This month has flown by very fast, especially for all the Easter ceremonies, which are very solemn in the Catholic church. In between attending all the ceremonies, I squeezed some time in to do some painting. I have tackled a picture which I have called, “Cookie”, because it her portrait which I am painting. Cookie has beautiful sensitive features and is wearing a magnificent Sari which has delicate embroidered patterns as well as some sort of buttons in the shape of pearls. Her Sari is a magnificent blue, which with her soft golden skin colour, makes me think of the sea. A blue Sari softly lands onto the beach of Cookie’s skin!
I have been wondering what to do with the background of the painting, because I do not want to detract the portrait of Cookie with too lively a background. Perhaps with the sea and sand image, I could paint stars as the background.
The other portrait painting which I am doing is that of my helper, Susan. I feel that this has been influenced by Dorothy Kay who painted her helper, Cookie in 1956. The work is called, Annie Mavata.
I feel exactly the same as the comment Marion Arnold said in her book, “Women and Art in South Africa”, 1996, David Philip Publishers (Pty) Ltd, Claremont (pg. 99), “It was Kay’s intention to paint a particular person, Annie Mavata, the person with whom she had been closely associated for over twenty years and whose assistance had enabled her to further her own artistic career.”
I want to paint Susan who has become part of our household, the skin and bones of who we are as she drifts between the two worlds of the townships and the suburbs.
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Sanlam Portrait Award 2015

Portrait  of COOKIE

This year I have decided to enter the Sanlam Portrait Award 2015. So I took several photographs of my friend Cookie who is Tamil and is very beautiful in an interesting kind of way. She dressed up in a Sari for the occasion and  looks like a queen. When I went to visit her, she showed me a little shrine, like a prayer corner, which has been specially built in their house when they did renovations two years ago. Somehow the shrine stills and quietens the house and seems to be the heart, because that is the first room as you enter Cookie’s house.

Painting a portrait of someone is a privilege, because as some people say, you take a piece, a little bit of their soul. Moroccan people do not like portraits done of themselves for this very reason.

So when l painted Cookie I saw the shy beauty in her. Her eyes are warm and crisp with a sweet welcoming innocence. However, her mouth reveals everything. There is strength there in her words, but also a sense of questioning and MYSTERY. She seems to be the archetype of the mystery of a woman ….  secrets held within.

I thank you Cookie for allowing me to paint your portrait, which I have so much enjoyed doing.
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Many years ago, whilst browsing in Exclusive Books store in Eastgate, I stumbled across a book which had a picture of a very strange, but exciting looking building on its’ cover. I was totally enchanted and paged, full of wonder, through the book and could hardly believe what I was seeing. At that time the name Gaudi meant very little to me and it was a total wonder that last year in October I had the privilege to visit the La Pedrera, in Barcelonan, Spain, which was the very building on the cover of the book which I had discovered in Eastgate.GAUDI

I must say that the visit to the La Pedrera filled me with mixed emotions. The roof of the house is really strange. I wondered what Gaudi had in mind when he built and designed it. Chimneys look like sentinels, steps go nowhere, some of the structures look like pawns on a chessboard. It is all fantastic. but it left me wondering.
Below this is the attic which has the most fantastic arches. One feels as though one is possibly in the top of a strange church or the insides of the large worm. References to a worm is not far from the truth as Gaudi had references to nature throughout his work, which is probably the reason why one is so drawn to his work.

Others, his contemporaries, were not as enchanted. The caricature of Cornet was published in Cu-Cut! which showed the sentiment of some of the people in Barcelona. Nevertheless Gaudi won the prize held for a competition for the best building constructed in Barcelona in 1989.
I now have several books on the works of Gaudi and am still just as enchanted.

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I decided to bring my new book, “Gone Girl”, by Gillian Flynn to read, when I went overseas on holiday. My husband, Rick and I found ourselves on the plane a week after my exhibition, “Babette’s Feast- Astrid’s Choice” had finished. I had eaten that elephant, but it seems that I was now travelling with a new exotic elephant to Spain and Morocco. I decided to bring a journal with me and to document everything we saw in sketches and drawings. This I did, but as time went by I added tickets, maps, museum flyers, postcards and anything else to make the book more interesting.Gone Girl

The moment we put our foot onto Spanish soil, I was a Gone Girl. After we left the Airport, we were whisked onto a Metro with thousands of other travellers. There were all sorts of people rocking on the train together. The first thing I noticed, were the women’s shoes. Young and old wore flat walking shoes. The older people had comfortable sensible looking shoes, but the young people never ceased to amaze me with their stylish choices. I looked down at my own shoes, pleased to see that they more or less fitted into the groove of Spanish foot-wear.

In the middle of my perusal of people’s feet, I was urgently jolted by Rick to get out at our station. The Gone Girl in me had to quickly get back to life, hall her suitcase out of the train and rumble up the stairs with thousands of other passengers to the top of the world where the city of Madrid stood. It was dark, but not so as the lights rounded everywhere filling a vision, It was like being in a giant movie set. Immediately I was Gone Girl. Thank goodness Rick had all his brains together and managed to navigate us to our Madrid residence so that much later in bed, I was able to read “Gone Girl” in bed before I drifted into a tired, but happy sleep.

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Spring is here and half of the elephant has been eaten. In other words, I am half-way through preparing for the exhibition, which will be at Bamboo, Melville on the 7th of on eating half an elephant

“Babette’s Feast and Astrid’s Choice”.
That is the name of the exhibition and I have been on a six month journey – painting. I have taken the characters from the movie,”Babette’s Feast” and deconstructed everything into a painted story. Of course, the heroine is Babette. Through her generous giving of her lottery money to make the most splendid feast anyone in the Jutland peninsula of Denmark has ever experienced is quite remarkable and such an example. She reveals her true identity of being a cordon bleu chef. She had the top restaurant in Paris and gave an experience of her divine cooking to the simple people in the little village.

Astid ‘s choice compares with Babette. Astrid also cooked a French dinner as a gift to her friends and the Feast was constructed as the modern version of Babette.I have also printed and painted this part of the exhibition, which was also part of contributing to eating half of the elephant.
Now to eat the other half. The images are ready, but invitations must be sent out, banners made, wine bought and all the other things which go into making the exhibition a huge success. I invite you to come to the exhibition on the 7th of October and meet Babette and Astrid. Of course, there will be no elephant as it will be all consumed by then.

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