This exhibition, A pocketful of inspirations, resulted from quite an opposite emotional state of mind. In fact, it started with a piece called “Stripped naked”.
For much of my adult life I yearned to return to the Western Cape as I grew up in Montaqu. When the opportunity came my husband and I took the bold step and moved to Struisbaai. This was only going to be a temporary arrangement until the commencement of a long-term contract for Eddie in Cape Town… and then life happened. The details of the contract not being honoured are not important. However, what was to only be a stay of two months in Struisbaai became a ‘temporary-permanent’ arrangement with our belongings being stored in Somerset West. Our plans to resettle and building a house on a stand we had bought were abruptly shelved!
I started working on “Stripped naked” after we discovered that some of our belongings in storage were irreparably damaged. I remember the feeling of being separated from normal society… void from an identity and an address. Every morning was a reminder of the reality and the evenings brought little relieve as I experienced disturbing dreams. I poured my emotions on the canvas. This vague semi-naked study with symbols of clouds, a broken nautilus shell and wheat sheaves became an inspiration to further this theme. As art has always allowed me to express my inner feelings I started the ‘journey’ with a new dedication gathering reference material.
The Overberg region is an artist paradise and I became deeply aware of my surroundings. Few days exist without the wind reminding one that it is the bearer of weather for the entire South Africa. It presents cloudy days, magnificent blue skies, exquisite sun rises and awe-inspiring sunsets. The sea is ever present and its rumbling nature never ceases to remind one of its presence. Yet, one can find utter silence if you explore the region. It is an area with rolling hills that delivers contrasting textures depending on the season and time of year. There are times that the viewer simply recognises the earths need to rest. But with the change in season the brown resting landscape is transformed to an almost surreal neon green, followed by vast areas of yellow canola fields. The green grain oceancreates an inland sea of waves and is replaced by farmer’s goldas it ripens before the harvest.
But, my focus started to shift towards being inspired by what I saw and experienced. I realized that each day has something small to enjoy. Once you allow this to happen it lifts your spirit, regardless of your situation. Whilst gathering reference material I came across these two statements that made a profound impact on my view of my own situation:
“The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow, for every challenge encountered there is opportunity for growth” – Unknown
“The nature of life: Eventually I realized that if I can-not find happiness within myself, I will never find it anywhere” – Viktor E Frankl
The result was rather paradoxical. On each canvas I took a journey to within myself reflecting on only one small experience at a specific point in time. This included transforming previously painted works by adding symbols or simply conceiving a new work using the ‘old’ as the foundation for a new ‘message’… The project was no longer to express the negative but rather to use pockets of inspirations to reflect a journey of acceptance and to be inspired by the small things in life!