Venus devouring her children

Art portfolio- my work
"Venus devouring her children" 2014 embroidery on rubber. (photo courtesy of the curator Alex Hamilton)

“Venus devouring her children” 2014 embroidery on rubber. (photo courtesy of the curator Alex Hamilton)

The time is coming closer for the PArt festival (Prince Albert Art Festival) 18 – 24 September 2014.  “Venus devouring her children” and some other work will be included in the group show: Freakin’ Flammable/Flippen Vlambaar curated by Alex Hamilton.

In the couple of weeks to follow I will post some of my work included in the show, and I hope to attend the festival even if it’s only for one day….If so I will post some installation shots as well.  Hope to see you there!

ps guess who inspired this piece 😉


early influence

Studio news/blog
"Woman in a fur coat" a work by Judith Mason

“Woman in a fur coat” a work by Judith Mason

“All children play.  All children dance the cosmic dance of Shiva, creating and destroying, and all children, if allowed to do so, make meaningful things.  Most people go on to other ways of exercising power over the world, but some – the shy, the schizoid, those born like malformed onions with a skin too few for their particular circumstances – find in the privacy, in the arcane solace of making artworks, a way of controlling their world.  These children learn that to scribble until scribbles become symbols, constitutes a playground over which they preside as gods, in a universe inhabited by adults and incomprehensible rules.  Those of you who can recall being punished by having your artworks confiscated or destroyed, will remember how gross such violations were – out of all proportion to the loss of a badly drawn bunny or a cardboard house.  It rendered us powerless, robbed us of autonomy.  Such vandalism should not be part of the armoury of parents and teachers”

Words by Judith Mason.

Arachne, oil on board, 1996 Work by Judith Mason

Arachne, oil on board, 1996 Work by Judith Mason

I did not study art on school level.  I was enrolled in private art classes though, but the teacher unfortunately did not inspire, so I spend that time walking around in the local art gallery.  That is were I encountered the work of Judith Mason.  The first piece I ever saw was “Catwalk girl”.  Still my favourite, but these two works above I adore as well.  I found solace in her work since my parents and that specific teacher didn’t understand me.  I don’t have any of my childhood drawings/scribbles.  I guess my parents didn’t see the need in keeping them. Maybe they didn’t like them, or maybe it wasn’t pretty enough.  Who knows.  When I saw the work of Judith Mason it felt as if  I understood myself.

drawing by my 6year old son

drawing by my 6year old son

I will not enroll my children in art classes.  We spend our time playing in the garden and I let them draw what they see.  Sometimes we visit art galleries together or look at pictures of art, and I ask them what they think.  The latter is very entertaining and insightful.  So many art teachers wants to teach children and others how paint, draw, sculpt according to them,  instead of just teaching them how to see, feel, and experience.

Anyway, I’m busy wrapping up the loose ends for my solo show later this month….and starting to feel nervous and jittery.  Last night I cleaned out the toolboxes and rearrange the shelves in my studio to calm my nerves.   Maybe these feelings has nothing to do with the show coming up, but maybe I feel this way because its the month of March?!

”  The third figure in our pageant clatters by in a chariot drawn by two horses, Terror and Flight.  It is a threatening figure, brandishing a long spear, lifting a gleaming shield to the heaven, and raising its head on hight, so that the lightnings play about the great helmet.  This is Mars, the god of war…..

Mars was associated in their minds with thunder and lighting, and yet the Romans believed that the woodpecker tapping the trunk of a tree was the answer of this blustering, noisy god to their prayers.  March is very often a blustering month”  (From an encyclopaedia)

So off I go to have some coffee in the garden and trying to find that woodpecker!



Art portfolio- my work

I received this quote in a letter from a dear friend:

 “….Speak to us of Children.

And he said:

Your children are not your children.  They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday……….

I know it well….its from “The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran.

I wasn’t an easy teenager.  My parents didn’t believe in ‘time-out’ – they believed in a good spanking.

The last time I received a hiding was when I was 17.  My dad caught me smoking. After the hiding I ran away, and left the above quote in a letter.  When they found me I got a hiding for running away and for the letter I left.  That quote didn’t fit in their belief as parents.  “Children should be seen and not heard” was what they believed in.

Today I am a parent and I hope to remember these words above which made an impact on me then as they make now.  I also secretly hope that my children will be ‘easier’ teenagers than I was- or maybe I will be an ‘easier’ parent.

embroidery on rubber

embroidery on rubber

Orde: Lepidoptera – Pouoë, Emperor moths

“Dit is interessant dat die soorte wat sleg smaak, normaalweg heelwat langer leef as die gekamoefleerde soorte nadat hulle klaar eiers gelê het.  Die rede is ooglopend.  Die ou wyfies, wat sleg smaak, beskerm die jong wyfies deurdat van die ou wyfies opgeoffer word om voëls te leer om hulle soort te vermy.  Die wyfies wat hulle agtergrond naboots, moet weer na eierlegging gou doodgaan om te voorkom dat vyande aanleer om hulle kamoeflering uit te ken.” (from the book: Ons eie insekte)

It’s hard to unlearn the things one has been taught by your parents.  Sometimes sacrifice is needed.  It is easy to give children your love, but it is so hard not to try and give them your thoughts…..

I create therefore I am

Art portfolio- my work

I used to love rainy weather.

It has been raining for more than 48 hours.

We have been experiencing power cuts on and off for more than 4 hours at a time.

3 dogs , 1 cat and 2 small children.  The house is a mess.  I don’t mind.

What to do?  That is the question.  If my boys were older I would teach them the board game:  Monopoly or my favorite:  Chess, or knitting or something…

We could curl up in front of the fire place and read.

At their age we normally (when it rains) bake and cook up a storm (literally) but the oven was out of the question due to the lack of electricity.  So I made play dough on the gas stove- that was entertaining for about half an hour.

Then we build with Lego and wooden blocks, until the 22month old “S” started to crash into the towers and that made 4year old “E” crack up.  We played hide and seek.  We finger painted.  We groomed (cut finger nails etc.)

I find the 22month age group very difficult to entertain- leaving me feeling drained.

I wondered what my grandmother did.  She had 6 children.  Did they have electricity?  What did she do when it rained?  I wish I could ask her.

After a while I only wanted to curl up and loose myself in art- preparing for my upcoming show. I need to practice embroidery.

Embroidery on rubber- in progress.

I have some areas I am struggling with and need to focus.


I am a mother because……?

I am an artist because…….?

I am a mother and an artist because?


While I ponder this you can skip over to the lovely blog of Christian Mihai :

and read his wonderful post:

I am an artist because…

He says:

Because I often find myself asking this simple question, “What’s the difference between a kid who always wanted to be a writer and a kid who always wanted to be a doctor? Or a sailor? Or an astronaut?”

I wonder what made me fall in love with Art?

Why does “E” love tractors so much, and why does he with all his heart wants to be a farmer?- I don’t believe its just a phase- he is too passionate about it.

What will ‘S’ be passionate about?  At the moment he loves pressing buttons, and being very physical- jumping, crashing, running etc.  He likes bugs as well.

Why do I feel so grumpy, frustrated, lost when I can’t create?

Christian Mihai goes on to say:

“Artists are guided by passion, by the need to create. And our emotions and dreams are amplified by our art. Whether a conscious decision or not, in order to be an artist, one has to create art.”


Creation can be in the form of writing, cooking, playing, drawing, making music,  building etc.

I am an artist because I need to create

I am a mother because of those primal urges to be part of the creative act.

I am because of creation.



snail mail and children’s art

Art portfolio- my work

I love snail mail. (I think I might have said that before)

Talking about letters….the other day on the way to the park i found this page (don’t know if its from a letter or a journal)

It says:

“Women and Home

October 1958

Anne Sherwood.

Small things

Lonelyness(sic) dearest had its pleasures.

An old strange book a birds bright wing.

A task complete – such simple treasures.

Now to our common hoard I bring.

The scent of rain, the leaves soft falling

In autumn nights; plain country fare,

A child’s swift question, or its calling

To some discovery to share.

My loves were such as need not fret you

Each incomplete, a jigsaw part;

These things I loved before I met you

Are yours now – given with my heart.

I love finding things like this- i felt like an explorer finding a relic.

I also love children’s art.

And like any proud mama I especially love my own son’s drawings, although the only thing he likes drawing is tractors:

But I don’t mind…

The other day my dear friend Karen combined the two!  I received a lovely letter as well as this ‘painting’ which her daughter Kaylee did:

They do have rabbits, so I presume it’s a portrait of one of them?

On the side she quoted from one of my favorite books as well- Alice in Wonderland:

 “There is a place like no place on Earth.

A land full of wonder, mystery and danger!

Some say to survive it you need to be as mad as a hatter.  Which luckily I am”

unfinished sketchbook drawing