Friday, March 20, 2009


Cape Town comes alive in summer with a whirlwind of shows and exhibitions, many of which are run by the artists, themselves. We have a huge, very active population of artists living in the Western Cape. I have been involved with an exhibiting group for the last ten years, holding exhibitions in spring and late summer.

Over the last couple of months, I haven’t had time even to think – really… I miss having time just to sit and think about my art and paintings. I am looking forward to the quieter winter months when I can get up early and be able to sit quietly and think and paint a bit.

The sales at the most recent show were pretty lean on the ground compared to this time last year, in fact we sold only half of what we did last February. The economic depression is being felt in the art world here; let’s hope there is an upturn in the world economy soon.

I didn't sell any of my paintings, but I made some good contacts! At the opening of our show, an art acquaintance called me over to meet a man, a French art collector and dealer who was showing interest in my work. We had a very interesting discussion and he asked me if I would be interested in a solo exhibition at his gallery! We have been communicating back and forth and I am going to meet him soon to discuss this possibility. Eeeck, what a very scary proposition! Will I be able to produce enough work and will I cope psychologically with the pressure to produce for a deadline? I know I will really regret this if I chicken out, why am I such a wimp!

I was also asked by the head of the local watercolour society to give a demonstration of my mixed media approach. I find public speaking terrifying but I really feel I must push myself and get myself away from those sidelines that I so like to stand on.
This evening I will visit all my favourite blogs, I apologise for neglecting you!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

African Vineyards

Cape Town is surrounded by vineyards. I love the vine, the way it grows all crooked and gnarled with leaves that turn to a reddish-orange profusion of colour in autumn. While living in the Northern Hemisphere in 2006 and 2007, I used to dream of the vineyards when thinking about Cape Town, they seem to embody and symbolise how I feel about the Cape.

This is one of the “Red paintings” I have been working on. Our vineyards are usually planted on the side of a hill, facing towards the south-easterly wind. We are experiencing days of extremely hot, humid weather and this has influenced me to paint this landscape in these hot colours.

Vineyards at Groot Constantia

A vine in winter devoid of leaves

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Brooke, me and one of my paintings!
I have just returned from the UK after spending 7 days with my granddaughter, daughter and husband. I so enjoyed getting to know Brooke and felt quite a jolt when her little face lit up whenever I walked into the room. I spent as much time feeding, changing, cuddling, entertaining and playing with this sweet little girl without completely taking over! Ohhhh, it is so tough to be living half way across the world!

On my return, I realised the clock is ticking, my next show is in seven days and three paintings are waiting to be finished. I hate deadlines, I am painting like mad and will probably not finish these paintings in time. This is not how I like to paint. These paintings have been on the go for the last three months and still have a distance to go.

It got me thinking about how some situations like this can cut off the connection with creativity.

How often do we think as we view our canvas or paper, armed with a loaded brush,
“Hopefully this will be my masterpiece”?
This thought can destroy the essence of creativity and has to be left at the doorway of the studio if one wants to be experimental in any way. If you have the thought that this painting has to work, you have spent good money on this canvas and you need a good painting for the next show, you are not going to take any risks and try out something new.

It’s almost as if you need to give yourself permission to spend your very valuable painting time just playing with the paint. I think of the days spent painting those layers of paint that are now mostly obliterated with subsequent layers, a little voice niggles away at me,
“Am I wasting my time and paint here?”

The one thing I have to keep telling myself is that eventually the painting will feel complete. I have to develop patience and allow the image to emerge and forget the deadlines!