Daily painting #716 Red carnation

Daily painting #716 6"x6" oil on primed panel

Thank you to everyone who joined in the creative sharing yesterday. My Facebook feed was abuzz with sharing and that makes my heart happy. Thank you too for the number of private messages I received from total strangers saying how they felt inspired and more motivated after listening to my message. It made the anxiety and nerves of doing a silly little recording all worth while! I just have to figure out how to get a better quality next time, although I think I will stick to blogging...vlogging every day (keyboard over camera any day) would send me over the edge!

I have beautiful carnations all over the house. I needed a little floral inspiration around (some girls like shoes...I love flowers...and books). The reason why I bought so many bunches is purely because they were SO cheap. I have to be honest I never buy carnations. Don't ask me why because they are actually quite beautiful - the frilly flower, the tight little buds and the long shapely leaves. For some unknown reason though they don't normally catch my eye. The price however caught my eye because lets face it, fresh flowers are expensive and when Durban is hot (which it's not for a change) they don't last long either. So I got to walk out the shop with a couple (actually quite a few) bunches of carnations. I felt like I had hit the floral jackpot and now that I have them all around my home and have spent time painting them (and observing so closely) I cannot fathom why I have never painted them or enjoyed them before. The formation of the petals, although smaller, is so similar to a peony - my favorite flower of all!

A friend and fellow Durban blogger at The bright side of life uses a wonderful catchy phrase... "the same but different" and I love this term. Its a wonderful way to grow with confidence and form new habits. So today in my studio it is floral all the way only its... THE SAME BUT DIFFERENT!
You are never too old to change habits. I think I like carnations....
PS What is your favourite flower?

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Every week a few more people are brave enough to share something creative that they have done. Paintings in the post has taught me the value of daily creative engagement and I want to encourage more of you to engage in a creative and meaningful way....DO SOMETHING CREATIVE TODAY! It doesn't have to be a painting or drawing or even anything art related. There are many ways to be creative in the home, in the office, in our gardens, in the kitchen...

So often we put off (for another day) the one task that sometimes requires us to think in a different way or puts us out of our comfort zone...being creative has a way of doing that! But there is no day called 'someday' so today feels like a good day to just do it! I put myself completely out of my comfort zone and made a little video to hopefully inspire some of you to be creative today. If I can share a video (cringe, gasp, cringe) then you can share too!

You are welcome to tell me about your creative decision/task/achievement in the comments below or head over to my Facebook page here and join in the fun. You can add a photo or just comment on the post feed to share and hopefully inspire someone else to be a bit more creative too!

Let's share, inspire and most importantly be creative!
Thanks for joining in the fun

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Daily painting #715 Hot chocolate and rain

Daily painting #715 6"x8" oil on primed canvas panel 

Hot chocolate (yes...sugar-free) and rain...what a fabulous combination. As I sat in my studio getting ready to paint, two little dainty cups of hot chocolate on hand (one for drinking, one for painting), I couldn't help but feel that things couldn't get much better! A yummy warm drink, quiet time in my studio to paint, some colder weather for Durban (makes a change) and glorious rain falling on the glass door and windows of my studio. Water glorious water running down the glass, forming giant puddles and creating a dripping symphony of sound like a heartbeat for our dry gardens. You see the problem is we are in the middle of one of the worst droughts in ages. Farmers have been unable to plant crops, our dams are almost dry and we have severe water restrictions in place.

But as I sit huddled in bed to keep warm tonight, laptop on my lap to load this blog post, I am   listening to torrents of water rushing outside as the rain still continues to fall and I have to say I am full of dread. Talk about extremes...we have had flash floods and many areas are in a state of disaster. Many of my friends have had their homes flooded, garden walls collapsed, cars damaged or been stuck on flooded roads. We have been praying for rain for ages but right now we all need Noah and his fine ark to come to the rescue! So as I sit here now, I am grateful! Grateful for my dry home and my warm bed and hot chocolate. Grateful that my animals and family are safe and that we have escaped any real disaster so far. But I know that others have not been as lucky so I spare a thought for them.

Now if you are in need of some (sugar-free) cheering up or something to keep you warm if you are in Durban (we are not familiar with cold weather or equipped for it) then try my sugar-free Hot Chocolate...its the best! Two heaped spoons of cacao (or cocoa powder) and a few drops of stevia mixed with a little boiling water to dissolve it. Warm up some full cream milk and stir in the chocolatey mixture...enjoy!  

If you are in Durban...stay safe and off the roads if you can. 
Lots of love from a very wet and cold Durban!

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Daily painting #714 Cream doughnut

Daily painting #714 6"x8" oil on primed canvas panel

In September last year I decided to cut sugar from my family's diet completely. I cleared the cupboards of anything containing any form of sugar. I completely changed the way we eat and my family's perceptions of 'healthy food'. As a result I haven't painted any sugary things or sweeties in ages.

I stopped at the bakery to buy this doughnut purely for the purpose of painting it. I was particular about which doughnut I wanted. I didn't want the one with hardly any coloured sprinkles (too boring) or the one that looked a bit squished (wrong shape) or the one where the cream had been bumped and messed. I carefully chose the one I wanted and asked the lady behind the counter to "package it carefully so that it didn't get damaged before I  could paint it"! I wondered why she looked at me a little strangely and when she asked if I liked doughnuts, I answered without thinking that "I don't eat sugar but I look forward to painting it". She looked even more confused and although I saw her mumbling something under her breath to another cashier, I still didn't think too much about what I had said, until I walked off doughnut in hand and a scathing teenage son at my side who vowed never to come to the bakery with me again because I was so embarrassing! He thinks I will be known as the strange lady who doesn't eat sugar but buys 'the perfect doughnut' with the pretense of painting it...apparently the lady's expression had "Yeah RIGHT!" written all over it. Either that or she was thinking I was going to put paint on the actual doughnut which seems even more absurd and probably explains her strange expression. The lady was a Zulu speaking lady and so with English as her second language I can understand how my explanation might have seemed odd. As for the son....well I think he was just grumpy that he didn't get to eat the darn doughnut (he quickly got over that)...this giving up sugar thing is hard...but oh so worth it!

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Daily painting #713 Friday pink

Daily painting #713 8"x8" oil on primed panel

Thank you to everyone who joined in the creative sharing on my Facebook page yesterday. It is wonderful to see the variety of creative engagements, and even more fun to share and hopefully inspire others to engage in a more creative way. We will do it again, so if you didn't get around to sharing something creative you do....next time it's your turn...and I look forward to seeing!

I have had a bunch of beautiful big proteas in my studio that I am painting for a client so here is just one of them....to share with you!

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Paintings in the post has taught me the value of daily creative engagement and I can't emphasize the value enough. Last week I wrote about engaging in a creative and meaningful way on a daily basis with something that fills your 'soul tank'. You can read about it here

I encouraged others to share something creative that they had done during the day (in the office, in your garden, in your home, in a sketchbook, in your kitchen...wherever) and it was a wonderful way for me to connect with you and get to know some of you a little better! 

The sharing happened mainly on my Paintings in the post Facebook page, but this week I want to hear from more of you! Lets inspire one another and be a little MORE creative. Why not... it's good for you! So PLEASE tell me something creative you have done today (it need not be something BIG...just a little creative decision) and you can share it here on the blog (click comment below) or head on over to my Facebook page (here) and share...

I look forward to meeting you...let's share this creative thing and inspire one another!

Much creative love and creative sharing... Heidi

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Daily painting #712 - On a dish

Daily painting #712 8"x8" oil on primed canvas panel 

The winter holidays have come to an end all too soon! My children are back at school and the only positive is that I get to hide out in my studio with absolute silence and work uninterrupted. I'm enjoying the silence so much I didn't even play any music in my studio yesterday....the silence was golden! So it's back to being more focused on all the things I love to do and count down the days until the next holidays when we get to indulge in more special family time again. Either way I am happy to say its a win/win situation. I love holidays and family time and I love that I get to paint/create/teach/share all my passions and basically call all the things I enjoy doing the most, work!

The little bright kumquats are yet to be turned into (sugar-free) marmalade (still on my 'To Do' list) so I get to enjoy them in my studio for a little longer. I loved painting them again. The one thing that has been ticked off the list is editing and sorting through my millions of photos from our recent trip to the bush. It is one of those tasks that if I don't do it immediately, the pics will sit on my computer for the rest of the busy term. So today I share with you just a few because I can't help but want to share with you just how beautiful South Africa is. It was so hard choosing just a few and I can't say I looked for 'the best' images because quite frankly I wanted to share them all. The beauty, the animals, the wilderness....oh gosh I could just go on and on! Am I sounding #proudlySouthAfrican? Well we so often have bad press and the crime rate is crazy, our government as corrupt as they come and too many of my friends choose to not live here any longer....and I understand why. But....there is a little piece of my heart that will always be African and I can't help but want to share that!

From South Africa with love...

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Camellia bud #711

Daily painting #711 5"x5" oil on primed canvas panel

Those of you who follow me on social media platforms like Instagram (you can find me here) or on my Facebook page under Paintings in the post, might recognize this bud from an image I shared yesterday. I made a little image encouraging others to do something creative and to recognize the beauty around you. I photographed the bud along with some old paint tubes and then processed the image in an app to add the writing. This is the image I shared...

Some folks shared their creative projects on my Facebook page and it was wonderful to see! The old saying goes that the wolf you feed is the one that will return, so feed your creativity daily! Think in a creative and engaging way about something at least once a day (when you dress, at work, in your home, in your kitchen or garden or even in your studio). I love the fact that we are able to cyber-share in all our creative endeavors and hopefully in turn inspire others to be more creative too. I love to paint, draw, cook, spend time with my camera and a whole host of other creative endeavors that really do add a richness to my life. Engaging creatively in a daily practice is a wonderful habit and I hope you try it too! 

I definitely plan on encouraging others to inspire and share their creative endeavors again and my Facebook page is the perfect platform for sharing so if you want to join in next time, be sure to like my page Paintings in the post  on Facebook, watch out for the prompt and join in the creative fun!

This little painting was my daily creative ritual!

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Kumquats #710

Daily painting #710 5"x7" oil on primed canvas panel

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with kumquats, they are a little citrus fruit. They are oval in shape and just bigger than a large olive. They are used mainly for cooking and I have only ever used them to make a jam (preserve) or marmalade but they can be used in puddings or cakes too. I have adapted a strawberry jam recipe of mine to a sugar free version. It is nowhere near as sweet as the original but that is just fine because our taste buds have adapted and we don't need such sweetness any more. The natural sweetness from the fruit is enough. The preserve  is delicious to mix through Greek yoghurt. When I found these at our local market I thought I would try to make a sugar free marmalade, it might give the yoghurt a lovely citrus flavour. I am always looking for interesting things to give my children as snacks and store bought flavoured yoghurts are definitely out of the question and this way I get to make the yoghurt more interesting for snacks and breakfast. Let's hope it works and the citrus is not too bitter!

I am sure you will agree that these are the most glorious rich colour and so before I experiment in the kitchen with them they had to visit my studio first! Painting yellow and orange tones with such a dark rich background was challenging. Yellows easily get dirty and loose the vibrancy and I was using a purple (complementary colour to yellow) to tone the shadows. The kumquats were quite a challenge in the studio, I hope they prove to be kinder in the kitchen!

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Fresh Red #709

Daily painting #709 5"x7" oil on primed canvas panel

Yesterday was spent grocery shopping, cooking and getting organized again. As many of you know, last year we gave up eating all sugar (including all those nasties hidden in the food we 'think' is healthy) and so it is important to be organized. A little planning and preparation goes a long way to keeping us on the track of eating real whole food. So my kitchen is organized again, my fridge full of goodness, my house is bright with fresh flowers (my one indulgence) and finally I am able to squeeze fresh paint onto my palette too! I am working on a large floral painting in ink and acrylic but first a quick little protea daily painting to get me in the mood! When I keep everything around me well organized it helps to keep my creative (often disorganized) brain on track. Being organized is so much harder for me (no OCD here HA), but I know it's crucial to the process that comes from creative chaos. Organized chaos is good for me!
Have a wonderful day...

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Pink trio #708

Daily painting #708 6"x8" oil on primed canvas panel

I have been away with my family for a few days on a wonderful trip to the bush. We went to a game reserve about two and a half hours away from home called Hluhluwe/Umfolozi. We were planning on just doing a days road trip there but we couldn't resist spending a few days and nights instead. I have what feels like a million photos to sort through but I promise to share a couple with you. For all the bad publicity South Africa regularly gets in the press and on social media, I can't help but want to share with you just how beautiful our country is too.

So it's back to my studio and what better way to get me going than with a little daily painting. As you know I always paint little daily paintings from real life objects that are around me. I am often inspired by objects from my kitchen, but I haven't been to the store or market and don't have much in my kitchen that inspires me (to cook or paint....clearly I need to go shopping). So it was a little jar of flowers that was left on my desk before we went away that attracted my attention. There are always flowers somewhere to inspire me!

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Morning #707

Daily painting #707 5"x7" oil on primed canvas panel

It has been a while since I painted the morning sky which is a pity because our Durban winter sunrises are just the best! Painting them and enjoying them with a good cup of coffee is on my list of favourite things! 
It is the school holidays which is always a busy family time for me but I also have quite a lot of things happening at the moment and my creative brain is quite honestly in overdrive! To have a creative brain can be a blessing but also a curse. When I have an idea that's planted itself, my brain goes into over wire and runs away with itself....thinking in a million different disorderly directions....keeping me awake at night and inducing a kind of adrenalin rush frenzy in my thought patterns! I have to take time out to centre myself again, write everything down to try make order of the chaos and of course find something to do that helps me switch off for a bit. I wish I could have done that at 3 am this morning when I was tossing and turning! HA! So what am I up to you may be asking? Well I am not ready to share just yet....but watch this space!
Back to beautiful sunrises and my list of favourite things...we are off on a little adventure early tomorrow morning before the sun even rises! We are road tripping to the bush...my BEST place to be in the whole world. We are going to a game reserve called HluHluwe about a 2 hour drive from home. Spending time in the African bush is definitely at the top of the list of my favourite things to do and I get to spend some time not only with my family but also my much loved camera. Will share some pics with you, I promise! 

Sending a whole lot of Monday love....

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