Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Goodbye 2014... it's been huge...


video

I'm grateful for many things from this year.
But most of all, I'm so grateful that the end of year craziness is behind me too.
I feel like I really learnt a lot this year, gained and grew so much.
Made some mistakes!
Tried harder.

But come the end of the year - I was ready to close it off
And start the New Year with new beginnings, new plans and adventures...
After a little rest - I'm starting to feel excited for the year ahead.

Celebrating 16 beautiful years...

We got to celebrate this beautiful girl all day long and we had the most incredible day!
Oh man alive - what a truly remarkable day with a truly remarkable person.
I seriously love her to bits!  The past 16 years have been amazing!

We had breaki together all of us in the nook.
We suntanned and then we headed to Cavendish to spoil her with a new wardrobe.
We found wonderful things with the all the post Christmas specials.
I love it when days work out perfectly.  And today was nothing short of perfect.
But before any of that.... we took her for a little surprise...

We took Corks to get her first adult cup of coffee.
She's felt so special all day long.

After a glorious day together we headed to a our friends spot to see the New Year in.
It was seriously one of the nicest New Years we have had in a long time.
A lovely way to see out 2014 and see in 2015.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Reflecting on 2014 and Unravelling the year ahead....

I've been reflecting on my 2014 year because I'm not entirely happy how it ended.  But I'm frustrated with myself that I'm back at this place, yet again.

And I'm trying hard not to let the last 3 months that seemed to eat me alive, swallow up the year as a whole and label it {bad}.  I'm trying the fight the negativity that I've been left with.  I've been reflecting on why and how do I change these unhealthy patterns I seem to perpetuate... for good?

In a nutshell.... 

This year owned me and not the other way around.

I felt on the back foot the whole year.  I struggled to say {no} to work commitments and I totally overworked myself. I said {yes} far too much and {no}, not enough.  I had a full on EPIC year...

The obvious things that stand out to me is the growth in my creative journey - it's been huge for me this year.  I've worked so hard at putting in the hours and doing the courses to improve my skill, none of which I take for granted.  Going to Italy and getting to go on Misty's art retreat again and getting to connect with some truly remarkable artists and people from all over the world, was a huge highlight of the year for me.  The fact that I got to do that twice in my lifetime, I have no words to tell you how deeply that has touched my life.  I got to go to Venice - a huge bucket list check.  I feel that going to Venice and Florence, changed something deep inside of me.  As I reflect through my year, I know I showed up in spite of myself, my fears and my circumstances and the inner-growth that came out of that, priceless.  I'm not feeling unhappy with any of that - I'm just feeling so exhausted and depleted...

The biggest problem being that I didn't have enough {quiet} or down time this year.  Period.  I took no time off.  I didn't seem to have enough time for anything.  I stole time and pushed hard.  Time wasn't my friend and she reminds me of that, daily.  I worked full on this year, in a very loud way.  I can see the unhealthy cycles I operate in... year after year.  I know the only way I might change this cycle is choosing to live intentionally and consciously for the year ahead.  I let my guard down this year and it caught me.

Yesterday I started working through Susannah Conway's "Unravelling the year Ahead for 2015".  It is brilliant!  It allowed my to look at my 2014 and face where I'm at.  Today I also picked up my weekly planner, diary and notebooks to help me navigate my year ahead.  I'm trusting with being intentional and front footed - I can lessen the blows that seemed to hit us, all year through.

That way perhaps finding a small measure of peace through the year, that we all seek but few of us ever find.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

18 years...

Moonstone - New beginnings, inner growth and strength.
Love the symbolism... and quite frankly I could do with all of the above.

Because we got married this time of year, in amongst Christmas and birthdays (there's a lot) our anniversary usually goes uncelebrated because we are usually overspent and exhausted.  This year we are celebrating 18 years and we decided to do something together as a family!  I love that we celebrate as a family!

While we were Christmas shopping, I came across this handmade ring with a moonstone - it was love at first sight.  Dig got it for me for this year.
And I'm not complaining.  I love it!

We decided that this year we were going to plan a day out... we slept in and drank coffee and chatted before we headed out to be tourists in our own city.  We headed over the mountain for a late breakfast and once again, took the girls to see the spot on the beach where we had our wedding, stopped for cake and coffee and just toured and went slow all day.  On the way home we picked up Indian cuisine.

Definitely my kind of day!!
When we chose to get married quietly on the beach like we did,
people said we would regret it - but every year we think about the way
we did it.  And every year we say how thankful we are that we
did it that way.  It was gentle, quiet and uncomplicated.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Chistmas eve, day and boxing day...

Christmas eve intimate snacks and togetherness.
It's a tradition that my family always did and all four of us children
have continued the tradition in our own families.
Sometimes people join us but otherwise, it's just us.
Either way it's something we adore and hold sacred.
Kitty kept us in stitches most the night.


Lunch... with Digz family
I love a traditional Christmas lunch with turkey
We have lamb and gammon too.  Even though in Cape Town, SA
a hot cooked lunch isn't ideal but I still love it!
No matter who we are with - I love this tradition.

I'm still not sure how I made it to Christmas - the lead up a complete blur.   Not only was Corks in day hospital on Monday but I also worked right until Christmas eve, right through the weekend leading up to Christmas and then some.  Still not sure how I got through the shopping, all on time.  I almost forgot that I had to take my family traditional pudding, Sago (a tradition from my grandmother).  I make it every year in remembrance of her and I wear her earrings (who knew I was so sentimental).  The girls would never forgive me if I forgot to make their Great Grandmother's Sago.  It's a real treat.  I thought I might sleep through Christmas, but I didn't.

We really had a quiet calm day.

Come boxing day... we were all go slow
So I headed into MyStudio to work on my TeaBagGirls - I'm way behind.
I managed to squeeze in another 10 or so... hoping to gain some ground the next few days.
I am doubtful I will make my target - but I'm releasing myself for now.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Building spaces to find #quiet...


Still can't say much at the moment - but just that I'm desperately seeking 
peace, quiet and tranquility.  I'm still working full on and I'm holding on by my finger nails.  This space makes me feel so happy because I can feel the {quiet} radiating from this corner!  My garden is finally looking beautiful and I want to be out there for the first time!  Can't wait to have my coffee and quiet moments there tomorrow morning.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

All I can manage to say right now... in picture form

With Kitty leaving Junior School - I had many gifts to put together.
She asked me to do TeaBagGirls for all of them.
I stayed up late putting these together.

A new tradition... the girls who won't need their shoes for High School...
get to leave their shoes behind and they are donated to less fortunate school girls.
I love that other girls get to walk a journey in them too.
What a precious legacy.

Last moments on Farewell day!
After a teary farewell song and send off - all the grade 7's jump in the pool,
fully clothed, including their amazing teacher... it's a standing tradition.
The grade 7 send off brought tears to my eyes.

For as long as I can remember - we share a lunch together
to celebrate school being over for the year.  We celebrate the girl's reports.
Promotions to their new grades and just allow ourselves to unwind.

video
In case you were thinking we are always picture perfect.
Here is the truth behind the picture perfects.... much fun and shenanigans.
And much laughter.

New uniform time - dressing-room fun.

  video

"peculiar little mommy".... what? hahaha.

Beautiful messages from my beautiful daughter
who is discovering how much fun time lapse video's are.
Love seeing her own creativity coming through.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

#InMyStudio - working through the darkness...






This year I discovered new surfaces to paint on, new paintbrushes that has changed the way I paint and I have known for sometime, I need to dig deeper with my color palette and my knowledge of color and how to use it.
It's easy to get stuck.

Last night I got so frustrated with myself.
Corks came past and she asked me what's wrong and I told her my frustrations and she gave me some ideas to try.  So with nothing to loose - I just did it... and look at the result.  Wow.  I used green (which I never use) for my shadows and background.  And used the orangy red as my contrasting colors.  Corks has just done so much color management this year, including optically mixing etc.  She sat along side me while I did this and we have agreed for her to teach me color theory in the holidays.  It helps that I have an art student in the house.  I am sooooo grateful that she's being taught theory as well as the practical.  It's the big hole I have, being self taught!

Misty showed us some color and contrasting in Italy - but I found it so difficult to apply after I got home.  I know it's something I need to grow in.

I love that I can learn for my girl as much, if not more than she learns from me.
#Gratitude

loadshedding blues... being off from 2.30-8.30pm

Friday, 5 December 2014

My heart almost burst....

I got to drive this precious one to PrizeGiving on Friday, her final for Junior School and we were chatting all the way about getting awards and the fact that she knew she wasn't going to be getting any awards.  She spoke to me about her feelings around not being good at anything and being an average person.  Wow - the pressure these kids put on themselves to perform, to deliver and to be the best, in a way breaks my heart.  It breaks my heart because we know her extra-ordinariness.  She's such a brilliant person and there is nothing average or ordinary about her.  But by life's standards - she feels this.  And that's hard to change.  Getting to have such a profoundly deep, teachable conversation with her, is something I will treasure forever especially in light of how the rest of the day unfolded.  

I love the way life works sometimes...  

Kitty did end up getting an award, she got the Headmistress Award.  And the citation on this award, was perfect and so beautifully her.  The fact that she got it totally restored my heart.  That she, in her extra-ordinariness, her quirkiness and uniqueness, as we know her, was seen and valued for the most incredible human being that she is.  

I can't thank you enough, Greenies, our school may never know the depth of what this award has done for her heart and belief in herself and the depth of how that touched our hearts!

Kitty with some of her dearest friends
I absolutely loved seeing the girls shine and getting their awards and I loved seeing which girls got what.  Seeing some of Kitty's friends shine so brightly - blew my socks off. 

#InMyStudio - I'm not sticking to my TeaBagGirl Schedule

This piece was totally inspired by my beautiful friend Renee - who gave me these two pieces in Italy (well I tried to buy them).  I have just sent them in for framing and I can't wait to get them back.  Letting them out of my sight is no easy feat.  I'm mad about Renee's work.  And I'm mad about her NativeAmerican pieces.

I'm behind schedule with my TeaBagGirls - I know this is something you might hear from my all the way to finish!  I'm hard on myself.  And I'm exhausted!  But I'm going with what I can.  I managed to only do three this week (during the week).

I'm not allowing myself to start any new paintings until all my unfinished pieces are done and I'm on top of my TeaBagGirl schedule.  I've also been running out of paint because I'm working big and it gobbles up paint.  Looking at these pieces this week - I also need to look at using some different colors.  I've put all my paints out and I need to experiment more... Always nice to go artshopping.

#InMyStudio - MotherDaughterLove


This was a piece I was messing about on a loose piece of canvas that I had left.
I've called this piece MotherDaughterLove - because someone has asked to buy it because it reminds her of her daughter and herself.  I love that.
There is a motherly love feeling to this piece.  I love their tenderness and closeness.

It isn't finished - but I'm hoping to finish it soon and see if it's worthy to sell.
I'm having the best time.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

She's no longer a baby...

It's time.
It's a good time.
She's beautiful and we are celebrating her!
She totally took my breath away on Saturday at her farewell dance!

 School is pretty much over for the year and I'm so grateful to say that Junior School is finally over.  I've survived 10 years of it. It's definitely been a journey.  Albeit wonderful, at times, challenging at others.  Certainly deep.  It's been full on and demanding.  We have done the work, we have put in the hours and we believe and hope that all the foundations are in place and we are all ready for the next phase - so ready!  Including this Kitty girl of mine!  Sometimes one just outgrows a thing... and I think we have all outgrown this one.

Totally adore this girl...

So I say it again - it's time!
Next year brings less traveling school time, it brings greater independence for all of us.  And it definitely brings in a greater level of maturity and responsibility for both our girls, to own their school, their education and their role at their High School.  And that's pretty damn exciting!  Kitty can't wait to feel that level of maturity.  Of course, we will be in the wings to help the adjustment period.  We just know how wonderful high school has been so far for Corks and we are ready to embrace the final 5 years of our kids schooling... it has been pretty awesome watching them grow into themselves and into beautiful young ladies.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

#InMyStudio - up to 25 of 100 faces.


Corks had her art practical exam on Friday and the topic she had to draw was something fluffy, spiky or shiny - she chose fluffy and painted my beautiful authentic dream catcher from Canada.  She did it beautifully - I'm waiting for it to come back so I can have it framed up.  I am so proud of her.  Anyway, her art piece inspired my next 4 TeaBagGirls.  From the dreamcatchers to the color scheme.  Was nice to mixed it up a bit and do something a little different.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

#InMyStudio - working through a commission piece...

Three people asked to buy these little angels.  It really was a small piece and the interest in it really was a delightful surprised.   This little piece went to live with my beautiful friend Annie.  Christy emailed me and asked if I would consider doing one with 3 Angels for her that represent her and her 2 best friends... funny enough I had just done another small piece, with 3 angels on for a friend as a gift and had already drawn up 3 angels on a large canvas board.  So when Christy asked - I could send her what was now already a #WIP.  Synchronicity at it's best and I just love that.  One of my greatest joys about painting, is never really knowing how any piece is going to turn out and I certainly can't mimic any piece.  So I agreed to do the commission on one condition... that she wasn't bound by it - if it didn't speak right to her heart - she didn't have to take it.  It was something I was going to be doing anyway.  That way releasing her and myself - if it didn't work out.  I love that Christy gave me the freedom to paint them from my heart.

It's been almost 2 years since I did a commission piece - it was a decision I made not to do them until I felt ready... and this month, has been my 2nd commission work.
I wouldn't say now I'm ready... I guess it just kind of happened that way.

Anyway, here's the evolution so far... 

sharing the early stages... certainly takes courage
But I'm loving something about this image.

Kitty trying to be one of my girls.  
I do, however ,think it's her eyes that come out in all my paintings
She's my fav Angel of these 4

At this stage, for me, it's about getting my proportions right and getting
the three angels to work altogether.
Getting 3 faces to sync is no easy feat.
Feeling the tenderness here...


The challenge is getting my composition to a place that I'm happy with and my face proportions and that they make sense together.  Now I'm ready to go deeper with deeper layers of paint and detail work.  I would like to put more texture and layers on the dresses.  There is a tenderness between these 3 which I'm just loving.  It's a little dreamy with their papercrowns.  So far, I'm happy!  I had a big knot in my stomach yesterday.  I'm going to let them settle here for a day and come back on the weekend and see where we go together.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

#InMyStudio.... 100Faces continues...

So in order for me to finish my 100faces project by the end of December (which is the plan).  I have worked out that I would have to do about 2.2 #TeaBagGirls a day.  I've decided to wake up early every day to work on them before life, school and work happens.  That way stealing moments #InMyStudio.  If I count up the extra hours of painting that gives me everyday - it's crazy not to do it.  Next week, starts my December work schedule and I have a full work schedule again because we are in shooting season and everyone must be paid before Christmas and everything must be done for end of year shut down... so the pressure is on.  So I would like to continue with this project and other works and my courses before I loose complete perspective and I don't want to let work consume me... So far so good this week and I'm ahead of schedule...

I accidently gave #15 away as a gift (oops)
I will never finish at this rate...



17, 18, 19 and #20

This was originally #18 but I wasn't happy with her so I put her aside, almost in the bin.
The next day I came back and reworked her... 
completely saved her and I think she might be a new favorite of mine.

Monday, 24 November 2014

#InMyStudio - Tiny Stolen moments...

Mystery is at the heart of creativity.
That, and surprise...As creative channels, 
we need to trust the darkness".... Julia Cameron

When I'm out of my studio - I try find other ways to creatively play.
This pic was taken while driving to our weekend away and layering up with different photo apps.  Sometimes these images can take hours and you can really get lost in the process... which I just love.

We left our weekend away really early - we rushed home because my folks were arriving for the last part of the weekend.  I still had to sort out things at home and make sure we were sorted for their visit.  They arrived late due to an airport delay - so while we waited patiently I stolen some moments #InMyStudio...

Being out of my studio for a whole week and weekend and not painting everyday, fears creep in.... like will I even remember how to paint.  I feel fearful and disconnected.  I know it's silly and crazy - but as soon as I start playing, I start feeling okay and I'm reminded why I just love this so very much!

I did some warm up exercises as I have to get back to my #100Faces and #TeaBagGirl project I'm working on and I have a commission to work on... more about that later.

Yay - my first #16 (slowly gaining ground)

My November and December is crazy busy (like every year - no matter how I try and guard against it).  I'm embracing it this year.  I am being deliberate about certain things so I don't loose it all along the way.  So I've decided through what's left of this month and next - I will wake early and paint most morning before work and life.  If I work wisely - I can score up to 3-4 extra hours. I have lots of art course material to get through... and when you don't have the luxury of free days - then you have to be wise... time wise.  This year my holiday will fall on the other side of Christmas.  I want to slow down enough to make some decisions about my schedule for next year.

I love #15