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SA chronicles 2 – Sea life

 a Taste of life by the sea; boats of course, some abalone; more precious than diamonds, a view on mountains in the distance, sipping something cool and indulging in freshly caught calamari…thoughts and emotions haphazardly all on one page.

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How can one grow old spiritually when having the sea as company every day? I know of men and women who lived by the sea, off the sea and they saw ninety years, a hundred years and still counting. They have lived by the rythm of the moons, the directions of the winds, they took what was offered by the tides and accepted the moods of the skies. Like Proust says: “We don’t receive wisdom, we have to discover it after journeys taken”…so doesn’t wisdom only arrive after we’ve gone through some struggling? Don’t we grow after we have suffered some? When looking at life by the sea, in the sea, we’ll see evidence of that. I see it regularly just looking at La Loire outside my window; the birds who nest hopefully and optimistically on the islands in the Loire, just to have it all flooded away few days later. Yet, they come again and again with their hope and optimism. Nature teaches us by example. I wonder if we’ll ever learn from it, seeing how we  eat imported foods and sigh heavily when it’s not available, jump in our cars to drive 5 minutes for a DVD, complain about trivialities….A life lived in harmony with nature may not be a luxurious one, but it is certainly an enriching and fulfilling one.

Sketches done in sketchbook on site (except for a few shells), 19x25cm, with pencil, pen and watercolours.

A working vessel, Lorelei, in the harbour of Hermanus

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A lobster boat, Western Debbie, with its nests of catching nets and ropes, in the harbour of Gordon’s baylobsterboat.jpg

and sea life…in a rainbow of colours and dazzling shapes….

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How then, can one grow old by the sea…?

….to be continued.

South Africa chronicles 1- Fynbos.

Being in slow motion and double speed at the same time is simply tough. My body is with me back here in France, at home, and moving at double time, inspired to get things done and make changes and take on projects, looking good after being sunkissed and feeling good after all the eating?? and yet, it still remains familiar in the mirror. My spirit is still roaming somewhere in the southern hemisphere, not willing to let go of the long summer days, the lingering evenings, the dew filled mornings, the sound of breaking waves, the call of the cows to their calves, the unquiet silence of breathings in the bush. Not that it is bad being home. It is just getting mind and body to function as one again. In the present. Remembering yesterday, but living today.

The Cape is home to an estimated 7000 species of Cape fynbos of which I only know a handful. The sketches below are not even a glimpse of what there is….life got to too much fun and stopping for a sketch got to too hard – too many friends, too much to do, too little time to sketch. The few sketches that I did manage to get my hand on, were all done in my sketchbook, 19x25cm, with pen and watercolor.

The oak tree is not indigenous, but is synonym with Stellenbosch where they tower in all their majesty and grace. When we lived there years ago, I would frequently walk to town to do my shopping and would bring home an acorn every time. When we left for the UK, I sadly had to let go of many years’ collection of acorns… And of course the Aloe, well known for its health properties.

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The protea, our national flower and one of my alltime favorite flowers/shrubs and the graceful Agapanthus, plentiful in every garden.

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 And then there is the widespread Felicias growing on the coasts, with their small blue flowers, succulents like Tertragonias with their thick glistening leaves, and hyobanches, tinted in deep reds and browns, the abundant Delosperma. And we had our own table by the shore among the flora on the sandshores, where we would sit with a coffee every morning, just taking in every thing that our eye could capture and where the view was never the same.

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A view on a sunny day….

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and a view on a rainy day. Pencil, black and grey watercolor wash.

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….to be contiuned.