Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer days

I've put some new abstract work over on my other art blog here (opens in a new window).
I've done quite a bit of art recently and am pleased with the results.  I'm looking forward to when the kiddies are back at school, so that I can devote at least one day a week to serious development of large canvasses, as I think I'm now ready to start building up a collection sufficient to put on display and sell. I'm not doing an online selling exercise, I've decided to look at marketing the work out in the open - there are a couple of places that I've earmarked for this purpose  - but want to have sufficient stuff to put out that will attract punters.   And not small stuff, the larger the better. 

We all went to the beach yesterday, as it was a Bank Hooligan day here, so we figured as the weather was lovely and sunny, not much of a chilly breeze that it might be a nice change and of course, kinda free.    We went to Caister on Sea to the Caister Point beach, which is a lovely stretch of golden sand winding up the coast as far as the eye can see.  It was a lovely day and great for the kiddies.  Caister dates back to Roman times (or before then) and there are remains of a Roman fort in the town - we didn't go to have a look but it seems rather incongruous and matter of fact that these ruins are surrounded by semi-detached houses and urbanity.  (from the pictures on Wikipedia at least)

Wikipedia image - not mine

The beach looking up the coast

The kiddies have been reasonably well behaved throughout most of the summer holidays, although there are some days when I want to drown both of them - you can't have it all ways, I guess.  I am also feeling much more confident about driving around with them in the car now. 

It's hard not being able to hold my new baby grandson, he's such a cutie pie and so tiny!  I get to see him on Skype every now and then, although the signal is not very good most of the time and there's a lot of pixilation with the images.  My son sends me small audio/video files from time to time of baby burping, or making little noises - just breaks my heart.   Oh well, soon come we can go over in February next year (I hope) and I'll be able to play with baby and get to know him a little bit - he'll also be more responsive then because at the moment all he really does is eat, poop and sleep.

Friday, August 16, 2013

for LiVEwiRe

Reading what you said, in the response to my condolences on the loss of your grandmother, about how you opened the fridge door, saw 'her' food and started crying; and when you received her post and started crying ... that really struck a chord.  I couldn't face looking at my mother's things for a very long time.  It was really hard when we were packing and going through things to 'chuck away' leading up to us moving from South Africa. Even though I had a lot of time to do it in stages, I put it off until the last minute.  And when I did start going through her things, I realised that it was 2 years since she'd died.

I had a storage unit (the size of a single garage) a few kilometres from where I lived that I was paying rental on each month and it was filled, for the most part, with my mum's furniture and belongings.  Boxes and boxes of all the little things and big things that were the stuff of her life.  These things she'd collected and moved from house to house in over 80 years on this planet.  Things that I helped her pack in a huge hurry back in the early part of 2010 when we made the decision that she had to move from Hermanus to be closer to me. 

Her furniture and boxes were brought up from the Cape in a large removal van and arrived a few days after she came to live with us in Gauteng.  She came with me the day the stuff arrived to oversee some of the precious expensive furniture pieces being installed in the storage unit.   I had every belief, at that stage, that she would live for at least another 5 or 10 years and that all of her items would eventually be re-housed in a new place of her own up in Gauteng ... of course that wasn't to be.  Within 3 months of arriving from Hermanus to live with us in Jo'burg (Edenvale) she was gone from this earth.

The clothes that I took to the hospital for her, were placed in a bag and given back to me when we went back to the hospital to collect her death certificate.  I only discovered those things when we were going through the boxes about a month before we left South Africa. They still had her scent on them!  I remember standing in our garage at home, after opening the box (which we'd now moved from the storage unit to our house) and holding those clothes and crying my eyes out for a very long time.  It seemed a sacrilege to me when one of my daughter's suggested that we threw the things away or put it with jumble.  Some irrational part of my mind just closed off to that idea, I couldn't bear the thought of someone else having those clothes.  So I took them with me to my room and they stayed in the corner, until the day we left and only then was I able to put them in the rubbish bin (I still wasn't prepared to let anyone else have them).  If I could have had my way, I probably would have brought them with me in my case because they still had a faint residue of her scent on them.  How ridiculous is that? 

Most of my mother's things have been distributed to other members of the family, sold or simply thrown away ... like broken old kitchen bins, containers for potted plants, bits and scraps of material or wools.  Sometimes I would drive out to the storage unit with the best of intentions, grim with determination, only to get to the first box open it up and burst into tears.  That happened a lot of times.  With each thing that was thrown away, I felt an enormous sense of guilt, like I was deliberately throwing away a part of her that I would never get back ... it was such a crazy, unrealistic feeling but so primal and strong. 

The things that I've managed to hang onto that belonged to my mother, are not really heirlooms or things of great value, they were just things that for some reason didn't end up being sold. Some of the things that really remind me of my mother I no longer have, they have been sold or given away and I'm sad about that but you just can't hang on to everything.   And one of the most precious things that I have is worthless to anyone else - it's handwritten (in pen ink, using a nib pen) cookery/domestic science book that my mother wrote when she was at school, with recipes in and drawings - so it was 'composed' during the 1930's.  The front cover has come off and it's covered in grease, flour, egg stains ... but I wouldn't part with it for the world, it speaks to me, it takes me back to a time when I was a little girl and she was baking cakes, covered in flour and smelling of hot pastry.  

It takes a very long time, I've come to realise, to get back to any degree of 'normal' and be in a position to move the grieving into a place where it's manageable.  So you take your time, girl. Don't feel in any way pushed into sorting yourself out ... allow yourself as much time as you want. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

No art journal here ...

I feel compelled to say something about 'art journaling' ... this is a phenomenon all of its own that seems to have spread out across all corners of the globe, generating billions of profits for stamp and ink manufacturers, as well as other side industries that supply all the goodies to turn a piece of paper in a diary into something 'arty'.

I have watched hundreds of demos on YouTube lately, lovingly made by ladies (for the most part), of various ages, professions and cultures.   Some of the videos are 20 minutes or so long, showing the minute detail that goes into crafting the personally designed pages of the person's art journal.  Some ladies do a series - an art journal a day.  The products that are used and the variety of treatments that can be put onto a page (collage effects, embossing, punching, image transfer to name a few) is immense, depending on how sophisticated and knowledgeable the art journalist is.  Many millions are spent worldwide on this hobby ... because that's what it is.  It's crafting but taken to another level.  The amount of money that some of the ladies spend on their products is astounding.  I've seen some women with studios of equipment and exhaustive supplies, all neatly lined up ready to start another page.   Whatever colour of ink or paint or gadget they want, they have to hand.  Stencils, special glitter effect paints, etc. etc. ....

I can't fathom it.  I don't get it.  Although I like watching them make their pages - it's better than staring at the TV.

But for me, who isn't capable of working 'small' - I can't imagine anything more frustrating than spending hours and hours, glueing and stamping, painting and rubbing onto a piece of paper to make it look steam punk or cafe pretty ... stencilling cliches like "love is all around"  or "today is the first day of the rest of your life" crap onto the page.

The time and effort that some of these chicks spend on art journaling could be used to create a lasting, permanent piece of art -  many of the gals I have been watching are no slouch in the creativity department, many of them are perfectly good and capable artists.  So why waste time fiddling about for hours on end, making videos about it, spending hundreds and thousands of pounds/dollars on equipment, tools, materials, just to create little collages that mean absolutely nothing to anyone else?

I suppose it's for the same reason that any 'artist' attempts to create things - for the sheer joy, spiritual development and introspection.  Just wish they'd stop flooding YouTube!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

something so precious

My new grandson ... born yesterdy at 11.34am South African time ... what a cutie.

So I decided to enter the Lotto and the EuroMillions today ... I'm not greedy, I don't need to win millions, just a couple of thousand would be greatly appreciated Mrs. Karma, so that I can have enough dosh to pay for the air tickets and spend Christmas with this little monkey ... whadyasay?   aw pweeze.