Drawing

Open Tabs

I recently visited the optometrist, for what I thought was to be a routine check-up that would enable me to renew my drivers license. After flicking through A’s and D’s and upside down E’s, I was relieved to hear that things weren’t as bad as I expected, and engaged the doctor on the ins and outs of ageing and failing eyesight. I had so many questions that every time he started to speak, another question would pop into my mind. Eventually in desperation, he laughed, put his hands up and said I had too many tabs open and that I needed to put a hold on them so that he could attend to one question at a time. I was amused by his analogy, but appreciated him telling me so directly that this is what I do and as I left his consultation rooms, I felt I had just had an awakening.

Back in my studio a short while later, I stopped for a moment and observed the scene before me. Everywhere I looked were half finished projects, enticing piles of creative energy waiting for my attention. In that moment, I knew that my optometrist was right. I do have multiple tabs open, in the form of numerous projects going on at any one time, and I flit from one to the other like a butterfly gathering nectar. I’m sure a good psychologist would tell me the pitfalls of my process, but this is the way I love to work and the way I stay in the flow, I am never without something to do, and even when I am finishing off a project, the next idea is being born.

So since my visit to the good doctor, I have been examining my situation and been actively closing a few of the tabs that have been slowing down my system. I have finished the beading on a bag begun over a year ago,

A funky example of a bohemian bag

given my aloe a flower

One of a series of small ink drawings

 

and completed that winding road that leads me through the Eastern Cape landscape.

A recent work of a road less travelled

I have made the leaves for a sample bag that I will be using when I teach in Port Elizabeth next week

A sample bag for my Bohemian Bag workshop, which will be taught at the National Quilt Festival 2017 on 3rd and 4th July

and rustled up some flowers

Preparation for The Bohemian Bag Workshop, being taught in PE on 3rd and 4th July

I have taken the last of my paintings in for framing…

Country Road. Chalk Pastel. Sally Scott

Another Road, Another View. Chalk pastel. Sally Scott

…and I have also designed a poster for my Festival exhibition.

I will be showing a few of my recent works in a group exhibition at the National Arts Festival 2017. The exhibition opens 29th June and closes 9th July.

 

So that ticks a few things off the list and now that this blog post is written, another tab is about to be closed, but not before I invite you all to visit our exhibition at The Highlander between the 29th June and 9th July 2017.

 

Stay tuned for feedback on both the exhibition and the bag workshop. I suspect that by then a few more tabs will have opened.

 

Categories: Drawing, Exhibitions, Landscapes, Workshops | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Artists in the Making

“In the beginning is the attitude. Everything else will follow”. Shaun McNiff

We’ve had a good year in the Sally Scott Studio and I feel very proud to be able to share a selection of work that has emerged from our weekly drawing classes. Most of the students started out as complete beginners, but over the months of regular attendance, they have made amazing progress as their skills and confidence have grown. Click on the images below and enjoy…

If anyone is interested in joining us for next year’s classes, please contact me. No previous experience is necessary, and yes, I welcome those who “can only draw a stick man”. It won’t be long before you are producing work like that in the gallery above.

An evening class

An evening class

A morning class

A morning class

Happy Christmas everyone!

Categories: Drawing, My Studio | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

On the Pin Board

Some of you may be wondering why there’s been no movement on the blog for a while, so I am checking in to say that I have been swamped by a tsunami of work and am swimming for all I’m worth to keep my head above the water level! However, the beach is in sight, with only a month to go until the National Arts Festival begins in Grahamstown and our sibling exhibition COMMON ROOTS:DIFFERENT ROUTES opens its doors to the public.

Roots ADVERT black 7web

There will be more on this shortly.

In the meanwhile, it is most fortunate for me that amidst the current of this organized chaos, run three streams of calmer waters that help to keep me physically and emotionally buoyed and assist me in keeping perspective. I am speaking about my art class students who flow in and out of the studio each week, bringing with them an abundance of good humour, creative talent, yummy things to eat and wine to keep the creativity flowing. Despite my distractions, they have all kept their focus and have produced some truly amazing work over the past few months. So today, when I have nothing of my own to show, I am delighted to have some of their work to share. Most of these students started out as complete beginners not so long ago. Click on the images below to enjoy them at their fullest:

There will be another post soon that will give some background to our forthcoming sibling exhibition.

Categories: Drawing, Exhibitions, My Studio | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Workshops for 2016

Welcome back to my Studio. It’s time to let you know what creative projects I have planned for 2016.

The big focus for the first half of the year will be on the exhibition that I will be having with my siblings, Nicky Rosselli and Anthony Stidolph (alias Stidy) at this years National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. I will be bringing you updates and more information on this exhibition soon.

Meanwhile, I have some exciting workshops lined up for 2016, the details of which are below.

Weekly Drawing Classes

Drawing ad with black outline

The drawing classes are held in the relaxed and informal space of my studio, and are specifically geared for students who have little or no previous experience, but who would like to learn to draw.

The course is well structured, with each session building on the one before and students never fail to learn very quickly, often amazed at what they find themselves capable of doing.

The classes are specifically about learning to see things clearly, and then becoming familiar with the various mediums, working with pencil, pen, ink wash, charcoal, pencil colour, chalk pastel, oil pastel, mixed media and collage. Once the basics are covered, we then explore themes, developing skills as we go.

There are numerous benefits to learning to draw, but it is the relaxing, therapeutic aspect that is most often commented upon. The groups are small and everyone works at their own pace in an atmosphere of mutual support.

Class options are:

Tuesday and Thursday evenings: 6-8pm

Friday Mornings: 10am – 12pm

There is a possibility of an afternoon class if there is sufficient demand.

Cost: R140 per session, paid in advance at the beginning of each month.

Space is limited, so please let me know if you would like to join us.

 

Creative Art Journaling Workshops

Advert poster for workshop 3

Creative Art Journaling has become enormously popular in recent years, as it offers the individual a creative way to document thoughts, ideas, memories, experiences, observations and feelings using a combination of the written word and a variety of visual art techniques. These mini artwork pages can eventually come together as a book. Workshops will be held in my Studio on Saturday mornings 9.30am – 12pm on the following dates:

Sat 27th February

Sat 2nd April

Sat 28th May

Sat 30th July

Sat 3rd September

Sat 1st October

Sat 5th November

Cost: R220.00 per session

Space will be limited, so please let me know if you would like to join us.

 

Red Shoe Workshop

Red Shoe Poster with text-1

This is without doubt my most important workshop to date. I invite women of all ages into the safe and supportive environment of my Art Studio to share stories about their lives and to make soft shoes that reflect the journey they have taken.

Based loosely on “The Red Shoe” story by Hans Christian Anderson, the workshop allows one to assess and focus upon what is really important in one’s life. The process is fun, at times hilarious, but the results are always beautiful and profound. Born out of my own personal experience and understanding of suffering, the workshop is fluid, ever moving and changes according to the needs of the group with whom I am working.

The workshop is suitable for all skill levels and no prior sewing or shoe construction experience is needed, as what you don’t know, I will teach you. It’s a great chance to play and explore your creativity and each pair of shoes will be as individual as its maker.

To date almost 300 pairs of shoes have been made, by women from all walks of life. What I have learned is immeasurable, but the overriding lesson has been that despite our differences, we all understand what it is to be a woman.

Provisional dates for this 3-Day creative workshop, which is spread over 4 days are:

4th March: 2-5pm

5th March: 9am – 4pm

11th March: 2-5pm

12th March: 9am – 4pm

Cost: R990.00

Space will be limited, so please let me know if you would like to join us.

 

Bohemian Bags

Bohemian Bag Advertwith text

I am passionate about textiles and have had many years of experience working in the field of fibre art. This workshop brings together my interest in fashion, design, sewing, beading, embroidery, appliqué and fabric manipulation and combines it with my interest in people, their life stories and my belief that creativity can heal.

It is guaranteed to be a fun workshop where you can make a bag or purse that can be as funky and over-the-top as you wish it to be. It may be any size and any shape and you can use whatever materials you wish. You can go crazy with embellishments and I will be there to guide you and teach you any skills you may need for the process.

With fashion trends currently being inspired by the 1960’s and 70’s hippie era, this is the perfect time to make yourself or someone else a trendy fashion accessory.

This fun 2-day creative sewing workshop, held on the following days:

7th May: 9am – 4pm

14th May: 9am – 4pm

Cost: R660.00

Space will be limited, so please let me know if you would like to join us. I look forward to seeing you there!

 

For more information on all these workshops, please visit my website:

www.sallyscott.co.za

Categories: Drawing, Exhibitions, My Studio, Workshops | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Retreating to the Wild

It was May 1997, when my brother Anthony Stidolph and I set off on an epic journey from Durban, South Africa to Zimbabwe in search of artistic inspiration. It was a much anticipated trip and as we drove along the great North road, the balmy warmth of the sun reflected the grins on our faces. We had just passed through the J.G.Strijdom Tunnels when we drew up behind two heavily overloaded vehicles, one trying to overtake the other on a blind hill. Neither were doing more than 80 kph and both were packed to capacity with what looked like the contents of a house. I knew we were getting close to our destination, for sights like this are commonplace as one gets near to the border with Zimbabwe. As crazy and dangerous as these dilapidated old vehicles were, I felt a surge of affection and looked forward to crossing the border and smelling the air of home.

Untitled-Scanned-05psweb

The border crossing is always stressful, but once we were through and on the road again, the vehicle felt like it was flying. We made a quick stop at the Rutenga Butchery for biltong, and childhood memories of dust, heat and the slow pace of life came flooding back. Children on bicycles and old men on chairs waved at us as we pulled out of the parking lot, with a pack of biltong in hand. Back on the road, the blue hills in the distance became magnificent granite domes. We turned off at Rutenga Halt, passing a variety of modes of transport; old bent axil buses, donkey carts and wheelbarrows, all going about their business as usual.

Untitled-Scanned-06psweb

The mopane trees gave way to msasa trees and all along the way, amongst the rock-strewn hills, were masses of huts with silvery grey thatch shimmering in the sunshine. After Chiredzi the bush became thorny acacia scrub, the land was hot and dry and from the sky, bright, vast and open, came a penetrating light. The baobab trees became more frequent and Bateleur Eagles flew overhead. Everywhere there were Hornbills, perched on thorn trees, flying alongside the car or hopping in the sand beside the road, their quizzical expressions directed towards us as we motored past. We ploughed down the track towards the camp through thick, deep, red sand edged by bush that buzzed with life.

The camp, by contrast, was a little green oasis, with log cabins, set amongst trees and green lawns, each facing out into the wilderness. At the sound of the car, Nicky Rosselli, my youngest sister, appeared as an ethereal vision from the darkness of her hut and leant against the doorway watching us, with her paintings resting up against the outer wall. They were beautiful paintings, from which emanated light and soul.

Untitled-Scanned-07web

In that instant, I understood why artists need retreats like this, a ‘time-out’ from the routine of everyday life, a period earmarked for uninterrupted focus and engagement with the subjects of our interest, a space that allows inspiration to flower and take the form of art. Nicky, who had arrived a few days before us, had clearly wasted no time in finding her inspiration.

The place is Malilangwe, a nature conservancy in the lowveldt of Zimbabwe. As far as I know, this artist retreat no longer exists, and the area has been developed as an upmarket reserve, but at that time these small chalets were reserved for artists, where in return for a piece of artwork, one could stay for minimal cost. The chalets, set in a clearing in the bush, were thatched and cool, serviced and all meals were provided, so artists who visited there had no chores and nothing to interrupt the flow of their creativity. It was an ideal and exhilarating experience, and we had a whole week in which to immerse and respond to the wilderness.

The environment was wild, alive with venomous snakes and dangerous animals. We had encounters with all of them and to this day, I have vivid memories of my visitation from a black mamba, that slithered quietly past me, its dark, beady eyes fixed upon me as I sat on a rock drawing a group of dassies (rock hyrax) not far from the camp.

Untitled-Scanned-08pswebI was focussed and calm, enjoying the sensation of the graphite marks on paper, when I became aware of a movement a metre from where I sat. I looked down and made eye contact with an impressive, sleek, fat olive green snake that undulated along the base of the rock below me. I quietly called my brother, who was also drawing among the rocks somewhere not far from where I sat. Detecting no urgency in my call, he took his time in coming and it was only when he saw the snake and in hushed tones told me to stay still, that the enormity of the occasion began to filter into my consciousness. We stood rigidly together for a few moments and then glanced about for the quickest escape route, which happened to be a drop of several metres off the granite dome. My camera and pencils were still between me and the snake, so they would have to stay behind and in a moment of decision, we both leapt off the rock, scrambled through the thick leaves and branches and hot footed it to the camp. We waited there for an hour or so and then Ant and Nicky returned to collect our things. When they returned, they told me that unbeknown to him, Anthony had been sitting on the well worn snake path not far from the snakes hole. Things could have turned out very differently had I not called him away to come and look!

Untitled-Scanned-10psweb

That experience was one of those moments where death appears so unexpectedly, looks one squarely in the face, but the danger doesn’t register until after the moment had passed. I still shudder when I think how close I came to meeting my end, but I recognize that it was my stillness, my being completely absorbed in the moment, that gave me a sense of oneness with everything around me. I did not recognize the danger, nor feel any fear and the snake sensing no threat, was able to pass right by me. A profound life lesson was learned.

Malilangwe 97 5psweb

A pencil colour drawing done at the scene where I met the Black Mamba

Well, as if that bit of excitement wasn’t enough, that afternoon Nicky suggested we visit a hide to view the game as it came down to the waterhole. We packed our sundowners into the truck and headed off along sandy roads through thick bush to the hide. Leaving the car some way off, out of site of the hide, we clambered up the wooden steps and settled ourselves down with drinks and dried wors and waited for the animals. I was sitting on the top step, sketching the veld, when Nicky’s husband, John spotted a herd of buffalo moving towards us through the bush. I carefully laid down my crayons and sketchpad and eased myself into the hide. The buffalo had seen us and paused for a bit before deciding to come down for a drink. Slowly they made their way down to the waters edge, but a small group hung back, looking uncertain, milling around in the bush. Once the main herd had finished drinking and ambled back into the trees nearby, several others stood around, sniffing the air and looking up at the hide. Despite us sitting stock still, they definitely knew we were there and when a couple of them lay down to sleep directly beneath us as if settling in for the night, I began to feel a bit uncomfortable. What if they didn’t leave? By now it was getting quite dark and with our car some distance away, as per the camp instructions, we weren’t sure what to do. Nicky suggested we should sleep the night in the hide, but John wanted to try and get to the car. The risk was definitely quite great, with the herd so close and restless, so we waited a little while longer. Eventually, John decided to move, so eased himself quietly down the steps and stealthily walked through the bush towards the car. Several buffalo, alerted by his movement, moved in his direction, so to distract the creatures, Ant perched at the top of the stairs and I bashed my crayon tin against the railing. The most menacing buffalo stopped and looked at us, giving John the gap he needed and soon we saw the headlights moving slowly through the trees, pulling up alongside the hide. We made our escape and Ant and I travelled to camp in the back of the bakkie, the air washing past us in warm and cool patches, the smell of warm, dry grass in our nostrils. Up above us the dark sky was clear and filled with stars, not a cloud to be seen anywhere.

lizardpsweb

The next adventure we had was with a lone buffalo. Nicky, who had arrived a few days before us, wanted to take us to see some bushman paintings that she and John had found on their explorations. We parked some distance away and walked through bush to a hill that had a cave. As we followed Nicky through the thick grass, I anxiously scanned for any sign of wild life. There was plenty of evidence of elephant dung and broken trees, and the smell of wild animal permeated the air. We found the cave, admired the paintings, below which were rocks stained with fresh blood, presumably from a recent leopard kill. We wandered up on top of the hill to admire the view and then decided to take a shortcut back to the car through the gap in the hills. We followed my brother-in-law through the waist high grass, crunching msasa pods underfoot, silent and lost in thought, when suddenly John jumped backwards with a shout for us to “Get back!” He had surprised a buffalo as he came around a bush. Alarmed, it leapt up and swung around. I was aware of John turning on his heels, the stamping thud of buffalo hoofs, a flash of its dark body and I turned tail and headed for the rocks nearby, as did Nicky and Ant. I scrambled upward as fast as I could, heart pounding in my ears, and glanced anxiously back expecting to see the buffalo in hot pursuit and wondered if buffalo could climb rocks. Fortunately for all of us, the beast hot-footed it in the opposite direction and I caught a fleeting glimpse of it disappearing into the grass between us and the vehicle. After that it was nowhere to be seen and we tentatively edged forward wondering if it was safe to proceed to the car. We made it and relieved, launched off onto the dusty road in search of more game. It had all happened so fast and felt slightly surreal, so I felt a strong sense of elation to still be alive!

spider web

Between all the excitement of mambas and buffalos, our days were largely spent in a state of creative bliss. Each morning we would wake to the sound of birds, raise ourselves and head to the dining area for breakfast under the trees, overlooking a magnificent dam, where the shimmering, silver surface embraced the surrounded hills. From here we collected our art equipment and peeled off in our different directions in search of things to draw and paint.

Our visit to the Malilangwe Conservancy marked the first stage of our journey and by the end of that week we felt we had truly shaken off the shackles of the mundane.  Our senses had been awoken, we had reconnected with our environment, and were finally listening and responding to the artists within. The road that lay ahead was exciting, for it was to take us forward to Inyanga, and back to the ranch on which we grew up.

This will be the subject of another post, so in the meanwhile, if you would like to see some of the work that has arisen from my travels, visit my website www.sallyscott.co.za

Categories: Drawing, Fibre Art, Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Retreat

In May last year I was invited to join a group of ladies from Gauteng for a weekend of art making at Ann’s Villa, a self catering early settler Victorian mansion, that stands alone in the rugged terrain at the foot of the Zuurberg Mountains in the Eastern Cape. Helen Lunn, owner of the villa, had met me over the telephone when I had inquired about renting her space for my big birthday celebration a couple of months earlier. After the party, when she learned of my involvement in the arts, she asked if I would like to join her group of friends on an art retreat at the villa. It was an unexpected invitation and a bit of a risk to accept, given that I had never met her or anyone in the group, but I was curious and the thought of having another weekend in that beautiful environment, was enough to make me take up this opportunity. After all if I didn’t fit in, I could always return home to Grahamstown, a mere 88 kms away. That, as it turned out, wasn’t necessary and it wasn’t long before we had all settled in like old friends. It was a great weekend and so much fun to work alongside people whose experience, interests, talents and skills differed from my own. I learned much and came away from the those few days in the outback of the Karoo, wishing that I could have stayed longer, but feeling enriched, relaxed and inspired.

 

With the limited time available, my output was fairly minimal, but I did manage to produce a few sketches.

anns villapsweb

Outside the blacksmith’s shop, Ann’s Villa 2014. Charcoal.

 

anns villa 2psweb

An ink sketch of Ann’s Villa 2014

 

Ink and wash drawing of the rear view of Ann's Villa 2014

Ink and wash drawing of the rear view of Ann’s Villa 2014

So what is it about retreat that is so enticing? The idea of it is filled with possibility. For me it’s being able to legitimately withdraw from the madness of modern living, to step out of the predictable and well defined grooves of daily life, to enter into a space where anything can happen, where I can take time to intimately explore the outer environment and free fall into my inner world to see what’s going on in there. It’s having the time to express myself in an honest, uncompromising manner, knowing that what I produce doesn’t matter because it’s the process of doing it that counts. I love having no responsibilities and minimal expectation, where I can do pretty much anything with my day and take my time in doing it. I love the fact that I can indulge without the slightest whisper of guilt in the pleasures of making art in an environment that offers so many possibilities.

Over the years, I have been on several such retreats, and in my next post I will share another very memorable occasion when my sister, Nicky, brother Anthony and I took ourselves off to a beautiful conservancy in the low veldt of Zimbabwe.

Categories: Drawing, Inspiration, Landscapes | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Creative Art Journaling Workshop

I have a particular affection for the province of Limpopo, an area of South Africa that is steeped in history and bursting at the seams with its rich cultural heritage. It is one of the few places in the country where one can have the privilege of meeting local artists and crafters in their home villages, surrounded by their amazing hand crafts. In a world where the authentic is fast becoming something of the past, this area still has small pockets of authenticity, where mass consumerism hasn’t completely obliterated traditional craft art. My need for authenticity has drawn me back to this area several times over the past few years, and whilst I do see changes, the delight of traveling into rural Limpopo never fades. Without fail, after each of these visits, I have returned to my own home on the other side of the country, inspired, revitalised and ready to get back to my own creativity.

It was with this appreciation for the area in mind, that I decided to embark on a new creative project, one that combines my love of travel with my interest in the arts. I have been teaching drawing and fibre art for many years and last year added creative art journaling to the mix. So when Marcelle Bosch of Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge approached me about the possibility of organising an art journaling workshop in conjunction with the village tours they run, I jumped at the opportunity.

So, it is now with great pleasure that I invite you to join me on a four-day creative art journaling experience from 1st – 4th July 2015, at the Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge, which is situated at the foot of the magnificent Soutpansberg Mountains, near Louis Trichardt (Machado).

Final advert for Madi a Thavha workshop-outline 3

The four star luxury lodge is nestled in a magnificent natural environment with the comforting backdrop of the mountain. The rooms are comfortable and colourfully decorated with the work of Limpopo’s craft artists. Workshop participants will stay at the hotel and have all meals included.

The workshop will begin with a one day field trip out into the villages of the area, where, with the help of an experienced tour guide, we will explore markets, businesses and homesteads, famous for their wall paintings and get a glimpse into daily rural life. We will meet local artists and crafters, surrounded by their pots, sculptures, musical instruments and bead work, as well as travel through some very impressive scenery. The outing will give us a chance to talk to local people, take photographs and generally gather inspiration and material to use over the next three days, when I will take you through the process of visually documenting your experience.

Limpopo is famous for it's beautiful clay African pots

Limpopo is famous for it’s beautiful clay African pots

In the workshop you will spend your time creating a journal that visually expresses your response to our outing into the villages. We will use a variety of techniques and mediums, and for those who are insecure about their talents, I will provide basic instruction in drawing, painting and collage, with ideas to incorporate the written word. With the limited time available, it is unlikely that you will complete your journal, but it will certainly mark the beginning of a process that can keep you busy for many years to come.

Booking for the workshop has now opened, so if you are keen to come or need more information, please contact Marcelle at info@madiathavha.com

Please note that space is limited and booking closes on 31st May 2015.

Categories: Drawing, Inspiration, Landscapes, Workshops | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Power of the Poem

Social media is a strange and wondrous thing that has completely transformed my life. Admittedly, it is a distraction that I view as both my enemy and my friend and I spend much of my time caught up in the contradiction, trying to extract myself from its greedy fingers, whilst at the same time being drawn to it as a moth to a flame. However, no matter how much I might hate its brain sucking, time wasting qualities, I do have to concede that there are numerous positives that have come out of my relationship with the Internet. One of the most important of these has been my exposure to the plight of the endangered rhinoceros and my subsequent meeting with poet Harry Owen which resulted in our collaborative effort to raise funds and awareness to help eradicate the scourge of rhino poaching in Africa.

Harry is a rare human being, a man with principles and a conscience, who not only cares deeply about the condition of our environment, but who is not afraid to speak out in its defence. A casual glance through his Facebook page will leave you in no doubt as to where his sentiments lie, and if you listen to his words in the short clip below, they will give you a better idea of the man I speak of.

 

 

In 2012 I received an email from Harry inviting me to submit a poem for possible inclusion in a book that he was putting together as a fund and awareness raising project for anti poaching. I sat with it for a while, caught between the feel-good sensation that his invitation brought up in me and the frustration of my poor poetry writing ability. I wanted to be a part of this project, but knew that my poetic skills just wouldn’t make the grade. I do, however, think that there is such a thing as visual poetry, and so when I bumped into Harry one sunny Saturday morning, standing by the artisan bread counter of our local Grahamstown morning market, I heard myself offering to illustrate his book. Until that moment I hadn’t actually articulated this idea, even to myself. It kind of just popped out, like the best ideas usually do, and as I drove home ten minutes later, I realised that I had just made a commitment from which there was no return. But, there was no need to return, for it was one of the most enjoyable projects that I have ever worked on, and it was with great joy that For Rhino in a Shrinking World: An International Anthology was launched to much acclaim in 2013.

for-rhino-front

As you have heard in the interview above, it was his meeting with the legendary Dr. William Fowlds that sparked Harry’s idea for the project, and since then the anthology has traveled far and wide, spreading its message and adding to the coffers of the Chipembere Rhino Foundation. Countless people have read and listened to the moving words of the contributing poets who come from all parts of the world. One only needs to listen to Harry Owen as he reads his poem Eyona Indala, to get a sense of the depth of passion that this project brought out in the poets:

 

 

There have been many favourable reviews, and most recently, poems from the anthology were beautifully read by Dennis Morton on KUSP’s Weekly Poetry Show in the USA. Do yourself a favour and listen in to the show in its entirety, for you cannot fail to be moved.

screen-shot-2014-12-10-at-2-33-01-pm

So, I return to our new technology and say that if, like me, you have been bombarded with horrific Facebook images of bleeding and dying rhino and feel helpless and overwhelmed by the enormity of the rhino poaching problem, take heart, for there is something you can do, whether it be signing petitions, donating funds, writing poems or simply clicking a ‘Share’ button. Or, better still, if you want something more tangible, remember that there are copies of the anthology available from The Poet’s Printery and Christmas is just around the corner! All proceeds from the sale of the book will go into the Chipembere Rhino Foundation fund.

As another dimension to the project, I have limited edition, signed and packaged prints available of each of the drawings that appear in the anthology. The cost of these is R250.00 per print, plus postage, and may be obtained by contacting me. There is also a range of greeting cards of these images, so to see the full collection, please visit my website.

For Rhino in a Shrinking World: An International Anthology of Poetry

A drawing from ‘For Rhino in a Shrinking World: An International Anthology’

In conclusion, I leave you with a quote from the foreword of this book, written by Dr.Ian Player and Andrew Muir, who heads up The Wilderness Foundation:

“What we need in the world today is to hear within us the sounds of the earth crying” (Taken from a Zen poem)

“Rhino have a particularly plaintive cry, which once heard is never forgotten. The screams of agony from rhino that have had their horns chopped off while still alive should reach out into the hearts of all of us. We believe that it is only through a GLOBAL campaign and POLITICAL will that we can save this remnant of the dinosaur age – the rhino.

The heritage of a species, the rhino, and the environment we share with it, symbolises so much of what the Wilderness Foundation  is driven to take care of. It is our hope that what lies within this anthology will reveal enough to inspire everyone to respond the “the sounds of the earth crying”.

screen-shot-2013-08-25-at-5-56-26-pm

Harry and Sally

Finally, I take this opportunity, through this miraculous platform of social media, to wish you and all the remaining rhino a blessed, safe and peaceful Christmas.

Categories: Drawing, Projects, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Streets of Grahamstown

Two nights a week, when others are putting their feet up after a long, tiring day, the lights go on in my studio as I see cars pulling up outside my garden gate. I am ready and waiting to welcome these hard working Grahamstown souls, who after a long day in the office, have made the time to come and learn to draw. Some of them are relative newcomers, whilst others have been with me for several years. On a Friday morning the process is reversed, as the curtains get rolled up and the sunshine spills in upon a group of retired ladies who loyally arrive in time for tea and some creativity. Most of my students have had little, if any, prior experience of drawing, but have answered a calling to see what they can do.

For me it is a very rewarding experience to guide them through the process and watch them grow and blossom. It is for this reason that I am sharing a few examples from our latest series of works, where we have been looking at the buildings of Grahamstown and learning how to draw them, using mainly ink, wax resist and wash. Some have gone on to explore using mixed media and chalk pastel.

Now Grahamstown is known for many things; it’s excellent university and schools, its many churches and law courts and of course the National Arts Festival. However, for me the most outstanding thing about Grahamstown is the quality of its people. Warm, friendly, generous and supportive, Grahamstown people are interesting. In every corner of this little city they are out there learning, teaching, sharing, educating the nations youth, whilst extending the universal knowledge base. I thrive in this atmosphere of positivity and love my life on the edge of it all, for though my studio may not be a part of a grand institution, the fact that it has thrived for nearly fourteen years, says much about the people who reside here.

Categories: Drawing, My Studio | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Building Castles

Every once in a while, I am delighted to come upon a rebel with a vision; one who just knows what she wants to do despite going against the grain of my best laid plans. The person I am thinking of came into my drawing class four years ago, anxious and unsure about her abilities. For the first few weeks she would arrive at class and hover at the door of my studio, not sure whether she had the courage to come in, and I had the feeling that if I let her slip through my fingers, she would sprint back down to the gate and disappear into the night. She had just come through a difficult period of her life and was venturing into the unknown world of the arts in her brave attempt to heal.  Despite her fears, she stuck with the classes, and gradually over the years has found her way back to her lovable self, a responsible yet mischievous rebel, who is now full of sparkle and confidence.

Lisl Griffioen

Lisl Griffioen

About a year after Lisl started the classes, she announced to the evening group that her daughter Anna, who was then 6 years old, wanted to know when she would be good enough at art to be able to draw a castle. Until she could draw a castle, Anna doubted whether her mother had any talent. So, the castle and all that it represented, loomed on the horizon for the next couple of years, and from time to time, we reminded her of her challenge, testing to see whether she felt she was ready to accomplish the feat. She would laugh, shake her head and say no, not yet…but one day.

Then at the beginning of last year, after a frustrating evening of drawing  red peppers and oranges, she suddenly announced that she was ready. The castle was to begin. Before the evening was up, she had sketched her daughters’ castle and planned exactly what she wanted to do.

Lisl's sketch for Anna's castle

Lisl’s sketch for Anna’s castle

Construction began the following week, and through the weeks and months that followed, we watched with interest as first the landscape and then the castle began to materialize. We laughed affectionately with her as she threw herself into the task of creating a castle that would meet her daughters’ approval. Piece by piece the walls and turrets went up, the windows came down and then went up again. Throughout the process she watched herself and her response to the challenge, noting where she felt she was tight and interested to see when the colours flowed with ease. It soon became clear that the process of building her castle had become one more step on her road back to herself.

Construction of the castle halted a couple of times, whilst Lisl valiantly tried to conform to what the rest of the class were doing, but these forays never lasted long and soon she would return to her castle. Unfortunately, due to multiple responsibilities and a heavy workload, Lisl had to miss quite a few sessions over the past few months, but whenever she has appeared at the door with her bright and cheery smile, laughter has always followed as her castle makes its appearance. We have all become so used to seeing the work in progress, watching her persevere with stoic determination, that it’s got to the point that it’s difficult to imagine her working on anything else.

So we were all a little thrown last Tuesday evening, when the final piece of glass was inserted into the window frame, and a year after it was begun, the castle was declared complete!

Anna's Castle

Anna’s Castle

So now we wait to see how Anna responds and whether, as a nine year old, she even remembers why she wanted a castle? Does it actually matter? The important thing is that her mother heard and honoured her call, and in so doing, healed and learned a whole lot more about herself. We, in turn, have had lots of laughs and have enjoyed being fellow travellers.

I suspect that this castle in it’s gilded frame is going to become a symbol that represents a whole lot more to Anna than what she originally intended.

 

Categories: Drawing, My Studio | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.