Travel theme: Art

Ailsa of “Where’s my back pack” fame, has posted a new travel theme. This week it’s ‘Art’, and as I have an artist in my family, I thought I’d take the opportunity to show you some of her work. Walking into my sister’s house, one is confronted with paintings absolutely everywhere. Even her kitchen looks like an art gallery.

Lately she’s sold quite a few, and others are out on consignment, so the walls aren’t quite as cluttered. She has always been in the arts, having been an opera singer, model and actress in her younger years, but never even considered trying her hand at drawing or painting.It was only seven years ago that one of her friends suggested that instead of just being two bored housewives, they should go for art classes. I recall how excited she was when she showed us that she could draw something very simple, and she became really enthused. After a few weeks, the art teacher closed her little school, and my sister and her friend had to find a new teacher. Mark Phillips really brought out her hidden talent, and we were most impressed,when not even two years later, she won second prize in the Nivea Art Competition.

She loves the African bush and enjoys painting the animals found there, especially leopards.

She also has a great talent for painting portraits of Southern African people portraying them in very interesting ways.

A couple of years ago, she was commissioned to do this painting of “The Three Faces Of  Mandela,” for the re-opening of Mandela House in Soweto; one of her proudest moments.

Whenever we go to visit, she ushers me into her studio to see the latest work in progress. This week, it was a leopard drinking at a waterhole, from an original photo by Mark McWilliams.

and something entirely new; this shell which she’s just started.

Her assortment of brushes always fascinates me. I wouldn’t know which to use for what. 😉

Looking around the walls of her studio, you would be sure to notice this framed newspaper pic from the 70’s, when in a moment of zany madness, and in need of a bit more income, she posed for a well known British tabloid. With this, she earned the dubious reputation of becoming the D’Oyly Carte’s one and only ‘Page Three Girl’. She didn’t tell our parents until some years later. 😉

Freddy Lloyd O.B.E. who was the General Manager at the time, summoned her to his office, and she thought that he was going to give her notice for bringing the opera company into disrepute. Fortunately he had a great sense of humour, and merely suggested that they might find a way of interpolating her scanty outfit into the last night of the London season. Unfortunately the idea was dropped. 😉

After my sister had been painting for a while, she discovered that our great, great uncle was non other than Jan Toorop, the first Dutch Symbolist Impressionist and Art Nouveau Painter, which most probably explains why she has such artistic talent.  It might have just lain dormant and undiscovered, had she not taken that first step. I wonder how many of us have hidden artistic talents which we’ll never use.

If you’d like to see more of her paintings, you can go here.

Of weekend, Skype family chats, and sister’s paintings.

Hi there, everyone. So far so good for the weekend. Lots of time spent on Skype today. First up was my sister who came through as soon as I opened my laptop. I had just got out of bed, but she insisted we switch on the video so that my mom could see my “little face.” Obviously I don’t look too scary before I’ve combed my hair and washed my face, because we chatted for almost an hour, and they didn’t laugh or run away. Laughing

Sister has sold another of her paintings.


She’s doing really well this year, and has also sold another hand embellished print at an upmarket game lodge, which displays the original in their foyer.



She and her husband are eager to buy a reed and thatch cottage on the beach in Mozambique. It’s three hours drive off the beaten track, has four bedrooms, but only one very basic bathroom, no glass in the windows, just insect screening, but worst of all, no electricity. She said that we must go and visit them, so I immediately asked, “Can I use my hair drier there?” The answer was in the negative, as the generator isn’t up to it. So now what do I do? I am a person who loves my creature comforts above everything. Undecided

Next up on Skype was my dear MiL, sounding really chipper and very cheerful. The weather wasn’t good enough for her to go out for her usual walk. You may have seen that England is rather chilly at the moment and snowing, and I don’t think that I would go walking around the local sports field either, especially at almost 99-years-old! She wisely decided to stay home and bake a cake instead.

Then it was my daughter’s turn, and we also got to speak to our two grandchildren, and admire their fancy new sneakers sent over via a friend by their uncle in New York. What amazing clothes there are available now for young teenagers. I remember that when I was their age, there was a choice between white plimsolls or black plimsolls. Now you can get ones with tigers, skulls and hearts on, in fact almost anything your heart desires.

I haven’t  been to the Superbowl dinner yet. It’s in a couple of hours, so I’ll report back sometime tomorrow. I suppose it is almost tomorrow in SA by now, and by the time you read this, I’ll be in bed. This seven hour time difference thing is very strange. Sleep well.

Hope you all had a superb weekend. Chat again soon.