Saturday, June 4, 2016

Heaven come down!

This is my latest painting. I live in a rural Zulu community in South Africa. The men in this area have been sidelined and marginalised by the legacy of apartheid. I wanted to paint a Zulu man immersed in God's favour and acceptance. To know that what the past has said about him, and how he sees himself is not how God sees him. 

I've had this painting propped up in my studio, for a while, wondering if it's actually finished. I tend to do this as I finish a painting, I don't consider it done until I feel some sort of closure. The problem is that this "waiting" can hinder my whole creative process. As I woke up this morning, I realised that I need to go back to having a few paintings on the go. It seems to work better for me. I know that I'm in my happy place when I'm being creative. I sometimes feel that I spread my creative energies too thinly: writing, making music and painting. I've tried to make myself draw something every day but it's not something I've been able to keep up with. I was challenged this week when I heard this quote by Shawn Bolz: 
                                                    In the waiting we create more...
It's made me realise, that while I'm waiting for closure on a piece, while I'm waiting for inspiration to paint, to be creative, I should still create, still draw, write etc; like an athlete in the off season who still trains, still works out. I know that in these creative "down" moments, I still need to press on, to create, to refine my skills and to have fun doing it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dreaming in Africa!

At last I've finished another painting! I am incredibly blessed to be living in such a beautiful area: rural Kwa Zulu Natal. Surrounded by beautiful people and a stunning counrty-side. I've been working on this piece: "African Dreams" for a while. I wanted to do an African version of a painting I did a while back. The painting is a tribute to so many who, for various reasons, have had to leave their homes, families, children and villages to find work in the cities. So the background, in the painting, is the lady's "dream" of her home.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My Happy Place!

Looking back over the various blog pages that I have, I noticed that I haven't posted here for almost a year! Where did that year go? I have been aware that, since moving here, I have really struggled to maintain a creative rhythm, so to speak. I have tried to do something about this the past couple of months. I definitely need to create and be creative! I'm in my "happy place" when I'm painting, drawing, writing or making music. But in the process of making more time to paint or be creative, I've noticed that I have to make a conscious effort to just relax. I find that listening to music, or just reading for a while tends to push me further into the creative zone. It's learning how to find that balance between leading a life that honors and supports those around me, while at the same time leaning into that space where I can just unwind and create. I love the line spoken by Eric Liddle in Chariots of Fire: "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." I feel the same way when I'm being creative! " I believe that God made me for a purpose; and when I paint, I feel his pleasure!"

I'm not quite sure I'm finished this one, so it's sitting on my easel. It's inspired by all the beautiful, amazing women who live around me. 

The landscape is inspired by the incredible view I'm treated to every day! I've used prints of a lot of my past art work and collaged them into the painting. I am always amazed by the way the landscape surrounding me is made up of layers of colors and textures. I tried to capture that here.

And finally, this piece is in the "beginning stages"! If I have no idea of what to paint next I usually paint some sort of background on the canvas and eventually an idea begins to formulate in my mind. I try and do a lot of sketching as well so that I have something to work with.

Monday, December 16, 2013

African ramblings...

At last! I've managed to complete a couple of paintings.I had not anticipated that it would take so long to settle into the rhythm of life here. It's been a year since we relocated from Doha, Qatar, back to South Africa. I think the fact that I broke my arm in March, in a car accident, didn't help the process of settling in here; especially since I had no use of my left arm until July! I can honestly say that I appreciate doing all the things I couldn't do for so many months. Praise the Lord I almost have full mobility in my arm now.

The above painting, 'Elephants Dreaming' is one I felt inspired to do after reading 'The Elephant Whisperer' by Lawrence Anthony. I love reading something that makes you think and ponder on what you've read. Amongst other things, the book served to emphasize just how extraordinary elephants are. To me elephants have always been such amazing animals, proof of the incredible creativity of an incredible Maker!
The next painting is just a quick watercolor of part of the view we have; it's a view I need to explore further, my next project perhaps. I did the painting in the middle of a dry winter here. Now, after some really good rains, the landscape is green again!
And finally, this next one is almost finished, it needs some final touches though. I often find that as I'm nearing the completion of a piece that I take a few days to stare at it until I know what it needs to finish it off.

This week has been quite a week. I went to my first Zulu wedding, and my first Zulu funeral. A week of celebration and sadness! The passing of Madiba has also occupied the thoughts of most this week. What an incredible man! We honor you Madiba! May you indeed rest in His peace!

Until the next post, happy holidays and may you have a very blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Living the Dream: Catching Up!

Living the Dream: Catching Up!: Ever feel like you're wishing you could catch up on everything you need to get done? That's how I've been feeling lately. And be...

Catching Up!

Ever feel like you're wishing you could catch up on everything you need to get done? That's how I've been feeling lately. And believe me, it really doesn't let the creative process flow easily! So this morning I decided to start "catching up" on everything I've been wanting to do for a while now. To clear the creative air, so to speak. We moved to a beautiful part of the world, the Midlands in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa, in January this year. I had thought that with such a beautiful environment the creative juices would easily flow. But somehow life gets in the way. Unpacking all our boxes took about month. And just after that, I badly broke my arm in a car accident. I've had very limited mobility in my left arm since then. Fortunately I'm right handed so I can still paint. But it has slowed me down some. So I thought I'd just post what I've done so far. None of the paintings are finished. A couple are just backgrounds just waiting for inspiration to get finished. I'm determined to get back on track. I've heard of artists who commit themselves to doing one painting, sketch or creative thing a day. Maybe that's just the thing I need to do, so watch this space!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Out of Africa!

It's been months since I last posted. But a lot has happened: we've relocated back to South Africa, into rural South Africa; from the dry dusty desert to lush green Kwa Zulu Natal (KZN)! It's been quite a challenge technologically as we have been without a phone connection and an internet connection. But it's amazing what "they" can do these days; we're almost in the middle of nowhere and we've got internet!
Our view is amazing and I'm so keen to paint and let those creative juices flow but I am hindered by all the boxes I have to sort through to be able to do that. I did manage to do a few sketches while we spent a couple of weeks with family before our final move. This is my favorite one of Gemima doing what cats love to do.
So hopefully, before not too long, I'll have my studio unpacked and I'll be ready to step right into that creative zone that I love.