Tuesday, 26 March 2013

My heart is soaring today...

I have really been pushing myself to finish this piece before I leave on holiday.  She needs to dry while I am away... I can't tell you why it's meant so much to me to finish this piece.... it took so much from me.  But in a good way!!!
I am thrilled that she's finally finished.
I am celebrating tonight...

All my packages PostOffice ready.   I've put together Misty's mini package including her postcard... I hope she loves it.  And my SisterLove package is all packed and ready.
Happy heart tonight!!!  Just feeling so grateful!!!

Monday, 25 March 2013

My news in pictures... Great start to the week!

Monday 'mazingness...
I asked my sweet friend Jenny Lee - if I could buy one of her prints for my friend
Melody... who loves Jenny's work and had been admiring one of the pieces
that Jenny gave me in Italy.

Jenny kindly sent me a print for Mel as a gift... 
she also slipped in some extra treats for me and Mel.
I am so blown away...  So can't wait to frame mine up!!!
Thank you beautiful Jenny!

I know you, like me, value how precious it is to know your work is on the other side
of the world in someone else's home... telling a beautiful story!

Another Monday 'mazingness
Wow I am so completely blown away... 
My SisterLove painting was purchased from my Website today.
I am so touched and so completely thrilled that this
sweet piece has found a special home!
She get's shipped tomorrow to live in the USA

Thank you!!!

We have 2 days left of school for term 1 and I have both my girls reports.  And this Mom is suitably happy!!  It's been a fast paced term, with extra murals, adjusting to new schedules and homework demands.  We are feeling pretty exhausted!!!  Partly because we haven't gone on holiday for over 2 years... 2010 was our last family trip!  The last few years have been tough. So going away has been huge on our priority list.

So grateful that we will have this time away... we leave on Thursday for Moonshine - it's one of my most favorite spots on earth!  It's visually beautiful, organic and artistic... all of the things that matter to me.  But mostly, I think what makes this place so special for us - is the most incredible memories we have made there... so we keep going back to make more precious ones.  Our budget will be tight so nothing fancy on this trip but just rest... and lots of it!  Which right now is a precious commodity for us.  Planning on spending lots of time on the veranda or on the bench under the tree... reading, sleeping, painting, playing board games and the highlight will be sharing special meal times together.  The excitement in our house is tangible... and the packing has started!

 This week I'm happy to say that my hubby traded in his JHB city slicker car (the one I never liked) for a new American adventurous car... a Jeep.  Which now totally suits his adventurous lifestyle as a cyclist, mountaineer, climber and surfer.  Again... this wife is suitable happy!!!

So I haven't been running for the past 2 weeks... after my two long races, my hips have been so tight.  I've also been working on a new nutritional program with a doctor, focusing on Metabolic Balance which I have chosen mainly for health reasons.  It requires me to hang up my shoes for a bit... something I find hard to do but enjoying the downtime.  Our holiday will be many hours surfing and walking which I am really look forward to doing something different.

 Around Mid-April my winter running regime will begin.  I love running in winter because it's cooler and I don't tend to overheat as much as I do in summer.

We have had a glorious summer but Autumn is definitely in the air and that chilly wind has been blowing and I know our warm days are numbered.  Most people don't enjoy winter in Cape Town but I really do.  The set in soft rain completely appeals to me and looking so forward to long weekends in front of the fire.

Have a wonderful week!!!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

#InMyStudio - Loosening Up Homework and Postcards

So I started my loosening up homework and decided to save it for my
postcards that we have to send out this week...
We have to send to the person below us on the PostCard list and mine is none other than Misty herself... a tad bit nervous about this!!! But I have to believe that Misty enjoys receiving art just like all of us... so I am hanging onto that... :-)

I decided to use 4"x6" Canvas board because I did my postcards in Oil Paints... so my two pieces are currently drying out before post off this week.So the loosening up exercise was a challenging assignment for me and completely out of my comfort zones because of my tendency to blend.. but as I found myself blending, I physically stopped myself and went back to laying down paint loosely and using colors on the face that were out of my usual rep.  The above mess completely freaked me out and I thought I would never find my faces...

But I am happy to say I did...

But I am only posting these two interim pics here because they are both going out in the challenge... I am not sure how on earth I'm going to select other people from the list... But I'm thinking of something.

I am going away next week - so I will be picking up more 4"x6" canvas boards so I can continue with this challenge.  I loved this assignment in the end and it really did help me face fears and loosen up with the paint... it was glorious!!

#InMyStudio - Working Hard...

So I made a lot of progress this weekend on my Artful Gathering... I woke up on Saturday morning at 4.30am - I couldn't go back to sleep so I got up to work but couldn't connect, so I started painting instead... My hubby left for a racing event so I had the house quietly to myself, while the girls slept in.  I love the silence of the early mornings.  And I adore this time to paint.  I had the best time!  Some of these little ladies, I am completely in love with...

I love this sweet girl with the birdie on her head... 
I feel I have had such breakthrough with my mouths, face shapes and shadows...
Feeling so stoked about that.

Almost finished these two girls on the left... their skin is still a bit dark but when this layer is dry, I will do more layers and highlights.  I love how their flowrs in their hair turned out.

The little lady in the pink dress or nighty...
 I think might be one of the most endearing little lady to me.
I love the roses on her dress top and sleeve and her face is so sweet.

That being said - I do love all of them and all have something unique that I love.

I only have one lady left to do... she's on the far right and can't see her in this pic.  Also want to finish including some of the hands and arms.  Really can't wait to finish this piece.

I have had such lovely responses to this painting... that took me so by surprise.
A lovely lady from the US contacted me this week about buying this piece... whether or not that actually happens, the gesture completely touched my heart.  The support really helped affirm me this week in my ability as an artist... so grateful for the gesture!
I think in reality as artists those thoughts and frustrations can be our constant companions.

Friday, 22 March 2013

#InMyStudio - Friendship/Sisterlove finished...

Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than finishing off pieces... and as you know, it's something I work very hard to do... because I can easily get distracted near the end.  Get distracted by new more exciting prospects... But the past year I have worked so hard to break that pattern.  So I am happy to say this sweet piece is finished.  I let it stand for a week or so while I contemplated the background... I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do but wasn't sure number 1, how it would turn out and number 2, how I was going to do it.  To me the background can be as important as the painting itself... and can sometimes take me longer too.  But once I started we flowed to the end... and as I was working those little squares around and around, I got a stamp idea for the circle... Misty had used a piece of wallpaper to wrap up the one painting I bought from her and I cut out a piece of it and used it as a stamp... and I loved it!!!  To me, it seriously completed this piece...  So stoked!

Now I can work at finishing my Artful Gathering piece... I left it to dry for a few days...  Hoping to finish this special piece this weekend.

16"x20" Canvas Board - SisterLove / Friendship

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

#InMyStudio... A bit of Breakthrough...

I was feeling really low the last few days (life catching me off guard) but also with my painting in general.  Been feeling frustrated with my oils and that never happens. And have been feeling so frustrated that my faces are appearing flat and lack shape and reality.  And just frustrated in my painting ability, in general.  I keep studying other peoples faces and I know I need to work on this... I have a long journey ahead of me.

I got home after life today at 6pm and took a nap, I was exhausted and I needed perspective.  I woke, had dinner and started painting... My faces needed work.  And I wanted to face the background because I needed to pull this piece together.  The white spaces can be so intimidating.  I also wanted to do something different on my background... I ended up painting for hours and really reworking areas and I'm so stoked.  Feel like I had a bit of breakthrough even if it was just for me internally.  There is real emotion in this piece and some of my edges around the faces are fuzzy and it's giving it a real old painting from the olden days feel.  I am loving that so much.  I am also starting to fall in love with their dresses.  At first the colors were distracting me but they have grown on me... Still have so much work to do.

I love how all the girls are touching and connected in some way.  Friends, sisters... little woman - connected by something, maybe their femininity.   

Monday, 18 March 2013

Do you ever feel like this...????

I think this picture shows exactly how I have been feeling lately, especially today...
Like I just can't seem to do anything right!

That Easter-Break can't come soon enough!

#InMyStudio... Baby steps...

Laying down the napkins (Thank you Heather)
On Saturday I met with the lovely Heather who lives up the road from me.  We met on Facebook and via Sharon Tomilson.  We both did the Face to Face (Misty's Workshop) and she's already completed a Diary of Faces (Sharon's Workshop).  Sweet Heather came bearing gifts of beautiful napkins... talk about perfect timing... now I had beautiful napkins for my Ladies dresses.  Playing with napkins is new to me but I am enjoying it very much.  Thank you Heather... how wonderful that you will be part of this painting too... it's ending up being quite a collaboration... 
(Annie, Heather, Sharon... just to name a few).

It is an "Artful Gathering" after all... maybe in more ways than one...

Softening the bold lines and colors.
More layers going down.
Feeling a tad overwhelmed by all the colors and that it might be a bit too busy or two bold... but I am hoping doing a more solid background will help bring them all together and tone it down a little. 

Saturday, 16 March 2013

#InMyStudio... "Artful Gathering"

Artful Gathering... 20"x30" Canvas Board
I have been struggling for a name for this piece but Annie Hamman helped me come up with this wonderful name "Artful Gathering"... and it's so perfect!!! Because some of the ladies I have used here, I used my previous paintings as references... And it's like they have all come together in this piece... and I just love that!

I started painting late last night because we had a school function and once I started, I just couldn't stop... I crawled into bed a little broken around 3am... but with a very contented heart!

Up close and personal... 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

#InMyStudio - Delightful Play and drawing up...

20"x30" Canvas Board

After so much fun and enjoying my figures this week... I can't stop...  I've had such a delightful response to my ChinaDolls / Closeness and my MotherDaughterLove / Wearing my Heart on my Sleeve piece.  I thought it would be fun to do a canvas with many ladies and girls on it (inspired by Sharon... who asked us if were painting along with her with her amazing piece... So I know my piece isn't the same... but it sure is going to be fun).  On this piece I will include arms and some birds.  These three canvas actually go so wonderfully together... as they run with the same theme.  I absolutely can't wait to work on this piece.  I know I'm being naughty but creative play is trumping everything at the moment InMyStudio and I know it shouldn't... I have postcards to do, a monochromatic portrait waiting for me, a self portrait and also a few commissions drawn up and ready for painting... But I promise to get to it as soon as I've finished playing...

You've got mail...

Well nothing makes my heart happier than receiving mail... the old fashioned way. Esp when I don't except it and even more when I do... it's like holding my breath for sweet treasures.
And today look what I received in the Mail...

an absolutely stunning Original Artworks from Betty Wilkins (aka as BettyfromTexas)
I am so blown away and I am shocked beyond words and a little emotional.

Betty and I started chatting online and on Instagram before I went to Italy last year and she knew Sharon Tomilson.  Betty together with Sharon are the reason why I signed up for a Diary of Faces... (Sharon's online courses) which I will continue through the year and hopefully sign up for the part 2 too.  Not only is she an incredible artist but also a wonderful encourager and uplifter, not only to me but to other artists too.
This is a tribute you to you Betty.  Seriously, thank you!

When I got back from Italy, I was seriously challenged by generosity... that I experienced from my fellow artists in Italy and still continue to experience.
I knew without a doubt it was more how I wanted to be... especially around my art.

Since I got back from Italy, I have been working hard on getting my prints up and running, together with trying to lock down my postcards and my little Online Shop.  I have been slowly rolling out mailing special people prints as gifts.  It's been a lengthy process and every month I get to do a few on the list... as shipping costs are heavy on us from SA and I have a budget...  I know it will take me time to work through my list but I'm loving every minute of it.  A few weeks ago I sent some things to Sweet Betty but I would never have expected or known that I would in return receive such a gift of generosity.
I will cherish this with my whole heart!

My Betty Artwork will be going up in my room among my collection of Sharon Tomilson, Jenny Wentworth, Joanne Rose and Misty Mawn pieces to just name a few... I am growing my collection and there are many more fabulous artists I would love to still acquire pieces from but today was a nice big tick next to one of my fav fellow artist...

Still so blown over by such kindness and generosity!

#InMyStudio... PostCard Swop

On FacetoFace workshop Misty introduced a PostCard Swop.  At first I thought we would create Postcard images/prints from the work we did through the course... but that wasn't what she meant.  We have to create postcards from scratch and send them to people on the mailing list... almost like PenPals.  Well, I have to say I just love love love the concept.  Who doesn't love receiving post or postcards.  And... wow imagine receiving an original piece of ArtPostCard.  So blown away by the idea.  Well today I found this set of 20 ready cut cards and I took all 3 sets they had in store.  I think it might be something I continue to do through the year for birthdays etc.  One of Misty's assignments was to 8 mini paintings at the same time... an exercise in loosening up... so I have decided to combine my homework with this swop and kill two birds with one stone... I love the idea of sharing art with each other!  How amazing!

#InMyStudio... Closeness...

#Closeness - 16"x20"Canvas Board
I just loved my figure work piece so much from last week, that I immediately decided to do another one about #Friendship / #SisterLove.  It's coming along nicely...  The face work is so tiny that I'm using a 00 brush for the detail work.  The nose detail was miniature but I loved every minute of it.  It's still a work in progress and I still need to decide about the background and whether I will include arms or not etc.  Hoping this will continue to evolve... as for the beautiful dresses... I used the stunning napkins that Sharon sent me... Thanks Sharon.  It gives me a feeling that these two little ladies are #ChinaDolls.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

#InMyStudio - #EvolutionofaCollage

Totally loving where this is going.
That collage composition took me forever... but worth it.
Tried to use elements for each of us that best
represent us.

MotherDaughterLove on 16"x20" Canvas Board

#InMyStudio... MotherDaughterLove

After having a break from my studio all week - I was chomping at the bit to play.  Yesterday, I pulled out one of my bigger canvas' (16"x20") and it was just so delightful to play...

I have been wanting to do a painting with more than one face/person/figure for a while... And I was thinking about doing one with the girls (SisterLove)... but for ages I have been wanting to do one with me with my girls... a MotherLove or a MotherDaughterLove.  Totally loving the process.  I have some work to do today, but can't wait to carry on with this piece.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Ol' Bag... It's love for sure...

I love all things bags, shoes and scarves.
But I have long since curbed my spending habits when it comes to these lovely items.
Now I only attain them through gifts.  I've been that good.
My last bag, my hubby bought me, is an authentic handmade fabric sling bag,
made by a lovely artist from Cape Town.  I have loved this bag so much and I have used it the most out of any of my handbags.  But every now and again I see one and it's just love...

And I found this one, this week... 
and I have just ordered it... just in time for Winter.
I am completely in love with it.
It's a lovely Jeanne Oliver Design and from what I can see is also handmade...
Look at that lovely Flowr on the side of the bag!!!
This is a complete spoil.  I have had some funds in my dollar account,
from sales I have made through the months.
{Part of me feels like I have to justify this, maybe just to myself,
that in some way I am worthy of this spoil}
Can't wait for this to arrive!!!

Love this beautiful Emerson Bag

Thursday, 7 March 2013


I decided to have a quiet and slow week this week, no time in the studio and no time running.  I missed both terribly but I purposefully forced myself to do neither.  I have been nothing short of exhausted this week.  I am sure as a result of my half marathon and also all the work we were doing on FacetoFace.  So I spent this week going to bed early, sleeping in a little (no 5am wake up calls) and just being gentle on myself.  Spent sometime thinking about a few things.  Have loved the quiet introspective time.

So this week besides the usual routine, I did some weight lifting instead of running and I spent some time updating my website, Etsy Shop and blog.  I changed all the design work... simply because I can.  I think change can be wonderful and refreshing!  So I will see how I feel about them over the next few days...

I have been thinking so much about this quote.  Misty shared this quote on her FaceBook... and it's so relevant in our world at the moment where we are facing violence, gender violence, violence against children, youths being violent and gun violence like never before.  It has been a hot topic in SA at the moment, but I know this is not unique to any of us throughout the world... Definitely food for thought!!!! If each of us could just TRY spread compassion into each others hearts... Maybe that's a start... Without sounding completely cliched! How do we do that in the practical. I am not sure yet... I am thinking a lot about it though... 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

We did it!!!!

Mel and I have been running on and off together for over a year.  There was a time when we could hardly run 5kms. This year, hasn't seen many hours training together because I haven't been as available but we both continued training on our own.  We had casually spoken about doing the beautiful Two Oceans Half Marathon (it's the mother of all half marathons in Cape Town). I have done my fair share of them but I haven't done one for about 6-7 years.  I wasn't going to make the Two Oceans this year and that's when the Milkwood Half Marathon made an entrance and we kind of just went with it.  It came around a month earlier than the Two Oceans, so I knew I was pushing it a bit, fitness wise.

I would love to say I breezed through it but I didn't.  But then I never find 21km's (13miles) easy and without it's pain.  We started strong and I would say the first 17km's were really good.  My legs felt a bit heavy and I felt sluggish but our splits were saying something completely different.  We were doing much better than either of us expected.  The last 4kms were tough going.  And when we came running in, my legs were literally screaming at me.  I couldn't find relief until I was sitting in my car in a slight cradled position.  My recovery has been excellent considering how I felt on Sunday.

I think this picture says a 1000 words... trying to find relief to my sore legs, lower back and hips.  I honestly can't tell you how grateful I am that my girls were there to meet me at the end, I needed the support.  I was so grateful Mel was with me the whole way.  It's much easier running with a buddy when it's so tough on your body.  You kind of prop each other up!  Mel was fantastic.  It was her first half marathon and I was extremely proud of her!!!  So although physically this run came a month earlier than my fitness would have probably liked it... it was honestly one of the most beautiful runs I have ever done.  I know next year I will be more ready but now we have a time to beat!!!  Can't wait.

I am not a fan of doing races anymore... but I am kind of looking forward to the next one... ummm like... on Saturday!?!  But it's a more manageable 15km.

Cape Town's version of Medals = a tree
My girls supporting me at the end.
I love that I can still impress them!!!!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

#InMyStudio - EvolutionofaPainting!

I don't usually like it when people ask me to do commissions because they can be quite prescriptive and most times I feel it steals my joy.  It's far easier when I do a piece and they fall in love with it because it touches something inside of them.  As opposed to me trying to do it from this side.  I know we should all push ourselves and grow... and I guess this is all part of it.  
Last year I did quite a few commissions and each one was tough going.  It was very stressful for me esp. when I am asked to replicate another piece I've done before.  Mainly because each piece is unique and special on it's own and in truth replication isn't easy.

When I was asked to do this commission for one special young lady - I said "yes" but I proceeded to stress out for weeks and the fear kept me from facing it.  I kept it loose (more for myself) so that if I completely failed - the request would just go away.  But as soon as I started she just flowed right out my brush and she was just so stunning to do!

I had the best time with this piece.  That really surprised me... 

Laying down the Gesso and drawing up!
where the neck and face join is all wrong...
I have some work to do!

Ahhh man - loving those eyes so much... feeling pretty afraid to move forward
in case I completely stuff it up... Just like the eyes, the hair can make it or break it.
But so far... completely in love with this piece.

Okay... is it me or does that look like I placed a big fluffy wig on top of her head...
Pretty much freaking out over here!!!

I think I held my breath for 3 hours this morning until I started claiming back ground!
Corks asked if she could watch me but I had to say NO!
Because I felt so out of control (inside) that I needed space to compose myself!
She knows me so well... she came to check on me every 10 mins and told me
from a distance what she felt it needed!  She was a great help!
When I am sitting up close sometimes I can't see the big picture!
I realized I needed an ear on the one side and her hair needed
depth to match the rest of the color scheme.

Wow - I am so thrilled with her.
She's so beautiful IRL and I love how soft and natural she looks
And mature.  I am seriously so excited to send this piece out!
She leaves next week sometime to venture across the seas
to her new home... to live with one truly remarkable young lady!
Feeling so touched to have done this piece for her!

Friday, 1 March 2013

News Flashes...

I haven't been blogging too regularly because life has been so demanding but as demanding as it's been, I am feeling excited and my energy levels have been good.  I have been waking up early most mornings either to run, or to steal moments to paint before life happens... we have been trying to make the most of the afternoons that we are stuck in our car waiting for extra murals to finish.  The girls extra murals alternate each day... so I get to have a little buddy with me during the waits...

This week we managed to finish our yearly dentist visits.  I have been working on a commission that will be shipped overseas so working to a bit of a deadline, I squeezed in two good runs and tapering for my long run on Sunday.  I picked up my running number and I've been so gripped with excitement.

This week we finished our tutorials from FacetoFaceWorkshop and although that is filled with bitter/sweet emotions, I know I have a road ahead of me of homework and assignments but it's feeling so good... I am so stoked that I have seen this through.  I have gained and learnt so much and being part of an incredible group of artists, has been such a highlight and will see me through the year, for sure. And of course having Misty in my home (via cyberspace) has been incredible.  I also met some fabulous SA artists on the course as well as some old buddies from previous courses.  It's been an incredible journey.  I have also spent a week sourcing some really hard to find art supplies in this country and that's always exciting for me!!!!  One day I'm going to open that art shop!

I love receiving post esp. from friends overseas... And my package arrived from the very gifted Sharon Tomilson, I ordered another print.  A little treat I am giving myself every month is to build my collection and support other artists that I admire and respect.  Sweet Sharon shared some incredibly beautiful napkins with me... she's such a sweetheart.  She taught me how to use them in Italy.  Happy to say most of my International/local post-outs have also been received... I Love it!

It's Friday and in my family, Friday is the highlight of our week.  It's the start of the weekend!  We are all coming down from a busy time and we love being home and love being together.  We usually do a special dinner and watch movies or just be together.  And I usually catch up on my painting... I am trying to finish this sweet commission... so on that note, let me head off to do just that....

Happy Weekend Folks.