Thursday, September 29, 2011

journey: south africa - paula cheney

I recently had the opportunity to travel to South Africa to teach fellow gypsies at the SA International Scrapbook Convention.  What a fabulous experience it was to be in South Africa again, seeing some of the delegates that I met previously and finding that they still are true gypsies.

I wanted to share a couple of experiences from the trip that inspired me.
Our first stop, a little town called Kalk Bay on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula on False Bay.   It's called False Bay because it is so large that early sailors rounding the Cape of Good Hope thought they were in open water when in fact they were in a horseshoe-shaped bay.  Once in the bay, they would have to wait for the winds to change to take them back out to find the open passage around the cape.

Even though this sleepy little town was a short stop on our way around False Bay, it did not disappoint.  A picturesque harbor full of brightly colored fishing boats, some in dry dock...some at sea.

 A bright yellow passenger train passing by on it's way to Cape Town.
The proximity to the sea made for the perfect stop at Kalky's for fish and chips.  We ate at the blue picnic tables right at the waters edge.
Can you believe the size?

A good time was had by all that day
Nic and Paul Howard, David Kennedy and Dave Schuh
After our lunch we took a walk along the beach...toward the shops.  Much to our surprise whales were just off shore, so close in fact that you could easily see them bobbing up and down in the water.  You might notice the train crossing light on the right side of the picture.  I purposefully left this in the frame so I could remember how very close we were to them.

As we wandered in and out of the little shops on the main street, I came upon a shop with a memorable name...
I knew this was my kinda town.

Next on our travels...Spier
I had the opportunity to stay at Spier for a few days while in the wine country region of Cape Town.  Soft rolling hills, vineyards, and green grasses are par for the course in this area.. so very similar to coastal California where I live.  I wanted to share my experience at Spier with you because there is something so special about this place; the landscape, the people and the art.
Especially the art.
The landscape here is truly inspired from the beautiful vistas to the historic buildings.  You really could wander around for hours taking in the beauty of this place.
 Brightly yellow colored birds live in these hanging nests.  You can sit on the bank of the lake to watch them come and go.  I'm not sure where the front door is, but they seemed to have no trouble finding it.
 Even between buildings there is beauty.
The Spier Estate has a rotating art collection.  I was lucky enough to see works by many different South African artists from photographers to painters to crafters, and be inspired by each.  In fact this broad collection was magical, a coming together of of many different mediums to create vibrant backdrop for the interiors.  With so much natural beauty on the outside and the art collection on the inside, I could have stayed much longer to just sit and contemplate the true joy I was feeling.  I hope you can see it too, even though this is such a small snapshot of the collection.
about 4 x 6'
 The beauty is in the details...
 This piece has so many textures and patterns that it is almost hard to take it all in.  The more you look at it the more you see the mixed media elements of collage, texture, found objects.
 Actual metal nailed on to the top right corner.

The Tree's Life
 This is only one in a series of linocut prints by Lucas Bambo that were scattered throughout the estate.  Love the texture the white lines make, the simplicity of the black and white palate, and story being told. 

And lastly, my very favorite.  
These 2 pieces, along with 8 or 10 others, hung in the hotel dining room.   I apologize in advance for taking these at night since by day the tables in the dining room were filled with people. 
At first glance you might say, that is a really nice painting...
about 3 x 4'
 But if you look closely you can see that the entire work is made of beads.  
Fascinating, amazing, don't you think?

This particular piece fascinated me how the artist even used different shades of white and clear beads to convey the shadows in the tablecloth.  
about 2 x 2'

So much more I could share with you from Spier...I suppose I will have to return to gather more inspiration, contemplate beauty and live out a dream of living where someone drives me around in a golf cart.  Much better weather here than a summer in Florida.

Here's to finding simple beauty in your little part of the world,
paula cheney


jan said...

Some great inspiration, thanks for sharing!

Sandi said...

You have made me very homesick! So very glad that the ladies of SA are able to get the "Gypsy fever", however.

Jennifer Rogers said...

Hello, Paula-- wonderful to hear from you across the miles. Not only was it wonderful to be a Gypsy (No.1 fan..) with you for a few short hours in class, but it is also a revelation to see bits of our country and the talent of our artists through your eyes. Thank you. WHEN (not if) you come back, look us up, please