Dafu Buddha, a Chinese Masterpiece

 Mom and I in front of the Leshan Giant Buddha

Mom and I in front of the Leshan Giant Buddha

MASTERPIECE.  No matter where you are (and where you’ve been), I’m certain you’ve stumbled upon something extraordinary: a place that blows your mind; a work of art or object that speaks to you; or even a location or scene that’s special, unusual, or even magical in some way.

I thought of the Dafu or Leshan Giant Buddha that I had the opportunity to see while on my China Odyssey with my mom.

Construction on the Leshan Giant Buddha started in 713, led by a Chinese monk named Haitong. He hoped that the Buddha would calm the turbulent waters that plagued the shipping vessels traveling down the river. When funding for the project was threatened, he is said to have gouged out his own eyes to show his piety and sincerity. After his death, however, the construction was stuck due to insufficient funding. About 70 years later, a jiedushi decided to sponsor the project and the construction was completed by Haitong’s disciples in 803.

The Buddha is 71 meters tall, the largest stone Buddha in the world
The Buddha is 71 meters tall, the largest stone Buddha in the world

Apparently the massive construction resulted in so much stone being removed from the cliff face and deposited into the river below that the currents were indeed altered by the statue, making the waters safe for passing ships.

His shoulders are 28 metres wide
His shoulders are 28 metres wide

When the Giant Buddha was carved, a huge thirteen story wooden structure, plated in gold, was built to shelter it from rain and sunshine. This structure was destroyed and sacked by the Mongols during the wars at the end of the Yuan Dynasty. From then on, the stone statue was exposed to the elements.

At 71 meters tall, it is the largest stone Buddha in the world and it is by far the tallest pre-modern statue in the world.

Foreshadowing a humid day

Foreshadowing is a literary device in which an author hints certain plot developments that perhaps will come to be later in the story. It is used to arouse the reader, viewer or listener about how the story will proceed and mentally prepare them for how it will unfold.

The Magnificent Mist covered Xian Wall
The Magnificent Mist covered Xian Wall

Exploring the magnificent city walls of Xian during our China Odyssey was definitely an amazing adventure. Here is a taste of our mist covered morning spent on one of the most famous ancient city walls in China. Xian wall is the longest, the most intact and best-preserved, and the largest in scale of the ancient defense systems in the world. This wall has a circumference of 13.74 kilometers which you can walk, bike or for the soft option take a little “golf cart” trip. 

4 Wonderful Experiences to Try

Once upon a time, holidays tended to consist of going somewhere hot, eating something (more or less) exotic and then tanning for as long as possible. But, as welcome as relaxation is, today’s travellers (rightly) demand more varied affairs, balancing indulgence with adventure, and comfort with exploration. And this opening up of what a vacation can and should be has also meant that wildly different regions now welcome tourists to take in experiences only known to locals even a generation ago. And so, we present here a handful of exclusive destinations to give even the seasoned traveller something new to look forward to.

Mt. Fuji, Japan

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  1. A cherry blossom tour of Japan

The cherry blossom season is definitely the right time of the year to visit Japan – this is when the country’s already breathtaking natural beauty is raised to another level. Whether you’re exploring the urban delights of Tokyo and Osaka, the natural splendour of Mount Fuji, or the historical charms of Kyoto, each location on your itinerary will be enhanced by the cherry blossoms spreading all around. The Japanese celebrate this time of year with ‘Hanami’ (flower viewing) parties – where friends and families gather together underneath the blossoms to enjoy each other’s company and appreciate the natural spectacle all around them.

 

pine trees on mountain with white snow during daytime

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2. Heli-skiing around the globe

A world away from the cosmic dance of celestial bodies – but still very, very high up – the technological adventure that is heli-skiing is gaining in popularity every year. For the uninitiated, this involves a helicopter transporting skiers to mountain spots inaccessible (or at least impractical) from the ground. This not only means pristine ski-ways in soft snow but also much less crowded slopes. Canada and the US lead the way, with multiple operators in British Columbia and Alaska, but there are also opportunities in Switzerland (naturally), New Zealand and Japan.

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3. The timeless ruins of Bagan

While Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat have been on the tourist trail for some time now, another awe-inspiring archaeological wonder – in Myanmar – has somehow stayed off the map, despite its comparable scale and grandeur. The more than two thousand superbly preserved Buddhist temples in this historical complex are surrounded by the ruins of more than double that again. Many of these are almost a thousand years old – countless otherworldly pagodas rising through the trees. Best of all, until tourism fully catches up with Bagan, the site can be experienced without the kind of crowds that can distract from the ancient architecture.

aerial photo of city highway surrounded by high-rise buildings

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4. The future today, in Dubai

From the remains of a lost empire to a marvel that’s still under construction – the global city of Dubai offers an incredible vision of the world-to-come. Especially well-suited to family holidays, the futuristic landscape offers up landmark skyscrapers boasting the world’s fastest lifts, and a shopping mall containing 1200 shops (making it, yes, the world’s largest) but also a floor-to-ceiling aquarium with 30,000 fish. Truly, this is a place built for superlatives – from the magical islands reclaimed from the sea to fountains which spout higher than the London Eye.

Some Random Bumblebee facts

Did you know….

1. Bumble bees use their wings to cool down their nests. Since bumble bees can flap their wings 200 times per second, they are able to use their wings as fans to reduce the heat inside their nests. This technique is called fanning.

2. Bumble bees are picky about the flowers they collect nectar from. When it comes to flowers, bumble bees have two favourite colours – blue and violet. They’ll often fly to a flower that’s either of those colours over one that’s any other colour. Their preference isn’t due to how the flower looks, though. It’s due to the fact that the violet and blue flowers are often the most nectar-rich (and therefore, the most beneficial to them).

3.  Queen bees control the genetics of their offspring. Male bumblebees have only one chromosome, and no father. To produce a son, a queen bee merely has to lay an unfertilized egg. To have daughters—who make up the entirety of a bee workforce—a queen bee fertilizes her eggs with sperm she’s been storing since the previous summer.

4. Bumblebees don’t die when they sting. That’s just a thing in honeybees. So yes, a bumblebee can sting you twice. However, male bumblebees don’t have a stinger at all, and female bumblebees aren’t very aggressive. Although they are quite large insects they’re relatively harmless, and will only sting if provoked. 

5. The Populations Of Some British Bumblebees Declined. Bumblebees requiring very specific habitats, foraging and food have suffered greatly due to habitat destruction.  For example, those relying on grasslands and meadows have suffered due to changing land management practices, the industrialisation of farming, destruction of hedgerows etc. In addition to habitat loss, all bees face the challenge of pesticide use across large areas of land.

Have you noticed a decline in bees in your area?

Bumblebees, those fat, fuzzy fliers.

I think that Bumblebees, those fat, fuzzy fliers are fascinating creatures. I love that I have come across them in almost every garden I have visited here in England this summer. I have spent some afternoons trying to capture these little creatures on film and believe me it is quite challenging as they do not sit still for very long. Here are some of my captures of bumblebees in Norfolk, England.

While on holiday here in England I have learnt quite a lot about these little fuzzy creatures.

1. There are over 250 different kinds of bumblebee in the world – 25 of these live in the UK. But only six species of bumblebee are commonly seen in UK gardens.

Unfortunately two types of bumblebee have already completely disappeared from Britain (the Cullum’s bumblebee and the Short-haired bumblebee).

2. A bumblebee flaps its wings 200 times per second. That’s a similar RPM to some motorcycle engines. Even hummingbirds cannot beat their wings more than a 50 times per second.

3. Bees have to eat a ton. Bumblebees have extremely fast metabolisms, so they have to eat almost continuously. “A bumblebee with a full stomach is only ever about 40 minutes from starvation”.

4. Bumble bees have 5 eyes. Three of their eyes are smaller and located on the top of their head, and the other two are on the front of their head. They can see UV light but can’t see the colour red!

5. Bumble bees have smelly feet. They are covered in an oily film so when they land on a flower, they leave their chemical signature behind. Other bees can smell these oily footprints left on flowers, and know not to land on the same place—the nectar’s already been pillaged. Bees also use these footprints as a sort of smelly “Welcome Home” mat; the scent helps them find their way back to the entrance of their nest.

Disturbing Image from Vietnam

“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”  — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
A vermented bear I found in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

This is definitely one of the most disturbing things I have come across during my travels.

What was your most disturbing moment?

Why Nature is Good for the Soul

Cape Point Nature Reserve
Just an hour’s drive from the bustle and buzz of downtown Cape Town lies a large and peaceful reserve: Cape Point – one of the most scenically spectacular parks in the whole of South Africa.

Being out in nature is not only good for your physical health, it is also very beneficial for your mental health. Have you noticed how grumpy people get in winter compared to their mood during spring and summer? I think it is because we don’t always get out into nature during winter and that this affects our mental health negatively.

Here are some reasons why nature is good for your soul.

( All of these photos were taken on a recent trip I went on to the Cape Point Nature Reserve. It is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.)

1. Nature helps to center your mind

If we don’t watch out we are constantly glancing at your to-do list or worrying about, our finances, our relationships, or something else. It seems like we constantly have a never-ending list of things to do. We need to make it a point to give ourselves a cognitive break by distracting ourselves with the sights and sounds of the outdoors. Watch and listen to the birds chirping, the waves crashing, the trees swaying in the wind, and the bugs moving around you. Taking at least a 30min break a day will help improve our mental health.

2. Unplug and Escape the technological trap.

Multi-tasking, particularly with electronic devices, is a leading cause of stress. Breaking free from the never-ending loop of your Facebook or Instagram newsfeed should be a top reason for getting outdoors. After all, staring at screens too long can hurt your eyes and strain your neck, and it’s often a sedentary activity. Nature, on the other hand, offers a beautiful window into real life. Put down your phone. leave your devices behind and head into nature and just enjoy the calming effect this will have. Nature allows us to to leave the stressors of our everyday lives behind and instead focus our minds on something more pure. By centering your mind, you can relax your body.

3. It Lowers Stress Hormone Levels

It’s true that many of us don’t realize how highly strung we’ve become until we take a step back from it all, let go of the pen welded to our fingers, and tell our shoulders to come back down from our ears.

A recent Dutch study suggests that spending time in nature and performing repetitive tasks such as gardening can fight stress better than other leisure activities.

In Japan, this has really caught on and forest bathing is now an official stress management activity. Research into the effects of these au naturel excursions has found a significant decrease in anger, anxiety, and depression, as well as better immune function.

4. Nature Heightens the Senses and Memory

Spending time outdoors can actually strengthen your senses and memory. When in nature, you’re exposed to plenty of sights, smells, sounds, and touches and have ample amounts of new things to take in.

These experiences help enhance all your senses, and being outdoors has also been proven to improve short term memory. You don’t need to spend hours outdoors even short periods of time are very beneficial.

5. Learn something new.

Walking around and exploring your surroundings is an excellent opportunity to learn something new about the world. We often take things for granted and it’s only when we look around us that we notice how little we know about the world. What’s the name of that flower that you see around the corner every day? What sort of tree grows along the path you are on? And what do you call that critter that scooted across the road this morning? After a walk, Google what you saw or take out books from the library on flowers, trees, or animals to find answers. You can also arrange for walking tours with experts or visit local botanic gardens that have informative signs. Then when you go for walks with others at a later date, you can wow them with your newfound knowledge.

6. Nature can help you keep it together

It’s all too easy to get caught in a busy cycle of working non-stop and not taking breaks to go outside, relax for a moment, and breathe in some fresh air. But having a good work/life balance is crucial if you want to have a long, happy existence.

Nature is the glue that can help you keep it together in this increasingly noisy world, as research shows that it can improve both your mental and physical health. No matter how far you feel like travelling, you can always spend at least a little time in nature each day. Whether you take a short, 10-minute walk around your neighborhood or a one-hour stroll along a trail in the woods, getting outside more often is a wonderful first step toward living an even healthier life.

Bridge on the River Kwai

One of the most famous Bridges that I have visited was definitely the Bridge on the River Kwai.  During World War 2, the Japanese used Allied prisoners of war to build a railway from Thailand to Burma so they could supply their army without the dangers of sending supplies by sea.  Many prisoners died under appalling conditions during its construction, and the line became known as the ‘Death Railway’. 

It was immortalized in David Lean’s 1957 film ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’ which centers around one of the line’s main engineering feats, the bridge across the Kwae Yai River just north of Kanchanburi.  The Bridge on the River Kwai really exists, and still carries regular passenger trains from Bangkok as far as Nam Tok.

.According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

“The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma. Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma worked from opposite ends of the line towards the center.”

Mud-covered Rhino

“Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times”

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

Welcome to Woodstock

Woodstock, South-Africa, street art walking tour
A beautiful piece done in a parkinglot of Woodstock, Cape Town in South-Africa. You can see Table Mountain peeking out in the background

Woodstock is definitely fast becoming known as Cape Town’s street art hotspot. The neighbourhood is adorned with pieces by both local and international artists, ranging in subject from social commentary to animal rights activism. Some have been around for years, while new ones are being added all the time.

Wordless Wednesday: Hot in the desert

Camels and Sand during a Desert Safari in the UAE
Feeling all alone in this huge desert!

Weekly photo challenge: Transformation through Seasons

It is true that Nature is notoriously inconstant and often comes to mind when I hear the word transformation. The transformation of Nature through the seasons in Russia is marked quite drastically and each has its own magic.

Seasonal change is, on the surface, marked by loss: the fall of spent flower blossoms in summer, the loss of leaves from trees in autumn, the final snowmelt in spring. But all of these changes mark a transformation.

Here are four photos depicting the transformation that takes place in Russia as the seasons change:

You know it is winter when…

Winter in Moscow is ice-cold and the perfect time to build a snow man!

…the whole world outside is covered in snow and looks like a fairy wonderland!!

When your days get short and gloomy, filled with cold ice winds it is the beauty of everything covered in snow that makes it bearable.

You know it is spring when…

Tulips are found all over Moscow in spring time!

….all the parks in Russia is filled with tulips and colour.

You know it is summer when…

Summer is hot and beautiful in Russia

….the fountains in the parks are turned on and you would rather be sitting in it than looking at it!!

You know it is autumn/fall when…

Autumn in Russia is rainy and cold but the colours of autumn are so warm

….the leaves all turn orange and you suddenly need a scarf and hat against the icy wind that start blowing all over Russia.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Temporary Tulips in Moscow

Winters in Moscow are harsh and very long, but knowing that they are only temporary makes them bearable. You know Winter is over as soon as the first tulips start appearing all over the city.

I love how the city explodes in colour after the long cold winter!

All the parks and flower beds all over the city is covered in bright tulips come spring time!! These tulips are also just temporary and would soon be replaced by other flowers.

Wordless Wednesday: Views of Dubai

These are some random shots of Dubai that I took in 2010.

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Pearl divers in Dubai Mall

There was a time when pearling was one of Emirates major source of income. Now – a piece of architecture in modern Emirates is devoted to this romantic and dangerous profession.

This indoor waterfall is 30 meters in diameter and 24 meters hight with water streaming through all four levels of the building.

Friday Facts: Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

Did you know the Burj Al Arab is “The World’s Only 7 Star Hoteland that it was constructed to resemble the sail of the Dhow?

It took less than 3 years to construct this building which has become an iconic landmark reflects the city of Dubai.

Burj Al Arab is one of the most expensive hotels to stay in. The Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 m from Jumeirah beech and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge.

Friday Facts: Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Did you know that the Burj Khalifa was designed to resemble the Hymenocallis flower?

Burj Khalifa in Dubai
The Burj Khalifa in the far distance

It is the tallest structure in the world and at 828 meters tall, soars over Dubai. It’s three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower and nearly twice as tall as the Empire State. Laid end to end, it pieces stretch over a quarter of the way around the world.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Satisfaction

Janaline's Art
This is some of my ceramic works exhibited at Studio de vliet

This week, share something that satisfies you. I didn’t even have to give this challenge more than a moments thought as the first thing that popped into my mind was ART!!

“Enjoy the satisfaction that comes from doing little things well.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Right now I am doing a lot of pottery, making unique and funky ceramic bowls and vases. I have been quite busy as I am preparing for an art exhibition end of October, thus I admit that I have been neglecting my blog a bit lately.

I make each ceramic bowl or vase by hand and paint each one differently. Thus, each one is unique and made with loads of love. This is something that brings me hours and hours of joy!  I did ceramics with my mother throughout my school years and fell in love with all forms of art. After University I travelled and worked my way around the world for more than a decade and have had some amazing experiences along the way. While travelling it was difficult to find time and space to be creative and I have decided that it is time that I focus on and develop my art and spend some time with my family.

I moved back to South Africa in 2015 to focus on my art and have just bought my first little place in Cape Town. I have converted a bedroom into a studio and it is here that I do ceramics during the week while teaching English online. Fridays I head through to  Studio de vliet, in Stellenbosch, where I spend the weekend doing pottery.

I get lost in my own little world while making and painting these ceramics and can’t think of a better way to spend most of my time. The fact that I am selling my art and making a bit of money out of it is just the cherry on the top!!

Janaline created an art studio at home

”  Being an artist is simply someone who likes to create.” By that definition I am definitely an artist. As long as I can create things, paint, do ceramics, or even take photos, I am ecstatic!

If popular opinion is anything to go by, the creative sector is a huge gamble, braved only by reckless, or masochistic, individuals. A challenge has never scared me or stopped me from doing anything so it is with an open mind that I step into the art world.

The main reason I bought a two bedroom place was to transform the one bedroom into an art studio for me. Create a space where I would want to make art and be creative.  a part of your life and your self-care practice, you can find a space for it. 

The main reason I wanted my studio in my home is so that I would have the freedom of just being able to walk into the next room in my pajamas at whatever time of day or night – and do so art.

My first purchase was a table for my studio! A very sturdy table on which I would be able to work with clay without it moving. I admit the table I bought is a bit big. Even the delivery guys had trouble getting it into my little flat and broke the neighbours window in the process. I got to meet my neighbours that evening and apologise for the broken window. Probably not the best way to meet your new neighbours.

I like things to be neat and tidy and after making a couple of pottery bowls, which had to stand around on the ground I went and invested in some shelves. A friend also supplied me with some metal shelves that I cut to fit onto my huge table and it is here that I now store my paint.

I have an old singer table from my grandmother, which I painted an old white. This is the table I use as my work station while teaching English and is also in my studio. I have painted one wall with chalkboard paint and it is here that I do my planning for my ceramic bowls.

I have tried not to eat or drink in my studio, but have been guilty of breaking my own rules by drinking water or tea in my studio. And I have decided that eating popcorn while painting does not count as eating, as popcorn does nor count as food.

As I work from home, I am trying to create a separate “work” and “living” space in my flat otherwise it sometimes feels like I never leave work. I now also have a rule that I am not allowed to spend the whole day in my studio, I have to go outside at least once!

If I don’t take care I might just turn into a hermit….

Janaline bought a flat and is turning it into a home!

I always though that buying a house was something I would do way in the future, when I am old and ready to settle. But the need for a place of my own, a little nest where I can relax, create and feel at home, came up sooner than that.

I had been moving around from country to country for the past decade, every time I would live in a new place with new people. This was always very exciting but I suddenly reached a point where I wanted my own place. A place I could decorate the way I wanted. A place to make cosy, a hideaway from the world where I could start my new art journey.

Janaline bought a flat and is turning it into a home!
My very first piece of furniture that I bought for my home!!

Buying my first home was one of the biggest emotional and financial steps that I have ever taken. I heard that when you buy a home, you should know you’re going to stay for a minimum of five to seven years. This alone was already a huge stresspoint for me as I have  never stayed in one place for more than a year or two at max.

I didn’t really have a specific place in mind of where we wanted to live. I searched all around Cape Towns and had to rule out certain areas as ‘no-go’ zones as if they were a contaminated area in an apocalyptic movie. Others became ‘would-love-to’ but ‘can’t-afford’ areas.

I found a lovely 2 bedroom flat about 8 minutes drive from the beautiful Bouberg beach. It is in a small security complex with a balcony overlooking a small park. As soon as I walked in I thought: “I could live here!”. So I knew I had to buy the place. I had a second look, but had actually made up my mind already that I wanted to live here.

I was physically sick after I signed the forms and paid the deposit for my own house. But after that I couldn’t wait to move in. The only thought that went through my head at that stage was: “This is MY PLACE and I could do whatever I wanted!!”

Before I had even unpacked my belongings, I had chosen what colours I wanted to paint my home. I spent my first couple of weeks in my place painting every wall, and even the kitchen cabinets.

I didn’t stop there, next, I bought some barstools for my Kitchen which I painted in bright colours to match the kitchen drawers.

I have realized that if there is something in my place that can be painted, it will be painted. My bookshelf has been painted twice now since I moved in, my chest and even my lamp has also changed colours.

Even my fridge did not escape as I painted it with black chalkboard paint! It is the best place to write down my shopping list or flat wish-lists on.

New homebuyers make mistakes when buying their first place, as I learnt the hard way. Within the first month I had to replace my geyser and my oven broke in month three but I am taking it all as part of being a homeowner.

I love having my own place and enjoy living here!

Janaline starts her ART journey!

I have been addicted to travelling, seeing the world and doing art as long as I can remember. I grew up in a small place called Mposa, near Richards bay, in South-Africa. I grew up surrounded by art as my mother did ceramics, organized art exhibitions and encourage us to paint and draw. I did ceramics with my mom throughout my school days and loved every moment of it. My favourite subject at school was art and I devoured every book about art that I could lay my hands on. I developed a love for oil painting and before I left for University I had already sold 2 paintings.

I fell in love with art at a very early age but was torn between my love for art and my desire to travel and see the world.

After University I decided to travel while I am young and unattached, before I focus on my art again. I travelled and worked my way around the world for more than a decade before returning to South-Africa, and have had some amazing experiences along the way. When you live in a country you get to experience it from a different view than that of the ordinary tourist, I think it’s the people of the country and the little crazy everyday things that keep it interesting. These travels have changed me and my view of the world.

I loved travelling and exploring all these foreign countries and cultures but have reached a point where I want to focus a bit on my art and not have to move around for the next couple of years.  I found it quite difficult to find time and space to be creative while travelling. Actually, I think that taking photos and blogging about my travels was my artistic outlet while travelling.

I have made the big move back to South Africa where I now teach English online and have a lot of time to focus on my art! I have family in the Western Cape area of South-Africa and decided to buy a little place of my own in Cape Town. While looking for a place of my own I stayed with my aunt, Karen Kieviet, on their small wine farm in Stellenbosch. Karen has her own ceramic studio and it is here that I again uncovered my love for ceramics and working with clay. I had forgotten how much fun it is to create something with your hands from scratch and seeing how it takes form. The end product is either surprisingly beautiful or not what you had in mind but with a beauty of its own.

Once I started it was all I wanted to do again. I couldn’t think of anything else but pottery, painting and art! So I bought a two bedroom flat in Parklands, 8 min drive from Blouberg strand, and converted the one bedroom into a studio for myself.

I now teach English 4 days a week and in between and the rest of the time I either do ceramics or paint something. Every Friday I drive through from Cape Town to Stellenbosch where I spend the weekend working with Karen Kieviet in her studio on Aan de Vliet farm. At first it was only for fun until Karen suggested that I should start selling my bowls.

Travelling to so many countries and experiencing all these different cultures has changed the way I do art and I am sure you can see the colourful influence of the world in my art now.

The thought of actually making money with my art has always been a very distant dream and I always thought it was something that might happen in the far off future. I didn’t really think that my bowls were that good yet and wanted to wait a bit until I felt they looked a bit better. But my aunt convinced me to take a chance and see if they sell.

Karen Kieviet has been selling her art in a couple of different art galleries for years now and with her help I got my ceramic bowls into two galleries. It was and is a dream come true!! I am actually making some money with my art!

I have been doing ceramics with Karen Kieviet for a bit over a year now and working from my own little studio the past 6 months, and I love every moment of it.

My First Art Exhibition!!

I am taking part in my first ever Art Exhibition!!!

Janaline's Art
Studio de Vliet Art Exhibition Invite

Studio De Vliet is holding its annual exhibition of the works of some very talented local artists. You will also get to meet the artist of various forms as all of them have consented to be present for the opening and most of the exhibition days!

These are some of my ceramic pieces!! I am so excited I havent been able to sleep for the past 2 weeks. I just hope it all goes very well and that I do sell a couple of pieces.

The exhibition features Oil paintings, Ceramics and other handwork by the artists; Karen Kieviet, Janaline Smalman, Reinet Stander, Pera Schillings, Maryna de Wit, Chrismi Kirsten, Chimene Tison and Elsabe Nortje.
Exhibition is at Aan De Vliet, Blaauwklippen Road, Stellenbosch.
The opening is on Wednesday 9 November.
Exhibition hours: 10 – 12 November 2016, 10:00 – 18:00
We hope to see you all there!!

Wordless Wednesday: Matching underwear?

A very strange fashion in South Korea is matching couples wear that they have everywhere. From levis, jackets, shirts, hats, pyjamas and  even couples underwear.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Face

This week, let’s celebrate our many different faces. These are some of the beautiful people I have come across during my travels.

Wordless Wednesday: Views from Table Mountain

Views from Table Mountain
View of Cape Town, South-Africa from Table Mountain

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Love

Show us what One Love means to you……..”We all share roots”, definitely tries to create love for each other. This is a piece of beautiful Street art I found just around the corner from where I lived in cape Town, South-Africa.

"We all share roots".
“We all share roots”.

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday.

Wooden faces found all over Woodstock

A hidden treasure, this clever cat’s head is actually a relief. It has been painted onto layers of wood, which have then been glued onto this boarded up hatch.
A hidden treasure, this clever cat’s head is actually a relief. It has been painted onto layers of wood, which have then been glued onto this boarded up hatch.

These wooden faces all over Woodstock are actually done by kids from Woodstock it self. They’re hoping to be famous artists one day, and are getting exposure by attaching their artwork on walls and doors. They find the wood in the streets and use that in their artwork. Their art work pieces are quite unique and bring a bit of colour into the area.

The unique pack of wolves of street artist Dal East

I have come to realize that Woodstock in Cape Town, South-Africa is filled with so many pieces of unique art that it is going to take me quite a while to document and post about them all. These paintings of wolves all over the Side street studio courtyard in Woodstock, cape toiwn, were done by Dal East. He’s is an artist from China and anyone who spends more than a day in Woodstock will have seen his work on a couple of walls.

DALeast is a Chinese born artist who keeps his name a secret and currently lives and works in Capetown, South Africa. He has been making art since the very young age of three years old. His unusual paintings, which are sometimes hundreds of feet across, look three dimensional and appear to have been created out of thousands of minuscule metal shards. DALeast spends six months of the year travelling and you can find his art on nearly every continent. His works can be seen in Cape Town, Miami, New York and London’s Brick Lane, as well as his native China.

You will find thousands of curly black and white little springy curves forming the shapes of packs of wolves and sprinting cheetahs and swooping eagles taking up walls and rooftops of buildings in the most unexpected places. He studied sculpture at the Institute of Fine Arts and began doing art on public space at 2004 under the alias DAL. He is inspired by the way the material world revolves, how the spiritual world unfolds, life’s emotions and the infinite space around us. He uses different mediums, methods, disciplines and spaces to create his works.

packs of wolves
A packs of wolves running across the studio walls

Side Street Studios, also in Woodstock, is a huge supporter of this art form and has given DALEast, free reign on its walls.  The dark imagery found in DALeast’s art is undeniably captivating, woven with intricate detail while focusing on the simple subjects in his pieces. Each of his pieces of art is created using paint to look like thousands of metal shards are coming together to form beautiful shapes, often animals or humans. Within every piece of DALeast’s art, a pop of color observed in the background brings his subject to life. This allows him to focus on the intricacy of his technique while delivering his final product.

A majority of DALeast’s art has animals as the subject matter. The “metal shards” make the images appear to leap off the wall or canvas. It is his skillful layering of lines that leads us to be able to visually interpret the image in many different ways. His animals are typically depicted in two disconnected parts, often disintegrating at the centre or falling away at the sides. His use of animals, he says, reflects the human condition.

“In my opinion, animals are like humans. We all live in the same environment; we have the same pressures, emotions and a feeling of insecurity in society. Animals are like society, but are kind of attached to humans,” he says.

Side street art studios in Woodstock

The courtyard where the artists chill
The courtyard where the artists chill

Woodstock in Cape Town, South-Africa is filled with so many places to see and stuff to do that you can visit a different place everytime you go there. You should however take some time to visit Side Street Studios. Not only is this the place where artist create but the court yard is a work of art. here you can find murals by Augustine Kofie (USA), Andrzej Urbanski (Germany now Cape Town) and DALeast (China now Cape Town).

Located in the side streets of Woodstock and used as an engineering workshop in the turn of the last century this building has been re-designed around the need of the creative community. It is now a home for ten creative studios. With high metal ceilings, entrance foyer and big bay windows each studio has it is own unique features.

It forms part of the city’s unofficial centre of art and design in the Woodstock area. Artists from around South Africa and abroad are invited to live at Side Street Studios and be surrounded by innovative and creative spaces to inspire the best work they can produce. 

Side Street Studios provide surroundings that are playful, intelligent and inspiring. They thrive on the collaborations and connections that are formed within this network of buildings. These studios are not “rooms for rent”, they are a context for ideas…

 

The artists living here often decorate random walls and some very famous street artists have passed through here and left some beautiful pieces of work in the courtyard.

There is also a coffee shop and a book store selling books about street art and some prints but is not open all the time. Elad, the owner of the Side Street Studios, is also putting up his private collection of paintings from street art artists on display soon so I will be on the lookout for that.

The courtyard where the artists chill
This piece is in the courtyard of Side Street Studios

NardStar street artist, “The Time is Now”

28-year-old NardStar is an up and coming female street artists in Cape Town, and arguably one of the best in South Africa at the moment. In this male dominated industry – where very few females “make it” or even get involved – Nard has chucked every single stereotype and misconception about female street artists out the door. She’s known for her signature bright, bold colour schemes, and mainly painting animals. She has painted from Cape Town to New York. Nard was also featured in Huffington Post’s 2014 article, ‘25 Women Pushing Street Art Limits Around the World,’ and in January 2016 she was listed by Okayafrica as one of nine female artists in South Africa to watch out for.

Nard is from Rondebosch, Cape Town and started graffiti at the age of 18. Nard has always had an avid interest in art even though she did not take any art lessons at school. She studied Graphic Design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, which she feels has some kind of influence over her work. Her distinct work now graces walls in galleries and walls in communities from Cape Town and Johannesburg to New York and Connecticut in the United States. 

Nard is a graffiti artist/street artist/mural artist who also does customising, gallery art and vector art. She likes to change it up and do what ever strikes her mood! She says that she meets the coolest people, interact with the strangest people on the street and sees the strangest things on the streets. Painting has given Nard the opportunity to travel.

This is a quote from her website ” As an artist who aims to be globally recognized, Nard’s work touches diverse surfaces. Nard custom designs graphics for skateboards, skimboards, t-shirts, sneakers and helmets, as well as painting canvases and designing prints.” 

When Nard started painting she just wanted to paint letters and nothing else.  Eventually she got convinced to try out painting animals and then she was on a mission to paint as many different animals as she could. Now she paints people and animals tagging all her work with ” The Time is Now”.

 My favourite is this wolf by Nardstar. It portrays a transformation from animal to human. If you look carefully into the picture, you’ll see a human face that’s part of the image. It makes you realize what is actually happening with the environment.