For the ladies... #599

Daily painting #599 4"x4" oil on primed panel

This little rose is sitting in a vase on my kitchen table. It is taking a long time to open up in the cooler weather, but that just means I get to enjoy it for longer! 

There has been lots of cake, celebrations and birthdays in my painting classes this week. I teach 3 morning painting classes to mostly ladies from an outside studio at home. After a week of celebrations I am reminded of how grateful I am to be able to share in the creative journey of these  special ladies. They really do bless and enrich my life and many times I am reminded of how much I learn from sharing with them. Teaching for me is about giving and sharing that which you hold in your own 'tank' ....in order to full or replenish your 'tank' you need to be giving. "Give and they shalt receive". In order to grow in your own knowledge, you need to share! Teaching does that for me and I am so glad I get to spend time each week with these special ladies who really have become my friends. 
So Happy Birthday blessings to those who celebrated this week and healing prayers to a special lady who is recovering from a broken arm....we really miss all the laughs you bring to our class Merryl!

 I can't believe it is almost another weekend (not that I am complaining) but August is upon us and we enter the second half of the year....WOW....2015 you need to slooooowww down a little for me please!

Almost on 600 daily paintings....WHOOPEE... I guess I will have something more to celebrate!

Purchase paintings at Heidi Shedlock Fine Art


Apricot jam #598

Daily painting #598 6"x6" oil on primed canvas panel

My Aunty Pat makes the best jams, preserves, chutneys, pickles, marmalades....mmmm my mouth starts to water just thinking about her pantry piled high with interesting recycled jars of yumminess (that's not a real word.....but you get the picture!) 
When I was last in Cape Town we visited her on the West Coast and we spent ages talking about the delicious things she used to make for us as kids. We shared recipes ...and memories ....and I got to raid her pantry. Best treat ever! But I did fly home with overweight luggage, carrying jars of preserves, jams, pickles and chutneys hidden in my underwear! Thank goodness none of them broke....
But a delicious jar of her homemade apricot jam (maybe you call it preserve) is about to come to an end....and I am almost in mourning! How I wish I could go raid Aunty Pat's pantry again. Why do you have to live so darn far away? I love you Aunty Pat....and all your jars of delicious homemade yumminess! (Yes I know ...not a real word ...but you get the picture!)

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Last week.....

Daily painting at The Gallery in Westville

This week will be the last week to view a selection of daily paintings from Paintings in the post at The Gallery in Westville. The exhibition comes down over the weekend! It is always interesting to view a selection of little paintings on show together and always nice to see them 'in the flesh' rather than on the computer screen! The Gallery also has a wonderful selection of household accessories, jewelry and interesting things on show too. So take a friend, meet for coffee and make a morning of it! The Gallery has so many interesting things to see...you won't be disappointed!

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Roses (for cats) #597

Daily painting #597 6"x8" oil on primed canvas panel

I popped in at one of our local garden shops and plant nursery this week to look for something and was delighted to find that their beautiful show rose garden is being put to good use. Not only is it a visual treat but they are selling cut roses by the stem and all the proceeds go towards supporting a local cat rescue organization. You choose your roses, they are cut for you and you pay R10 per stem. The roses are gorgeous....some as large as side plates and the scent from the garden was heavenly! Garden roses are always far more interesting to paint than store bought roses as they usually open up beautifully and besides the perfume is always a treat! So next time you are looking for some roses to paint or to enjoy in your home please go to Spade Garden shop and nursery and pick your own....it's for a good cause and they will definitely last longer having been freshly picked! The garden was being given its seasonal pruning this week so there won't be any roses just yet but by Spring the garden is sure to be magnificent again. I love roses....(and cats!)

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Today #596

Daily painting #596 4"x4" oil on primed canvas panel

Today the early morning light changed quickly and disappeared as the rain clouds moved in. For the second time this week we celebrate the arrival of some much needed rain for our drought stricken province. I haven't painted at all this week...I simply haven't had the courage to face a daily painting although the irony is that time spent at my paintbox is usually just the remedy I need. 
However this week has been different. As we celebrated the arrival of rain, a dear friend mourned the loss of her beautiful little boy in a tragic accident at home at the start of the week. I feel heartbroken for the family and my dear friend's loss and there simply are no words that can truly offer adequate comfort to someone who has lost a child! While we all have huge empathy and great sadness, the loss is simply incomprehensible.....
Today family and friends will celebrate Joshua's beautiful life....and give thanks for the joy he gave! 
My heart is with you today my dear, beautiful, caring friend. May God send His love and strength to cover you like the rain that is falling from our sky....

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Ripe fig #595

Daily painting #595 6"x8" oil on primed canvas panel

I bought a small pack of figs the other day not only to eat but also to paint! But alas....this is the last one left! They are really expensive in Durban and so they are a real treat. I love nothing better than warm honey drizzled roasted figs served with a soft sharp flavored cheese and peppery rocket leaves...pure indulgence! Try it....you won't be disappointed!

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Bouquet #594

Daily painting #594 6"x6" oil on primed canvas panel 

Yesterday I shared some of the beautiful winter garden colors, but inside the house it is looking quite summery and fresh with this beautiful pink bouquet! I love nothing better than getting home from some time away and stocking up my kitchen with gorgeous fresh produce and of course some beautiful flowers. What would life be without flowers? They make me so happy... so today I share some happiness from my home to yours!
Have a day full of joy!

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Winter aloe #593

Daily painting #593 6"x8" oil on primed canvas panel 

In South Africa many of the succulent plants flower in the winter months. They make beautiful winter gardens and range from small little ground cover plants to large tall stately aloes that grow taller than us and particularly in winter, stand out in the bush like tall orange capped soldiers. Their rich warm colour is beautiful and these winter flowering plants are one of the many things I love about winter in South Africa!

Below is a little bit of winter colour photographed in the bush while we were away.....glorious colour for winter....don't you think?

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Figs and a cherry #592

Daily painting #592 6"x8" oil on primed canvas panel 

I was invited to demonstrate a daily painting for the North Coast Art Group. Thank you for inviting me I really enjoyed meeting some new friends! 

I always find it really hard to talk and paint at the same time. Painting for me is quite a meditative process....the world could tumble down around me and I wouldn't notice! I also get totally lost with regards to time so to try to paint, talk about what I am doing and clock watch so that I don't go over time really spins my wheels and takes me way out of my comfort zone! But I think that is a good thing to verbalize when I am demonstrating a daily painting as the reason I share what I am doing is to try to encourage people to climb out of their comfort zone and loose the fear of making mistakes. We are as humans naturally quite self critical (we shouldn't be) and so we don't like to do things that we do not feel confident doing....we are scared of failure. What daily painting has taught me amongst many other things, has been to find the courage to believe that I can do it! If for some reason I am not happy with the outcome or the painting has been a struggle then I view that as a positive rather than a negative ....we learn from our mistakes. If we are not making mistakes, we are staying in our comfort zone and not exploring enough. And I share the paintings regardless...with the world...or whoever chooses to visit my blog. I am not ashamed of my mistakes....they help shape where I am going, what I am exploring and hopefully encourage others to loose the fear of failure and find that inspiration to paint because you love it not only because you want to experience success! I have to believe everyday that I can do it...and most importantly I have to love what I am doing. Take time out to do what you love doing. We have busy and stressful lives and there never seems to be enough hours in the day so I encourage you to make the time for yourself....make the time for doing the things that you love. It's good for the soul and besides ....you deserve it!

Thank you so much ladies and gents for letting me join you for the morning.....as promised here is the picture of the little 6"x8" "Figs and a cherry".

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Paintings in the post at The Gallery in Westville

A small selection of daily paintings from Paintings in the post will be on show (and for sale) at The Gallery in Westville for the month of July. Please pop in to have a look if you are in Durban. People often comment on how different it is to see the little paintings in 'real life' as opposed to always viewing them online. It's also nice to see a selection together! 

A huge thank you to Heidi Watt from The Gallery for inviting me to show my work this month.

Purchase paintings at Heidi Shedlock Fine Art and at The Gallery in Westville for the month of July.

Hot chocolate #591

Daily painting #591 6"x6" oil on primed canvas panel

There is an awful lot of talk about chocolate at the moment, but who cares!! Not me...at least not until I got home after nearly 2 weeks away and my hips and I had a major fallout when I pulled on a pair of old jeans! Well let's not go there... so back to chocolate...again!

Yesterday I shared some early morning experiences with you so today I would like to share some early evening and sunset drive pictures. Just before sunset all vehicles are required to be out of the game reserve unless you are being accompanied by a qualified ranger. The bush is DARK at night and any light is solely dependent on the phase of the moon. All sorts of creatures that you didn't even know were there make an appearance. Navigating yourself around becomes tricky and the deathly silence which falls over the bush at night, other than the occasional shrill call of an owl, hyaena, jackal or other hunting animal is enough to send a chill down your spine if you were out there alone! So we always book a trip with a ranger to go into the park on a night drive as it is such a different experience from the day time. They use special spot lights and know just how to find the animals using the lights without scaring them or damaging their eyes with the glare of the lights. Last week we decided to book a sunset drive with a ranger rather than a night drive as it is winter and temperatures drop fast at night... it is COLD in an open game vehicle! The sunset drive would also give me some camera time at sunset before the sheet of darkness falls and envelopes you like a blanket covering you. We would have the best of both worlds, sunset and evening viewing as we would get back at 8.30pm. The night drive was only leaving at 9pm and as we got back at 8.30 pm after 4 hours of open vehicle viewing (and after leaving at 4pm with not so much as a jacket on) we were huddled under jackets, hats, scarves and blankets in an attempt to get warm. Copious amounts of hot chocolate was consumed in an attempt to heat our bodies up and I looked on with pity as the poor people going out on the night drive after us climbed into the open vehicle...they were going to freeze!

This cup of hot chocolate was obviously painted at night, can you tell why? Look at the odd hard shaped shadows that seemed to play tricks with me as I painted. The colour too seemed different every time I looked at the cup and the light quite frankly was not ideal for painting in. I always prefer to use natural light in my studio from a large studio window and avoid the hard shaped shadows that strong unnatural lights create. But with daily painting, as I always say, if I waited for the perfect light, perfect subject matter, perfect composition etc. etc. I would never paint! So I enjoyed the moment ...and temporarily forgot how cold I had been just a few hours before. But the cold was worth it and the evening magical....

Israel, a knowledgeable, interesting and passionate ranger who has taken us on many evening adventures!
His obvious love for the bush and passion for conservation of our animals is applaudable!

Apologies for the glutton of photos today but I am a hopeless decision-maker and trying to decide which photos to share with you was impossible! I wanted to show you everything, especially for those of you who have never experienced the African bush! I hope you enjoy them!

Purchase paintings at Heidi Shedlock Fine Art
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Chocolate biscuits #590

Daily painting #590 6"x8" oil on primed canvas panels

I am aware that I may be confusing some of you and it is all a matter of linguistics. Please someone feel free to correct me if I am wrong but for my American friends a biscuit is something savory served with gravy or a meal. In South Africa what we refer to as a biscuit is probably called a cookie. 

That technicality sorted, I am unashamedly admitting to feeding my children chocolate biscuits/cookies in the bush for breakfast! Yes..."irresponsible mother with no knowledge of the dangers of sugar", is perhaps what you may be thinking but a mother has to have some ammunition (bribery actually) up her sleeve to convince sleepy teenage children to be up, dressed and out of their warm beds by 4.30 am on a chilly winters morning when they are on holiday! Yes I know..."cruel mother", is what you may be thinking now but let me explain how things work in the bush. Time is of no consequence and everything is gauged by the rising and setting of the sun...no watches needed, I never usually wear one anyway so this is just right for me! Besides you all know my love affair with skies so being witness to sunrise and sunset each day is pure heaven on earth for my soul! I am starting to get distracted...back to the bush...an animals most active time of day (unless they are nocturnal) is early morning and early evening. It is the time when they are most visible as they are out and about hunting or eating and interacting. As the day moves on and the sun gets higher in the sky, the day gets hotter. It's winter and we experienced up to 28 degrees celsius at midday on some days (about 83 degrees fahrenheit I think that would be, please correct me if I am wrong) and yes I said... it is winter! So in the midday heat animals become less active to conserve energy and tend to find shady spots under trees (often in long grass) to rest until the day starts to cool off again as the sun starts to lower in the sky. So finding animals in the bush under shady trees or long grass becomes much harder as they are so camouflaged and so still. Isn't nature amazing?

So back to my confessions of a bad mother...getting up early is crucial to finding a spot where one can sit quietly and observe animals about their daily feeding or interacting habits. While it is hot  by
midday, the early mornings are chilly (if you have a South African acclimatized system) and so we leave with plenty of warm drinks...coffee, hot chocolate and rusks ...and yes chocolate biscuits which help to wake up sleepy teenagers and keep them happy! Although once you get your first early morning glimpse of the sun rising over the bush and veld (grasslands) and the beautiful African  animals, your heart is sold and you realize it was all worth it! Only problem is that now that we are  back home...chocolate is definitely NOT allowed for breakfast...and the teenagers can't understand why! 

I hope you enjoy seeing a few early morning photos...

From an irresponsible, totally irrational (chocolate loving) and soulful Mom! x

P.S. Just for the record yummy breakfast items like breakfast muffins, sausages, fruit and other yummy goodies were packed into the picnic basket too but chocolate (and good coffee for Mom) somehow does the trick to start! I wonder why....

Purchase paintings at Heidi Shedlock Fine Art
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Grey Lourie (go-away bird) #589

Daily painting #589 6"x8" oil on primed canvas panel 

We have just got home from a week long trip to The Kruger National Park, a large game reserve in Mpumalanga north of South Africa and bordering Mozambique. I love nothing better than time away in the African bush and we stay in a rustic house in the open bush just outside of the game reserve. The area we stay in has animals roaming around but is fenced in order to keep the main predators out. But leopards can't be kept out by fences so its not a good idea to go walking around at night...at least not too far from the fire! You all know how much my husband loves to make (and cook over) a fire (yes...a direct descendent from the caveman) so we had a healthy fire roaring every night!

 Our connection on our mobile phone was weak, but the data connection on my laptop would crash every time I tried to do anything involving images so I had to give in to the fact that sharing Paintings in the post just wasn't going to happen unless I wasted my holiday fighting (and getting madly frustrated) with an inadequate internet connection. The irony is that the whole point of being in the bush on holiday is to actually take a break from all electronics and the stresses of every day and live a simple and SO satisfying existence for a few days. So I relinquished my frustrations and threw myself into enjoying time with my paintbrushes and paint, my camera (which goes everywhere with me), my family and this little piece of Africa which is just like a little jewel and needs all the love, attention and passion it deserves as so little of this space and wild life is left. Do you know that the Rhino is the one animal that has no natural predators/threats? It's only known predator is humans...the rest of the story speaks for itself...a tragedy!

So over the next few days I will share a few of the little daily paintings I did while I was away and I did promise to share some of my photos so I will do that too...with the help of my healthy home internet connection! And a large dose of reality and nostalgia ... while I love being home, the bush feels like another lifetime away already so I too will enjoy pouring over my photos deciding which ones to share with you. It always amazes me how once you get home you slip into daily routine again so quickly and it's only now that I am home that I truly understand the blessing of being disconnected (in the literal and figurative way) for a whole week! But I am back and looking forward to sharing with you again ...

A Grey Lourie bird is commonly known as the 'Go-away' bird because it has a piercing repetitive chirp that sounds as if he is saying, "go-away go-away go-away". It is fascinating to listen to when you first come across one but after a while you really do wish he would simply GO-AWAY and not come back ...for a while! I had to paint him quickly because he kept moving so I had to try capture the essence of him rather than worry too much about detail. He wouldn't behave as a good model should and stay still....he was too busy telling me to 'Go-away'! I have also shared some of the other beautiful birds that came to say hello during the week...beautiful creatures I am sure you will agree.

Purchase paintings at Heidi Shedlock Fine Art
(Click on the highlighted writing to view gallery of available daily paintings and for all purchase details)
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