This morning I noticed our May Bush has its first white flower. I thought,”Oh no. Not already. Time flies – the first signs of Spring appearing already in August.”

I found that I had a strange feeling in my stomach. It’s almost the middle of August and my exhibition will be opening on the 7th October at Bamboo.  Time flies and I hope that I will be ready by then.

Since I have some sort ADHD as far as time goes, I slavishly write everything down  and I mean EVERYTHING, because I can’t remember the things I have to do as the days go by.

By writing in my diary I find that I feel I have some sort of control over time. I write all the daily chores and events and then put them into space slots. After that my day consists of racing against  time and ticking off the tasks, trying to beat the clock. However, I never keep up with the time that flies. At the end of the day Time has won and I have to start all over again.

So I look at the Maybush and its one white flower. I take a breath, filling my mind with no time and move on to the rest of the day.

Collette Edmonds EXPO invt copy

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Inside the Painter’s Studio

Inside the Painter’s Studio

I belong to a book club – not any old club, but an Artists’s book club. It was here that I discovered a book written by Joe Fig, called Inside the Painter’s Studio, 2009. Princeton Architectural Press. New York. In this book the Author describes his visits to various painter’s studios and how he interviews the artists and records for the reader the responses to his questions.Inside the Painter's Studio

This book has had an impact on me and has made me aware of my painter’s studio and how I live my life as an artist in comparison to these famous New York artists.
Joe Fig asked questions such as (and I am summarizing them):

  • The layout of the studio
  • A typical day that is spent in the studio
  • Whether the artist listens to the radio or music or nothing
  • What kind of paints do they use? ……..etc

Most artists seemed to start art their art career fairly young in their lives. They have a special Painter’s studio with special tables and lots of space in which to do large paintings. They generally seem to be working in their studio from 9am to 6pm. Most artists seem to work in silence and they work on one piece of work at a time.

Of course I am generalizing, but it has helped me to work in my painter’s studio furiously and pretend to be like them. I am squeezed into a tiny corner of the garage with two small tables on which to work. The one table has tubes of paint on it and the other is my mixing and working space on a paper pallette. I always work on a painting which rests on an easel. I listen to Radio 702 and the Oscar Pistorius trail has been very interesting. I find that by listening to all the ‘skinner’ and scandal that goes on, I relax and am able to work without stressing too much about what I am doing.

I am very happy in my corner in the garage. It is my escape from the world and I treasure the two to three hours in which I am inside my painter’s studio. I have now painted eight works and am slowly building up a body of work for the October exhibition. It is great to pretend to be an artist like the ones in Joe Fig’s book.

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BABETTE’S FEAST (according to the movie)

BABETTE’S FEAST (according to the movie)

On the Jutland coast of Denmark, there was a little village which was founded by a pastor, who preached strict Puritan Christianity and gathered a lot of faithful followers in the village.He had two beautiful daughters, Martine and Fillipa. Many young men attended the services, hoping to get a glimpse of these young women. Some even asked for their hand in marriage. Amongst these was Captain Lorens Lowenheim who fell in love with Fillipa, but he was rejected and sadly left and married a maid in waiting.Babette's Feast

One day a gentleman arrived from Paris called Achille Papin. He was amazed by Martine’s voice and had ambitions for her to be trained as an operatic singer. However, she turned him down and he went away a sad man.

Many years later, the pastor passed away and his daughters continued with his little church. The faithful started to dwindle and get old.

One stormy evening Babette appeared on the doorstep of the sisters. She gave them a letter from Monsieur Papin who begged them to take Babette in and give her work and shelter. He said that she had lost all her family and possessions during the French Revolution and that she was not safe in Paris. He also said that Babette could cook.

Babette made a huge difference to their lives and helped them to get a steady income.

The faithful continued to get older and grumpy and they bickered with one another. Martine and Fillipa were at their wits end as to what to do with them.

One day Babette won a lottery ticket from Paris worth 10,000 francs. Every year Monsieur Papine had bought a ticket for her. Babette requested from the sisters if she may cook a real Parisian dinner in honour of their father, the deceased pastor, whose anniversary it was.

The sisters agreed, but became very disturbed when the ingredients for the dinner arrived from Paris. The saw a turtle, head of oxen, quails in a cage and other disturbing ingredients. They called a council of the faithful and it was decided that no one would enjoy or comment on the food.
Amongst the guests to attend the feast was Nora Vossborg, who was the aunt of Loren Lowenhielm, who was now a General and he was invited to Babette’s dinner as well.

To the simple Puritan faithful, the table which Babette had set was resplendent with flowers, candles, shiny cutlery, plates and glasses. The feast was splendid with course after course. Each dish was unique and accompanied by the best wine. Those who had promised themselves to endure the meal found themselves following General Lowenhielm’s example and etiquette. He praised and appreciated every course and everything that he drank. He knew what it was worth and was astonished with what Babette was producing – “Real turtle soup, quail in baskets, the best caviar and cream cheese on freshly baked biscuits”.

Then the General told the story of a famous cafe in Paris, called , “The Cafe Anglais”. He said that the chef was a woman and she was famous, Her dishes were exceptional and well-known throughout Paris.

In the meantime, those who had participated in the meal began to joke with one another and to resolve their differences. They forgave one another and renewed their friendship and love. They went outside in the bitter cold night, which they did not feel and in renewing themselves in their friendship and their faith, they danced around the well holding hands and singing under the light of the stars.

The two sisters went into the kitchen to thank Babette and said how much everyone had enjoyed her special feast. They asked Babette when she intended returning to Paris since she now had the money to do so . She replied that she had spent it all on the meal and that she was the renowned chef at Cafe Anglais and that a meal at the cafe for twelve guests would have cost 10,000 francs.

The two sisters were horrified that Babette was once more poor, but she replied that an artist is never poor! Martine found herself reflecting on Monsieur Papin who had compared her singing to that of the angels. Babette’s meal was a piece of art, one that could be compared to a feast in heaven.

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How to eat an Elephant

The other day, Petra Ahlers, my website manager, said, “Shooo. This is like eating an elephant” My mind immediately bounced back to the days many, many years of participating in the exercise of working in the typing pool at a certain insurance company. The girls in the typing pool seemed to have a different culture to myself and as hard as I tried, I never got it right to fit in. One day, the Personnel manageress decided that the girls ,”needed educating”. So all the typing pool girls, including myself were marched off to her office to be educated. I can’t exactly remember what was said, but do remember her producing a comical picture of a large elephant and people standing around with knives and forks.Blackberry fotos 2014 103
“So.” said the Manageress, “How do you eat an elephant?”
I saw the answer immediately, but was already squirming and feeling ashamed at being asked such a stupid question. I kept quiet whilst the Typing Pool girls sweated and moaned as they searched for the answer. Finally, in exasperation the Manageress turned to me for the answer and through gritted teeth I said, “Bit by bit until the elephant has been completely consumed”.
Apparently the Manageress thought that I was very bright and was not invited to be educated again, but had to stay back and do all the work whilst the Typing Pool girls got educated!
The elephant that has to be consumed is the fact that I am preparing for an art exhibition in a few months time. I am working on the theme of Babette’s Feast, which is going to be compared with by a feast prepared for me and my guests by a very special friend, Astrid du Toit.
Whilst working on this, Petra and I realised just how much work there has to be done before the 7th October at Upstairs at Bamboo (Corner 9th Street & Rustenburg Road, Melville) when the exhibition will be opened. We decided that we will, like eating an elephant, do it bit by bit until it all gets done in readiness for that special date.
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