Thursday, May 31, 2007

Freedom in a coin

Pen and watercolor on Fabriano HP extra white A handful of old coins, dating from the 1930's and on.
Although not much worth today, they are rich in history and we can only guess their stories.
I thought it good to buy back my spontaneity with these coins. Lately I could feel myself working very tight, very meticulous and aiming to "do it right". So when I threw these coins on the table, I bought back my freedom. There are many irregularites in this painting..a too dark inside of the silver canister, funky pieces, the colors are wild and it may look more like candy than money, but take my word for it...coins they are. Rusted within a broad spectrum of colors, I could do nothing less than paint a caleidoscope, for therein lies my freedom.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Two cars

Two cars...Only for the show.
They serve their purpose well in adding a quirky touch to a corner in the house somewhere...on a pile of antique books, under a cloche, on a dinner table, on a stack of DVD's..I bought the chevy( right?)when we lived in South Carolina, at a stop next to the highway.
The "coccinelle" is a lovely reminder of my own I once dashed around in.
Watercolor and ink on Arches HP paper.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Inspirations in color

I am in search of Inspiration. I find it in people. That does it for me. Creative people, people with strong character, the survivors, the gentle, caring ones, the courageous, daring ones...I have them all in my small circle of friends.
Voici two of them. Two wonderful inspirations. Very far away, so I had to rely on photo's. I don't mind that much.
I chose to do the following sketch, because I love the way this friend interacts. She is a beautiful woman, an extraordinary talented florist; you can give her a dry stick and she'll turn it into a magical creation. And she can't talk without her hands. I love that. When I dropped by her floral shop, she was busy with a romantic bouquet for Valentine's day and we stood for about 30 minutes chatting, while she held this wonderful creation in the one hand and expressed herself with the other. She wears this delightful "apron" when she works, to protect her clothes. Being around her, is feeling the creative juices is inspiring.

This was supposed to be only watercolor on HP Arches paper. Then I had to "fix" it by adding pen! It seems I have to fix everything lately.

This friend is a lovely romantic, in heart and soul and in appearance. She carries a bit of yesteryear with her. With her angelic hair and fair skin and soft features, she posed many problems to paint. This is my fourth go at her and it still not what I'm after and this time pen wont' fix it. I want nothing less than a soft, flowy watercolor painting. I'll probably try again and again...Maybe its because I know that she isn't ALL romantic - she can swim faster than anyone I know, she can climb a rock as fast as the young guys, she can paddle a kayak through some scary rapids and she's not afraid of any marathon! She exudes a wonderful zest for life, nothing is too hard or too boring for her, she does everything that comes her's contagious. This is watercolor on Fabriano CP (extra white)

Monday, May 21, 2007

A necklace and a statue

A painting of a piece of jewelry as suggested by MArta.

Done in watercolor on white Fabriano CP.
30.5 cm x 45.5 cm

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bon voyage to Casey.

Bon voyage to Casey.! May she have fun in Hong Kong, may they be kept safe and may she come back with great sketches!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Some odd sketches

Today is an odd day. The weather is odd. I feel odd. I had two odd migraine attacks in a week, normally I'll have two in a year. In an odd way I don't feel like doing any art. So I just chose some odd subjects. I did these all in my moleskine, which felt odd after a long time of not using it. And I used odd colors. Ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, raw umber and payne's grey. For no specific reason, my eyes just fell on them. In order to do some of these subjects, I had to twist my body oddly to see them, since I refused to get out of my "comfort zone"...

Ten to's an odd clock, it can't be trusted.

An old pitcher with an old, hand crocheted "doily" from my mom's kitchen, frequently used to keep out the odd insect.

An old candy bowl, now used to hold old porcelain pieces I pick up everywhere. Many of them were dug up when we established our garden. It's a habit I learnt from a good friend in SA many years ago and we both still do. I miss her on this odd day. There is always a piece of old porcelain lying around on the ground, telling a story of times long past.

Ostrich eggs, straight from the farm. Odd bird, the ostrich; quick and vicious despite its calm looks.

Just a lamp, nothing odd about it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Please look out for Madeleine

Madeleine has been abducted on 3 May.
Please look out for her and contact your nearest police if you have any information.
You can read more about it here

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tagging or rather ...monkey puzzle

I'm not sure if this word..monkey-puzzle exists everywhere. I can't find an explanation for monkey puzzle in any of my 5 dictionaries, apart from the monkey puzzle tree, which is actually explanatory enough: "A coniferous evergreen tree, native to Chile, having intricately ramifying branches covered with overlapping, leathery, lanceolate, prickle-tipped leaves".
Etymology: Perhaps from the obstacle its intertwined branches would pose.
So, somewhere, someone brought this concept to schools and colleges and exams and career tests and personality tests and then it ended right up here on EDM in tagging.
Before you continue reading, take a look at these friends, who have scored high on their monkey-puzzles...Mary(emma pod), KsKlein, Robyn, Carole, Jan. You all know them well actually, or so you think...
I have never been good at monkey puzzle, not at school, not at university and definitely not in any personality test. Maybe because I'm bad at making choices, or maybe because of my fear of making a bad decision, or might it be that I'm too afraid of missing out on something if I choose one thing. Most likely it is because I feel that if I can only be allowed to justify my answer, I might score just half a point.Of course that's not how a monkey-puzzle works! You choose A or B and that's your one shot at a point.
This might explain why I loved history and biology and physiology and every other area in life where I was allowed(and not) the freedom to write and draw my mind. That way I could justify my answer with unending mind blabbering, which I did so convincingly(sometimes) that I did indeed score my half a point. By hindsight I suspect I got the point only because my writing was too tiresome to read and for the slight chance that there might be a point's worth of correct information somewhere. Or simply for pushing my luck.
I could also be very descriptive, up to the point of utter confusion, which of course, all worked in my favor. I sincerely hope it is the case here.
Well, that half a point got me everywhere in life. It taught me to never give up, even when you think it is impossible, there always lurks a lucky shot.
It taught me that reasoning is a good way of communicating. It taught me that listening is an even better way. It taught me never to become a politician. And never to marry one. It taught me to know when to stop. Which is right about now.
Now I have to tag seven people. A choice I can't make without starting justifying again. You don't want that and I don't want to choose between friends. But I do want to get to know a little something about everybody. With that I have just finished up with my seventh and final answer.
So, would it be OK, dear Reader, to ask you to post a picture, a drawing, a sketch, a photo....of a small corner of where you do your art, write your journal, think your thoughts...a tiny glimpse of your own space. And only if you want to. After all, this is a always have a choice.
PS: Just a quick explanation of monkey puzzle...a multiple choice exam paper, where you simply encircle A, B, C, or D as the correct answer to the corresponding question. I grew up knowing it as monkey-puzzle.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Barefoot and happy.

A handful of years ago, we packed our two small girls and with a suitcase and a chair or two we headed for the unknown. In this case it happened to be Suffolk, England. We arrived in February, stayed in the Orwell hotel in Felixstowe for some weeks while in search for a haven to unpack our lives.

Two days ago Hartman called me from Felixstowe, where he was working for three days. While he was walking by the sea, eating fish and chips, visiting all the places we lived, buying Fox's crunch creams, we remembered. We remembered how young our girls were. We remembered how cold it was, how wet, how grey, how exciting, how awful, how lonely. This led to many memories old and dear. It took me far back to our homeland, before we packed up, to days of golden sun, warm cuddling friendships, lazy beach days, back breaking work sessions, hat wearing sports events... all of which happened barefoot.

We learnt in England to wear shoes, after the girls have been frowned upon for running at school events barefoot, for running barefoot through the lobby of the hotel to quickly pick up Dad from work(truth be told, it was February...), I have learnt to keep shoes close by for when the doorbell rang and I learnt not to kick out my shoes when arriving at a friends house.

It has been a long time since I've had to remove some thorns from my feet. It's been a long time since I've felt mud squishing up between my toes, or heated up my feet in a warm puddle of cow dung,....disgusting maybe, but those who grew up on a farm, will know what I'm talking about. They're quite beautiful now, my feet, very soft and supple, lovely pedicured and all, which is something to be grateful for I suppose. But when the chance for being barefoot shows up at our door, we still happily kick off those shoes and dash across the lobby.
In the light of my melancholy, I did 3 quick sketches with some pen and watercolor on Fabriano HP paper....and even trampled some mud...

Sunday, May 6, 2007

I give you...Christeen.

A fun exchange in emails between Christeen and me a while ago, turned into work in the end! Not that this wasn't fun. Too much, I would say...I actually attempted three paintings! But it sure was difficult...I was very worried about not doing justice to her beauty and wonderful character. She assured me though it is about the process, and not the end result(for this time, I'll believe it, although I would normally believe that the result does carry quite a bit of weight too!)
She also sent me a picture of her and her brother at four years, which I'll attempt a bit later. By her own words, she now once again has the playfulness, enthusiasm and humor she had when she was four and that was what I tried to capture. I can see it so obviously in her face, but capturing it, is another thing. She has these amazingly long eyelashes behind which she carries the sparkles of mischief, a mouth full and round with humor, and hair, wild like a free roaming lioness. See Christeen's excellent take on this!!.... as well as the original image here
So, here I give you graphite on paper; then watercolor on Arches and last, oil on linen. Click on the images to enlarge.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Something to be said for tradition..

There is something to be said for tradition. Even though we live in a very modern high tech twenty first century. We can never be without tradition. In general life, in family life, in business, in sports. My greatest pleasure comes from the old traditions in tennis.
When we lived in Stellenbosch South Africa, I enjoyed all the wonderful tennis traditions we had there; Saturdays' social games, rooibos tea for the thirst, tennis evenings until midnight with families and barbecues afterwards, league matches in Wellington where the heat drives everybody under the sprinklers on the grass before the third and final set is taken on.
In England we got hooked on the lawn tennis and of course all the wonderful British traditions...yeah, yeah, maybe a bit stiff on tv, but when you're part of it...complete different ballgame! We religiously wore our white attire on the courts and became proud of it...the carefully attended, lovely lawn courts just asked for nothing less than pure white. Happy chaps they are, the Brits on the courts...full of fun, very courteous and full of love for the game of tennis. We grew to love the cucumber sandwiches after an afternoon of tennis, some more tea, not forgetting the beer, beautiful clubhouses....a wonderful picture of tradition that deserves nothing but respect and admiration. It is a wonderful thing...playing on grass. And I should mention...I have had my most attractive coach there in England, can't really say whether that forms part of the tradition, but nonetheless, he did wonders for our tennis.
In South Carolina we had a ball! Now.... I have to be careful, since so many reading here, will be from the dear old USA? We loved it. Nothing less than perfect tennis courts, perfect clubhouses, everything you need at close hand, the latest fashions in gear widely available(I always looked stunning on the courts, so much so that my game started deteriorating...), drinks and eats to hearts desire, a very relaxed atmosphere(the game of tennis can stir up emotions from time to time, depending on how far you trail behind) and a great coach always close at hand to help with that crappy backhand.
In France we have the wonderful clay courts, which is my first choice of surface, followed by grass. Probably because it is so much gentler on all these joints. And I do enjoy the tradition that comes along with playing on a clay court. Some might find it tedious, I love it. We only play on the clay courts in summer, after they have been prepared. And this is what my sketches are all about; the sweeping of the courts, clearing the lines, sprinkling the clay and you have this beautifully prepared court ready for the next game. There is something very sporty, very adrenalin like, very professional like about sliding on the clay, giving the line a sweep with your foot just before you serve, cleaning your soles against the racket, dusting some red clay from your clothes, oh, and a big one...checking the lines for the mark! OK, it is all for the show, but it is still part of tradition and there will always be something to be said for it.
Watercolor and pen on fabriano HP.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A handful of happiness...

"Je porte bonheur".. .says this little bunch of muguets(lily of the valley). A beautiful custom in France is to give a small bouquet of these to anyone and everyone you want to, on the 1st of May, that way, wishing good luck and happiness to all. Of course it is also a public holiday..worker's day I think in English. Since I love the idea, I'm offering this bouquet of muguets to all EDM- friends - to those with special projects for May, like a drawing a day, to those who have a work on exhibit, to those who wish to exhibit, to those whom we're voting for everyday, to those who are wonderful professional artists, to those who are doing art for the fun and joy it brings them, to those who started up this great site, to those who keep it up faithfully and in great spirit week after week, to those who add fun and joy , originality, spirit and character to this art all who participate and bring beauty to look at, inspiring words to read, jokes to laugh at, advice to all at EDM; wishes of happiness to you all in this beautiful month of May!