Sunday, 2 October 2011

Sunday afternoon pen sketch

Sometimes it is nice to just sit and doodle in a sketchbook.  When I was young my sketchbook was always full of little drawings and sketches. I really don't do that enough anymore.  I think a sketchbook is important, it's where we get to dream and play around on paper.  That is how many great paintings come into being.

Well it's good night from me.  I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead.

Black Gel Pen - A4 Sketchbook

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Hunting for colour

Today I also went in search of some paint.  For my portrait project I need a nice bright turquoise blue.  My usual supplier did not have what I was looking for so I had to drive a bit further to find what this particular colour.  Crafty Arts at Walmer Park Shopping Centre had just what I was looking for.

The Cerulean Blue in the Iris Acrylic range by Prime Art is perfect for my project.  I also took a tube of Rose Madder.  I just love getting new colours.  Here are the colours that I now have from the Iris range.

Iris Acrylics are very rich in colour


Apart from doing a bit of work on the portrait I was trying to finish a painting that I started while visiting my daughter in St Francis Bay in April.  I stood on her front veranda and painted it, then planned to finish it when I got home.  Here you can see it in the early stages.

I like this painting because it is done in a style very different from my usual work.  I don't want to overwork it, but there are still a few spots I need to work on.

Bougainvillea - Unfinished

Thursday, 29 September 2011

I'm inspired by you

One thing an artist needs is to be inspired by other artists.  Some artists are lucky enough to belong to art groups or workshops.  There they will find inspiration and encouragement from other artists.  Many of us often feel that our work is not good enough.  We often need encouragement from other artists.  We need to be able to share our ideas and thoughts and know that we are understood.  I sometimes think that only an artist can understand another artist.  We are all so similar, yet very different.

I don't belong to any form of art workshop or group, but I find my inspiration from my fellow art bloggers.  I read about your painting triumphs, and your battles.  I read your blogs and find myself nodding, going "yes, yes, I've experienced that too".  Every day I come and look at your paintings and drawings.  I feel your pride in your latest piece, and I am inspired.  You are all amazing!  And I thank you!


And to think, all I was going to post today was my new project.  Well here it is so far.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Early morning walk

I enjoy doing small paintings when I want to try out a different style or technique.  For these small paintings I use masonite/hardboard.  Our local Builder's Warehouse sells large sheets of masonite.  I purchase the sheet and tell them what sizes I want it cut to, and they do that at no extra charge. When I paint on these boards I don't worry about making a mess or wasting expensive canvas.  I use the stretched canvas for specific projects.

This little painting was inspired by a photograph I took while visiting St Francis Bay in April of this year.  The weather had been dreadful and on this particular morning the sun came out and there was not a breath of wind.  This was when I spotted the lady in the blue jacket taking a walk.

Early Morning Walk
Acrylic on hardboard
 30 x 25cm

I had to change the photo, the previous one was taken at night and did not look good at all.  Note to self, always take the photos in daylight.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

After the rain

After a long period of drought we were finally blessed with an abundance of rain. This of course caused the landscape to change colour as new growth sprouted from the ground, little flowers popped up everywhere and everything looked so fresh and new.

While driving around the countryside my father and I came across a dairy farm where little yellow flowers turned the lands into a yellow carpet.  

Carpet of Yellow
Acrylic on Canvas Panel
10 x 14"
254 x 356mm

I just have to share this photo with you, this was one of the photographs taken that day.  The farmer told us that some of his Jersey cows provide 40 litres of milk per day.  Isn't she beautiful?

Jersey cow amid the yellow flowers

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cloudy day at home

I enjoy photography and often use it as a means of capturing a scene that I might want to paint later on.  Port Elizabeth is known as South Africa's windy city.  The weather can change in a moment and very often the wind will blow dark misty clouds in from the sea. One afternoon I grabbed the camera and took a photo of these dark clouds rolling in over my home.

I did not think I would want to paint this scene, until I looked at the photo.  I finally got to paint it today.

 Cloudy day at home
Acrylic on hardboard
30 x 30cm

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Catch of the day!

It doesn't matter where your talent lies, or what you are good at, at some stage somebody is going to look at you and say, "You are so lucky, I wish I could draw!" Or paint, or cook or sew!  The point is that each and every one of us has something that we are good at.  But, we still have to practice.  I haven't painted in a while, so I have to get back into it by messing about and having fun with different styles and textures.

I paged through a travel magazine looking for something to paint and came across a photo of freshly caught fish.  So I thought what the heck, let me paint one.

Here is the result.

Blue Fish
Acrylic on board
30 x 30cm

You can purchase a print of this painting in my Zazzle shop.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A Fresh Start

My blog has been very quiet over the last few months as has been my painting.  All over body aches and stiffness, blurred vision and extreme exhaustion forced me to lay down my paint brushes.  Fibromyalgia is a very lonely disease, people don't know what to say to you when they see you limping and hear you stuttering and stammering as you battle to make a complete sentence.  Cold weather aggravates the Fibromyalgia aches and pains, so I am very thankful that we are now moving into our warm season here in the Southern hemisphere.

Over the last six weeks I have been taking supplements that have improved my mobility to a degree, so I am preparing to paint once again.

In the mean time I have been looking into ways to sell my artwork on cards, posters, clothing etc.  So I have just opened a Zazzle shop.  It's still new to me so I am still trying to figure out the design and settings.  It would be a nice outlet for my smaller drawings and possibly even some of my digital drawings.

I turned one of my drawings into a mouse pad, I quite like it.  See the link below. 

Wiseman Mouse Pad from

Till next time.  Take care.


Thursday, 5 May 2011

St Francis Bay

My blog has been rather quiet for a while because I went away to visit my daughter in the lovely little town of St Francis Bay.  Most of the homes are only used during peak holiday seasons when the owners come down from Johannesburg and Pretoria to enjoy some quiet time at the sea.  The break was meant to be a time for me to do some serious painting, but the weather turned very cold and the first three days were very unpleasant with the cold, wind and rain making it difficult to do any painting outdoors.  This did not stop me from taking plenty of photos to work from later.

When the weather calmed down and warmed up again, I got to do a few paintings.  This little one was done from the stoep of the house I was staying at.  From certain angles one could even see the waves breaking just beyond the houses.

St Francis Bay has a lovely little stretch of beach where one will find people walking their dogs, or a few people coming to paddle out on their surf skis or canoes.

Monday, 25 April 2011

The life of Art

Hmm, I'm pleased with this part!
Isn’t it funny how many aspects of painting reflect issues in life? I’ve been working on a painting for a while now, it’s a family portrait. Unfortunately the photograph I’m working from is not high resolution, and taken with an everyday camera and flash. They are all wearing white. The reflection of the flash off the white clothing causes loss of detail and not much shading.

As an artist you try your best to make the painting look good, you try to enhance the lighting and the details so that the painting will be so much better than the photograph. Sometimes this is very frustrating and the effort can be quite exhausting.

So you tackle one section or problem at a time. When it works out, you are pleased with the result. I’m at that point now. There are parts of the painting that I am pleased with, it’s nice to work on those sections, I want to stay there, not move on. But, you can’t stay there, they are done, complete, finished, and it’s time to move on to the next challenging section. I know that as I tackle each section and solve its problems, I will feel good, and I will be one step close to completion.

Isn’t that JUST like life in general? It is so nice to do the easy things and not nice to tackle the tough things. Just like when as children, my sister and I had to wash dishes, and one of us quickly blurted out “I’ll wash the plates and cups, you can wash the pots!” No one likes doing the tough jobs.

So now it’s time for me to make the bed, load the washing machine, make breakfast and finish this painting.

Take care!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

An 'Old Girl' learns some new tricks at Craft Warehouse

It is always good to learn something new and I have never done decoupage or used podge, so attending a mixed media class was something new and interresting for me.

The technique involved glueing fabric, paper, string, beads and anything else I could think of to the board using podge.

This was so much fun and just what I needed today.

Let's start at the beginning.  The workshop is one of many different workshops being given by Craft Warehouse on 9th Avenue, Walmer, in Port Elizabeth.

Charlene of Craft Warehouse making it look so easy.
The workshop was presented by Charlene. She makes it all seem so easy. Scrunching tissue paper and glueing beads, I think I ended up with more Modge on my fingers than on the board.

You start off by drawing anything you like on the board, dividing it into different sections for the different textures.

Now I have all my sections covered with a variety of textures and items.  It doesn't look like much yet.

With a fairly big brush the base colour is now painted over the whole piece.  I used black as my base colour.

We used a hair dryer to speed up the drying process of the Modge and the paint.

All covered in black paint.
Now that the piece is uniform in colour, it looks completely different and one could really do anything with it.  I decided to keep it all in similar tones.

I think it could also have been nice if the base colour was purple, then you could dry brush a pastel shades of purple and pink over the textures.  You could really do it in any colour to suit your room's colour scheme.

Using a dry brush technique I applied red, orange and yellow.  To add an interesting look to the piece I also used silver and gold.
Now I just need to figure out the best place to display it.  I also can't wait to try out some of the techniques in my paintings.

Thank you to Charlene for teaching this 'old girl' some new tricks.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Okay, I'm lost!

I felt like painting the other day but could not think of anything to paint.  With my father being in hospital, I was not able to focus on much at all.  I am happy that he is now back at home and will continue resting until he is fully recovered.

I started this little painting with no idea where it was going.  Using some bright colours and texture paste I just applied the paint to the canvas.  From the shading and colours that found their way onto the canvas this idea evolved.  So now I have a girl in a hat walking on the grass.  But is the blue part sky, or water?  I have no idea what I want it to be.  So now the painting sits there mocking me.  Laughing at my inability to complete a simple little art piece.

So I have to admit, yes, I am lost.

I am hoping that as I run my errands today, my currently unimaginative brain will come up with a solution so that when I return home, I am able to complete it.  Somehow, even in its incomplete state, I find this little painting quite likeable.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Farewell Golden Bow

Over the last few days I've not been able to concentrate on painting at all.  I've tried to paint, but nothing works out the way I want.  But then that is what happens when we are worrying about someone we love.

My father was admitted to hospital on Tuesday with heart failure, his heart beat is irregular and jumps between 70 bpm and 134 bpm and all this makes him very tired and weak.  The doctors are running several tests and he is receiving treatment. He should be able to come home in a few days time.  We don't always realise just how much our parents really mean to us until something happens to them.  We go through each day just knowing that they are there, we can call them or go see them anytime.  But do we?

That brings me to the painting I want to share with you.  I was commissioned to paint it towards the end of 2010.  The man who commissioned it, wanted to give it to his mother for Christmas. He told me about a racehorse he had bought a few years ago, this wonderful horse had an incredible spirit and did very well in her races.  After an unfortunate incident in which his mother was attacked by burglars in their home, Golden Bow's interaction with his mother helped her recover from this terrible ordeal.  They had a very strong bond.

Unfortunately Golden Bow started developing health problems, I'm not sure exactly what they were, but she was sent from Port Elizabeth, up to Gauteng, where she would be treated.  The painting is of the moment when this lovely lady went to say farewell to her companion, Golden Bow.

What a lovely way for a son to show his mother just how much she is appreciated.

.. ~ * ~ ..

So if you are still lucky enough to have your parents around, give them a call or pay them a visit.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Portrait of Jennifer Lopez

My commissioned portrait is complete and has been delivered to it's owner, but I still cannot share until it's unveiling.  So once again I will share some of my previous work.

I find that working in coloured pencils is quite relaxing.  I love the sound of the pencil as it scratches along the paper, leaving behind it colourful trail.  It's somehow theraputic.

This is a little A4 portrait I did of Jennifer Lopez a few years ago.  It was from a photograph we found in a magazine, so I guess it had already been airbrushed to look it's best.

Jennifer Lopez Portrait in Coloured Pencil

Jennifer Lopez Portrait - Stages of drawing

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Magnum P.I.

Way back in the days when I was a young Art Student, we used to love watching Magnum P.I.  It was always on TV on a Saturday night, just before the main movie, (we only had one TV channel back then).

We did not have a TV in our College Hostel, so on a Saturday night a black and white portable TV would be carted downstairs to the communal lounge and we would all get to watch our hero.  Tom Selleck was gorgeous back then and still is today.  

I'm getting distracted...oh yes, I remember spending a day or two in bed with the flu, and during that time, I grabbed my pencil crayons and drew this portrait of Tom Selleck from a magazine cover.  Hmm...maybe it's time for an updated portrait.

Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I.  (1983)

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Little Distractions

I cannot share my current portrait painting, it is a commission and can only be shown once it has had it's 'unveiling'.  It is the only painting that has had my attention in the last while, and because I hurt my back earlier in the week, I've been taking it very easy.  But creative hands cannot be still. 

One of the blogs I follow is by Geninne Zlatkis, I love her paintings, drawings and photographs.  I am always inspired by her blog.  I also was fascinated by one of her photographs of crochet covered stones.  I searched the web and found a pattern for these stone covers by Margaret Oomen and this is what I kept my hands busy with while relaxing in front of the TV last night.  You can get the pattern here

The crochet hook size they give in the pattern is size 9.  It is 1.4mm, I am using a 1.25mm hook and it works just fine.

This is a basic pattern and if you love crocheting, you can develop your own pattern and the possibilities are endless. Do an image search on google and you will be amazed at the variety of designs.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Abstraction [ab-strak-shuhn]

Today I'm going to share a painting that I did in 2008.  It's on mounted board that was previously used for a company's product advert, it's 800 x 1000mm.  I primed it and decided it would be good enough for my first attempt at an abstract painting.  I started painting the dark lines, rotated the board, painted some more, rotated it again and so I went on.  That is how this painting developed.

There have been so many suggestions from people as to what they think it is.  From squid to prawn.  All I know is that it's bright colours cheer me up every day.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Trying something new.

People love to tell you to "live in the moment".  However, one can get stuck in the moment for too long.  Working on a large painting that takes time, effort and concentration and doing little paintings in between the sessions on the larger painting can be quite refreshing.  What is also refreshing is trying out different ways of painting, it can be quite liberating.

Bushveld   350 x 250mm
So without further ado, here are my two latest distractions. 

The first one is not quite complete, I'm not happy with the shadows across the road, so I'm going to leave it for a day or two then see if I can correct them.

Stormy   300 x 250mm
The second one is experimental, I have no idea what I wanted it to be when I started but it became this moody scene created by sloshing brush loads of paint onto the board.  I showed it to my son and asked him what he thought it was, I was so glad when he said, "Clouds, rocks, birds and a wave splashing against the rocks".  Phew!

It might actually get painted over.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

With or without cream?

A few weeks ago I came across this blog, Studio Atelier.  Blog owner, Barb Benik puts up a photograph and you can paint it in anyway you see fit.  I accepted the challenge this month and decided to paint it as the photograph was taken.  I submitted it this morning and since tomorrow is the last day for entries, I guess she will put all the remaining entries up then.

3:38 pm (South African Time)
Just got an email from Barb Benik to let me know my entry has been posted.  Click here to see the post for this challenge.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Little Sisters

Blogging is quite enjoyable and each day, before doing anything else on my computer, I first have to go see who's written or painted or photographed something new.  But the best part is joining a network and I have to share this one.  It's a group in facebook called Bloggers Network and you get to share your ideas and posts in this group.  There's a lovely interaction between members of the group and it seems to be one of the best ways to get your blog noticed.

Now, to get to what my blog's about.  A while ago I was asked to do a portrait in pencil from a photograph of these two little girls.  Their father ordered it as a birthday gift for their mother.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Big Cats in Pastel

When my children were little it was more practical for me to work in mediums that were easier to pack up than oil paints.  During this time I turned to mediums such as water colour and pastel.  Today I will share with you some of my pastel drawings of Africa's big Cats.  I found that pastels work really well for the fur.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Living inside my head

I often sit and draw faces from imagination.  I'll sit and draw while watching, or rather listening to the TV.  I usually start with the eyes and work around it from there.  Below are two examples of these drawings.  The second one was a fun experiment in trying something with more expression.  I guess these are just some of the crazy characters living inside my head.


Friday, 18 March 2011

The Forgotten

I received an email from my father today with two photographs attached. They were taken about 5 or 6 years ago after I had done two pastel portraits of my children.  It was at a time when I was drawing whatever I could to get my eye in again after a time of not doing much work.  I think these drawings are in the back of a cupboard somewhere along with a whole lot of other unframed drawings and paintings.

Do other artists also have a cupboard or drawer filled with old drawings and paintings?  I'd love to know.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Harvest Time

Acrylic on Masonite  40 x 30cm
I'm still busy with the commissioned portrait at the moment.  I think that it is about 90% complete and can't wait to show it to it's owner.

I've also been keeping myself busy with other work.  This one is on masonite board and reminds me of a time when I lived in the Natal Drakensberg.  We would travel over the Oliviershoek pass to Harrismith to take our children to boarding school and often got stuck behind these huge combine harvesters as they travelled over the pass at a snail's pace.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Honour your forefathers.

My father sent me some very old photos of his grandfather, Henry Whittal, who he wrote about in his blog, and asked me to see if I could try and do a painting of him.  I did a quick painting on masonite.  I will leave it for a while and possibly do a bit more work on it later.  But for now, here he is.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Old Friends

When I was about 14 years old, I won a set of oil paints in a local art competition.  I'll never forget that feeling and the smell of the oil paints as we were first introduced.

Once I was married and had children, I put away the oil paints and moved to water colours as they were easier to pack away at dinner time and there were no fumes that could make my children ill.  Then all the paints seemed to stay packed away as the children got bigger and life got busier.  Over the last few years I've painted again, but in acrylics.  But you never forget your old friend, your first love.

A few days ago I discovered my oil paints in the bottom of a cupboard, my heart started racing, my hands started shaking and I knew I had to try them out again.

I opened the tubes, squeezed out the rich colours onto the palette, mixed in the turps and oil and started to paint.  But nothing felt the same, the way the paint leaves the brush and sticks to the board is totally different to acrylics.  It was like speaking a language that you haven't used in a while, you know what you want to say, but the words don't come out right.

Patience and determination do pay off though and the result is this little painting of my son.

"Red Faced"
Oil on board        15 x 15 cm

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Passing it on

Today I'm sharing the work of a very young artist. 

The daughter of a friend of mine was drawing on one of these gadgets where you slide the button to one side and back to erase what you’ve drawn. This can provide hours of fun without wasting paper, but there’s nothing to hang up or display either.

I could see that she enjoyed drawing. So I gave her a small canvas 9x12”, she drew a face on it, I then used black paint to paint all the lines that she had drawn. Then she did the rest. I just guided her on how to apply the paint. She was very proud of the end result.

Can any of you remember the first time you got to use paint and how it did not seem as easy as other people made it look?

I think we should all try and pass on what we do to the younger generation.  Even if you only share with one child, you can make an impression on that child's life.


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