Tuesday, December 25, 2012

May your days be merry and bright!

Merry Christmas from the northern hemisphere. Thought I'd share a little illustration that I did while on the move. It was inspired by my little 2 year old who became a real snow bunny up in Oregon. Much love to you and yours!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Silence of Snow and Tenacity of Trees


....these are numbers of the rooms, cabins, apartments we have occupied in the last six days. So many sights, sounds, tastes have washed over my senses - it will take months to digest. But then that is why one travels - to stock up on inspiring memories for the months of routine, daily living that awaits the traveller at home. While I'm writing this, I can hear a San Francisco streetcar rumbling past down on Powell Street. It is a quiet night. And it is in these small moments that memories are made.

Our road trip is epic. I have experienced what feels like 3 months in only six days. And we have a couple more to go. I have learnt how, silently, softly and persistently, snowflakes can transform their environment into beautiful sculptural shapes that reflect light.

I have seen how giant redwoods become hosts for the growth of new "sky" trees right on their time-worn branches. The old ones providing direct nourishment from these branches so that it isn't necessary for the new ones to take root in the earth.

There is much wisdom to be taken from trees and from snowflakes...
I am silent and deeply grateful.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Resurfacing in Oregon

The Official Oregon Coast Visitor Guide

I've been under the radar.....now I'm resurfacing after a blogging hiatus of several months as l.i.f.e. washed over me like one of those very large, very foamy breakers that make Hawaiian surfers go gaga! I always seem to have so much more to say when I'm on the move and exploring new territories. This is when I feel most alive.

 So this is where I'm at. Portland, Oregon. One of those very creative, very innovative, very crafty, very green places on the planet, where volunteering for community projects seem to have overtaken social media as a preferred approach to networking. Seriously - we need more communities like Portland on this planet. Also, this is what winter should be like - lots of rain, snow slopes within easy reach, log fires, apple cider, lattes and hot chocolate.  I now understand why art journalling has so many followers in the Pacific Northwest.  The weather is conducive to the expression of internal landscapes.

So today we're starting a week long road trip of Oregon and the West Coast.  All the way down to San Diego in sunny California. There is about 2000km between us an our final destination right now - 2000km glistening with sights my eyes have never seen. What bliss!  I am so grateful. We are accompanied by two great American writers - Jack Kerouac's book, "The Lonesome Traveller" and "Travels with Charley" by John Steinbeck. Today we're off to the Mount Hood Ski Area so watch this space for an update!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Colours of Scotland

In an earlier post, I shared a little bit o' travel journaling that I did during our May trip to Edinburgh.  Well, here's a collage of some of my travel pics from that trip.  These are the colours that to me represent Scotland.  Hope your weekend is as warm and sunny as the fiery colours of their whiskey! 

The Colours of Scotland

Monday, July 16, 2012

Alhambra ... treasure of harmony & light

A paradise on earth.  That is what the Nazrid monarchs of the 13th Century intended when they created the palaces of the Alhambra on a hilltop at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in Andalucia, Spain.   And they surely succeeded to create a place of infinite dreams.  A place filled with deep mystery.

A complex of palaces that shimmers like silver under the moon and stars, yet it glows like copper when the sun rises.  What fascinating events and conversations could those richly embellished walls, arches and columns have been silent witnesses to?  Poets have described the Alhambra as a ruby on the temples of the city of Granada.  In the Arabic tongue, alqala al hamra means the red palace.  Red is certainly the colour that the Alhambra takes on at its most intense during sunrise and sunset.

Alqala Al Hamra

The complex today consists of the Alcazaba (the fortress), the Nazrid Palace (the official court, baths and harem), the Generalife (the summer palace with breathtaking aromatic gardens and fountains) and the palace of Charles V, which was added many centuries later.  To me, the Alhambra is one of the most breathtaking architectural marvels on the planet.  This is one man-made space where all the elements conspire together perfectly and powerfully to spark creativity and inspiration.  The air, the light, the infinite views, the architectural detail, the exquisite carvings and embellishments, the gardens, the sounds, the fragrances and the sense of silent mystery that lingers.  I am, and always will be in awe.

Alhambra Detail
 Gardens of the Nazrid Palace & Generalife

Nazrid Palace Interior

Friday, July 13, 2012

Colours of Spain

When I returned from a trip to Israel in January, I decided to make colour collages using some of my travel pics - see my January blog entry called "Colours of Israel". Well, I just had to make these two collages of the colours of Spain because the colours there are just so vivid and intense.  Spain to me is all about the colour, the music and the dance!

Reds, Pinks & Yellows
Whites, Blues & Greens

Monday, July 9, 2012

An Ode to Ouma Lena

I've been away from my blog for 2 months and I cannot believe how the time has flown! Many trips have since come and gone - and that's my excuse! I have just returned from a trip to Spain - Andalucia to be precise.  I will be posting some images later this week of my favourite spot of architecture in the entire world which I visited for the third time during this trip.  On the art journaling front, my bi-weekly journaling workshops on Friday mornings are tons of fun and very inspiring.  I have also been busy with a couple of mixed media projects.  And a few interesting changes have happened on the music front - more on that later.

One of the mixed media projects that I have since finished, is an ode to my late grandmother, Lena.  It was her birthday on 25 May, and my mom and her 4 sisters met for an high tea to celebrate Ouma Lena's life and legacy.  Each of them exchanged gifts with the other 3, and all the gifts had special significance with regards to her legacy.  She was loving, caring, giving, gracious and had the most soulful gaze with her beautiful blue eyes.  It felt as if she could see your past and your future and comprehend your state of mind at the same time.  She was a creative soul, a wonderful cook, she could sew, knit and crochet.  And she produced 5 extremely attractive and gifted children. But most of all she was a prayer warrior.  A deeply spiritual woman who knew exactly where her inner strength was rooted.  And I am proud to say that I carry her name - Magdalena.

When her birthday came up, I felt that I wanted to make something special to honour her legacy by using vintage photographs of her and the family.  I was inspired by the style of mixed-media artist, Lynn Whipple, and decided to make 4 small accordion books - one each for my mom and her 3 sisters. I used gesso, gel medium, water-soluble wax pastels, 80 year old vintage train schedules, scanned vintage photographs, recycled cereal boxes and I crocheted some miniature red bunting.  I finished off the collaged pages by adding some white and red pen and pencil before assembling the books.  As a final touch, I made small bags out of the vintage paper and attached buttons and string to close them up in order to keep the books dust free.  Thought I'd share them with you, so here they are - enjoy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Back from Braveheart Country

Oy me hearties!
Just got back from a wee whirlwind trippie to the land of Scots.  Edinburgh to be precise.  What a beautiful city! The architecture, the people and their guardianship of everything related to literature, art and history is truly astounding.  What I didn't realize was that a considerable number of the world's great writers hail from Scotland, and many of them are specifically from Edinburgh.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Alexander McCall Smith, to name but a few, are from Edinburgh.  I am happy to say that I returned with a signed copy of one of Alexander McCall Smith's books, 44 Scotland Street.

But here's the scoop.....
Of course I knew that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was from the UK, but not that he was Scottish or from Edinburgh.  While doing some last-minute packing, I tossed a small vintage book into my bag because I wanted to do a bit of travel journaling in an altered book format during the trip.  The book was one of about 7 old books that I bought at a vintage store on a recent trip to Rosendal with the plan of creating altered books by collaging and journaling in them.

Upon landing in Edinburgh, our tour guide in the bus gave a short introduction to the city and mentioned the long list of writers, of which Conan Doyle was one.  Late that night when I opened my book to start journaling I was mesmerized to see that the book was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, published in 1932 and printed in Aberdeen, Scotland.  This book came home!

Here are a few altered pages from the book as travel journal.  These are still works in progress, so watch this space.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A winter's tale

The weather is turning in our neck of the woods.  For the past two days we've had grey cloud sheltering us from the sun that, only a few weeks ago, still blazed in all it's summer glory.  We've had soft autumn rains showering us at night in a gently rushing lullaby.  Morning and evening temperatures are lower.  The trees in our driveway are standing proud and upright in heartwarming reds, purples, ochres and burgundies.  Late afternoons and nights are quiet.  The voices of the bullfrogs, the crickets and the nightjars are still now.  They too acknowledge the change in the season.  That winter is almost here.  That it is time to move inward.  Time to become quiet.

And my own discourse seems to be just that right now.  Erratic, energetic, random acts of creativity have been replaced by quiet contemplations.  Creative meditative acts have taken the place of exuberant creative output.  A state of hibernation has set in.  A profound state of deep and silent regeneration and preparation.  Like the still, sleepy development of an embryo.  And with that, a quiet expectation that something beautiful and surprising will emerge from this cold and sleepy season.

Goodnight sweethearts!

Watching & waiting

Monday, April 9, 2012

Birthday bliss - ethereal escapism at Illyria House

This week I was blessed to be treated by my sister to a luxurious high tea followed by a fabulous foot massage for my birthday.  It turned out to be an artist's date of considerable note! Illyria House in Pretoria was the venue of choice and I was on cloud nine for an entire day following this adventure.  The guesthouse was built in 1942 as a family residence.  The original structure and furniture have been preserved beautifully - the house and terrace reminded me of a bohemian villa with a secret garden somewhere in Prague.  Later, we strolled from one secluded garden room to another and I eventually found myself in a French/Italian style garden with Moorish influences.  Our walk ended in a breathtaking Asian style parlour.  I was whisked to different corners of our planet within the short span of 3 hours. Absolute bliss! Take a look and be inspired!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


As promised, here are some more pics that I took during my recent breakaway to Rosendal.  If you'd like to know more about the area, how to get there, things to do, accommodation etc., click on this link http://www.rosendalinfo.co.za/.  And if you're in South Africa - make a plan to go there sometime.  You'll be glad you did!