Freedom in a coin

 A handful of old coins, dating from the 1930’s and on.
Although not much worth today, they are rich in history and we can only guess their stories.
I thought it good to buy back my spontaneity with these coins. Lately I could feel myself working very tight, very meticulous and aiming to “do it right”. So when I threw these coins on the table, I bought back my freedom. There are many irregularites in this painting..a too dark inside of the silver canister, funky pieces, the colors are wild and it may look more like candy than money, but take my word for it…coins they are. Rusted within a broad spectrum of colors, I could do nothing less than paint a caleidoscope, for therein lies my freedom.



Dave said…
That is beautiful! I’d never have thought it was possible to make such a lovely, colourful painting of a handful of coins. Wonderful!
May 31, 2007 10:45 PM  
Sarah said…
If you had not told me the inside of the tin was too dark I would never have known – in fact I think it balances the kaleidoscope of colurs very well indeed – and it’s good to see something inanimate brought alive by colour like this
May 31, 2007 11:29 PM  
Lin said…
May 31, 2007 11:43 PM  
andrea joseph’s sketchblog said…
Everytime I visit I’m aways in awe at the amount of work you’ve produced. And it’s always such great quality. This is GORGEOUS. I’m blown away by your use of colour – especially in this one. Oooh I’m jealous too!
June 1, 2007 1:33 AM  
Linda said…
I just love your use of color — how fantastic this painting is! It just jumps at you!
June 1, 2007 2:47 AM  
Arty Velarde said…
I like the juicy, wet watercolor look you have. I like what you wrote about the coins too.
Nice work.
June 1, 2007 3:14 AM  
Teri C said…
Such a wonderful compostion and use of color. Just perfect!
June 1, 2007 4:07 AM  
Bill said…
Beautifully warm and sensuous. It is interesting to think about where those coins have been isn’t it.
June 1, 2007 4:26 AM  
Desiree said…
Great job on the coins, I love the colors. I have a bag of coins from China that my mom brought home when she traveled there when I was a kid. I might need to dig those up!
June 1, 2007 7:20 AM  
Sandy said…
I really really like the loose style on this and the colors. This was a success in my opinion!!
June 1, 2007 7:58 AM  
Carole said…
Well done on reclaiming your freedom! I love this colourful spontaneous painting.
June 1, 2007 10:49 AM  
Claudia said…
…I like it very much! Very good work!- I have the same problem with being too meticulous sometimes. But it is only sometimes, not always, when I paint. Don’t know the reason why, but I’m investigating…:-))
June 1, 2007 1:09 PM  
Sandy said…
Oh Ronell these sign with life and vitality – I love the free you!!
June 1, 2007 9:52 PM  
Anita said…
WOW! A rainbow in a bottle.
Funnily enough I always think of you as a rainbow of colour so this sketch explains you perfectly to me!
June 2, 2007 1:41 AM  
SCquiltaddict said…
eautiful job…but what else would you do?
June 2, 2007 2:42 AM  
mARTa said…
I can smell the musty,rusty coins! Beautiful hues..
June 2, 2007 6:15 AM  
Serena said…
Congratulations on winning back your freedom….a beautiful and colourful sketch, Ronell! I love it!!
June 2, 2007 12:19 PM  
caseytoussaint said…
Hi Ronell – we’re back – I’ll call you soon! You’ve been dong some lovely work while I was away. Has Sandra seen her portrait? I’ve missed our art days – we’ll have to do it this week.
June 2, 2007 4:48 PM  
Lynn said…
Wow, who knew coins could be so colorful. I really love this painting, you have achieved a beautiful loosness and spontaneity.
June 2, 2007 9:34 PM  
Pequete said…
They undoubtedly look like coins, only so much beautiful than ordinary coins! I love it.
June 4, 2007 3:39 PM  
Brenda Y said…
Gorgeous pigments laid down wonderfully loose! I really love the way you just let the paint flow on this, who knew coins could be painted in such as interesting way.
June 5, 2007 5:18 PM  
Laureline said…
Oh, I know those periods of tightening up! You’ve found the perfect antidote! Lovely, Ronellesque coins.
I need to make a plan for a rendez-vous with you and Casey in September!
June 6, 2007 6:23 PM  
phthaloblu said…
I love your use of color. It’s one way to take a usually mundane subject and spice it up. This is beautiful!
June 6, 2007 11:16 PM  
Alison said…
This is beautifully luscious – what a delight.
June 7, 2007 3:20 AM  
platitudinal said…
Ronell, I also like the random placement of the coins. They look beautiful in the colors they’ve evolved to. I’m glad that you’re able to retrieve your freedom.

Two cars

Two cars…Only for the show.
They serve their purpose well in adding a quirky touch to a corner in the house somewhere…on a pile of antique books, under a cloche, on a dinner table, on a stack of DVD’s..I bought the chevy( right?)when we lived in South Carolina, at a stop next to the highway.
The “coccinelle” is a lovely reminder of my own I once dashed around in.
Watercolor and ink on Arches HP paper



Sandy said…

I adore these cars and the amusing still lifes you created, Bravo
May 30, 2007 6:17 PM  
Carole said…
These are both great paintings. I love the quirky things you find to paint, and the colours you choose to use. The little green car is really cute – I’d love one of those!
May 30, 2007 7:18 PM  
brian nelson said…
Great job on the cars! Great paintings.
May 30, 2007 8:26 PM  
Lin said…
FANTASTIC WORK!!! Love the wee things!
May 30, 2007 8:57 PM  
Dave said…
Lovely work! And such interesting subjects.
May 30, 2007 10:14 PM  
platitudinal said…
And the doors open too. Wow!
Great illustrations on the theme, Ronell! And, another glimpse to your life or in this case, your house 🙂
May 31, 2007 12:06 AM  
Lynn said…
I love both these compositions. They are exquisite!
May 31, 2007 12:07 AM  
Lindsay said…
Very cute cars. Love the shading on them.
May 31, 2007 7:56 AM  
Robyn said…
Lovely whimsical still lifes, Ronell. There seem to be quite a few women painting cars lately. It must be evolution 🙂
May 31, 2007 10:20 AM  
Tonniece said…
So detailed, I love the the colors, the moveing parts, and the fact that you actually own miniature cars, how cool.
May 31, 2007 1:31 PM  
juj said…
I’ve never noticed how little pen you use to make your wonderful sketches until I looked at the VW Bug large, and I don’t know why it facinates me so much but it’s amazing and makes me love your paintings even more. Great work on both these sketches. LOVE the colors – especially those spots on the cds.
May 31, 2007 2:28 PM  
suzanne said…
Such a smart way to illustrate cars! I love the fact that you like to have quirky touches around your house. Me too!
May 31, 2007 3:22 PM  
Teri C said…
Great cars!!! That top one is a ’56 Chevy I think. They both are so neat and what a great subject!
June 1, 2007 4:05 AM  
Viv King said…
Hi Ronell – your site is SO COOL- it is so accessible and you can see changes all the time – you must be one hard-working chick!! Thanks for the comment on my “portrait” – it is nice to get some recognition at last after so many years of trying – did you ever have anything to do with the SASA while you were in Stellies – I find them to be quite a “cliquey” bunch!! Keep in touch, hey ou skat!

Inspirations in color

I am in search of Inspiration. I find it in people. That does it for me. Creative people, people with strong character, the survivors, the gentle, caring ones, the courageous, daring ones…I have them all in my small circle of friends.
Voici two of them. Two wonderful inspirations. Very far away, so I had to rely on photo’s. I don’t mind that much.
I chose to do the following sketch, because I love the way this friend interacts. She is a beautiful woman, an extraordinary talented florist; you can give her a dry stick and she’ll turn it into a magical creation. And she can’t talk without her hands. I love that. When I dropped by her floral shop, she was busy with a romantic bouquet for Valentine’s day and we stood for about 30 minutes chatting, while she held this wonderful creation in the one hand and expressed herself with the other. She wears this delightful “apron” when she works, to protect her clothes. Being around her, is feeling the creative juices flow…it is inspiring.

This was supposed to be only watercolor on HP Arches paper. Then I had to “fix” it by adding pen! It seems I have to fix everything lately.


This friend is a lovely romantic, in heart and soul and in appearance. She carries a bit of yesteryear with her. With her angelic hair and fair skin and soft features, she posed many problems to paint. This is my fourth go at her and it still not what I’m after and this time pen wont’ fix it. I want nothing less than a soft, flowy watercolor painting. I’ll probably try again and again…Maybe its because I know that she isn’t ALL romantic – she can swim faster than anyone I know, she can climb a rock as fast as the young guys, she can paddle a kayak through some scary rapids and she’s not afraid of any marathon! She exudes a wonderful zest for life, nothing is too hard or too boring for her, she does everything that comes her way…it’s contagious. This is watercolor on Fabriano CP (extra white)



Stacy said…
Ronell, your friends sound lovely and look lovely too! I love how their personalities influenced you as much as their appearance did.
May 23, 2007 6:08 PM  
Lin said…
May 23, 2007 7:06 PM  
Bonny said…
You have a wonderful talent, Ronell. Not only do you connect in a special way with people, but you portray them beautifully, too. Love the painting of your florist friend. She almost looks fey like a fairy princess. Gorgeous!
May 23, 2007 7:45 PM  
Teri C said…
Beautiful paintings Ronell!! I love your commentary with all your art-they were made for each other.
May 23, 2007 8:17 PM  
Dave said…
Well, you certainly fixed it well! Wonderful portraits, and what wonderful friends it sounds like you have.
May 23, 2007 8:39 PM  
Anita said…
Oh Ronell I LOVE everything about this entry.
May 23, 2007 9:07 PM  
Claudia said…
Ronell, w o n d e r f u l watercolours, especially the first one! It has something magic!
May 23, 2007 10:45 PM  
Lindsay said…
What a sweet and beautiful post. A nice tribute to your friends too.
May 23, 2007 11:56 PM  
martín said…
Beautiful portraits Ronell. The first one really talks. Your friend does it with her hands and you through your paintings.
May 24, 2007 12:31 AM  
SCquiltaddict said…
fun wc…great stuff…gotta get my paint brushes back out! keep it up
May 24, 2007 2:04 AM  
Jana Bouc said…
What a fabulous portrait–both in words and paint. I love the second one–it’s so loose and fresh and has a sweetness about it.
May 24, 2007 6:15 AM  
Tonniece said…
Love this post Ronell
I’ts so great to have friends, good friends, and being able to capture their essence as you have here is a wonderful gift to them and all of us as well.
May 24, 2007 6:51 AM  
Carole said…
I really love how you have composed and painted these to capture their character as well as their features. They are beautiful paintings and charming descriptions of your friends.
May 24, 2007 9:18 AM  
suzanne said…
Wow Ronell….these are both breathtaking. Not only in the sense that they are technically outstanding, but also in the fact that you have captured the personalities of your inspirations so well. Not knowing them, I think I could have pretty much described their personalities in exactly the way you did, only by looking at your paintings.Your inspirations are inspirations to me.
May 24, 2007 4:39 PM  
Arty Velarde said…
This is nice. I like the watery, “juiciness”!
May 24, 2007 6:47 PM  
janey said…
These are very soft and pretty and I like the descriptions that go with them. It makes the paintings come alive even more.
May 25, 2007 1:33 AM  
juj said…
Oh Ronell – These are lovely! I especially like the second one, so soft and loose – I love the expression on her face. And the deep red of the necklace is such a nice accent to the whole and balances her glasses perfectly. Your friends both sound wonderful. You must feel very fortunate to have them in your life.
May 25, 2007 3:45 PM  
Nancy Van Blaricom said…
I simply love the stories that go along with your watercolors. The watercolors could stand alone with not comments, but you bring such life to them all….
May 26, 2007 3:37 PM  
Robyn said…
Both friends are lovely – I love the mood as well in the first watercolour and the second is beautiful in the lightness of your touch.
May 26, 2007 7:07 PM  
ksklein said…
I love the top pic. Very romantic. It reminds me of weddings, brides, valentines,…
I would have loved to nsee a little more of her face though.
May 27, 2007 8:58 PM  
Emma Pod said…
These are both wonderful paintings of your friends. In the top one I can almost hear her talking…the hand gesture is so nice! Nice work!
May 29, 2007 5:35 AM  
Regula Scheifele said…
Both your paintings and your descriptions are loving and beautiful – what a gift you have and how nice for your friends to have you paint them!
May 29, 2007 2:09 PM  
Sandy said…
Ronell, these are beautiful and I loved reading how they inspire you..sandy
May 30, 2007 9:48 PM  
platitudinal said…
Beautiful paintings of those you hold dear in your heart. 🙂
May 31, 2007 12:04 AM  
Serena said…
Beautiful work, Ronell, and a very nice tribute to your friends. 🙂
May 31, 2007 12:30 PM  
phthaloblu said…
These are both beautiful paintings, but I know how you feel when you’re trying for a certain result and you can’t get it. But, these are very beautiful. I think lots of us look to the people we know when we need inspiration. That’s how we re-energize. When we are feeling down, we gravitate toward someone who is immensely positive so we can feed off of that positiveness. Does that make sense? Anyway, it sounds like you have some wonderful friends to look to for your inspiration. Full of life and creativity.
June 1, 2007 5:27 PM  
austin of sundrip said…
I’ve scrolled through your page here but I keep coming back to the girl with flowers, it catches my eye and won’t let it go. Awesome work, awesome.Austin of Sundrip

A necklace and a statue

A painting of a piece of jewelry as suggested by MArta.


Done in watercolor on white Fabriano CP.
30.5 cm x 45.5 cm



Deborah said…
I love the contrast between these two subjects and your background is fabulous! Great work.
May 21, 2007 5:46 PM  
Bonny said…
This statue is pretty cool! Great colours! I like his expression, too.
The necklace is really fabulous!
May 21, 2007 7:43 PM  
Robyn said…
All of the above and that stone background is really so simple but so effective. Can you tell more about the necklace – it looks ceramic.
May 21, 2007 8:18 PM  
🙂 Silvia said…
Ceramic? Oops… to me it appears to be a golden bracelet.
It’s a fantastic contrast however, as well in color as in material/surface (stone, metal, terracotta).
What color was the CP you painted on?
May 21, 2007 8:59 PM  
Lin said…
SUPER JOB, Ronell!!! GREAT looking necklace too!
May 22, 2007 12:35 AM  
Lindsay said…
I love the colors and the textures.
May 22, 2007 4:38 AM  
mARTa said…
oh gosh, I better get going on my painting! I love the wild feel of yours! Hope to have mine done by the weekend!
May 22, 2007 5:19 AM  
Brenda Y said…
Fantastic textural contrasts!!! How in the world did you capture the differences in the different materials? It’s really amazing – my guess is the necklace is a metal, the statue is clay and the background is stone. Am I close?
May 22, 2007 5:57 AM  
clare said…
this is great ronell. your ‘odd’paintings are ver good, I like the way you do watercolours.
May 22, 2007 7:51 AM  
Africantapestry said…
Thanks for noticing the is what I was after…the necklace is ceramics and brass, the statue is of clay and I set up the still life against some rocks in the back of of our caves.
May 22, 2007 8:07 AM  
Tonniece said…
Good morning Ronell
As always a great piece. What a cute statue, and lovely necklace.
May 22, 2007 12:56 PM  
platitudinal said…
Clay, ceramic, brass, and stone. Ronell, you painted four different materials, each with its own characteristics and textures. This shows remarkable skill. Bravo! 🙂
May 22, 2007 1:40 PM  
Teri C said…
What a fascinating layout for these articles. Your caves??? Love all the different textures and colors.
May 22, 2007 7:23 PM  
Carole said…
He’s an interesting little chap. I like the colours and textures. Have you used some sort of resist e.g. wax on the left? But then that would be giving away your secrets!
May 22, 2007 10:41 PM  
Africantapestry said…
I haven’t given enough comment on this post..sorry for that!My mind is a bit fractered lately…
Yes, Carole, I first layed one wash, let it dry and then rubbed a candle all over(should’ve done a better job, I went TOO random, so the texture on the stone doesn’t actually make sense) and then I added a darker wash.
May 22, 2007 10:50 PM  
Ben said…
ah said the blind i see…glad you elucidated!!! verrryyy interesting
May 23, 2007 2:39 AM  
bec said…
what do you mean by caves? real caves, like big holes in rock? must be an interesting place you live! and thanks for filling me in on the wax resist…. very interesting!
May 23, 2007 3:46 AM  
phthaloblu said…
Nice contrast between the two subjects. Great job!
May 29, 2007 4:22 PM  
laserone said…
Oh I just LOVE this! It’s very funky and unique… I love funky and unique. 🙂
May 30, 2007 6:04 AM  
Serena said…
I love the contrasts on this one, Ronell! Very nice indeed ~

Bon voyage to Casey!

Bon voyage to Casey.! May she have fun in Hong Kong, may they be kept safe and may she come back with great sketches!


Lin said…
May 18, 2007 5:17 PM  
Teri C said…
Wonderful tribute to Casey. What a good friend you are. Great bowl!!
May 18, 2007 7:16 PM  
platitudinal said…
Love the bowl and the chopsticks to illustrate the trip to the Orient.
May 18, 2007 9:13 PM  
bec said…
Oooh Hong Kong… I’ve never been there. It will be interesting to see Casey’s sketches. I like the colors and subject of your painting !
May 19, 2007 3:32 AM  
caseytoussaint said…
Wow – thanks Ronell! I’m not sure I’ll be able to reach this standard, but I’ll do my best.
May 19, 2007 10:17 AM  
Robyn said…
Such a pretty bowl! Reminds me how much I miss Chinese food. I lived in HK for a couple of years so really envy Casey.
May 19, 2007 2:26 PM  
Claudia said…
The sketch looks so real!!Well done!
May 19, 2007 8:13 PM  
mARTa said…
love chinese food! I have a bowl similar to your although I prefer to eat out! Love your wc sketch! I must try hot press paper!
May 20, 2007 4:17 AM  
Brenda Y said…
What a clever idea to paint a chinese bowl and chopsticks!! I LOVE it!!! And oh yes, we will look forward to seeing what Casey brings back.
May 20, 2007 5:50 AM  
Anna said…
Beautiful colors!
May 22, 2007 11:28 PM  
Ben said…
what a sweet thing to do…and its lovely…
May 23, 2007 2:36 AM  
Fanta said…
What a wonderful job. The perfect colur combination , perfectly balanced. It’s such a warm painting.
And yes, I also hope Casey will surprise us with lots of stuff. I bet she is sketching right now as I type. I really can’t wait!
May 23, 2007 9:44 PM  
wagonized said…
Holy crap. I love how you handled the colors.
May 24, 2007 3:17 AM  
laserone said…
omg i JUST love this. The colors are GORGEOUS. I have an almost identical bowl, but without the design on the bottom. Wow, this is really nice. 🙂
May 30, 2007 6:08 AM  
Serena said…
Fabulous work, Ronell! I gave an oriental bowl and chopstick set to my daughter last year…same colours too. LOVE this!
May 31, 2007 12:28 PM  
andrea joseph’s sketchblog said…
Absolutely STUNNING.

Some odd sketches

Today is an odd day. The weather is odd. I feel odd. I had two odd migraine attacks in a week, normally I’ll have two in a year. In an odd way I don’t feel like doing any art. So I just chose some odd subjects. I did these all in my moleskine, which felt odd after a long time of not using it. And I used odd colors. Ultramarine blue, burnt sienna, raw umber and payne’s grey. For no specific reason, my eyes just fell on them. In order to do some of these subjects, I had to twist my body oddly to see them, since I refused to get out of my “comfort zone”…

Ten to twelve…it’s an odd clock, it can’t be trusted.


An old pitcher with an old, hand crocheted “doily” from my mom’s kitchen, frequently used to keep out the odd insect.


An old candy bowl, now used to hold old porcelain pieces I pick up everywhere. Many of them were dug up when we established our garden. It’s a habit I learnt from a good friend in SA many years ago and we both still do. I miss her on this odd day. There is always a piece of old porcelain lying around on the ground, telling a story of times long past.


Ostrich eggs, straight from the farm. Odd bird, the ostrich; quick and vicious despite its calm looks.


Just a lamp, nothing odd about it.



Dave said…
You set yourself an interesting challenge! I think my favourite is the lamp, though they’re all good.
May 17, 2007 6:25 PM  
mARTa said…
ah Ronelle, oddly beautiful…all of them! I suffer from migraines as well…about 4 to 8 a month…I understand the odd.
May 17, 2007 6:53 PM  
Robyn said…
Odd is nice – very Alice in Wonderland. I like this odd palette. Lovely sketches, the milk jug cover with the beads took me back to my grandmother. She had crochet with beads over everything, even dangling lamp shades. To me it was like Aladdin’s Cave.
May 17, 2007 6:57 PM  
Lin said…
Ronell — I LOVE your limited palette use – it looks great!! And even feeling odd-your work is still divine!!!
May 17, 2007 7:50 PM  
Tonniece said…
Migraine, and not in a mood to do any art………and still here are five great sketches. Although they are all super I like the eggs and the lamp.
May 17, 2007 7:55 PM  
Teri C said…
You even manage to have great stuff when having an odd day! Maybe odd is good. Hope those migraines go somewhere else.
May 17, 2007 7:56 PM  
Nancy Van Blaricom said…
Great work all of them, but I’m sold on “ten to twelve”. I love the composition and the colors… and the line… Great work.
May 17, 2007 8:40 PM  
Jeanette said…
Wow! So beautiful…I will definitely come back! Soon!
May 17, 2007 9:21 PM  
Sandy said…
Oh how I love your loose, light touch – Just Great , all of them!
May 17, 2007 9:56 PM  
Stacy said…
I really like your “odd” sketches and how the palette ties them all together in a set. My favorite is the lamp, something in the way the paint flowed. Odd explaination, I know. Your description of how each item was odd was much better. 🙂
May 17, 2007 11:20 PM  
shirley said…
These are lovely – so many wonderful reflections.
May 18, 2007 12:53 AM  
Lindsay said…
Odd how I just happened to drop by! I, for one am really glad you shared your odd day. These are poinent (sp) and sweet.
May 18, 2007 6:14 AM  
Brenda Y said…
They may be odd to you, but to me they are exquisite!! You have such a wonderfully loose and fluid style and the limited palette is fantastic (something I’ve been working on lately too!) I love the idea of collecting odd pieces of porcelain and putting them in a jar. I do hope you get over your odd feeling and your migraines.
May 18, 2007 7:21 AM  
caseytoussaint said…
Ronell, these are wonderful – I really love the clock and candlesticks, and as Brenda says, the limited palette works beautifully. I hope you feel better, I’ve been worried about you….
May 18, 2007 10:21 AM  
Rebel Alliance said…
nice drawings… congratulations!
May 18, 2007 3:26 PM  
platitudinal said…
These sketches are lovely. They truly capture the beauty of every day. There’s peace and serenity in them. I hope those elements color your days, and less odd days frequent your doorstep.
May 18, 2007 9:12 PM  
Carole said…
I do love the way you turn your everyday life into these quirky writings and beautiful moody sketches. I like that colour palette and the slightly out of focus look about the sketches.I hope you are feeling better.
May 19, 2007 11:00 PM  
martha said…
These are fantastic! I can only aspire to such looseness and juicy color.
May 20, 2007 8:36 PM  
ksklein said…
actually all the odd stuff turned out to be really good.
May 21, 2007 1:29 PM  
Emma Pod said…
These are all beautiful odd things! You did an especially nice job on the glass objects. I hope you are feeling better!
May 21, 2007 7:49 PM  
Africantapestry said…
thanks for commenting, I appreciate it!
May 22, 2007 8:08 AM  
Laureline said…
Wonderful collection of oddments! It’s really fun to see your mind working, the way you string together your sketch vignettes!
May 22, 2007 9:23 PM  
Fanta said…
The eggs are just wonderful. But so are the glass containers. How on Earth can you make them look so lively, shiny, airy and beautiful???? You have a real talent there.
May 23, 2007 9:48 PM  
Jana Bouc said…
What a feast for the eyes! I like the candlesticks and eggs the best.
May 24, 2007 6:16 AM  
austin said…
I’m drawn to burnt sienna and clocks so this painting is one I would love to posses. The colour combo is very calming so I use these as often as possible in my home. I find them soothing. Your “odd sketches” are moving.

Barefoot and happy


A handful of years ago, we packed our two small girls and with a suitcase and a chair or two we headed for the unknown. In this case it happened to be Suffolk, England. We arrived in February, stayed in the Orwell hotel in Felixstowe for some weeks while in search for a haven to unpack our lives.
Two days ago Hartman called me from Felixstowe, where he was working for three days. While he was walking by the sea, eating fish and chips, visiting all the places we lived, buying Fox’s crunch creams, we remembered. We remembered how young our girls were. We remembered how cold it was, how wet, how grey, how exciting, how awful, how lonely. This led to many memories old and dear. It took me far back to our homeland, before we packed up, to days of golden sun, warm cuddling friendships, lazy beach days, back breaking work sessions, hat wearing sports events… all of which happened barefoot.
We learnt in England to wear shoes, after the girls have been frowned upon for running at school events barefoot, for running barefoot through the lobby of the hotel to quickly pick up Dad from work(truth be told, it was February…), I have learnt to keep shoes close by for when the doorbell rang and I learnt not to kick out my shoes when arriving at a friends house.
It has been a long time since I’ve had to remove some thorns from my feet. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt mud squishing up between my toes, or heated up my feet in a warm puddle of cow dung,….disgusting maybe, but those who grew up on a farm, will know what I’m talking about. They’re quite beautiful now, my feet, very soft and supple, lovely pedicured and all, which is something to be grateful for I suppose. But when the chance for being barefoot shows up at our door, we still happily kick off those shoes and dash across the lobby.

In the light of my melancholy, I did 3 quick sketches with some pen and watercolor on Fabriano HP paper….and even trampled some mud…



Ujwala said…
nice 😀 i wish i could draw my feet with as much ease. i do know about running around barefoot though 😀 pretty common growing up in India. Took to wearing slippers when i discovered that not doing so was one of the triggers for an allergy attack .
May 12, 2007 5:28 PM  
Kunya said…
Gorgeous & sensual. Love to look at these.
May 12, 2007 7:34 PM  
Renate said…
Not only are you beautiful with pen and brush, I’m also very touched by your words. A poet, for sure …
May 12, 2007 7:52 PM  
Bill said…
Beautiful thoughts and paintings.
May 12, 2007 8:07 PM  
Lin said…
Ronell — OH WHAT WONDERFUL FEET!!!! And memories and thoughts! I used to run around NY sidewalks and mud with barefeet .. grew many a callouses .. and sure do miss those days …!
May 12, 2007 8:35 PM  
shirley said…
I LOVE your paintings and your use of shadows.
May 12, 2007 10:51 PM  
Fanta said…
Wonderful tale, gorgeaus feet sketches (not to forget the gorgeous feet:)). My absolute fav. has to be the first one, I just love its vibrant colours and the dramatic treatment of the shadows.
I can’t wait to get back to China where I can have my weekly reflexology sessions for the fracture of the European price… I love to have my feet pampered. I can imagine cow dung can be very pleasant too, but never tried it. Well, not yet.
May 12, 2007 11:27 PM  
Robyn said…
I don’t think I can remember running through cow dung – but I still wince at the memory of chicken poo. Vivid, entertaining writing, as ever, Ronell and sweet feet!
May 12, 2007 11:37 PM  
Susan Hosken said…
To celebrate your blog entry I’m going to go paddling down at the beach and feel sand between my toes. What a treat.
Enjoy the journey
Lots of love from Susan in Australia
May 12, 2007 11:55 PM  
Serena said…
I loved reading this post, Ronell. It brought back memories of our trip to England to visit with family back when I was fourteen. Granny was shocked that my siblings and I were barefoot a lot of the time. Once, when my sister and I walked down the street to the corner shop barefoot, people would actually stop and stare at us like we were freaks. LOL Being barefoot was so much the norm back then in Australia. Nowadays, we tend to go barefoot only in our homes, yards and, of course, at the beach. Sorry for digressing….LOVED your sketches….great feet!!
May 13, 2007 12:11 AM  
Arty Velarde said…
Very, very cool.
paintings and story that is!
May 13, 2007 2:46 AM  
Anita said…
Beautiful post and fabulous sketches Ronell.
Living in the Fens, in England, I can happily report that my children are rarely seen wearing shoes of any kind. My youngest walks upon the shingle, thistles, stinging nettles…barefoot. My eldest feeds the animals and dashes over to my parents opposite the yard…Barefoot.
Me…Well let’s just say my feet are anything but beautiful. Tough, mostly naked and always looking a little grubby which is fine until I need to wear evening shoes!
It’s good to feel the earth you walk upon, freeing!
I also have it on good authority that it is very good for you to walk upon the early morning dew barefooted, especially women. I often do this and, damp footed, I breath in the virgin fenland air at the start of a new day…It’s a very calming way to start the day and allows me time & peace to appreciate all I have.
May 13, 2007 3:11 AM  
mARTa said…
lovely paintings and wonderful memories. I am fortunate enough to live in a climate where I run around barefoot ALWAYS at home. We do kick off our shoes when we come indoors or visit! And it’s sandle time so time for toe rings and ankle bracelets!
May 13, 2007 7:05 AM  
Jana Bouc said…
These are wonderful Ronell. I grew up barefoot too, in San Diego, California. I never wore shoes (except to school or jobs) and my feet were so tough I could walk on the hot beach sand or the hot sidewalk with no problem. When I took my drivers license test the examiner tried to tell me I had to wear shoes but I told him there was no law that said so and he gave in. It wasn’t until I moved to New York City when I was 19 that I stopped going barefoot. My first walk down the street I stepped in glass, spit, etc. and that was the end of that. I still go barefoot at home and around the yard though. I actually liked the way it sounds to warm ones feet in a squishy cow pie. I bet it felt better than mud!
May 13, 2007 7:32 AM  
Emma Pod said…
Wonderful feet and good colors too! I got “tagged” to tell 7 things about myself on my blog and then tag 7 others. I tagged you as one of my 7 (if you haven’t done it already) on my post tonight.take care! Mary
May 13, 2007 8:19 AM  
Africantapestry said…
Thank you for the comments- I loved all your stories about your barefoot days…wonderful to hear that it is a freedom still loved by many. It is so true what Anita says…to feel the raw earth beneath your feet, is to feel something freeing your soul.
May 13, 2007 9:18 AM  
Tonniece said…
What a wonderful story Ronell. I have never liked being barefoot in my entire life, till that is, I got to that magical age all we women must endure. I now find the floors so soothing and (cooling). As for the great outdoors and bare feet I’ve never done that, but you make it sound so relaxing and fun. As summer is fighting to stay here in Canada, I just might give it a try.
Love the sketches. (being barefoot dosn’t seem to have done them any harm).
May 13, 2007 9:35 AM  
Lindsay said…
Ronell, I loved this sweet and sentimental post. The paintings and your nostalgia are a lovely combination. Japan might be a great home for your feet!!
May 13, 2007 3:30 PM  
SCquiltaddict said…
great story about your feet…and going barefooted…too bad you were not in the south…you could have gone barefooted here!
May 13, 2007 3:51 PM  
andrea joseph’s sketchblog said…
These are really great. All of them. I love your approach Roneel. It makes me quite envious!
May 13, 2007 6:06 PM  
Nancy Van Blaricom said…
Wonderful post. (I love reading your story’s)Wonderful memories for you.Wonderful sketches.Happy Mother’s Day to you.
May 13, 2007 6:35 PM  
Natalie Ford said…
That reminds me of this – done years ago!
May 13, 2007 6:48 PM  
Sarah said…
This time I hope it gets posted … enjoyed your post and the paintings are lovely – particularly the middle one. Reading about being barefoot made my toes curl in delight – I love the feel of dew-wet grass.And strangely enough, I live in Ipswich – and am regularly in Felixstow as it’s my nearest coastal town and I miss living by the sea. Small world!
May 13, 2007 7:31 PM  
Robyn said…
Ronell – Just wanted to let you know, since I so enjoy your blog, I’ve tagged you. Just follow the link to my post
May 13, 2007 7:45 PM  
E-J said…
As a three-year-old, I was evidently known as “the little girl with green feet” because going barefoot was seen as such an oddity! My father was originally South African, though … perhaps that’s the connection …Suffolk!! It’s so close to where I am now.Love your sketches, and your words.
May 13, 2007 11:20 PM  
Silvia said…
Wonderful story and paintings. I can only agree with all that has been said before.
May 14, 2007 12:25 AM  
bec said…
ahhh ! barefoot. I’ve enjoyed going barefoot since I was a child too… now I find it so freeing especially when I play music-I’m a violinist- it always goes better when I’m barefoot! I always enjoy your free and happy sketches.
May 14, 2007 3:46 AM  
wagonized said…
They are beautiful feet! Not just the way you painted them, but simply them, their shape!
May 14, 2007 4:01 AM  
aPugsLife-laserone said…
Wow, what a fantastic post. I love hearing about people’s lives through their posts and their art. I am very… I am not sure of the word. I tend to think about the past a lot. I moved around A LOT growing up and so I think about towns and houses I used to live in growing up. I miss some of them. Some I do NOT miss but still think about or dream about in my sleep. 🙂
May 14, 2007 7:48 AM  
caseytoussaint said…
What a great post, Ronell! I also went barefoot all the time when I was a kid, even in New Jersey – and sometimes I forget and answer the door here in France with bare feet. The looks I get are terrifying!
May 14, 2007 8:39 AM  
Carole said…
I get such a sense of freedom from your description of enjoying your barefootedness! And the paintings seem to communicate that revelling in such simple freedom. Lovely post!
By the way, I’ve tagged you – but just realised reading through your comments that I’m not the first. Sorry!
May 14, 2007 12:12 PM  
Alison said…
Beautiful – I used to stub my toes so often as a child as I went barefoot all summer.
May 14, 2007 2:02 PM  
Jan said…
Great feet Ronell. And I’ve tagged you too! Seems someone else got here before me, but it’s too late to change. I’ve got you up on my blog. So come on over and check the details!
May 14, 2007 2:15 PM  
ksklein said…
Hi there, You have been tagged. To check it out have a look at my blog!I like the first feet pic.
May 14, 2007 4:27 PM  
Sandy said…
What fun, both story and sketches, Both show so much of who you are and it is simply GREAT. For someone melancholy you ROCK!
May 14, 2007 4:28 PM  
Teri C said…
What fun!!! I especially love the one with mud between the toes, that’s about as free as you can get!!
May 14, 2007 5:09 PM  
Biby Cletus said…
Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be backDeep Regards from the other side of the MoonBiby Cletus
May 14, 2007 9:15 PM  
Stacy said…
Ronell, it seems your foot post was a hit! I enjoyed it too! I always liked being barefoot as a child and found that I haven’t yet outgrown it. Shoes suffocate my feet. My kids are taking after me and take off their shoes as soon as they get home. In warm weather we often wear flip flops when we need to go out because they are the most minimal shoes allowed.
May 15, 2007 6:04 PM  
platitudinal said…
Melancholia may be a fleeting moment, but it certainly knows how to make its presence known. Hope you are feeling better. Love the bare feet sketches. I have a bit of a hard time imagining the delight of squishing around the cow dung, but was tickled by the idea that some people do not mind 🙂
May 16, 2007 1:44 PM  
phthaloblu said…
Oh my! I grew up barefoot. The bottoms of my feet were as hard as leather from going everywhere barefoot. My husband hated that (he’s from New Jersey) and wouldn’t let our kids go barefoot. I told him, sorry, you married a hillbilly! lol! Anyway, he hates it when I get back from girl weekend, especially if we’ve been in the mountains because the first thing I do is ditch the shoes. Thanks for bringing back some memories.
May 16, 2007 5:13 PM  

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