on being painted….

Studio news/blog

I had a terrible self-image when I was a teenager.  I used to hate my big bulky fore-head.  When I rode my bicycle to school I tilted my head so that the wind blew my hair over my face.  I used copious amounts of hairspray to keep my fringe in place for fear of exposing my bulky fore-head.  No matter what my mom or others told me (for example that a big forehead is a sign of wisdom, blah blah blah) I didn’t believe them.

I always wore a fringe, up until my oldest son was born.  I didn’t have the time or energy to tend to a hairstyle with a baby in tow.  5 Years ago  I shaved my hair and wore my big bulky fore-head with pride.

A couple of days ago an artist friend of mine let me know that she is painting my portrait:

A portrait of me painted by Vanessa Berlein

A portrait of me painted by Vanessa Berlein

I feel honored being painted by her! I admire her skill, technique and talent! check out her blog here for more amazing work by Vanessa Berlein!

I also feel kinda weird (self-conscious) being ‘watched’ and so closely examined in order to be painted by her.

And I feel super strange seeing that big bulky fore-head again! (Its different seeing yourself in a mirror than seeing yourself through the eyes of someone else).

I cannot help but wonder how others eg: Mona Lisa felt after seeing the painted version of themselves?!

Suddenly I am thinking about a snippet of this ‘story’ from the book= “Possessing the secret of joy, by Alice Walker”:

….”Days went by when the only voice she heard was her inner one.

Soon, she began to listen to it.

Lara, it said, sit here, where the sun may kiss you.  And she did.

Lara, it said , lie here, where the moon can make love to you all night long.  And she did.

Lara, it said, one bright morning when she knew herself to have been well kissed and well loved:  sit here on this stone and look at your beautiful self in  the still waters of this stream.

Calmed by the guidance offered by her inner voice, Lara sat down on the stone and leaned over the water.  She took in her smooth, aubergine little snout, her delicate, pointed ears, her sleek, gleaming black fur.  She was beautiful!  And she was well kissed by the sun and well made love to by the moon.

For one whole day, Lara was content.  When her co-wife asked her fearfully why she was smiling, Lara only opened her mouth wider, in a grin.  The poor co-wife ran trembling off and found their husband, Baba, and dragged him back to look at Lara.  When Baba saw the smiling, well kissed, well made love to Lara, of course he could hardly wait to get his paws on her!  He could tell she was in love with someone else, and this aroused all his passion.

While Lala wept, Baba possessed Lara, who was looking over his shoulder at the moon.  Each day it seemed to Lara that the Lara in the stream was the only Lara worth having – so beautiful, so well kissed, and so well made love to.  And her inner voice assured her this was true.

So, one hot day when she could not tolerate the shrieks and groans of Baba and Lala as they tried to tear each other’s ears off because of her, Lara, who by now was quite indifferent to them both, leaned over and kissed her own serene reflection in the water, and held the kiss all the way to the bottom of the stream.”


Check out some more amazing portraits here!


Road Trip

Studio news/blog

I have been on a road trip to Piketberg this weekend and it was super awesome!

It wouldn’t have been possible without my support system:

*My husband who looked after the kids while I was away for a whole weekend.

*And my wonderful friend, Nelia who made it all possible.

This is a picture of her in front of one of my pieces at the exhibition:

Nelia next to Me.Raai

Anyway, she emailed me a while ago and said that she is going to the opening of the ‘Flesh’ exhibition and that I can stay with her in Cape Town and she will organize for a place to stay in Piketberg on Saturday.

Now the only problem was how to get to Cape Town, and the universe, fate, chance, luck- whatever you want to call it- answered:

*My dad who gave me a lift to Cape Town since he was going for a short photography course.

So I drove over the mountain and got a lift with him.

After a lovely catching up session on Friday night, we started our adventure on Saturday morning.  We made a detour via Riebeeck –West and since I cannot resist old buildings- I visited this old sad building which used to be a school.  The town had quite a bit of rain not so long ago and everywhere in the building you could hear a drip drip drip which enhanced the eerie feeling.

After that we had a lovely lunch at Riebeeck Kasteel- I cant remember the name of the restaurant, but the food was great.

We browsed through the gift shops and then made our way to Piketberg.

We had coffee and got dressed at her cousins farm.  They farm with sheep and wheat.  I had the opportunity to take lots of photos and a couple of videos of the tractors there since my little boy Etienne loves tractors and that will light up his day if I bring some images home.

I learned a lot about farming with wheat and the buzzword: organic!, as well as tractors and cattle, which was informative.  A pity that their newborn Nguni calf didn’t make it.

The exhibition itself was great.  Quite a nice turnout.  I got to meet a lot of fellow artists:

(these images below are not the work on the Flesh exhibition currently showing in Piketberg, these are just examples of what they do)

Alex Hamilton:

A work by Alex Hamilton

read more about him here

Barbara Wildeboer:

An artwork by Barbara Wildenboer

read more about her here

Clare Menck

A painting by Clare Menck

read more about her here

Johann Louw:

A Painting by Johann Louw

read more about him here

Vanessa Berlein:

A painting by Vanessa Berlein

read more about her here

Aidon Westcott (the curator)

An artwork by Aidon Westcott

read more about him on his facebook page here

And to top everything off: it was the artist, and gallery owner- Sandra Hanekom’s

Sandra Hanekom artwork entitled Virginia Woolf

birthday as well- so the whole atmosphere was celebratory.  There was a lovely soup, sosaties, red wine, and to top it off a couple of tequilas.

I had some interesting feedback/food for thought as well.  I did submit this work, amongst others, for the show, but they decided not to show it:


Sandra said that sometimes my work is difficult for galleries and art dealers, even possible buyers.  I should find another way to present it.  I should consider to put it behind glass.

I wonder if that is how cabinets of curiosities started….as soon as something is behind glass it is more easily digested.

So currently I am digesting a lot of info and feedback.

After the exhibition Nelia drove us to Koringberg where we spent the night at the ‘white house of Koringberg:

O my word, what a lovely place inhabited by two lovely people.  Art and exquisite little interesting pieces everywhere in the house.  (eg in my room were 3 little pink pigs all made of different materials- I felt like I was sleeping in a fairytale.)  I wish I took a photo but after the tractor experience and all the movie clips I took my camera died.

We had some home made liqueur.  Great conversations and finally made it to bed.

The next morning Clare invited us for coffee before we left for Cape Town.  I had the privilege to see the studio of Murg:

work by Murg

(you can read more about them here)

but unfortunately by that time, my camera didn’t have any battery power left.  Clare was so kind as to photograph this toy:

Photo taken by Clare Menck of the doll in ‘Murg” house

which hangs in their house (since I have a fetish for dolls).

Afterwards we visited Johann Louw’s Studio.  He paints in a lovely barn tipe of building  with this awesome view- but since it is so big it doesn’t smell of turpentine, which is a pity since that is one of my favorite smells.  Anyway here is a picture which Clare took:

Nelia, myself and Johann in his studio

Now you can probably have an idea of the size of his paintings- there was even a bigger one on the other side.

I couldn’t resist playing with these:

Johann’s skulls and toy. photo taken by Clare Menck

Unfortunately Clare’s studio is in Moreesburg, so we couldnt visit it.  It is so much fun seeing how and where other artists work.  I would love it if they could make a television show of artist studios.

Today it was all back to reality with unpacking, laundry, cleaning,  working on orders for Lobotoy-me and spending  quality time with my family!

A family