe Project is finished - "It's hard on GoGo" has been a long time is the making but I think the final edition is very atmospheric and the colours work well. GoGo means Grandmother and in this collaboration with Jabu's fabric landscape, she is barely coping with raising children left behind but her family are with her in spirit which gives her strength.

For some reason these are not photographing very clearly and look more washed out than they are in real life. Probably the light I've been photographing them in but they'll have to do for now. I am starting painting # 5 - the landscape is on the panel and I am working out how to paint it. In fact I'm thinking of doing 5 & 6 at the same time.

I am grateful and honoured to be selected to participate in the newest and most fabulous gallery in Rohoboth Beach - Anita Peghini-Räber Gallery opened with just a load of fun and antics last Saturday. The standard of art is very high and I met the other artists at the opening - they were all very nice and I enjoyed chatting with them. The gallery is at 49 Baltimore Ave and here's the link to their website  - be sure to stop by when you're in the area and say hi to the lovely bubbly Anita and Denise.

The weather is so good right now all I really feel like doing is playing hookey and heading off on a road trip somewhere.... regret a look at my bank balance prevents this delightful course of action. Sigh

Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Art of Spring

About this time of year everyone finds a new zest for life. Ma Nature puts on a glorious display, birds and critters set out doing the mating dance with the males doing some energetic strutting of their stuff and I feel I should go for long walks and just breathe in this fresh air. The dogwoods across the street from our apartment are a joy to behold  against their backdrop is the happily pink Victorian house now The Towers B&B.

Our morning coffee ritual watching the birds and bunnies in our side yard is more fun these days too. For a couple of weeks the holly tree was swirling with Cedar Waxwings as they raided the bright red berries - they did a good job, there's no berries left and the birds have gone on to other pastures. The fig tree beside the holly tree is glowing with little buds of sap green. The big old pecan tree isn't showing much yet, she's taking her time although I thought I detected a few newer bumps about to burst on her skeleton branches this morning.
And birds are braving the very interested felines watching over their feeder at the window - I thought they'd stay away but apparently the are made of stronger stuff and are not intimidated. You can see the still rather bare looking fig tree in the middle next to the boxwood bushes below the holly tree. We couldn't ask for a more wonderful view to enjoy in all the seasons.

My pansies in the entrance boxes have lasted happily since November and are partnering with the daffodils just peeking out. Soon I'll get out more colour and plant them at our entrance. My geraniums so loved spending the winter in the gallery I will leave them here. I'm taking cuttings to start new ones for the house entrance.
It's Easter weekend - time for a Greek style lamb with rosemary and garlic and fine wine. A time to rejoice in spring and all the critters who make it so much fun and so beautiful. What's not to like about all this glorious renewal?

Friday, March 30, 2012

The art of Travel

Ceiling mural in a section of the NYC Public Library
I enjoyed a special day in New York City with a friend last week - we weren't as organized as we thought, so we dithered about, visited a Cuban Art Center and saw some cool art, had a very good Indian meal in a hole in the wall place for $20 for both of us, a glass of wine in a nice gay bar with a humourous door man and visited the NY public library.
I had no idea the library was so ornate and grand. There were 2 photography exhibits on ... one quite disturbing and one pretty boring. But the building was the star.

We also spent a very interesting couple of hours with a dynamic, lively and curious bunch of ladies who are textile artists. It's inspirational to be around these ladies. We're country folk now, so big city gals are a kick every once in a whole. I needed it.

Unfortunately my second trip to NYC a week later didn't pan out so well. Lee and I were booked to take the Kent County bus up on Wednesday. We set off just before 6:30 a.m. for Dover to board the bus when Pearl, our trusty old Toyota - who NEVER ever breaks down - decided today was the day to tear up all her belts. As we were driving along Highway 1 no less. So, long story short, we got a ride in a tow truck back to Milford instead of the bus to NYC. And dropped a large number of $$ at a garage before heading home. No NYC fun lunch with an old friend. We were so disappointed.

But that's travel.One week it's all good, next it isn't. Sorta like life.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Art of Thought

So, I've played hookey the past couple of weeks and not posted too much - so sad, too bad! It's just been one of those times - we all have them and whatever they are, they come and go. Deep, eh?
Ihawu - The Shield Painting # 3

I was excited to finish the 3rd painting in The Vukuzakhe Project - it's called Ihawu which means The Shield. It shows 5 women cradling the fabric landscape of two little girls playing. the whole group represents the Amandawe Support Group. Three of the figures represent the Zulu ladies in traditional headdress with 2 smaller figures representing my sister Ruth, Maurean (the tireless UVA volunteer) and me - they're larger because they carry the biggest share of work and love in the group. My sister, Maurean and I are just the small cogs but we all form the whole. I really like this one. It's bright and sweet, with a powerful message - support and love is colour blind.
Within Ouselves III - not complete
I also worked on the third painting in the new series "Within Ourselves" - this one fought me. I realized after thinking about it for a long time over a few days... I have a pattern of painting. I can paint 2 paintings in a series then I need to take a break from it and turn to something else, or another series. Must be that short attention span thing again. Anyway if I go straight from painting #2 to Painting #3 it fights me. Now I have finally - DUH! after all these years? How slow can one be? - worked this out I can change things around. Paint 2 and then do something else, come back paint 2 more... etc etc. So, the Within Ourselves painting #3 was progressing badly, in fact last night I thought it looked like I was painting the Teletubbies... that's when I went home and poured a glass of wine.

I do my best thinking over a cup of rooibos in the morning as I watch the light change over the river or in the evening when I'm having a glass of wine and relaxing. Things sparkle clearly in my brain then and I wonder why I couldn't see it before. Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
I have lots going on in March - 2 trips up to New York City and much more... but I will try to be more consistant with writing my blog. See you soon!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Art of Caring

I’ve wanted to do more abstract work for a while, funnily enough health irritations (flu and now a gimpy back) have made it happen. I can’t work on the Vukuzakhe Project - canvas too big - with my back in this state, so I got out smaller canvas’ - 18x24 - and at the end of last week I started on a subject bubbling in back of my mind.
Now I have 2 “Within Ourselves” abstracts done. I used canvas, acrylic, burlap and oil pastels - decided to use a limited palette - more of a challenge and can be more dramatic. I joked on my face book page my gimpy back has delved in to some deeply Freudian areas, it’s showing in my art. And there is something in that statement - for a couple of reasons..
Within Ourselves
First, I have a family member fading fast, hard as it is we hope for quick and painless. At the same time good news from the younger generation, we will welcome a new member to the crazy clan. Another family member is slowly taking on more of the caregiver role. It got me to thinking on how life starts with you being cared for, you grow up, are free for a while and then you care for the next generation.
But with age comes another kind of caring - caring for your partner as they fade. Some fade from their body in to another place called Alzheimer’s, some fade battling disease. It doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a woman doing the caring, it is never easy but it  is done with love.
Second reason, I am pro-choice and pro-gay marriage. I’m getting fed up with right wing religious conservatives trying to ram their beliefs on abortion and marriage into repressive laws. For people who yell “government is too big, we need smaller government and less interference” they seem to miss the irony of their tunnel vision of right/wrong being imposed on everyone else. I wish they would shut up and go away. Sadly they won’t.
Within Ourselves II
I’m just stating facts as I see them. Abortion and marriage are strictly personal and no one else’s business. It’s just important to love someone enough to care under all circumstances.
I feel there’s too much false emphasis on eternal youth and money in today’s society. It’s a simple path of life - you are young, then you grow old. Money will not save you. Deal with it.
And if you are lucky, you are loved enough and you love enough to care. Warts and all. Nothing is more important.
That is what I’m trying to show in these paintings - the circle of love and caring, no matter who you love.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The art of the turn around

Flat is the only way to describe how I’ve felt the past 10 days - cottonwool head, achy joints, snotty nose and the deep rooted blahs dominated. I am so thoroughly sick of it all. I am normally one of the world’s big optimists …my ex used this description of me: give Anne a barrel of horse manure and she’ll dig around in it saying “there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!” And I’ve always felt it’s far better to be optimistic than permanently gloomy about things. So, it’s no surprise not feeling well is not one of my strengths, if you can call it that.
This morning as I sipped my tea in bed and watched the light change over the river walk, with Geordie giving me a running commentary on bird and squirrel activity outside the window, I pondered what to do to get myself back in top spirit. Do something different was the decision.
The creative process takes a dive when you’re down, so to keep things going I’ve been doing the boring prep work for the Vukuzakhe Project - bonding the plexiglass dowels to the wooden cradled panels, gessoing - and more gessoing. So much so I’ve been looking at the gesso with a jaundiced eye. No gesso today I determined. No something ‘prep’ oriented.
I walked in the studio back door and immediately started hauling out one of the panels, taking off the protective cover and placing fabric landscapes on it to start thinking what to paint. Wait! Isn’t that what I said I would not do?
Then I fired up my laptop and checked out things. Got a wonderful boost with a nice article on the arts in Kent County by Pam George in a very cool magazine, Delaware Today,
And a mention in a couple more in the series… 
This cheered me up no end!
And now I’ve decided I will paint something today - but it won’t be the Project art. Maybe what I need is a little “and now for something completely different.” Okay, I know, short attention span and all that, but it can do your psyche good to do an about turn on occasion. So - voila - here is the start - it will be an abstract -I stuck a piece of burlap in to the paint to add to the texture. The poor cut piece of burlap was looking lost and forlorn since I didn‘t use it for the Vukuzakhe Project, so I slapped it this one.
I just had a visit from a new friend, who cheered me up 100% more. I’ll be skyping with another friend soon, ditto cheer up. And tonight we go to the theatre - our local Second Street players are putting on ‘One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest‘. I personally think a comedy would be cheerier for gloomy February, but what do I know. But it doesn’t matter - I’m happy now!!!
A good day can wipe out 10 days of glumpf easily.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

no blog week

the new postcard to send out in advance...

 My apologies for not writing my weekly blog... stuff got in the way. Ucky scratchy throats, cottonwool heads, snotty noses and achy joints are to blame. I went down with it middle of last week - not too too badly - for which I am most grateful. But then Lee got hit Friday. He got it much worse than me and looks awful still. He must have been REALLy feeling low - he missed the Superbowl party and stayed home in bed! So I went with another date ...his wife wasn't interested in the game.... remember the old song, "Love the one you're with ...?"  heh heh. So anyway - that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it. I will write another cheery blog later this week.
But just a heads up - I will give a presentation on The Vukuzakhe Art Project, and The Bag of Hope, to the Jaycees Dover chapter on Monday, February 13. The group meets  at 6:00pm at Fraizer's on the Waterfront at 9 E. Loockerman St. in Dover. I will have a couple of the completed pieces to display and discuss at the meeting. The Jaycees are The U.S. Junior Chamber Emerging Young Professionals group. Call Rachel Dunning (302) 670-7666 for more information on the Jaycees.
See you next week, and thanks for listening

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Art of Change

Another new place to live ... again
New experiences, new languages, new countries, new friends, new lives are not unknown to me, nor do I fear them. I have dealt with a lot of change in my life. So much so I sometimes need to smacked upside the head to notice change.

Not one to need a lot of security, I move from place to place with ease. I immediately explore my surroundings to get a sense of place and settle down to enjoy it. I love finding a new place to settle in, put my few possessions about and make it a home. It doesn't matter if the country drives on the left or on the right... either way I hop in a car and drive. I don't seem to need an adjustment period. Nor do I have a fear of driving anywhere. Whether it's the chaos of Istanbul, Cairo, Rome, a peaceful drive in rural Delaware or the vast, empty fascinating distances of the Western U.S. I'm going somewhere and I'm happy.

It's so easy to talk about taking things to another level or changing the way we do things. When I started thinking about this Vukuzakhe Project I'm doing with the Amandawe Support Group in South Africa, I blithely thought... it'll take my art to a new level. It took me a long time to work out how I was going to do the paintings, and I wasn't at all sure it would even work.

So what is this new level I'm taking my art to? Is it a big step in another direction? No one can accuse me of sticking with one style. I seem to change style or subject at the drop of a hat, or just by being in a new location. And that's when the smack upside the head helps.

A few days ago I realized I really have taken my art up to another level this time. I seemed to struggle with the first one, and then suddenly it was clear to me what I had to paint. So I started the paintings and now they seem to paint themselves. By that I mean - the idea behind the painting comes to me with time. I stand and stare at the wooden panel with the little fabric landscape placed on it. And I wait for it to tell me what to paint. And that's why I struggled with the first one. I didn't give it time to tell me what to do, I was trying to push it out when it wasn't ready. Or I wasn't ready to accept it yet. I guess I was trying to treat it the same why I have treated change all my life. Face it head on and dive in. My art has finally smacked my head enough for me to realize I need to think about it and let it perculate. It will come to me.

I'm quite beside myself with happiness at this knowledge. I believe this has taken my art from being "just a pretty picture" to something with meaning. I'm not knocking pretty pictures, the world sure needs them. I now know my Women of Courage series was the start of this change, I just didn't realize it. Now I'm feeling all grown up and more mature as an artist - and I still have SO much to learn. Gotta love and live change! Isn't life grand?

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Arts in Education

I got to pondering on writing this morning. It is another art form I love - I love to write, I love to read. And I am lucky enough to have earned income from my writing over the years, although it‘s taken more of a backseat to my painting the past 9 years. What got me today was an interesting article on poetry in the Washington Post’s Sunday magazine - I read while I ride my stupid exercise bike… if I didn’t read, I’d not ride it. See how good reading is for you?

What caught my attention was how a young kid called, to paraphrase, “a bad one,” turned his life around because of poetry. This immediately brought out one of my soapboxes, not to mention my hobby horse riding high on top of said soapbox. Art is essential in education.

Naturally headstrong and rebellious, who knows where I could have landed up if I hadn’t had marvelous, strong and passionate teachers who got the meaning, and an appreciation for literature, poetry, painting, dance, music and debate through my obstinate and silly teenage head. I should be offering up a daily thank you to Suzie K., Petal,  Mrs. Crewe and many more at my wonderful boarding school, Epworth in South Africa. The school and I both survived those years with good humour and my great respect for the school, it’s teachers and staff remains undimmed. Just for the record, my parents were a very strong influence in this regard well before I went to boarding school - my schooling reinforced what they valiantly tried to get through my thick, independent but unformed mind.

Art, in it’s many forms, is not for the sole benefit or understanding of a liberal elite. Far too many idiotic politicians use this argument as they slash funding for the arts in schools. All it does is make the politician look more ignorant. Americans for the Arts have a wonderful long list of why art in education is essential - they put it much better than I can. Check it out at 

If politicians would quit their posturing, putting up road blocks and generally behaving badly and instead actually look to, and implement, solving problems, they would make a good start by funding art in education again. It would go a good distance to bring back civility to modern life. We sure could do with it. Maybe we should send every politician in the world a poem to read - entitled “Art is essential in education.” It’s a simple truth.

To be balanced, I am proud the State of Delaware recognizes the importance of art in education. Our First Lady gave an excellent talk at the Arts Summit 2011 on the subject. Here’s a short but reaffirming video from the DE Div of the Arts… 

And finally - on to an update on my ‘Vukusakhe’ project : Painting 1 is complete. Painting 2 - a much more haunting subject than the first traditional village scene, is going very well. I prepped Painting 3 and start on it today maybe. I’m chronicling the progress of the Vukusakhe project on my gallery face book page and am starting a page on my website about it…if you’re interested, go to  or

Friday, January 13, 2012

The art of new ideas

The nearly completed painting 1, attaching fabric landscape to burlap next

It may be starting to sound like a weather report, but this is actually my weekly blog on the marvelous world of art. It’s just the weather has been so peculiar this winter - read mild. When we moved to Delaware I was
expecting a frigid blast of cold for at least 4 months. We’re now in the second week of January and it’s lovely out there. In the past week, we’ve had a light dusting of snow on the ground, 2 days later hot enough
weather to leave the windows open all day, then a day of torrential rain and voila! Today is a delight - crisp and sunny. But I certainly ain’t complaining, as they say. I often wonder just who the hell “they” are.

Maybe it’s this weirdness in the weather, but something this past week snapped in my brain and I had just had a torrent of ideas… some creative and interesting, some fascinating, some workable and some downright stupid. Never a dull moment in my head. My imaginary friend and I had some very lively conversations. And now, I am wondering if I can get to them all - of course every one of these daft ideas involve me doing something more than I already am.

To me this is what being a self-employed, entrepreneurial spirit is all about. When I get new ideas, I mull them over - sometimes for a long time, sometimes for a nanosecond - and then try them out. What’s the worst
that can happen? They either work, or not. If I’ve decided to try a new idea out on new folks, what’s the worst that can happen? They can only say yes, or no. Ofcourse people might laugh their heads off at me, but I
don’t care. So, why not try?

I am already starting to put some of my new ideas in to motion. Why wait? And to be honest, I’m glad. This first couple of weeks in the depth of winter can be a tad overwhelming. Usually all I want to do is stay quietly
at home or take a trip to visit someone somewhere wonderful, like my friend in Prague.

It may just possibly have something to do with my teeny weeny bank balance, so no travel, but I’m all a-fire with new ideas. It will be fun to see what works and what doesn’t. As one of my dear friends, a practical Scot, always says in his beautiful brogue, “It’s the wee victories in life that count, lassie.”

And finally - on to an update on the Vukusakhe project : my painting time proved productive this week. Painting 1 is almost complete. I hope to be finished with it by Saturday. I am well in to Painting 2 - a much more haunting subject than the first traditional village scene. Today I need to start prepping Painting 3. I’m chronicling the progress of the Vukusakhe project on my gallery face book page and am starting a page on my website about it…if you’re interested, go to  or

Friday, January 06, 2012

The art of staying fresh

Getting ready -  part of my messy set of watercolours

We woke up yesterday morning to a small dusting of snow on the ground, how pretty everything looked - especially the holly tree and whatever the bush is next to it. The dark green lightly covered in white with the red berries bursting out, lovely! I got all bundled up and left for the gallery. KahPOW! The white stuff doesn’t seem so cute outside. I am, after all, a girl from the tropics.
I think with calm tranquility, and aiming to be rational, it is now January 2012 and we have at least 2 more months of inclement, cold weather. So, no use fussing about it - I’ll admire it from indoors as much as I can until spring, without whinging. I hope.
My fingers aren’t quite as forgiving of the frigid air, so I am having to work up enthusiasm about painting in the cold. Oh, I do have heating in the studio but my fingers say, “So what? it’s bloody cold outside.“ To try and overcome this, I am approaching the studio with caution this first week of 2012. I spent most of Wednesday working on my Vukusakhe project. To my relief, it all started falling in to place without reason. Last week it fought me. So I’ll happily take this as a good start for the New Year.
My artist friend, Rosemary - see - announced her aim this year is to do a small 8x8 painting every day she is in the studio, no matter what. At least that’s her plan. I believe she will stick with it. I have other artist friends, like the exceptional talent and an old school friend, Carol Lee Beckx in Australia - see  aiming for the same ideal. I think it is quite an inspiring idea. So…I am now thinking perhaps I should do something similar. It would be good discipline if nothing else, and Lord knows, being disciplined isn’t one of my strong suits.
Each canvas is 36x24 for my project, not huge but big enough. I like painting large, but perhaps doing an additional small one will be a good challenge. It could be on any subject not the project. It's a good way of keeping me 'fresh.' It will keep my mind from cramping, by becoming overly focused on one thing and therefore also draining my creative juices. Also I could do some in watercolour for a change, to mix things up. If I’m honest with myself, I doubt I’ll manage one a day. I think I’ll join the quest but limit it to 3 a week. Rosemary and I can compare notes as we stride around town during our walks. Hope I can keep up with her painting! So, without further ado, I shall paint a small one today.
FYI : I’m chronicling the progress of the Vukusakhe project on my gallery face book page and am starting a page on my website about it…if you’re interested, go to  or