Just a Girl and her Bunny - Sktchy30 Day 2 

The challenge for this artwork was as follows: 'According to the American Holistic Health Association, it's vital for you to take at least 20 minutes per day to engage in the leisure activities that you love. These brain breaks put a pep in your step and help you enjoy time with your family, make you more productive at work, help you ace that test you've been worried about and more. The benefits of giving yourself leisure time can trickle down to every other aspect of your life, so make sketching a priority!'

To learn more about the importance of leisure time, take a look at these resources:

How to work, love and play when no one has time | Brigid Schulte | TEDxMidAtlanticSalonwords 

 You’ve Been Taking Breaks All Wrong. Here’s How To Do It Right.

The following arwork was made in response to the above inspiration:  

My statement that accompanied this piece: 
It is obvious that RJ Nuclear has a lot of fun playing around with imagery. (The inspirational image was posted by RJ Nuclear.) I have been fascinated by this image for some time now & have been too terrified to engage with it. Often a great photograph is the most difficult thing to turn into a successful artwork. In the spirit of today's theme I decided to squash my fears & 'play' with this image. #Sktchy30 (#day2)

Sktchy 30 Day challenge April 2017 

This April I took part in a challenge run by the Sktchy app. Each day starting on the first of April a topic with inspirational readings/youtube videos arrived in my inbox. The only rules was to respond to the given topic and upload the resulting artwork to the app each day.  I managed to make 30 artworks, some days making an absolute mess but managing to tidy up my really bad scribblings by using my iPad.  

Above: Some of the artworks I made. 


Our moths went further than we expected...

Just a quick update on the Moth Migrate Project. We sent our parcel of moths off to Professor Hilary Lorenz to participate in her installation project and the courier service we used got the address mixed up. Instead of sending the parcel to Abiquiú, New Mexico & reaching this quaint little post office below: 

The moths ended up in Mexico, in a completely different country. 

After some e-mailing between the courier and Hilary - the moths finally arrived at their destination...


South African moths fly to the USA from Reddam House Umhlanga

I became aware of the moth Migration Project via Twitter. The artist, Hillary Lorenz,  who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico put out a call for crowd sourced paper moths. She wrote on her blog; ‘Anyone from around the world may participate by making paper cut out moths. Moths will be cataloged and attached to gallery walls and ceiling in a giant geographically accurate web. This web will trace the origin location to every participating person. The moths will “fly out” from Brooklyn, NY and “fly” from city to state to country tracing the “migration” pattern of people’s participation. My goal is to create and attract at least 40,000 moths.’

I teach Visual Arts at a high school in Umhlanga, Durban & thought that this project would be a good opportunity to allow my students to participate in an international collaborative project and learn the technique of lino printing.

These are the moths they produced below:

 The image below is a hand drawn image by a Grade 8 student (she didn't have time to convert her image into a print. We decided to send the original work. 

For my own submission I started by searching the Internet for images of local moths and one day, not long after deciding to do this project, one of my students pointed out that a moth that had flown into the back of my classroom. I took some photos of the moth & used google reverse image search to identify the moth. 

It is a Cream - Striped Owl Moth or “Cyligramma Latona”  It has a wingspan reaching 75–100 mm. A long-winged brown moth with white and dark lines and eyespots. The upper sides of the wings are brown, with a yellowish band crossing all the wings and a large eyespot on the forewings.

It is widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa, is commonly seen around houses is very timid, easily scared & flies low to the ground. The larvae feed on Acacia species. See my interpretation of this moth below: 

I told two other local artists (Lara Mellon & Ana De Vlieg) about this project and by coincidence the same moth flew into their studios. All three of us have made our own interpretation of the "Cream-striped Owl Moth" and sent our Lino printed moths along with the moths that my students created in a package that should have already arrived in the USA.

Above image by Lara Mellon. 
Above image by Ana de Vlieg. 



Monkey thieves, bunnies and minimalism

At the beginning of this year I changed schools to establish a new art department at Reddam House Umhlanga. Reddam House is part of the Inspired group of co-educational and non-denominational international schools. What made me interested in joining the school was their particular interest in developing the creative arts. They have bought the existing Umhlanga College campus & will soon be building the new school and adding to the already beautiful setting of majestic trees and open fields.

When I first visited the school late November I was drawn to the large Natal Fig trees (Ficus Natalensis) that line the walkways outside the high school. 

Since then I have discovered more of them around the school. Like this twisty knotted one below:

My new classroom is a large very open space that has a lot of natural light. I have stripped it down to the bare minimum & intend keeping it uncluttered. 

I used to have a little office at Durban Girls' College, which I miss because it afforded me some privacy, but I have managed to create a little nook for myself. Surrounded by a painting I have started, my pin board & my custom made office chair covered in a vintage style fabric, I have managed to create a little nest. 

Of particular delight are the animals that inhabit the school grounds. The resident bunny and chickens live in a grassy area that borders the parking & monkeys invade the buildings and grounds daily. 

I still have to make up my mind whether the monkeys are a "delight" but for the moment I am enjoying watching them. Whole troops peer at us in the classrooms from the clerestory windows & break into any classroom that is empty hoping to steal food out of kids' lunch boxes. They have become quite adept at unzipping and unlatching these containers. In my first week at school a monkey ran into my classroom while I was holding a Grade 12 class. My only male student in my Grade 12 class, puffed himself up & chased the monkey out. The monkeys are quite sexist & do not react to women & can get quite aggressive.