Messing About with Paint


Oil on Canvas 30cmx40cm
On the easel, I’m at war with my portrait of Mina. Subtle tonal and colour shifts across her face. Reflecting a bubbling personality honed in harsh world of domestic labour and a will of iron. Must be the iron will that is giving me such a hard time!

Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

As is being reported, the levels of violence, even by the craziness we have witnessed over the past few months, is incredibly disturbing and the impact its having on the moral and commitment of my staff is tragic. Groups huddled around the TV waiting for the latest news. Security updates devoured for an indication of what next?

‘Train Across the Water’, 60cmx30cm, Oil on Canvas
Dramatic sunrises and sunsets over Juba Town. The air crystal after the rains. Challenging the artist to do his best. Turner, my standard for drama infused translucence. The lagoon in Knysna from the new gallery studio, with its railway line across the water, a setting that Monet wouldn’t have managed to resist. Yachts, the modern touch. A tad escapist, with it all being a gazillion miles away from Juba Town.

I’m staring at the left over mangos on the kitchen counter that are rapidly getting to the too ripe, pulp stage. Eating one is a huge amount of work, and such a mess for something that is more juice than anything else. Perhaps if I made a small hole in the tough skin and squeezed it, I would have better results?? The pips are massive, covered in tough fibre that admittedly, also acts as dental floss, and buckets of orange sludge.

Jog with a fiery sunrise. Sweltering under heavy clouds. The PoC ominously quiet this Easter Sunday. Not a drum, or a voice raised in song to be heard. The English Premier League, however, is amplified over a PA system and despite the looming storm, the flickering images mesmerizes hundreds.

A pen and brush illustration Bob did of Zevenwacht Village is powerful in its simplicity, clarity and sense of place. That is was done using digital tools provides another challenge, however in tackling one of the more disturbing sides of the conflict in South Sudan, it provided me with a base from which to work. Bob had the advantage of being a superb draughtsman, while my shoddy skills I usually hide by smearing paint about the place. Not so easily done, and I’m continually searching for lines to take out to hide my lack of skill.
‘To War’, 35cmx25cm, Charcoal and Acrylic on paper

Feedback on my French is that my grammar sucks. I have no idea what is masculine or feminine, and my pronunciation is at the same level as a non-native French speaking child who hasn’t left kindergarden!

Despite the craziness in the country that has stunned us all by its savagery, Customs Market is bustling. The new university buildings are complete making the wide pavement available for hawkers. They are now three or four shops deep, taking over one of the road lanes, the other blocked by minibus taxis. Traffic at a standstill, which if you are a stall owner is perfect as you can rush between vehicles selling your goods and get back to your stall for re-supply before the traffic has moved an inch. Rickety stalls selling clothing are at the back, with barrow stall owners selling shoes and other bits in the middle, and fruit sellers on sheets of plastic at the front on the road.

An impact of the high winds that have accompanied the storms over Juba Town, is that the large advertising boards that have sprung up all over the place have been wrecked. In most instances, the central support pillars have bent like straws bringing the signboard crashing down across streets, neighbouring buildings and even school yards.

The traffic around Juba Town is nuts again. A boda-boda driver came weaving out from behind the back of my vehicle and hit an oncoming car. Fortunately it didn’t hit me, but the passenger fell badly and the motorcycle driver couldn’t have fared much better. A tad upsetting.

Diary of an Adventure, Messing About with Paint

Rhythms of Life

First painting in South Sudan of children and women waiting in the bread queue, when I arrived two years ago. A reflection at this sad time.

Rhythms of life.

Cycles of nature.
Seasons change.
Day follows night.
Moon waxes.
Years pass.
After 2 decades of war, life in South Sudan, begins to revolve around the rhythms of life.
The daily bread queue.
Children waiting.
Without fear.
A brighter future.

Terry-Ellen 2012

Messing About with Paint

Train across the Lagoon

Oil on Canvas 60cmx30cm

Dramatic sunrises and sunsets over Juba Town. The air crystal after the rains. Challenging the artist to do his best. Turner, my standard for drama infused translucence. The lagoon in Knysna from the new gallery studio, with its railway line across the water, a setting that Monet wouldn’t have managed to resist. Yachts, the modern touch. A tad escapist, with it all being a gazillion miles away from Juba Town.

Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

Arrival in Juba Town a tad stressful as Immigration and Security officials did their best to make the entry into South Sudan as unpleasant as possible.

Early start made possible by sleeping at the office. The cold shower still not my best start, even if the outside temperatures are on the ‘warm oven’ side of the scale. I slept well, with the added advantage of having a core muscle workout and my skin exfoliated by the trampoline like spring and coir mattress.

Juba Town. The Internet tragic. The covered patio of the Juba 3 house flooded. An indication of the severity of the storm that swept over Juba Town? I haven’t seen what the impact the storm had on the temporary shelters in the IDP camp, but they may have been protected by the high earth walls that surround the camp to keep them safe from stray bullets. For now, the evening is still, with only the frogs tuning their vocals.

During the storm, a bolt of lightning struck the office building, and the sound of the rain was punctuated by falling mangoes that crashed onto the roof. Noisy it was. Amongst the rain and lightning, I had staff scurrying about in the mud collecting the fallen fruit.

Difficult week in South Sudan, with fighting in Unity and Upper Nile. Shooting at the PoC in Bor following demonstrations. Reports of fatalities has again escalated tension towards the UN, with possible spillover to the PoC areas in Juba. A tad unsettling.

The night sky, menacing. Heavy, dark clouds flicker with lightning. A beast growling.

Quite a number of people out jogging on the roads within the UN House base. I managed a short jog, with a spectacular sunrise, and noisy birds. My Achilles didn’t even scream. Must be the blue colour of the strapping.

The radio, phone and email is quiet which is an indication that yesterday’s chaos hasn’t spread. The PoC areas in UN house seem still and I haven’t noticed any troop movements.

The sky is blue with puffy white clouds. Exactly what you would expect on an Easter chocolate box!

‘Shasta Daisies’, a painting from the cottage garden in summer. A peaceful, undemanding work and I’m thinking of hiding an Easter Egg somewhere in it.


Diary of an Adventure

Vineyard Adventures

Tinged in yellows and golds, the vineyards are welcoming autumn, exhausted from their summer of fruit creation. There are still spots of later harvest grapes, as there are hot days dotted between the cooler weather. In the garden, the first of the Camellia flowers are out, while the fuchsia’s are trying for a last push. Shirley poppy and Blue Flax seeds have been scattered for next Spring. Those that are not eaten by the Francolin!

We stopped in the tiny village of Greyton to see Dad and Mary, and eat lunch at the Vine. Excellent service from Maureen, who must have some Japanese ancestry as she seems to be forever running. Our steak was excellent, and it was good to catch up with Alan and Cynthia who are running the restaurant. The picturesque streets preened for the camera daring you to miss the view of a cottage peaking from behind a line of trees, or that mountain view deceptively concealed by a cloud. Not enough time.

Looking at the move to Thessen, I decided that my kitesurfing gear would not be a priority when I can paddle and SUP. Particularly given my tendency to being carted by the wind across the carpark! An online add, and a couple of hours was all it took for it to find a new home.

Glenmorangie single malt poured over the fillet on the braai, an innovation from Fredy. Certainly the meat was excellent! Pomegranate jewels in the lettuce and dill salad, spinning colours with the laughter around the table.

In the cottage, the new sofa has arrived. Curved to fit at the round table, the wave shaped back creates an arresting line that cuts across the perpendicular and straight surfaces of the room. The material, yellow whirls on a background tinged with grey is a tad intimidating to me and a red wine glass.

Diary of an Adventure

Thesen Harbour Town

A blank canvas waits. Multidimensional possibilities that extend out to the estuary and the sunset over the mountains. The tides creating a rhythm of reflection.

What will be the gallery of TH2, is a dark space clad in stone, its potential slumbering waiting for brilliant coloured adventures. Upstairs, the apartment space is currently used as offices, with the open patio unused. Its spectacular views neglected.

Terry arranged for us to spend a few days next door at TH3, which has already been converted. Stimulating ideas fueled by the picnic dinner that Coreta brought with her.

Freshline Fisheries, tucked away behind the marine shop, a car park converted into a beach and seafood experience. Shoes unnecessary, Craig’s wine cellar providing accompanying nectar to our loud family and friends lunch under blue skies with fluffy white clouds.

Kayaks gliding through the wild storm tossed waters, an invitation to play. My problem Achilles receiving attention after months of neglect. The fancy biokinetic strapping, a ‘must have’ accessory in this sport mad town.

Incongruously, a small cottage stands amongst the furniture manufacturers, sawmills and crafters that make up Knysna. A relic of the forest dwellers, Whitewashed at 5 Nobel Street is a must visit for stunning deserts. Not that there is anything wrong with the breakfast we enjoyed. Alongside the restaurant is Design Wise, where timber is crafted into furniture of perfection.

My inaugural Stand Up Paddle (SUP) excursion, on mirror smooth water – between squalls of rain – was a tad wobbly and lots of fun. Moving forward in a straight line was somewhat problematic and I was glad that the canal was empty of other water craft as I had minimal control over where I was going. Although, my very white ‘glow in the dark’ legs, acted as a warning beacon to other water users. Certainly there is a SUP in my future!