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.
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