Friday, March 20, 2009


Today I carved 6 cows. This is quite a feat considering the procrastinating I've been doing all week. Just one cow...I said to myself. Once I had my workbench set up in the courtyard I had this bright idea that I should get all my phone calls out of the way before starting work. Then I noticed the courtyard was looking messy so perhaps I should get that cleaned up too. This has been happening day after day but today I caught myself in the act. I will nail your foot to the floor if I have to, but you will carve one cow! And I did. The next thing I knew, six carved cows were looking at me. I'm not usually a procrastinator when it comes to my work especially if I have an idea sketched out and ready to proceed but since Christmas I have allowed myself to be swept along in any direction except the most important one.

I now keep a notebook next to me while I work so that I can write down all the things "I must do right now", then I threaten myself with the nailed foot treatment and make sure I put in at least an hour's work before rushing off to do chores. Invariably I end up doing more than a few hours carving.

I've prepared my bundle for Seth's Disintegration Project. It has been buried in a shallow grave under the Bottle Brush tree for 3 days now. I decided to bury mine after reading about artist Christina Oiticica (who also happens to be Paul Coehlo's wife) who buries her art works for about a year and a part of the art process.

Kalahari deposited this bundle of joy on my doorstep today. I love book parcels on a Friday just in time for the weekend.

1. Natural Fashion by Hans Sylvester
2. Rivers and Tides (DVD) by Andy Goldsworthy
3. Tissue Salts for Healthy Living by Margaret Roberts
4. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This evening I was fortunate enough to have a long chat to Leslie who phoned from the States as part of the informal discussion she mentioned in this post.........What is it that I want from my creativity? And what does my creativity want from me? Leslie, a gentle, soft spoken angel disguised as a Life Coach, patiently discussed ways to overcome the frustrations that get in the way of creation. I was grinning inside by the time I put the phone down.

And as if that wasn't enough Priya's exquisite drawing made me sit with mouth agape.

What a great day!


  1. I really do enjoy your posts. I look forward to them - to see what sort of wonderfulness you have for today. I'm glad you got to your cows, they look really nice. I was productive today too only because I wanted to finish something so I could get on with something else. My list grows almost weekly but I do manage to cross things off as I complete projects.

  2. Dolores, thanks for such a sweet comment. Cows are very important here. A sign of wealth.

  3. It is so hard to get on when chores are piling up around your ears...but I am so glad that you did.. I love those cows...

  4. I had to laugh at your description of getting to work.....SO familiar. I'll just fold this load of laundry while its still warm, get those phone calls done, etc. I've finally come to the realization that I end up using my "fresh" energy on dumb tasks that don't require creativity and by the time I finish those I'm no good for the creative stuff. So I remind myself that floor mopping can be done with very little juice left in the creative tank. I really enjoy your posts......thanks, Mary H.

  5. as ever your carving is wonderful. and your bundle for seth's project looks so tempting will anxiously wait for may! mine is hanging on a big old tree perhaps too protected! glad you joined lyle

  6. I've managed to stay out of my work room for a week doing cleaning and washing but I think its a fear of starting a new project. Your cows are wondeful..essence of cow! I missed a few posts so I just caught up. I love the lacey fences. Thank you.

  7. your cows look incredible! I'm so happy one turned into six ... often it really does take just getting started to get back into the flow and timelessness of doing something you love.

    that, a happy weekend package and a good phone call ... yep, this was a really good day for Robyn. :)

  8. I loved taking this tour through your day Robyn! It put a big smile on my face :) Nailing your foot to the floor just cracked me up - I think I'll use that trick on myself when I play the distraction game.
    Enjoy indulging yourself this weekend - gift from the Sea is an old fave of mine, and the Andy dvd - pure inspiration! The cover of Natural Fashion looks like pure heaven, gorgeous!! Delight in all the inspiration,

  9. The cows look great! Maybe it was OK to take a break.

  10. Thanks Blu, I suppose if we didn't have chores we wouldn't appreciate the me-time as much as we do.

    Mary, I hereby declare that "fresh energy" should be set aside for art. Stale energy is for housework!

    Lyle, hmmmm... hanging in a tree or buried underground? ...quite a quandry. I even thought of a month hanging and the rest of the time

    Jackie, for me it's a fear of running out of wood. I havn't been able to buy wood for 4 or 5 months now and am down to my last large piece. For some reason timber merchants are not keeping my wood.
    P.S I'm depending on you getting into that workroom within the next 2 days... :-)

    Thanks Michelle, the 6 cows is going to turn into 20 cows....story to follow.

    Karin, I am wallowing in Gift from the Sea.

    Don, that's what I kept telling myself...but accounts need to be paid.

  11. The battle between the mundane and the creative, so real for so many and beautifully told by you, Robyn. Truly, 6 carved cows earns one a restful, replenishing weekend!

  12. Catching up on your last three posts! Marvelous as usual. I always find your posts so inspiring. New ideas enter my head like feathers when I come here.

    Those fences!!

  13. I love your latest work Robyn.. Stunning.. and the dear painted child with the bird.. adorable.. yes, Priya's drawing was superb...

    Enjoy your books and ahh one on the sea..... I raid a second hand store for books every time I go to the city... They are my most favourite gifts...

    happy equinox...

  14. Moooo!!!! Plenty of cows here in Argentina! I go home today, but set out this morning to the antiques/junk area just for you. Something small to ship to South Africa ... but just right for you! (So email me your address dearie!)

  15. I love those cows, your style really pleases me. It has an elegance, a flow and a cheekiness all rolled into one. Excellent work.

    Ever heard of the "art of slack"? It is something I try and do all the time. For example say I want to buy a jar to store things. Now I could go out and look for one but I want something special. Whenever I try I either fail to find anything I like or get something and I am disappointed with it or if I am lucky find just the right thing.

    However when I enact the art of slack I put it out of my mind and then I will find myself at a second-hand boot sale and I will discover the perfect jar without trying. It keeps happening again and again. I don't know why it may be total rubbish but that is the point. You don't analyse it, get any answers, or understand it you just simply don't try and then it happens. I told my partner about it and she thought I was mad but since I have demonstrated it to her again and again and she is now a follower.

    So to me your cows weren't ready to be carved until you were ready and then they carved themselves! The more you try the harder it is. Creativity flows once you stop trying. Do you know what I mean? Oh yeah and "moo"!

  16. wow! your cup of goodstuff overflowith!! so loving the cows - such humble animals - off to see Priya's drawing.....and happy Autumn!

  17. I recognise that feeling Robyn, as I have it myself - I like the idea of nailing your foot to the floor - might try threatening myself with that treatment.
    Glad you are participating in the "Bundles of Bundles" - I have hung mine in a rowan tree. As the wind has got up quite strongly tonight I have visions of it blowing away - but then that would be good (as long as I could find it). Are we going to be shown the cows?

  18. Curio, a restful, replenishing weekend to you too.

    Pamela, "New ideas enter your head like feathers" ......that sounds marvelous!

    Gwen, if you havn't read Gift from the Sea, read it. I know you will love it.

    Heather, setting out to the antique/junk area sounds so exciting. You spoil me!

  19. Richard, I don't think it's total rubbish at all and I do practice this type of thinking but forget it when I'm Thanks for the reminder.

    Jeane,I'll follow you there to read your comment about Priya's masterpiece.

    Weaver, there's a story that goes with the cows. I will blog about it when the piece is finished. It's a simple piece and the story is typical of the country I love.

  20. Robyn ~ I think if we created all day every day we would soon get 'burnt out'. You need to do the mindless chores to give yourself time to think and you can then relax with a clear conscience into creative stuff???
    Cows are simply wonderful.

  21. I love your cow carvings and can hardly wait to see what you do with them... and I love your wood shaving mess... and that you are burying your disintegration bundle... Roxanne

  22. Interesting post indeed...I too like your cows, all six of them and the fact you didn't suffer any foot injury in your work schedule! ha It's so true once you get started, time is no longer an issue.
    Great books and disintegration burial.
    I have been emailing Leslie on these subjects...very thought provoking. Enjoy your autumn days!

  23. I just found your blog and I am totally in love.

  24. you can't know how your cows make me smile, they are almost "square" and i love the horns curving.

    I came this morning, and you have to know, the phrase, about nailing your foot to the floor--it OUCHED me. I don't know what it did to me, promise me this is an old pharse from your society... the visions it set on in my head Robyn, makes me quiver.

    I love the girl with the little "love bug" of her own, she is wonderful.

    Be gentle upon yourself, :) even if you do procrastinate... etc.

    a wonderful post!!!

  25. What a lovely visit with you today, Robyn :) The cows look great. It's really intriguing that you're burying your disintegration project. I was just reading "False Impressions" by Thomas Hoving and he said that it was common practice to bury artwork in a dung heap to give it an authentic looking, aged patina. I'm very curious to see how your piece turns out.

  26. Your cows are really nice! I look forward to seeing your results of Disintegration Project!

  27. I just dicovered you! Your thumbnail looked interesting & i clicked on a whim & I'm so glad I did. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your work & would love to do a post on you on my blog.
    Thanx for being who u are doing what u do :)

  28. wow, six cows... you must have been a woman possessed. once you get in the zone it's amazing what can be accomplished.

    wonderful to be here and see what you've been up to. loved the book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

    have a wonderful week, robyn.

  29. ooh! Another tesaser,

    my book is on the way, so glad you bought one too.
    And to hear that you have anotebook to jot down the "Must do
    s", that is such a great idea. It will stop me leaping up from the table too.

    oh, my word verification is "COWSK"

    he he he

  30. Wonderful post as always Robyn. Those cow carvings look quite intriguing and I look forward to hearing the story behind them. And your bundle looks incredible! Digging it up for May 1 will be quite exciting I am sure. Glad you decided to participate!

  31. That's an satisfying way to end a week's schedule and head to have a relaxing weekend. I wish all of us had the same way. I hope you had a wonderful weekend Robyn

  32. Viv, you are absolutely right....but I still hate mindless chores :-)

    Thanks Roxanne, the carving is nearly done so watch this space!

    Mary Ann, haha no injuries...maybe a little sunburn from carving in the sun.

    Yoli, thanks so much!

    Mansuetude..Lol...just a phrase, I'm not sure where it comes from but we use it a lot in this household.

    Shayla, glad you enjoyed the visit. Pity there isn't a dung heap here to bury my bundle under. It would be so interesting!

    B&W, I hope a month or just over is long enough for something to happen to the disintegration bundle.

    Vineeta, I'm honoured ..thank you!

    Mary Ann W, well today I carved 8 so things are beginning to happen around here.

    Grrl, you will love the book! Such brilliant photography.

    Seth, it's going to be great seeing everyone's bundles at the end of the exercise.

    T&S, great weekend thanks. I actually got some work done and quite a lot of reading. This Autumn weather is bliss.

  33. I should try threatening myself that way too. I was smiling when I read about the nailed foot. :) The carving is coming along nicely. Looking forward to seeing it finished.

  34. Nail my foot to the floor? Is that what I have to do? I have the same problem, so I'm going to threaten myself, too.
    Love your photos, as always.

  35. I had to laugh at your procrastination post Robyn. That is so me. I know I have to do something but I create a whole lot of other things to do before that which are really just time wasters. However, once I sit down and do that thing I end up really enjoying it and feeling great.

    Loved Priya's drawing. So exquisite and detailed and of course Lissa Hunter is superb. I have tucked her website away in my folder to peruse at my leisure.

  36. good for you that you're pushing past the urge to do something other than create. i often stuggle with too many distractions. but, please, please, please, no bloody feet! smile!

  37. I had to laugh at your description of how you were avoiding your art. OH, but it is SO familiar! I think I will try your "nailed foot threat" technique.

  38. I do SO understand procrastination. There is always SOMETHING else to get in the way of creating art. Like watching more than once Rivers and Tides, which was Susan's present to me last birthday.

  39. I stumbled upon a video of Hans Sylvester's photographs of the Omo people...just so stunning, this book is on my wish list!!