Monday, 31 December 2012

December Celebrations...

We always have such a very full December with celebrations... from Birthdays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Anniversaries, more Birthdays to New Years!

We had a very wonderful Christmas Day with Digz family in our home and it was such a mellow and pleasant day!!  The food is always good and a complete treat.  But the best part of family gatherings for me is all the laughter, banter and closeness.  As I've got older, it's more precious to me than anything else.  I love seeing how the kids all get along so well... all different ages!  It's beautiful!
Boxing day we shot through to my brother up the coast.  We were chomping at the bit to see Baby Grace again... we last saw her at her birth but that was already 4 months ago.  The girls loved being with her.  To me there is something special that happens with little ones when they connect with their cousins... it's like they know that this is family.  There is such tenderness between them.  In this first shot - I just love the way they are looking at each other.  Too precious!

We quietly celebrated our 16th anniversary at home this year because the day before and day after was spent surfing and with all the other festivities, quite frankly we were too tired to do anything major on this day... Maybe when things settle down we will do something just the two of us.
The wind and weather has been perfect for some glorious surf days.  Corks and Digz are surfing so wonderfully at the moment.  As for Kitty, my little bodyboarding buddy we are equally having our own victories in the water.  We had two of our best surfs this week... At one stage all four of us were on the same wave surfing together... Such awesomeness!
It's New Years Eve and my biggest girl just turned 14!  Yes, I have a New Year's Eve Baby!  She's growing into such a beautiful young lady and I seriously couldn't be prouder of her.  She has been putting in the hours for the past year learning to surf.  She's proved to us she's serious about it.  This year we decided to replace her beginner's board with her very own serious Roxy surfboard.  And she was comepletely stoked!
I have to say I have loved our 2012 year and it will definitely go down in my books as one of my best and favourite years ever.  I think it has to have been one of the most exciting, positive, happening and life changing years for all of us... We needed a good year and 2012 was a great year!  Here's a huge thank you to the amazing people I have met this year and old buddies near and far, all of who have added so richly to my life!  Looking forward to deeper connections next year.
Happy New Year and here's to an equally beautiful 2013.

The Tender Lady with Six Fingers...

I completely laughed out loud last night when my sweet friend on Instagram pointed out that this Tender Lady had 6 fingers.  She asked me if I did that on purpose because it looked so right.

I was horrified that I could do that completely by mistake.  It was my first attempt at hands and I was feeling quite chuffed with myself...

My family were teasing me that I was so chuffed with my 6 fingered hand {blush}

I have decided to keep her exactly as she is... for some or other reason my subconscious or muse felt it looked right... so there it's going to stay!  If nothing else, she makes an interesting story for us to giggle at.  I know some of Mark Chagall's paintings of hands, had extra fingers... so I guess one day someone will be asking "I wonder why this artist put in an extra finger???"

I guess in many ways she just become way more endearing to me...

Sunday, 30 December 2012

#InMyStudio - Finished my first Figure piece...

With Christmas, Anniversary and Birthday celebrations this week - it's been too busy to paint... and I have a whole bunch of unfinished pieces again... I don't want to start the New Year like that. With me also having signed up for 2 more Online Courses already for next year I don't want to start on the backfoot... I want to be current and keep up to date with each week... so I have been chomping at the bit to get back into my studio...

I hadn't meant to end up here today, I was just tidying up and I got side-tracked...

Misty encouraged us to do some figure pieces in Italy and it isn't something I have been huge on doing, not for any specific reason other than rather focusing on faces... but I drew this piece up sometime ago but have been to nervous to push through it... but today was the day and I have to say I am super pleased with how she turned out.  I am completely in love with her tenderness.  She's currently up in my studio...

I think I found the perfect spot for her in my studio...

Little addictions...

Today I rearranged my studio and office... getting ready for the New Year.
Which also meant I sorted through my paints... boy I have lots of oil paints at a quick glance it looks like I have an addiction problem but in truth, most of these beautiful tubes of heaven were Birthday gifts, Christmas gifts and work farewell gifts for the past couple of years. Every year people buy me huge amounts of art supplies... I love that my loved ones totally support what I do!!  For 2 years I didn't have to buy canvas' because I guess they just make perfect birthday gifts for painters.
I feel so blessed.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

#InMyStudio - A little Christmas Painting...

Omgoodness - I thought she would never come right... we struggled right from the beginning, with wrong proportions, mirky paint, funny eyes and too big nose... but I feel we finally found our way home.  The night before Christmas Eve, I didn't mean to finish her... I was busy downloading music to update my painting music and I just started tinkering on the dress and tweaking the eyes, nose and mouth... and the next I looked and she was finished!!!
I am so stoked I didn't give up on her, I almost did a good few times!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

#InMyStudio... Another Sign up...

I am delighted to say I have signed up for Misty's new OnlineCourse too... Face to Face.  I knew this course was coming and I've been holding my breath to sign up.  Face to Face is officially opening on the 21st January 2013...  So I have some time to prepare my mind and heart.  I am super excited!  Both my new sign ups are focusing on portraits and nothing could make my heart happier than that fact.  Hoping to finish off some unfinished paintings and carry on working on OpenStudioWorkshop as much as I can before then.  So officially I am on 3 courses so I have much work to do!  Happy Heart!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

#InMyStudio... juggling pieces...

Week 1 - Diary of Faces... Feeling pretty freaked out but I am trusting CHEN
will find her way on my canvas.  Shadows and undertones down...

Emily Moon is my newest piece and I can't wait to work on her... I have loved this draw up from the beginning and I think I am going to love her finished. She feels emotional and has movement... I will keep you posted.

April has been fighting with me from her draw up.  I know not every piece will be a breeze but I have been going back and tweaking and tweaking.  She just hasn't felt right from the beginning and her eyes and face shape have kept me busy.  I also drew her up with a dark pencil and when I started adding the paint it made the skin color grey and mirky.  That has never happend to me before.  I had to scrap off the paint and start over...  I do however, love her hair and her bandana and I believe we will slowly start finding our way forward.  I will have to continue to rework her eyes and mouth and have some ideas in mind for her dress...

A little Acquisition...

I am happy to say that my new little Acquisition arrived today.... 

This sweet little painting is just 4"x7" - PostCard size.  And she's more gorgeous in real life.  When my package arrived today - it felt like Christmas morning.  She was so beautifully packed up and included was the most beautiful handpainted card.

So deeply moved by such beauty!  When I woke up the other Saturday morning and found that Misty had listed some original paintings on the Friday (while I was sleeping) and by my Saturday morning most of them were sold and this was the only little one left... Just for me! 

And how apt... The Blue Eyed Girl with a Flowrsinherhair!!

The Blue Eyed Girl with a Rose in her Hair - by Misty Mawn

Thursday, 20 December 2012

December holidays...

It's 7.30pm and it was still 32 degrees C...
I love December holidays because I get to spend such great quality time with my girls... the 6 weeks off from school and routine has seriously become the highlight of my year.  We have been trying to get out and about and do as much as possible while the weather is so beautiful.
Happy to say we have kept Christmas small and got our shopping overs with quickly so our days haven't been spent in the malls {my least favourite thing in the world} but rather outdoors.  I love that the girls are getting bigger because they are doing so much more with me, exercise wise... We have been waking early to do some running together, which not only adds value to my run but is also helping them keep fit as they are both in the throws of their teenage years.  We have been hitting the gym to get some swimming training in and also hitting the beach for some surftime and also afternoon playtime in the sand and waves.  Generally in Cape Town the sun only goes down between 8-9pm which means it's a super long day to fit in plenty of wonderful activities!!!
I love summer in Cape Town.

Kitty playing footloose and fancy free - Llundudno

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Exciting Steps...

Some time before I left for Italy, I looked at doing a course called "A Diary of Faces" - A wonderful artist I am following on Instagram and Facebook, Betty Wilkins was doing this course and I was so impressed with the work she was producing.  I did some research and found that this course was run by Norah'S Art. .  Norah's is spelt in reverse... Sharon.  Little did I know then that I would get to meet Sharon Tomilson and paint with her in Italy.  I knew then already, that when I got back home I wanted to sign up for her course.  And I am so excited because today I signed up for Part 1.  It's a 9 week self-paced course and I am totally delighted with the faces I will be studying and painting.
The most exciting part of me doing this course, in between doing OpenStudio, is that I get to hear Sharon's beautiful voice and soothing Southern drawl.  I could listen to her for hours.

I know Misty is also opening a new course in January and I will be signing up for that too so I can tell the first half of next year is going to be heavy for me but I am looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to working hard.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

#InMyStudio - New Pieces

After the pieces I have finished lately, all of which have been so special and precious to me... I wasn't sure how I was going to move forward.  I had some smallish canvas boards to play with and I thought I would just start with drawing up some pieces and see what comes...

I was so excited that I couldn't wait to start painting...

 "The Girl with the Feathered Earrings" - 5"x7" Canvas Board
This is my new #SelfPortrait attempt... I have a beautiful new pair
of Feathered Earrings and I can't stop wearing them!
Sometimes I just love painting small pieces.
  I don't have a name for her yet... but she is a little bigger (10"x8")
I am completely loving her and I can't wait to finish painting her!

Friday, 14 December 2012

A little surprise in my MailBox...

"My Pretty" by Sharon Tomlinson

Look at the delightful surprise I found in my mailbox!!!
Wow I am so blown away by Sharon's random act of kindness!
I feel so blessed.  And I can't tell you how happy my heart is to have this exquisite piece!

I can honestly say that everyone that I met in Italy were so generous and kind to me.  Sometimes my mind can't phathom why, but I am so touched!

I have never thought about collecting other artists pieces.
But I have to say I now have a small and beautiful collection and I have fallen in love with the concept of buying beautiful pieces and supporting incredible artists out there!! I think I am hooked.

I read this quote this week from Julia Cameron and I know it was just for me... in fact, I couldn't believe the timing...

 "The act of supporting another artist is an act that reinforces our identity as well as theirs".

Sunday, 9 December 2012


I actually had such a good week but also a tough week... Here's a look!

I spent some time at the printers this week, putting together Giclee prints, together with postcard sets... to stock in my EtsyShop.  And I have to say I was so completely blown away at the quality and the service I got.  It's the first time I have ever done something like this.  They are so beautiful and the paper is exquisite.  This was a huge step for me... Putting myself out there has been scary.  But trusting for sales and if not, I will keep these aside for an exhibition that I'm hoping to have next year!  Super exciting stuff!!!

Vertigo is still plaguing me after months of struggling. And this week I got really down about it. Some days are just so bad and yet others, I'm perfectly fine. I am not sick. I can't take meds and go to bed. There is no real treatment and certainly no cure. I just have to silently {invisable to the outside world} struggle through it. There doesn't seem to be a pattern and it's completely unpredictable. I am not enjoy this whatever this is...

I trained quite a bit this week!  I managed to get in 4 training sessions and ran a total of 21kms and did a spinning class... which is a great improvement.  Why am I training when I'm clearly plagued by this illness? I am such a believer that sports, exercise and wellbeing can heal most things.  I'm not overdoing it or stressing my body out - I am working carefully and slowly and only on the days that are good.  But it certainly has lifted my spirits. 
I did a bit of painting and #openstudioworkshop this weekend.  Mainly finishing some pieces that are ready to go into my EtsyShop   I did a few drawups from class and looking forward to painting them this week.  Now that the girls are on holiday and I have more free time {finish #openstudioworkshop}.  I am looking forward to Misty's new course in January and Sharon's Diary of Faces that I'm also looking forward to tackling in January.   As for this piece - I love her.  Wow those #dots took me all day to do!!! But the hard work paid off!!!!

It has become a firm family tradition to go out for lunch on breakup day and today was no exception!! We go over the girl's reports and discuss the year's highs and lows. My girls are getting so big and beautiful, that my heart just swells at the amazing young ladies they are becoming. They both had brilliant years and both worked so hard. The thought of having 5.5 weeks off is making us giddy!!!  Happy Holidays!!!

#InMyStudio - finishing pieces...

This weekend was all about finsihing off pieces... this is always such a challenge for me.  It has always been my challenge and something I have had to work through since I started painting... it's like I lose momentum right near the end.  When I was working through Julia Cameron's book The Arist's Way - she has a section about it.  I knew she was talking about me.  Sometimes it's just easier to never commit to the finishing and to say it's a "#wip" that way closing the door to any critism and judgement.  Isn't that crazy that that is at such a subconscience level.

So I know it's the area in any piece I have to push through.  That being said, this year has been my best year for finishing pieces - but it's something I have to work hard at.

So I am happy to say that I finished off 2 more pieces this weekend.

I am absolutely in love with this piece.
To me she's one of my favourite paintings this year.
And I completely love her size - she's 21"x28" {55x70cm}
I started her before Italy to practice the skintone technique that Misty teaches...
I have called her Misty - because she's completely ~Misty Mawn~ inspired!!!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Treasured moments #InMyStudio...

Corks has been asking for the past while if we could spend some time together in the studio.  I didn't allow her this time during exams and so she was chomping at the bit to paint together.  I always get a little nervous for these sessions because I am by no means a teacher.  And I always want her time here to be positive... She started off drawing a portrait today, on her own accord and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  She's 13, almost 14 and I think she did pretty well.  I am so proud of her.  She has a good eye and she's fearless when it comes to trying new things.  I only had to guide her a bit on the mouth and the one eye.  But for her first attempt - I think she's pretty remarkable.  I honestly believe if she continues like this, she will be producing some wonderful work.

As for me, I woke up and my vertigo was off the charts.  Getting up was tricksy... the girls were amazing and made me breakfast and coffee which I managed to get up for and then I headed back to bed.  Somedays are good and somedays are just bad and this morning was tough going.  I have to say that I felt much better after that second sleep...  I headed to the studio to be with Corks and managed to paint this sweet little Jane Austen inspired piece.
Who knew that one day I would be creating art with my girls... Honestly, a dream come true!

Still have some work to do but resting here today

Saturday, 1 December 2012

More time #InMyStudio...

There was much excitement in the house on Friday... not only did I finish my extra work hours at the office but the girls also finished all their exams and just like that the pressure and tension had been lifted and I have to say it felt pretty good...
It's the start of December and it's summer and the holiday feeling has entered the house and everyone is raving about it!  To celebrate the end of all the hard work, we took the girls to see the final in the Breaking Dawn saga - Corks had been waiting patiently for exams to finish to see the end.
When we got home I started painting and decided to finish working on my The Journey - Dreaming of Orvieto painting... I had be struggling with what to do with the dress.  Nothing I did seemed to be working.  I eventually took a photo of this piece and printed it out and drew some rough designs on it... and this is where I got the idea for the necklace - which I just love and a few hours later her dress evolved to this.  I am delighted with where this piece ended.  I have to say that I am more delighted that I finished this piece.  Sometimes finishing a piece for me, is more difficult than the actual piece itself.

I crawled into bed at 2.30am with a full heart.  But I knew this did mean Saturday was going to be hard but it did also mean that I have finished another painting this week and I am thrilled!!!

Thursday, 29 November 2012


All I can say is that I was reluctant to start this homework... I think I was afraid.  How do you put yourself on a canvas.  Not only that but I think as artists we are our own worse critics.  But I am so pleased I jumped in.  I drew her up the other night and then yesterday after work I started my first layers of paint...
All I can say is that I really learnt a lot with this piece.  Today putting my second layer of paints down and working in the highlights really helped make this piece move from looking kind of one dimensional to a piece with depth.  I actually loved the size of this canvas {10"x 10"} and I really enjoyed where I ended...
As to whether she actually looks like me - I am just not sure! 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Putting down deeper roots...

So this week will be one year exactly since we packed up our house and moved 1400km's to another city.  When we arrived back here, we rented a small little 1920's house close to the girl's school.  Truth be told, I love old houses and fell in love with quirky offbeat place.  But living in an old house does come with issues and this house is no exception.  This "old gal" had seriously been neglected and unloved... and in some ways that made me love her even more.  We didn't think we would be staying long so have been keeping things light and I guess in a little bit of limbo.
But it's been a year already and it was time to decide if we will be renewing our lease or moving on.  The thought of packing up house and moving so soon - almost made us sick!  We just aren't ready for that.  So we have renewed our lease and decided for now, we will stay on for another year.  We can't really continue to live in limbo so we are doing somethings around the house to make it feel more like home.  We have been working on the garden for the past year and it's come along nicely.  I redid the kitchen floor and I am happy with how that turned out.
The girls had been feeling unsettled with the prospect of "are we moving or are we staying" - so we decided to start with the girls room... a new lick of paint, new beds, new bedding and some major rearranging and we have happy hearts and beautiful rooms.  My next project was putting pictures up... yesterday we put a total of 15 pictures up and it looks pretty amazing.  I had been working on a set of pictures for my dining room which were made up of some of the beautiful art I received in Italy from my new friends, together with some of my own pieces from before, during and after Italy.  It has completely transformed this area.
Our next big job will be to paint out the kitchen and bathroom... but that is another job for another weekend.

The Big 4.0. for Mel...

Being 40 and being beautiful!!!!
I can't believe this day has come... We have been talking 40 birthdays all year... And tonight was Mel's 40th Birthday bash. I can't remember when last I got dressed up for a party.  In fact, I can't remember when last I went to a dance party.  Party's are completely out of my comfort zones... I guess partying the night away, isn't something we ever really do as a couple.  If you had to ask me why, I really couldn't tell you.  I guess we just do other things... Maybe we have got  too serious over the years.  Maybe it has to do with being with our girls and doing family things as opposed to the party thing... which we just prefer.
But that being said, I have to say - getting all dressed up was great fun and because it's kind of a rare occassion - it felt so special.  Maybe because we are older and don't take these special date night moments for granted.  Not only that but spending a night out with Mel and Russ and her friends and family was just such a treat!  I was so glad we were there to hear the speeches and share this moment with her.  Got a few tips for my 40th next year!!

So Mel thanks for pushing me out of my comfort zones to have some party fun!!!  I loved the dancing, the laughing and loved our silly 40 year old style dance moves... the high heels almost killed me but it was worth it for sure!

Being out with my beautiful man - always a treat!

Love the Disco lights!!!!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Journey - Dreaming of Orvieto...

The Journey
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting their bad advice
though the whole house began to tremble
and you felt the old tug at your ankles.
"Mend my life!" each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy was terrible.
It was already late enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little, as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own,
that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world,
determined to do the only thing you could do -
determined to save the only life you could save.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Creative Weekend = happy heart!!!

I have been helping out one or two days on a filmshoot this past week, which means long days...  I got home quite late on Friday and I was exhausted.  I wasn't planning on painting but I couldn't resist... 
I started working on my Italian Fresco and ended up painting until 2am.
This is a mighty journey... I look forward to working more on her face.
My alignment is a little off... can't wait to do more layers.

 I am still struggling through this piece...

Working on this new piece, from being back in the classroom.  I have up my weekend surf to get back in the classroom.  I am so please to be back there... Loving this piece very much.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Stargardener's Guest Post...

Wow - yesterday my sweet friend Teresa Robinson {aka Stargardener aka The Art Journaler} who I discovered on Instagram this year and follow on Facebook, featured me as a Guest on her website called "Her Story"...

I was not only so touched be this incredible gesture to some of the work, art and blogging I have done this year but also so incredibly touched by the compilation of her work.  Teresa took pieces I have written on my different blogs and some letters we shared together and created a beautiful story... A portrait of how she sees me and this journey I have been on this year.  A gift she has, for sure, of painting a picture through one's words.  I found this so powerful and profound when she joined my pieces together.  In many ways - it completely surprised me.  You are a storyteller, my friend!!
The thought of being able to inspire and encourage anyone through our art and words is so deeply personal to me, it is such a gift.  I think it's one of the greatest things we can give each other... because in so many ways - it breathes life and hope into our souls.  {Teresa and what she does online - has without a doubt been this to me this year.  She is a beautiful and kind and gifted artist with a deep wisdom and ability with words.  She has the most incredible heart and capacity for what she does in difficult circumstances but never ceases to amaze me with all she does.  I love seeing wisdom in action and Teresa not only talks it but walks it and completely lives it!  Authenticity at it's best!}
I know that I have found such incredible inspiration online this year from some very special people and incredible artists from all over the world who have added to my life and journey, some of whom I have been fortunate to have met in person.  It is a special community.  I love that when we choose to be {brave} and dare to risk, dare to step out the door, dare to open our hearts to new possibilities, new friends and the unknown - we discover a whole new life, full of adventure and full of beautiful people = changed heARTS forever!
I am so grateful today for the amazing people I have met online this year!! {and in person}

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Life in general....

I am not sure why exactly, but it has taken me a full month to find my feet after Italy.  My energy levels were at an all time low, getting out of bed was a struggle.  Probably had a lot to do with the late night painting sessions in the studio in Italy and the full schedule and also the traveling took it's toll.  Nevermind nervous energy.  But I am happy to say I am finally feel like I am back on track.  I have slowly got back into my training regime and also trying to get back into my painting / art regime. 

Before Italy, I was doing something art wise every day.  I wouldn't say I am back there yet but getting there.  I had started so many wonderful things in Italy and I have been slowly finishing those pieces.  I have so many things in mind that I want to start doing and I am also trying {unsuccessfully - I might add} to get back into my class #openstudioworkshop.  Not because I haven't wanted to but because I have been playing catch up and this weekend past I had no internet connectivity.  I was pulling my hair out... That being said - I did use the "down" time to put together my art journal that Misty gave us in Orveito.  And I am totally in love with it.  I have put photo's in, pieces of art, little stories and keepsakes from Italy.  And it's visually gorgeous.


It's officially summer here and we finally hit the surf again this weekend and it's honestly the highlight of our week.  As a family, it is a beautiful place for us to connect...  Digs and Corks ride their surfboards together and Kitty and I bodyboard together.  She's seriously my surfing buddy and with her being a year older, a bit stronger and taller - her abilities in the water have improved which means she's now able to get to the backline with me and we caught some awesome waves together.  I love the ocean and I don't take these precious moments for granted, not one bit.

I am super excited because last week I have found a new art shop, with a good enough stock and priced competitively.  I will be supporting them from now on.  I got a bit carried away and bought some new brushes and some new oils.  Can't wait to start playing again.  I am still working on my fresco so these will certainly come in handy!!!  Buying art supplies always makes my heart happy!