Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

A year has passed and again I break away from the West Coast theme to wish my American children and friends Happy Thanksgiving. My daughter Helen in Texas is cooking up a storm for her family and friends. I enjoyed Thanksgiving so much when I was there in November 2000. Ah, the yams, oven-baked with layers of apples in between, really complemented the turkey which my sun-in-law baked in an outside oven! Spending very little on "props and flowers", she always creates a most beautiful table setting. Yesterday she told me: " Mom, we embrace this holiday, because there are always so much to be thankful for!"

The friends I want to send these wishes to are the few I know in person and the many kind people I have met and chatted with in the blogging world and the social media. I include the over 1600 secret and very silent US people who have visited my blog the last eighteen months. Enjoy, everyone!

This painting of a very South African-looking pumpkin farm is part of about 10 paintings I made when I was still planning my blog, then of course I decided on another formula of smaller and historically correct works. So these paintings have not been framed or exhibited. They fit nowhere in my oevre, but Mitzy the Maltese thinks that they do give some colour to her corner!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Darling Angels

We could not believe that such a day was possible in the middle of summer: cold, wet, windy, the Full Cape Treatment! But, it was the day of the opening of the "Angels" Exhibition in our closest little town, Darling. I thought I would say very little (only this: The glass of Ormonde wine was very welcome!) and rather show lots of photos of the work of my closest artist friends and myself. My own contribution was two very sweet angels, first and second photos and one serious one. There is also a photo of the Mantis Art Gallery where it was held.

I need to say more of my serious angel. I saw this image as a large sculpture in Budapest when I had a solo exhibition there. It was midday and my photo showed a shadow so dark, it looked like a sharp gash through the sculpture. I loved the idea of going against all the rules in art to show a very strong vertical like that through the painting. It can resemble a Cross....and with it evoke some inner emotion and loneliness.

For this exhibition we concentrated on small 8x8 affordable artworks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Fiscal Shrike

I took a photo of the lovely program for the Slice of Life Exhibition. How neat the gallery looks! This show with it's mass of even-sized paintings will run until the 21st of January 2011. I hope to receive some news about my set of birds! I could have painted 5 gannets and 5 of seagulls, but am so fond of sets of four, that I filled the remaining two blocks with something different. So here is the image of my little shrike.

As you know, there are no trees here on the West C0ast, so all the small birds around here perch themselves on top of the bushes that we call "fynbos". The fiscal shrike is such a cute round little creature as he scans the world all around for insects. I have never came upon a fiscal shrike larder here, but as a child we had a barbed wire fence and my dad would call us every time he found a larder....oh my, what a grizzly experience that was for a little girl!!! But I never missed a chance to see crickets, worms and grasshoppers impaled on pieces of barbed wire, left there to dry in the breeze like our fisherman do with the snoek and bokkoms!

Do you know the Fiscal Shrike? It lives all over our country, but this little one was sitting only a few meters from the ocean.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chincherinchees (Ornithogalum thyrsoides)

With the end of the wildflower season in sight, I want to tell you about the flowers you probably know as "chinks". Summer is getting warmer and all over the fields they are now drying off.

The Greeks, and some sources say the Romans, would describe something that was amazing, incredible and wonderful as "birds milk" which in translation would be ornis + gala. From there the scientific name Ornithogalum. South Africans claimed to have heard a ching sound when picking at the stems and that gave us the common name for this flower: Chincherinchees.

You know by now that Kabeljoubank where I live is absolutely steeped in history and culture. Here the British Peer and her crew perished in 1896, and we still see pieces of their red bricks ballast, rounded and shrunk by ocean movement to the size of pebbles. Here, also, if people will look where I direct them, (a photographers dream....but nobody is interested) the process of snoek drying in the seabreeze can be seen.

But this is the nicest Kabeljoubank story of all: Between the two world wars, tourists who had travelled to Cape Town by ocean liner or train, would sometimes in spring and early summer hire a horse cart and travel the distance to Kabeljoubank for a picnic. They admired the beautiful views, the bluest ocean, the fields of spring flowers. One of the sights they saw was the picking of chincherinchees (in bud form) to be exported to Covent Garden where they were sold, a popular flower which can last for weeks in a vase.

Of course my vases at home bear nothing of the sort, as all our flowers in the Cape Flower Kingdom are now protected! To be admired, photographed, sketched, but never to be picked! The first image is my painting, the second the veld next to my studio with ragwort and chinkerinchees, then a bunch I photographed at the annual Wild Flower Show and lastly a little macro photo I took. Do not forget to let me know if you have ever seen or grown "chinks"!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Slice of Life Exhibition

After all the anticipation to attend the opening, the day of week, the time of day and the great distance prevented me from attending the opening of the exhibition. Avril who owns the gallery wrote so well about it on the morning after that I am going to quote him here: " Difficult to describe unique events like these. Crazy, ridiculous, exciting, enjoyable, all at the same time. Maybe "memorable" is a fair description. Many, many guests and few serious problems. One of those events one has to attend to really appreciate.
Since the gallery opened for business on 20 September 2007 I always wanted to do a real "opening", where the paintings are "unveiled". And this was the golden opportunity to do it. Imagine the curtains coming down and 600 paintings becoming fully visible all at once. I enjoyed the exercise, and according to all accounts most guests did!

In my photos this week I show my ten works together, followed by all my seagull paintings.

Living here next to the coast, I can see a lot of individualism in the seagulls. The leaders, the lookouts, the extremely young and the old and overweight birds all represent themselves...Again I "humanize" them, which I cannot help. Look at the gull I was able to get very close to....he really thought the rope was a safeguard against an approaching human. Then there is the group who seems to wait for a signal from their leader, something like: On your marks, get set, GO! I hope you enjoy my seagull paintings!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More and more Gannets!

By now I think everyone must realize that I cannot let go of the gannets of Lambert's Bay. Suddenly I see seabirds in my future as an artist: going into more and more detail and entering the world of Wildlife Art by painting the precious and protected birds of the West Coast.

The great exhibition of 630 works by 63 artists, called "A Slice of Life" opens this week in Somerset West. On the 10 wooden blocks I received, I used 4 for my gannets. I showed one piece last week, and here are the three others. You can see how they all look together in the first photo.