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.

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