Friday, February 26, 2010


A parcel of new books arrived on my doorstep just in time for the weekend. I've been dipping into each book and am feeling rather inspired.

"You have your own innate artistic intuition to guide you, but it's up to you to supply the passion to make things and the hunger to try out myriad possibilities in your art in order for it to succeed". - Dean Nimmer

One of the 1000 drawings by Dean Nimmer

The idea for this book first came to Nimmer while he was working on a project to create 1,000 drawings in a year. He soon realized that, before he could accomplish this goal, he would have to change several bad habits that had become ingrained in his painting process.

"Over the course of completing the drawings, I discovered that all the ideas I held sacred were in fact holding me back from real discovery and new possibilities for my art. I came to understand that in order to avoid these pitfalls, it was much better to allow my instincts and intuition to show me the way, and to stop being so self-conscious."

In his book, Nimmer shares the insights he gained through working on the 1000 drawings. You can see some of these drawings , here . There is also an Art from Intuition blog, here, where you will find a few of the exercises from the book.

This book overflows with striking photographs. I love the tooled leather apron above and the Kuba man's skirt, below.

Lynne Perrella recommended this amazing book. There are over 20 intriguing alphabets featured.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Donna and Leslie have mentioned Bird by Bird so often that I thought it was about time I read it. I love the story that follows.

"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. [It] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird." - Anne Lamott

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Today I am taking a leaf out of Hugh Prather's book.

I read Notes To Myself by Hugh Prather, many years ago and had forgotten about it until recently when I found an excerpt on the internet and wrote it down in my quote book.

"All I want to do, need to do, is stay in rhythm with myself. All I want is to do what I do and not try to do what I don't do. Just do what I do. Just keep pace with myself. Just be what I will be.

I will be what I will be -- and I am now what I am. Here is where I will devote my energy. I need all my energy to be what I am today.

"Today I will work in rhythm with myself, not with what I "should" be. And to work in rhythm with myself I must keep tuned to myself. There is a part of me that wants to write, a part that wants to theorize, a part that wants to teach.

"To force myself into a single role, to decide to be just one thing in life, would kill off large parts of me, rather I recognize that I live now and only now, and I will do what I want to do this moment and not what I decided was best for me yesterday." -- Hugh Prather

This morning I set a few hours aside to wander about the house photographing whatever caught my attention. I spent another hour playing on Picasa, enjoying old photographs and cropping new ones. It's something I've been wanting to do but kept putting off until I had more time.

I love my kuba cloth and the fact that it looks good in every photograph, whether it is a backdrop for Peter Beard journals, my carved totems or Ethiopian icons.

I'm drawn to the leather straps and the dotted design on this Masai honey container. Though it is an old container the wood still smells of honey.

Stones collected from all over the country....

Terracotta pots overflowing with Bougainvillea.

The monkey has the last word ...... he also has the last banana off my kitchen counter.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Kuba skirt at The Hamill Gallery

It all started when Maurice de Vlaminck was given a Fang Mask and he was so awestruck by its "primitive grandeur" that he wanted to show everyone in his art circle. When fellow painter Andre Derain saw it he had to have it, so he bought it from Vlaminck and rushed off to show Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse: Ambroise Vollard then borrowed it and cast it in bronze. Soon everyone was trying to obtain their own pieces of tribal art which began to influence the way they expressed themselves both in painting and sculpture. Thus a new spirit of freedom swept through 20th century art in the Western world.

Shell Cachet-sex from Papua New Guinea

Many artists are inspired by tribal art and I've gathered a few images that intrigue me.

George Peterson designs, carves, burns and paints old skate boards.

Hannes Harrs' mixed media collage made from old African textiles.

The Ngurrara Canvas. 10 Metres x 8 metres. One of the largest and most spectacular Aboriginal paintings of the Great Sandy Desert Region. read story, here.

Spade Sculpture by Roger Lee. See Flickr photostream, here.

Macrame from IRONIC's Flickr photostream.

Wave after wave has brought to our shores beautiful and mysterious treasures from unknown worlds: figurines, animals, fetishes, masks, ceremonial or useful objects. They are called Primitive for want of a better name...What could never have been written is there, all the dreams and anguishes of man. The hunger for food and sex and security, the terrors of night and death, the thirst for life and the hope for survival."- Dominique deMenil, Tribal Arts Spring 1998

Tribal by Rosalie Gascoigne at The Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

Group of my earliest totems.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


KaiKai is the Nama word for "to cultivate, to elevate with praise or to nurture with pride". It is the name that Jimmy du Toit has given to the residential coastal estate he is developing at Port Nolloth in the Richtersveld, South Africa.

At first glance, Port Nolloth seems to be an isolated, tired little coastal town surrounded by barren landscape but if you take a stroll down to the beach you will be astounded to see, rising up out of the sands, a Gaudi-esque mosaic wall that is about to put Port Nolloth on the map. It is called The Wall of Expression. See more amazing photographs, here.

Jimmy du Toit had the bright idea of involving the community in the creation of the boundary wall between Kaikai and the rural surrounds. It is not a solid wall but rather a series of installations and collumns intersperced with open spaces.

The art of mosaic has been taught to members of the community and at the moment there are more than 65 people permanantly employed on site. For most, finding artistic expression in mosaic, is a new experience and at the end of the 5 to 10 years that it should take to complete the housing estate, the artisans will be fully trained and quite able to work independently.

I found this photograph on the blog Missing Voyage

The names of the people living in the area are spelt out on the wall of honour. 1500 Names to date and many more to go before the anticipated 12000 is reached.

When I was telling my husband about this project, he said..."Port Nolloth? Thats the back end of nowhere".

Jimmy du Toit remarked that "Port Nolloth is a place that's hard to like at first and then hard not to love."

I love the cubes going out to sea.
Paula wondered how the cubes were not washed out to sea and today the developers wife, Annelize du Toit added her comment.
"I have especially been enjoying everybody's facination with the mosaic cubes on the beach and am not sure whether I should give it all away.
Jimmy set it up as a temporary interactive art installation on 24 October 2009 between the low and high water marks on a beach area protected by a ridge and thus having fairly mild wave action. Even so, more and more cubes are thrown over by every high tide. Interestingly enough they remain in the grid formation and do not get scattered around.
The cubes have since been removed after being used for a similar beach installation between christmas and new year. They are now in storage until next time..."
Thanks so much for adding your comment, Annelize.

The blog Missing Voyage (below) will give you a broader view of Port Nolloth.
You might also find the archaeological assessment of the area interesting.