Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I am so relieved not to be going away for the December holidays this year. I have had time to slow down with dignity this year, instead of the frantic rush to get things done in record time.

The trick, of, course, is not to swap one kind of business for another.

I am forcing myself to slow down and spend time - with family, pets and to just soak up my surroundings.

Christmas is upon us and in this time of Advent, I am approaching "cleaning house" from a different perspective. It has become a time of spiritual cleansing and dusting out of cobwebs, preparing for the celebration of Christ's coming.

To all of you out there - may you have a Christmas filled with blessings, grace and joy.

Pierre and Ryno decorating the tree.

even the rat had to be included.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Living on the coast tends to make one forget about the beautiful valleys and scenery a ston'e trow away.
My husband took this shot a while ago.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Exam packaged and sealed!

The prac exam is over - hard to believe that this group of pupils will never do any art in my classroom again.
I have been down this road no less than 20 times, but it always remains exciting to see the growth in my pupils' work over the three years they spend with me - some even four years if i have them in Grade 9.

Have a look at some of the work on the school FB page.(PSHS)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Paper Play

The exam is continuing without a hitch, and I have completed all my admin. Now it is time to play.
I decorated my paper swap envelope(below) ready to be mailed to Orit Kahana in Israel with this beautiful portrait.

 I use my son's old school exercise books as collage books. I don't cover up all the contants as it sometimes works with the pictures and textures I use.

 I make photocopies of anything that has an interesting pattern or texture. For the cover I have used a photocopy of an embroidered doily which belonged to my late mom-in-law, "Gogo" (Grandmother in Zulu)

I have combined a line drawing by my youngest son, Pierre with a photo of me and my grand-daughter

My maternal grandfather, "Oupa" Japie Venter was a sheep farmer from Dortrecht in the Eastern Cape. He spoke fluent Xhosa and had a tremendous sense of humour, He also told wonderful stories, especially "Jackals en Wolf"

After retirement he and my "Ouma" Engela traveled the country in their VW Beetle, staying with their children and other relatives in turn. Oupa was a keen freshwater fisherman and we ate fish for breakfast every day on holiday at Nature's Valley when they accompanied us there. he caught fish in the Groot River (the Lagoon as we knew it)

"Ouma" did beautiful crochet work and collected small shells which she attached to the edges of doilies and tea-nets. She also travelled with a box of shells collected at the seaside and carefully washed - her personal treasure.

LaWendula: Tables, corners, shelfs, places of creativity

LaWendula: Tables, corners, shelfs, places of creativity: Parts of my home. Hope you enjoy to see what it looks like at LaWendula’s. January 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 ...

This wonderful woman has been my inspiration for 2011. She arranges the paper swaps which have been the most art fun I've ever had. Look at her blog and feast your eyes!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

prac exams (again)

Our Grade 12 Visual Arts and Design classes completed the first of three days of the National Senior Certificate prac exam today. It is always a relief when they are all present and get on with their work without too much panic. Their time-planning is so much better than during the trials prac exam and it is looking good.
Vis Arts


Saturday, October 8, 2011


The two Pierres take Onyx and Dookie to the beach

First swim in the sea.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I love painting people and I am fascinated by the human face. This is the first of what i hope to make many of, portraits inspired by Renaissance paintings of Venetian ladies.

Venetian Lady - oil on canvas

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mixed media self-portrait

I loved creating this collage. My Grade 9 pupils made mixed-media self-portraits so i made one too.

Friday, September 30, 2011

My tests came back negative - thank the good Lord! I am so grateful and can now have a restful, creative holiday.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Here we go!!!

So, since i last posted a blog, I have been for my annual check up with my oncologist. We decided that a colonoscopy is the way to go.

The radiation treatment I received 6 years ago most likely caused damage to my colon, and the procedure will enable them to see what the problem is.

Then it is diet change or treatment of some kind. I am at home today for the prep. (Don't ask!) and going in for the procedure tomorrow morning.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

To proceed or not to proceed

A less cheerful subject today.

I have been having trouble with my colon lately As a Cancer survivor, the alarm-bells tinkled a little. I went for a bank of tests which all came back negative.

Next step, I visited a Specialist surgeon yesterday. He was quite distracted, and told me what i already knew - that my radiation treatment would have caused tissue damage to my colon. I asked him why it would only surface now - 6 year later, to be told that that was quite common. Anyway - he said that he may as well do a colonoscopy to make sure that everything is O.K.

I then had to sign a document to give my permission for an emergency procedure should the colon be damaged during the procedure!

My gut (excuse the pun) tells me not to have this done!

I really feel that I should see a dietitian first and see if I can't improve matters with better eating habits.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Yarn Bomb

I think I will try my hand at this competition. I love to knit, but I hate actually knitting anything like a jersey or scarf etc. I fancy the idea of a creative piece of knitting someone else can use.

This covered chair is in the latest edition of IDEAS mag.

September is here

This is my absolutely favourite month of the year. Having grown up in the Southern Free State, I have always associated it with Spring Blossoms, newborn lambs and ... my birthday.

There is something in the air at this time of year which makes me want to be outdoors. We have two new puppies, which I think is most appropriate for Spring (new life)

-with my sisters in the Namaqualand daisies in front of our farmhouse

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sardine Run

Small pods of sardines have been spotted along the coast and we seem to have a good chance of the sards coming ashore this year.

The photos are not my own, but give an idea of the enormity of the event.

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sharks feeding on sardines

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Some locals believe that the aloes flower well when the sardines are close.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Winter Holidays

Holidays at last!!!

I am drinking a cup of tea and ignoring the boxes of books and other stuff that has to be carried up to the "studio". What was originally intended as an art studio above the guest room and garage has become a handy store room.

as Pierre and I both work we find it far more practical to have our studio on the mezzanine floor in the house.

We have created a lovely,cosy, space with radio, telephone, fax, computer, books, workspace, comfy couch all in one place. Easier to work here at night and just fall into bed when we're done.

Late afternoon sun on my favourite raeding spot

Monday, June 20, 2011

Irma Stern Museum

In December we visited the Irma Stern Museum in cape Town. It is housed in her old home which has been preserved intact. it is managed and curated by the University of cape Town. Irma Stern was a South African artist of German origin who was a pioneer in her field in South Africa. She spent some time in Europe and exhibited with the German Expressionists. She enjoyed greater appreciation in Europe and was initially rejected in S.A.

her works have recently sold for record prices in London.

Pierre and I in the living room. I love this angle taken by my son, David.

Next to "Swazi Warriors" - much larger than I expected.

Diningroom with crockery made by Clementina v.d. Wald, a S.A. potter. She was inspired by the art in the museum.

Irma Stern's studio

Stern travelled extensively and brought many carved panels home from Zanzibar. She used many as frames for her paintings. She framed, sold, packaged and posted her own work.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

more studio stuff

working on mixed-media architecturally inspired images. (fine-liner black marker and oil pastels)


I have started a mood board for inspiration
I have been re-arranging my workspace. We have made our studio on the mezzanine floor at home. It connects our bedroom to that of my son and is a space which we can work in without having to worry about tidying up every time someone comes around for a visit.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The rats: Scrat and Milo

Scrat and Milo

Rats in their tank

Milo, named after our (late) jack Russell with the same markings.

18 May - voting day

We went to the local voting station early, although we did not expect to stand in a long line to wait. We did not have far to go - we voted at St Stephens' Catholic Church Hall in Pumula. The local government elections have been more publicized and talked about than any election since 1994 as far as i can tell. I think so many people are just fed-up with bad service delivery and corruption, that people turned up in great numbers to vote.

The results tomorrow will be very interesting.

The up-side is a day at home.

We found two "Hooded fancy rats" for Pierre Jr. They are really surprisingly cute. i have a bit of a phobia of rats, and had to make a major mental shift to agree to their addition to the menagerie. They are more responsive to human company and can be trained to do all kinds of things - much like a dog.

Pierre has been stroking them and picking them up for short spells to get them used to him, and so-far-so-good.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


We had over 4 inches (100mm) of rain - the rain-gauge was overflowing, and it still raining.

the dilemma is that we need the rain, but the roof is leaking badly again.

We designed our own dream-house in the forest, thatched roof amongst old, indigenous trees, which my husband built  17 years ago. After 4 years the beautiful Natal Mahogany had provided so much shade that the thatch began to rot. the contractor who re-thatched the roof took our money and left halfway through the job with us staring at the sky from our lounge. After completion by a second contractor and much money later, the thatch lasted about 11 years. The time came for the upper layer to be combed and a thin outer layer of thatch to be laid on top.

A team of thatchers moved in, and by Christmas, unbeknown to us, in their hurry to complete the work in time to return home to Mpumalanga, did not tie the thatch down properly.

the end result is a roof which has a life of its own. When we have a heavy shower like we had last night, every container in the house comes out to contain the drips.

Curious juvenile Trumpeter Hornbills  on scaffolding outside the studio.

This one admires himself in the window.

Thatching in progress - looks good, doesn't it?!!!

How were we to know this would not last beyond the first shower of rain?
It certainly keep us humble and entertained.