Cancer is a constant battle.
… Yes I know, and my excuse is that between my husband and I – we have managed to lose the cameras battery charger.
Had to use the camera at work to snap this up, before it makes it’s way to the auctioneers – it will be put up for auction in aid of raising funds for cancer, through the CANSA organisation in South Africa.
I am not entirely sure why the idea of painting old cars has such a firm grasp on me at the moment, but once I was done with it …the clean lines, the vibrant colours and style of painting made it clear. It was such a pleasure for a change, to paint something that didn’t have excessive or large areas requiring precise shading & blending and I also managed to incorporate the use of watercolour into the background (I haven’t used watercolours in ages…).
It’s also the ‘fastest’ painting I’ve done in about 12 years… and probably the first time I have ever used yellow in my main subject. I still don’t like yellow and will veer away from it in future, because the paint seems far too transparent and doesn’t mix well with others (much like an anti-social person).
I can be such a ‘lame’ sometimes… In September, during the height of the birthday excitement (long silent pause) … I must have been in such a heightened state of excitement that I forgot to post pictures of the actual invites as well as the cake. The cake will come tomorrow – as will the goods from my nieces party > but today I will post the invite for the pirate party.
I took my inspiration from Pirates of the Caribbean and the X-box lego game of the same name, they were on his ‘favourites’ list at the time – and the natural progression dictated that the party follow form… I wasn’t too thrilled with the front, but I really like the way the back (actual invite part) turned out 🙂
Aaah, New Years Resolutions. Why?
At least this year I’ll try not to beat myself up about the goals I set every year and fail (every year). Like losing weight. Oh wait, that’s the only one I fail every year…
Last year my resolution was to lose weight (i lost a bit), plan a wedding and make a concerted effort to maintain more frequent contact with friends. Which I did successfully for the most part.
This year, although ambitious – it is to get my finances in order and save for furthering my studies. I have decided that my latent or more like hibernating artistic talent should and can be utilised in order to achieve this… the problem is the ‘Inspiration’ bit. A major misconception amongst ‘everybody’ – and I will generalise this… is that ‘artistic’ or ‘creative’ people can simply paint a masterpiece, compose a symphony or some such thing… at the drop of a hat.
NO – we can’t. I can only paint when the urge hits me… when I have this torrent of electrical inspiration grip me… when my fingers burn with desire and passion in order to wield that paint brush, knock the wind out my sails and leave me breathless – where the air I need is releasing my creativity. The problem is, that working full time – raising a six-year-old and between packing lunches, working out, staying in touch with old friends, keeping a husband happy, still having some sort of life and dealing with the daily stresses of work (and will I still have a job tomorrow)… the inspiration usually hits me when I’m getting ready to go to bed on a week night, or when I’m overtired on a weekend – at some random time, when I should actually be doing something else ‘important’ – like grocery shopping or paying bills, or when I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom…
So how do you ‘make’ inspiration happen. It’s not a pill you can pop or a drink you can slug, or a substance you can inhale or smoke (although I’m sure some would beg to differ). I find the best way to do it, is to take it… from other people or places or things. I have realised that there are some insufferably inspired people out there, who clearly have all the time in the world and will do whatever it takes to release that creative surge.
So thank you, I’m going to steal some of your ‘inspiration overflow’ – and utilise it for my own personal gain…hope you don’t mind.
More importantly – as thrilled as I am to have discovered a perpetual fountain of inspiration… I would love to know how people think up some of these things.
Click here to see recently made ‘sexist’ ads… disturbing how this seems to be a continuously used theme amongst brand houses, agencies and design studios?
Just a quick post – this was an invitation recently made by myself for a ‘departmental year end function’, the theme was ‘gangster/mobster’ and only with a supplied date and venue [they couldn’t even give me a time!]. I whipped it up in about 20 minutes, don’t think it’s all that impressive – but I like the way it turned out.
Because I thought that printing on an envelope or simply writing on it would be a bit lame, I decided to take a plain white envelope, dip a teabag in hot water until it was mostly ‘drawn’, and then simply took the teabag and wiped the entire exterior surface with the teabag. Once done and dry [I used the hand dryer in the ladies lav], I took a saucer, put some of the ‘tea’ water into it, added a few coffee granules and then used the bottom of my mug as a stamp to achieve the ‘rings’. I then used a blue ‘whiteboard marker’ to write a generic ‘titling’ on the envelope. The invitation was to go into a ‘pool’ as every employee from that department was required to create an invite, that would hence go to some other individual in that department, so it had to retain its anonymity.
I know – this follow up post has been a long time coming, but thankfully with the year winding to a close, I have somewhat more time on my hands 🙂
After leaving the not-as-nice-as-expected Knysna, the only other place I was adamant to venture to was ‘Ostrich’ country. Having been met by the disappointment that Knysna was no longer genuine ‘oyster’ country – I knew that Oudtshoorn would not disappoint.
Oudtshoorn (pronounced Oats-hu-wern), a little town nestled cozily just before the Swartberg Mountain Ranges and boasting more than just ostriches as its claim to fame – as it is also home to the ‘Cango Caves’. I had no expectations of the town itself, but was really just looking forward to the ostriches and caves. We had no accommodation bookings, because my husband who huddles in a corner at the mention of ‘planning’, said that I should book – and I told him that we should just wing it… which we did. On the GPS we located the nearest guesthouse upon entering the town, stopped – enquired about the rates (which were really good) and then booked in. Having arrived quite early in the morning – we unpacked the car and then set forth.
I had no pre-conceived notions about the place – but this little town sure blew me away. It was entirely reminiscent of what a little South African Town had been like back in the early 80’s (since that’s as far back as I can remember), prior to all the political nonsense and other stuff which so unnecessarily plagues this country’s past. It was simply beautiful! It was clean and the historical buildings had been looked after and maintained in pristine condition. The air was filled with a radiant warmth and welcoming feeling – which made me not want to leave the following day!
Our first stop was the Cango Ostrich Farm, where we enlisted ourselves on the guided tour and having missed the two large tourist busses which had stopped just prior to our arrival – our tour happened to be ‘exclusively’ ours! Just the two of us 🙂 It was truly special.
After a brief intro on how the ostrich ended up here and the lucrative history of the ostrich feather (and that at one point in time was worth more than gold of the same weight!!), we were afforded the opportunity of being able to ‘hug’, feed and ‘sit’ on the ostriches. These rather docile and doe eyed looking sweetie-pies come right out of the dino era, or so we were warned and that when angered can kill a grown man with one fierce forward kick of its two toed foot. Also good to know that they’re right up there with cheetahs as far as land speed and that the best way to avoid getting severely injured by an ostrich is not to run, but to lie completely flat?!?! – only because this will set you out of its peripheral vision. Another handy tip to note, is that the most valuable asset to the ostrich is it’s eyes!! Those big beautiful eyes, with to-die-for-lashes! They are so protective over their eyes, that they will shy away from any possible threat, so in the event that you wish to move unharmed through a herd of ostriches perhaps, be sure to carry and flank yourself with ‘thorny branches’.
These charming creatures were definitely my highlight! They are truly delightful creatures with such unique personalities…
They are also very much like swallows in the sense that they “partner” for life – however, in the event of one passing away, strangely the female moves on to find another mate, but in the instance of the female passing…the male will never take another partner!
As the day settled into early afternoon, with the lazy July sun wanting to settle, we still had much adventure time ahead of us, I eagerly wanted to get along to the next ‘notch’ on our itinerary… we needed to see how far the Cango Caves were out of town and how long the total trip through the caverns would take us, so that we could establish if we still had enough time to get it done. Even if we had found the time constraints choking the afternoon into evening and hadn’t been able to go cave crawling – the spectacular view and drive more than soothed my restless self. The scenery in the outlying areas are simply stunning and we were blessed by the spectacular sight of the Swartberg Mountains, blanketed in snow! All I wanted to do then, was get to the mountains…
The above stunning backdrop is what you will experience first hand from the deck of the Cango Caves ‘waiting area’ – we sipped on hot chocolate and took in the scenery, while deciding whether to take the ‘Standard’ or ‘Adventure’ tour… I decided that since neither of us had done the Caves before and considering we were on an ‘adventure’, we weren’t going to miss any bit of it…
Once again missing the large groups from the same two tour busses as at the ostrich farm, we once again were privileged enough to have been given an ‘exclusive’ tour. So hubs and myself got a super personal tour, which was quite awesome to say the least.
I wasn’t striking a pose in the above picture, I was ‘limbering up’. It wasn’t my intention to have sore muscles on honeymoon…I was thankful that in the build up to the wedding I had lost some weight and with all the additional cardio – I was in top form, because after the ‘gentle’ stroll through the first part of the cave (which is really quite a sight to behold), the endurance and contortion of my human body were certainly tested.
After the amazing trek through the caves and the wonderfully peaceful trip back to the guesthouse via the stunningly scenic route with the Swartberg Mountains looming in the background – I needed a shower and clean set of clothes. I’m also think I can safely say that I am possibly the only person who has done the ‘Adventure’ tour in a dress and ‘knitted Beret’. If anything, it just added to the challenge!
For supper we decided to search out a ‘local’ spot and after enquiring with the owners of the guesthouse, decided on a small restaurant offering the finest local cuisine, situated smack in the centre of town on the main street. I will not mention names, but to say that the air outside was crisp and cool – we were welcomed by a crackling log fire and cozy atmosphere. My biggest problem at most restaurants is that I usually play it safe… but figured that because this was Oudtshoorn, I should do something out of the ordinary. After perusing the menu for a period long enough to drink a glass of wine and a mug of hot chocolate, I finally decided on the ‘Crocodile Burger’. I usually settle for a far safer option, like a chicken schnitzel, but for some reason it spoke to me. The evening was blissfully sublime and upon returning to the guesthouse quite a time later, the room nice and warm, the wine having made me somewhat drowsy and the bed so-very-inviting, we called it a night… until just after 2am…
I woke with symptoms associated directly with either food poisoning or death and between violent vomiting and… I won’t share the rest – I decided that there’s probably a reason I decide to select the safer option on restaurant menus. Because when I bit into and ate that croc, I didn’t suspect he would bite back. It cut our honeymoon a day short – but even with the entire experience having ended on such an awful note, I would go back and eat at that same restaurant and possibly retire to Oudtshoorn.
After much time, the wind down of the wedding & honeymoon, catching up on work and life in general – I’ve pulled myself to the computer and decided that blogging, which is actually something I enjoy, I can now finally do once again because the chaos that is my life is somewhat subsiding.
Time, yes – but not enough for anything long. So thought I’d share my most recent painting with you.
“Searchlight” – 2011 [Tam Futter]
Although [and not stroking my ego about it], the picture looks much better in ‘real life’. Although I will admit to being able to paint, for some reason my photographic skills leave little to be desired
[hey, you can’t be good at everything right, lol].When I saw the original image I was quite taken aback. It was a rather dramatic, dark – yet starkly contrasted photo – and myself, generally being an individual who enjoys painting extreme close up images (especially of flowers and the like), in a ‘photorealistic’ manner, and do not like landscapes or seascapes or anything will ‘teeny weeny detail’… This image somehow struck me and I decided that although it was out of my comfort zone, that I should definitely try it out. The end result was exactly what I had envisioned from the start and I am very happy with the end result.
I love doing skies and especially clouds, with seamless blending/shading in larger areas being a specific favourite thing of mine – the sky and base colouring of the lighthouse was pretty simple, but I got put off by the thought of too much detail work. I had also had somewhat of a ‘parallel’ in mind… thinking how this dark ominous sky was encroaching on a ‘lighthouse’ – I decided to silhouette the foreground, but to add some dimension and a more dramatic ‘texture’, I opted for a base coat of ‘silver’, mixed with a pearlescent white – painted over with a very heavy coat of black (obviously atop of the crackle glaze). So you have this ‘light’ bursting out through the darkness, in this bizarre supernatural manner – forcing it’s way out, even though the sky and world around it is gradually turning dark and grey, yet with the obvious ‘lighthouse’ being a beacon of glowing warmth and strength, superimposed against the oncoming and looming dread.
Funny thing this, I never imagined I would ever post anything substantial from a phone, except perhaps a “message” or “status update” on Facebook! But today, yet another thing I’ve just done was to finally join rank with thousands, if not millions – and have myself a Blackberry!?! I believe that this will be the only time I will ever write a blog this way… It’s far too painstaking and have since established that my fingers, the same ones I had previously believed to be quite dainty and agile are not and are seeingly larger and far more clumsy… I’m pretty sure nothing beats an actual keyboard. But, it’s something I can now say I’ve done 🙂
[Please NOTE: Due to my obsessive nature, this post has since been edited from the computer – only because of spelling & grammatical errors, as well as not having been able to appropriately ‘tag’ or ‘categorise’ as I should have. Listed below however is the post as it had originally appeared]
Funny thing this, never imagined I would ever post anything substantial from a phone, except perhaps a “message” on Facebook! But today yet another thing I’ve just done was finally join rank with thousands, if not millions – and have myself a Blackberry!?! I believe that this will be the only time-I will ever write a blog this way… It’s far too painstaking and have since established that my fingers, the same ones I had previously believed to be quite dainty and agile are not and are seeingly larger and far more clumsy… I,m pretty sure nothing beats an actual keyboard. But, it’s something I can nom say I’ve done 🙂
I have a profound interest and unnatural obsession when it comes to all things Dean Koontz. He’s just awesome. His mind is fabulous.
Honestly, if I could trade minds with one person, for just one day… it would definitely be his.
I recently finished reading ‘Icebound’ which was re-released and retitled after a previous novella written by the author, under the pen name of David Axton and initially titled ‘Prison of Ice’.
It was reissued because he was inundated with thousands of requests to bring back into print some of his older works. ‘Prison of Ice’ however was in a much rougher form [apparently], and hence was revised by Koontz and updated according to newer technology and cultural references while still trying to maintain the entire plot line and original feel of the overall story.
I enjoyed it tremendously as it was a refreshing change from his ‘normal’ work, but after reading the “Note to the reader” at the back – it was duly noted that this was because he had wanted to pay homage to a man he deemed as ‘the master of adventure-suspense’, Alistair MacLean, who penned The Guns of Navarone, Where Eagles Dare and Ice Station Zebra. ‘Icebound’ was written using the genre predominantly used by MacLean to see if he ‘could pull it off’. I would say he succeeded, as it was suspenseful and tense – definitely fast paced and contained heavily detailed information on a number of topics ranging from submarines, polar ice caps and communism. The also thorough portrayal of his characters, accompanied by their ‘indepth’ histories [which I believe is one of Dean’s best tools in immersing the reader into his believable characters and hence almost believing that such ‘devilish’ things could possibly exist].
Upon reaching the end of ‘Icebound’, I was profoundly struck by pages 150-151 and feel that a direct quote is in order to convey this message that obviously only Koontz fanatics will have the pleasure and privilege of reading…
…The theme would definitely be heroism. He had come to see that there were two basic forms of it. Heroism that was sought, as when a man climbed a mountain or challenged an angry bull in one of Madrid’s rings – because a man had to know his limits, heroism sought was important. It was far less valuable, however, than heroism unsought. Harry, Rita and the others had put their lives on the line in their jobs because they believed that what they were doing would contribute to the betterment of the human condition, not because they wanted to test themselves. Yet, although they would deny it, they were heroes every day of the week. They were heroes in the way that cops and firemen were heroes, in the way that millions of mothers and fathers were quiet heroes for taking on the ominous responsibilities of supporting families and raising children to be good citizens, the way ministers were heroes to dare talk of God in a world that had come to doubt His existence and to mock those who still believed, the way many teachers were heroes when they went to schools racked by violence and nevertheless tried to teach kids what they would need to know to survive in a world that had no mercy for the uneducated. The first brand of heroism – heroism sought – had a distinct quality of selfishness, but heroism unsought, was selfless. Brian understood now that it was this unsought heroism, not the tinsel glory of either politics or bullrings, that was the truest courage and the deepest virtue. When he had finished writing the book, when he had worked out all his thoughts on the subject, he would be ready to begin his adult life at last. And he was determined that quiet heroism would be the theme…
You’ve got to love it. How profoundly true is that.