Lets Face It 2019 portraiture course giveaway! 

I am so excited to announce that I am going to be a part of the Let’s Face It - 2019 Team! Yahoo! LET’S FACE IT is a course created and hosted by Kara Bullock. It is for anyone who wants to practice creating portraits and figurative art, but is especially designed for those of you that have felt scared or intimidated to do so at some point in your life.

Together, we want to share with you our strategies, tips, and techniques that we use in order to create our portrait and figurative artwork. You will leave this course feeling confident enough in your skills to never feel intimidated again! In 2019, we will be studying a year of art mediums!!!

Click here to find out more about LET’S FACE IT - 2019.

This course is not open for registration yet! However, you can read more about this course and bookmark this page so that on October 8th, you can come back and register. What is even better is that if you register by December 3rd, you will get a discount on the price! YES!!! Awesome, right!?!?

I am thrilled to be a part of this amazing team of teachers and guess what else!?!?! I get to give away one free spot in this course to one of you!!

To enter the giveaway do the following:

Follow me on Instagram and tell me what you find most difficult when creating portraits and use the hashtag #joanLFI in your comment

I will announce the lucky winner on 30th of September. In the meantime, click here and bookmark this page so that you can come backon October 8th and sign up!!

I can’t wait to begin this journey with each of you!



Mandela and Mosaics

I received an e-mail last term from Taryn Millar last term with a request to get my art students involved in an activity planned for this year’s Mandela day. Taryn is with the fundraising and project management arm for the redevelopment of the KZN Children’s Hospital and she wanted my art students from Reddam House Umhlanga to get involved in a mosaic project – taking two flat surfaced garden benches, and mosaicing images that relate to the Children’s Hospital onto the benches. This project would be initiated at the Children’s Hospital site on the 18th of July. (What would have been Mandela’s 100 Birthday)

My Grade 11 art students and I arrived at the KZN Children’s Hospital on Wednesday morning at 9am and started working on the tops of the concrete benches.

All sorts of events and activities were taking place at the same time. A few primary schools were involved in painting portraits of Mandela and making handprints in paint, and tertiary students worked on murals around the car park of the Children’s Hospital. With loud music playing, singing and a large birthday cake being cut and distributed, the atmosphere was quite festive.

We worked on the mosaics until 11.30am and then I took my students on a tour of the still derelict parts of the hospital buildings. A lot of the building is in a terrible state of decay. See the pics below. My students loved the atmospheric creepiness of the building and a few have vowed to return for future photo shoots. You can also look at my previous blog post for more pics of this building

We didn’t complete the benches - so we will collect them next week and finish them off at school. The finished  benches will eventually be placed along the pathway of the functioning outpatient department at the hospital.


Challenges, Connections and Community for artists

In February this year I was one of four artists asked to provide daily prompts and inspirational images sourced on the Sktchy app as part of a challenge: To make a portrait every day for the month of February.  

The above image is an example of one of my prompts and an image I chose as inspiration on the 7th of February. I decided to take on this challenge myself & attempted to produce a portrait a day. Sadly I couldn't maintain this practice and only managed to keep up for a week. As some of you know, I have recently started teaching at a new school. The pressure of teaching and trying to produce art every day was too challenging.   

The piece above is one I made in response to my own prompt and chosen image for the 7th of February. It was only after I made this piece did I realise what a difficult angle I had chosen. Despite this, many artists made beautiful work. As always the interaction and support experienced on the app is encouraging. (see the excerpt of comments made about this piece below) 

Each invited teaching artist involved in February did a live Facebook demonstration of techniques. These demonstrations generally last about an hour and during these broadcasts you can watch the artist work on their artwork and you can ask them questions in real time by typing on a side panel in Facebook. 

I demonstrated techniques using the following face as inspiration and worked on two portraits during the live broadcast. 



My tree paintings in the reception areas of Reddam House Umhlanga

Since leaving university I struggled to focus on any particular subject matter. My focus at university was violent dogs, perhaps a reflection of the times in which we were living. (The 80's in South Africa) I started painting trees at the studio of Pascale Chandler and in particular the Natal Fig tree and for years this was a focus of my work. My school, Reddam House Umhlanga, has displayed a few of my tree paintings in the reception areas of the school. You can read more about my tree paintigs here and here. 



Flinging my arms up in the air in 2018


Text in above image from :, Image from


2017 was a year filled with change. After teaching in a well-established, reputable school for seventeen years I decided to move to Reddam House Umhlanga, a new school in our province. 

I have loved the more intimate family atmosphere at the new school, and found the students and staff warm and full of fun.

The shift in routine, the travelling (leaving home an hour earlier to miss the traffic to school) and the sharing of facilities has been difficult. (I have had to share my art room with one of the science teachers while our new school building was being constructed.)

At the beginning of December the whole high school vacated our old building and moved into a very modern new building. The furnishings are being supplied over this holiday period.

The new Reddam House high school building above 
An unfurnished classroom above 

The new staffroom above

Reception furniture above  

This however, is not the end of my change. The building we vacated will become an Arts facility (Drama, Dance, Music and Visual Arts) and hopefully by the end of March 2018 I will be able to move into newly renovated art rooms. 

The new college Visual Arts facilities will include a workshop, two classrooms and a private teacher's working space with store rooms attached. (see purple above) I asked for the rooms to be suitated on the ground floor so that we can have drive-in access for deliveries of heavy materials. In addition to this facility a double volume gallery will be added to the campus once the renovations of this building is complete.  

Next year I want to focus on making more art, blogging more often and looking after my health by eating and exercising in a balanced way...alternatively I will fling my arms up in the air and dare to enjoy the ride!