Saving insects

12 December 2014

I just read most vloggers are between 12 and 22 years old …
Oh boy, where do I find my target group? ūüėÄ
About saving insects, playing with the cat, doing the groceries, going to the dentist and painting.

Vlogging

24 November 2014

For a while I was not sure about publishing my vlogs, because of ‘too boring’. In the first place they were intended just for family. It’s not more than a peek into my daily life in New Zealand.
My first vlogs were edited quite clumsy with too much and too long shots. In the first minutes I even made the classic mistake of keeping my smartphone upwards.
Sorry for that. It will get better.

Real life beats fantasy

27 November 2013 (South Africa)

Again I saw an appearance in nature that I painted years before I had seen it in real. Or even ever thought it would exists in real.
Our last stop back to the south of South Africa, was in the little town Graaff Reinet.¬†A few miles out of town there was a large National Park called Camdeboo. On one of the viewpoints there was a beautiful view on the mountain ‘Spandau Kop’. Look how it has -in a certain way- similarities with a painting I created in 2003, when I never have had one single thought about visiting South-Africa in the future.
It’s a kind of inspiration the other way around.

Spandau Kop, Valley of desolation, Graaff Reinet, South Africa, Patricia Van Lubeck Patricia Van Lubeck, Real life beats fantasy 1

The locked up guys, viewing us from their safe cabin, are making the ‘backwards inspiration’ even crazier, viewed in the light of my recent thoughts about the gap between black and white people in South-Africa.




The dogs of Bloemfontein

25 November 2013 (South Africa)
eastern-cape, the dogs of bloemfontein
The next morning sun, sun and sun all over! Yes, of course; a clear blue sky on the day we had planned to be locked up in the car again, driving back to the south.
It would be nice to find an ATM for some fresh cash and a good cup of coffee. Therefore we headed to the fairly large town called Rustenburg. But once arrived, it’s such a confusing mess again. Guddamn, why so much garbage on the streets?

Never mind; we still had some cookies in our food box. And a bottle of water.
The rest of the day we are driving through a boring, dry, but sunny landscape. And we got seriously cursed by a local guy, because we braked for a crossing cow … Huh? Isn’t that right to do? I’m afraid if we had hit the cow, we were killed by the family, because not seldom some head of cattle are their only possession.

If we stepped out of the car after arriving in Bloemfontein (at first glance, a breath of fresh air in terms of civilization) I felt the first raindrops on my head. At the horizon huge black cauliflowers with lightning, were quickly rolling in … We even didn’t roll our eyes anymore.
By phone we ordered a room in a luxurious neighborhood, hoping the accommodation was a bit luxurious too. We asked in advance if it was possible to cook in the room. Yes, it was.
The room appeared to be 3 x 4 meters, stuffed with 2 single beds, a wardrobe and a ‘kitchen unit’. There was no room left for a suitcase. Cooking facilities meant a mini microwave and a kettle. That’s it. When we asked if that was all there was … somebody was sent out to grab a dusty hot plate and 2 pans from the attic of the main house …
Cooking is very challenging without cutlery and no hot water, but we didn’t dare continuing to whine.

Before cooking we wanted to stretch our legs and went for a walk in these luxury streets. The upscale neighborhoods are not built for pedestrians. It is intended that the citizens in this part of town are driving from their garage behind the electric gates right to another high guarded area. Probably their feet hardly touch public grounds. So, there are no sidewalks. Our walk resulted in passing 70 barbed wired electric fences and at least we turned on 35 watchdogs who started furiously barking to us. Nobody here is walking just for fun. Walking means poverty and walking through rich neighbourhoods is considered as ‘bad intentions’. That’s of course not exactly the conclusion of the barking dogs, but they are conditioned to their bosses ideas, isn’t it?
As a foreigner I don’t want to have an opinion about this, but ¬†in a strange way these neighbourhoods gave me the feeling of an upside down open air jail. But it’s inspiring anyway …




Escaping to Sun City

24 November 2013 (South-Africa)

We went to Sun City!
Do you remember this record?
From 1985. Five years before the apartheid was abolished. I hardly can believe it’s all so recent. Although … the country’s wound is still far from healed.
Sun city originated in the time of apartheid as a kind of refuge for whites. A cross between Disney and Las Vegas (a bit smaller though), located in a national park. It is 2.5 hours drive up north of Johannesburg.

Escaping to Sun CityThe route was varied, the weather was beautiful and our food box was full.
When we passed a nice lake, it seemed a good idea to do our banana-stop on the shore. After a long search for an acces to the lake (everything was fenced and private property), we found a spot. Well … we found a spot to park the car. Behind a thick barbed wire we had view on the lake.

At 1:00 PM we arrived at Sun City. And the sun was happily burning the whole day. It was our 10th day traveling through South-Africa and 9 of them has been grey and rainy. Our ‘reservoir of goodwill’ was limited, but this bright day helped a lot.
We parked under a tree, hoping that would keep the car a little cool. We took our bathing suits. Every 15 minutes, visitors were transported by train to the entertainment park. Looks like a smooth business.
The visitors got released in a fake cave and first we had to work ourselves through a tunnel filled with loud music, disco lights, amusement arcades and souvenir shops. Yes, ‘work through’ because there were so many people in bathing suits coming from the opposite direction.
When we saw daylight at the other end of the tunnel … I suddenly understood the reason of all the bustle. The sky was almost black as ink. A huge thunderstorm was appeared in just minutes! It started to rain like hell.

At 3:30 PM we were back at the car. The only thing we had done, was waiting for the visitors-train to the parking area, together with hundreds of other wet people.
Plan B for this day was to visit the national park … Watching animals at least was an ‘activity’ to do IN the car.
Well, we’ve seen a couple of wet animals. I didn’t record them, because as soon as I opened my window the pouring rain hit right on my camera. And through the closed window I only could record a haze of water.

At 5 AM we had ‘spilled’ enough time to check in for a place to sleep. The only available accommodation was a luxury safari tent or an expensive 8-person chalet. Uhhhh … the safari tent had no cooking facilities, no wi-fi and no water. There was electricity, but under these current weather conditions the power failed every 5 minutes.
We didn’t want to spent too much time in the almost dark tent, so we decided to have a long, slow and extensive dinner in the restaurant. But of course the restaurant had no electricity too … but it has to be said; they made the best out of it. The tables were lit with candles and not all the dishes on the menu were available, but it was still quite tasty.

On the video you’ll see sunny weather. But this was filmed the next morning.

The easy part of Johannesburg

23 November 2013 (South-Africa)

New day, new chances.
Initially I wanted to leave Johannesburg immediately, but Frank did some research on the Internet for things that could bring some salvation.

We started with an organic market 18 kilometers to the north. We set our expectations at zero. We expected some bed sheets on a garbage yard where a few half cabbages are offered. But, oooh it was totally different. An exciting eco-hippie market. And yes indeed, it was a ‘white people happening’ in a white people neighborhood.
I want to emphasize I’m not looking down on the opposite side of South-Africa, but the last couple of days we had seen so much of it … that I couldn’t deny I was longing for some easy entertainment.

There were 60 or 70 stalls loaded with fashionable fun stuff and fine clean foods without the sellers are breathing down in your purse. Even the stalls themselves were nice. Covered with cane for shade and built in cute winding alleys as if you were walking through a small village. And everywhere seats, tables and plants.
I saw so many delicious things that we had a lunch at 12 AM and again at 1 PM. I truly realised I’m very fortunated¬†traveling in this country, where it is not unusual for a black woman to walk 90 minutes to her job (and 90 minutes back) as domestic worker for 3 hours a day (without her white mistress is even aware of it).

In the late afternoon again there was a botanical garden on our to-do list. I still wasn’t fully recovered from the previous botanical-no-garden, but today it was Frank’s turn to be the boss, so I had to go.
It was a kind of very large, hilly picnic-park where all the whites walking their fluffy perfumed dogs.
So, at the end of the day I was charged enough for the rest of our trip.

Arrived in Johannesburg

22 November 2013 (South-Africa)

Ermmm …
Yeah …
Well …
Johannesburg …
I even don’t know where to start …
What a terrible city.
I don’t want to go too much into details, because if I’m extensively going to describe this city, I ruin the possibility to smoothly forget. It’s like when you make a cheat sheet for school; at the time you are done to scribble the answers in tiny characters, everything is already hammered in your memory.
But okay, a few keywords about Jo’burg; nasty, ugly, unfriendly dumpy, tatty.

But the weather was beautiful ūüôā

I knew Cape Town and Johannesburg would be different. But Amsterdam and Rotterdam are different too. Melbourne and Sydney as well. Here and there we had read that Johannesburg had risen from his bad nineties. I had expected Johannesburg was now perhaps 80% of what Cape Town was …
But I did not expect what we got to see. As soon as I’m home again, I will cut Johannesburg out of my map. I’m really sorry Jo’guys, it is even less than 5% of Cape Town!

We left at 10 AM and walked downtown. The locals advised us to take a cab, but we already have been sat in the car for so many days. And the experience is more intense by walking.
On the Internet we read that a specific neighbourhood was transformed into an emerging “creative incubator”. With all kind of new and out-of-the-box stuff. Ooow that would be nice. Just something for us! Let’s go and show us!

Arrived in JohannesburgThe route we had to walk to this neighbourhood, exactly would cross the possible nice points in the city. Well, the best nice points were an endless road with run-down buildings where five million citizens tried to sell hair extentions, second-hand bananas and scourer per meter. Or a complete neighborhood with scrap yards on the pavement (yes, in the center) where you had to wade through a wide variety of suspicious fluids. There was really nowhere a park, a square or even a bench to sit down for a couple of minutes without feeling like a sitting duck. And you already could guess … for that so-called creative hub we arrived about 40 years too early. There was a juice bar, a print store and some uninviting workshops.

Of course it is possible we just crossed the wrong areas, but if you do a kind of continuously march at a brisk pace for 4.5 hours, you have seen quite a large area.
Somewhat dismayed and quite exhausted we returned by taxi to our B&B, curling up in bed, together with the B&B cat, waiting until it was time to cook our dinner … regretting the fact we had booked for 3 days.

Searching for the botanical gardens

21 November 2013 (South-Africa)

Around lunchtime Google told us we were nearby public botanical gardens. A new chance to eat our banana outside the car???
We followed the signs. We followed the signs … and followed the signs. After a good 20 minutes we began to worry, because it was a long and very muddy path apparently going to nowhere. But … “Oh look; there is appearing a giant fence and port. With a cashier again. Well, that must be quite a garden, with so many trumpet blare. We instantly got high expectations. Although there were no other visitors.

A 10 minutes drive after passing the entrance, we began to worry again. The road remains exactly the same as before that impressive gate and the scenery around us was really nothing special. An occasionally dried bush or a heap of scrap metal. Just like we already have seen so much in recent days.
After another 10 minutes drive, in a state of resignation, we stopped right on the muddy path to eat our banana. Inside the car. I think that the gate itself was the main attraction. I made a short and messy video, but you get the idea.
A little later the lonely cashier happily waved us a good day.

The Eastern Cape of South-Africa

eastern-cape19 November 2013 (South-Africa)

We were in South Africa again. My father lives on the lower edge of the country called ‘the Garden route’. Halfway our stay Frank and I decided to make a trip via the East Cape to Johannesburg.
We tried to stay off the highway, to see more of the country. For example a nice viewpoint on the Bloukrans river mouth …
10 Minutes after we had taken the road that recommended viewpoint, we suddenly found ourselves in a line for a gate with a counter.
What? A ticket for just a river mouth?
Hmmm, we only wanted to eat our banana on a simple bench, or so. Not a tourist attraction.
Well, these local people need to make some money too, so … okay. What should it be? Maybe a few dollars for parking?
Ah wait, there is a list of prices … 3 dollars for South Africans and … huh? … 15 dollars for foreigners?
Yeah, no! Just to just to eat our banana off the road, and stretching our legs for a moment?!

We drove about 6 hours a day. Without stopping. No, that’s not really what we wanted, but there are simply no resting areas. Cafes, or just a scruffy coffee shop along the road don’t exist here. At least not in the south-east.
Back in the days the roads were built by the white South-African farmers, but they probably have forgotten to lay along footpaths. Most black South-Africans don’t have a car, but like everyone else, sometimes they need to go to another township or neighbourhood. So they use the motorway as footpath. And there are Very Many pedestrians! Sometimes they also have some cattle, but no land. Therefore they take their cattle to graze on the shoulders of the road. These animals can easily wander on the roads. And they continually do.

Massively hanging out and broadly sitting along the motorway apparently seems to be a regional daily activity of the locals. It is not really appealing to stop your car between them and peacefully eat your lunch.
The amount of waste along the roads is really baffling. In some parts it seems like every 10 meters a complete garbage bag is emptied on the side of the road. The pieces of waste are flapping between the laundry that is also hanging on the same fences.

To supply our mobile food box we bought a bunch of bananas from a poor old lady. She was sitting on the pavement in front of a hardware store. Where -by the way- everyone who entered the door first is extensively searched for guns and knifes by the owner. The old lady placed an upside down plastic crate serving as a counter. Besides a few bunches of bananas there are also set out 2 packs of cigarettes. You can buy them per cigarette. The price of 10 bananas is 1 Rand (that is 0.20 US dollar). We almost felt ashamed to even walk around here. We paid 5 Rand for the bananas and became blessed from head to toe. Oh boy …

The still enormous gap between black and white is immense and nonstop felt. Later on, this experience and the pictures below will be translated in a painting and story called ‘the Free One’.

The East Cape of South-Africa The Eastern Cape of South-Africa

Here is another moment the seeds of that painting were sprouting.




Bosco verticale

9 July 2013

A few years ago I wrote about some awesome real living trees in Spain I discovered AFTER I painted similar sort of trees in a painting.
I was under the impression that mother nature had imitated me! Not mentioning that the Spanish trees were probably older than I am, but please, let me cherish my illusions.

This week I stumbled upon a picture of Bosco verticale. A vertical forest set on a building, designed by Boeristudio in Italia. Putting their image beside my painting I could add another story to my imaginary prides.
And if, ooohhh if it was not me, if the Boeri-guys were not inspired by my painting, then at least there must be something in the air that gives people all around the world the same ideas. A source with ingredients for certain concepts which are apparently evident for this era.

Click on the images for the painting and the article.


boscoverticale01   Bosco verticale

The reuse of painkiller strips

7 May 2013

painkillers, Paint killersIf the first pencilling is my least favourite part, I find mixing the colours the most fun part.
I never use colours directly from the tubes, but always mix them.
For example; I have 5 tubes of various reds, but they all react in a different way when adding white. The pink of a flamingo is different from the pink of your nose. But for skin tones I need to add even more colours, like green (to reduce the redness). Or ochres, to get human pink, instead of dolly pink.

During the detailing in a later stage of the painting, I don’t need large amounts of the desired colours. Freshly mixed oil paints works the best. After a few hours you’ll notice the dabs are losing their viscosity. So, mixing exactly the right set of colours a couple of times a day, can be quite time-consuming. And while mixing it doesn’t make a difference if you need tiny or large amounts.
Sometimes I’ve mixed my colours too late in the day, or I got interrupted for a while. It’s annoying to spill that perfect mix, because overnight the dabs become useless. Covering the mixes with old lids doesn’t save them. Then there is still too much air around them.

 Otherwise covering with something flat does the job too.
From now on I will try to open the strips without ruining the foil.
Hopefully I’ll get a lot of headaches in the near future. Yeah!

A cutting fight in Capetown

6 December 2012 (South Africa)

After Namibia we were in Capetown for a couple of days. The kind of souvenirs I’m always after, are fabrics. I love making clothes and I already do have a huge pile of fabrics in stock, but I can’t pass a fabric store without taking a quick look.

In a fabric store in Capetown I fought a psychological battle with an unsympathetic woman. Let’s call her Unsy.
a cutting fight in Capetown
I found 3 rolls of perfectly matching fabrics and laid them side by side in the rack to have a proper and thorough deliberation with me and myself.
Next to me Unsy had her eye on the same kind of fabric, but in different colours than my rolls. But suddenly … she grabbed one of ‘my’ rolls and walked to the counter, where the cutting tables were located. Of course it was not mine yet. I had not put my hand on it, so … yeah … how do you deal in such a case?

I grabbed my 2 other rolls and followed her to the cutting table. She put her rolls down at the cutting lady. She ordered the measurements and while she turned around I just heard her saying she quickly had to grab some haberdashery at the bridal department.
The cutting lady started to measure one of the rolls of Unsy in its total! Was she planning to buy the complete rolls? Also my pink one? What? The full 30 meters? Without leaving to 2 meters for me?
Well Damn! One single minute earlier she clearly had seen that I was considering to buy it too!
In high dudgeon I felt my ears pulling backwards and my whiskers pulling forwards.
Unsy’s cutting lady called to another cutting lady to help me in between, because she herself would be busy for a while.

So, when she looked the other way, in a split second I pulled the pink roll out of her pile and held it vertically beside my body to hide it on my walk to the next cutting lady. I made myself as broad as possible and intensively watched the bridal department.
When my whiskers are pulled forward I’m hardly able to talk normally anymore. Other, more extrovert people probably firmly would say: “Hey lady, I was interested in that roll too, you know!” But even then … there is always a risk that I would lose. Irrespectively how dishonest that would be, but I was not a local. Who know all those women are knowing each other. Maybe Unsy was a ‘high roller’.
So to prevent I would lose, I felt forced to be Sneaky & Sly. But hey; after all Unsy had begun the fight! She started to play Blunt & Rude! Isn’t it?

I slide the pink roll forward a bit and at the same moment my cutting lady did the first cut, the cutting lady of Unsy suddenly stood in front of me and asks rather sternly: “Where did you get this roll?”
As far as my evil whiskers allowed me, I put my dumbest smile and pointed to my 2 other rolls. “Aren’t they adorable all together? I want 2 meters of every roll.”
“Yes! But! Where! Did! You! Got! It?! “she asks now with large spaces between every word. “From here,” I gestured to the rest of the store.
Did you take that roll from my table ?! she asks sharply. “Yeah,” I said in a tone as if it was a completely logical act. She looks past me and asked me: “And what now?”
In the mean time in the corner of my eye I saw my 2 meters were neatly folded on my stack, so I said: “I don’t know … now the roll is yours … I think?”
She madly frowned and took the roll in silence

Pfffff … I felt my whiskers relaxing.

Kolmanskop the ghost town

5 December 2012 (Namibia)

Besides the Kalahari desert, another impressive spot in the former German colony Namibia was ‘das Sperrgebiet’. That means ‘forbidden area’ and it is a mining area for diamonds.
I was not especially interested in the diamonds (although for the first time in my life I got fascinated by the beauty of all kinds of minerals), but I was charmed by the desolated atmosphere of the abandoned settlements of the miners.
One of the villages is open for tourists and is named Kolmanskop. These days it is called ‘ghost town’. In the silent, hot weather with a gusty wind what caused a kind of yellow/grey hazy view that was a perfect characterization. All the buildings were deteriorated, but accessible for visitors. A true paradise for photographers and location scouts.

Looking at these images it’s not hard to find out where my inspiration for my painting The same one came from. At least the source of the house is quite clear and maybe the silence of the desert has crept in the painting too.

More Namibia

The silence was loud

Beyond the job of vacuum cleaning

A ‘naturally sandblasted’ window

Kolmanskop the ghost town

15 minutes from the ghost town, the colour is back!

A few days later in the Sossusvlei

Quivers and titties

2 December 2012 (Namibia)

In some areas of Namibia are growing many quivers. As we drive into the field of these special trees, I understand why I had to come here … they are true real-live ‘Lubeck Trees’!

It’s a hidden piece of land with a strange kind of ‘furniture’ of piled stones. Done by nature itself.
The quivers are awesome. Especially in such a matching strange landscape. I instantly became friends with them. And they with me. And we hugged.
I found out that the trunks looks a bit like my painting called Agaricia Bullio! So, another case of retroactive inspiration.

The trunk of a Quiver …
… and her beautiful crown
I admit … I’m a tree hugger
quivers and titties
Artistically painted pumpkin parts in the quiver park

More Namibia

Populus Flucta in real

1 December 2012 (Namibia)

In October/November Frank and I travelled to South-Africa to visit my Dad and to make a camper trip through Namibia.
One of the things I really have to mention in this art blog, is that the story of one of my paintings, now has become to life …

Populus Flucta in realWhen I painted Populus Flucta in 2006, the base of this idea (beside the landscaping) were the unique nests build by birds that live in the Kalahari desert. The nests are actually enormous hollow rooms and can contain sometimes more than 100 pairs of birds and the nests can be used by several generations of birds. I had never seen this nests in real. I only had read about it.

Now, 6 years later, we camped at the edge of the Kalahari desert! There was no fence or a border around the camp site and everything was ‘out there’. It wasn’t a difficult decision to set the alarm clock just before sun rise (otherwise it was too hot for a long walk) and sneak into the wide and silent desert. The sky was beautifully lilac and the animals were not to sleep yet.
After an hour I saw a HUGE one.

Camp site

Camp site

populus flucta in real

Here is the first large nest of the birds called ‘social weavers’

They also nesting in living trees

Here you see all the ‘doors’ to the separate rooms

Sometimes the birds choose a pole

More Namibia

Missed daylight

19 September 2012

Because I’m a night owl I usually miss a big slice of daylight. That is not handy for a painter, so I’m always alert on interesting lamps.
Today I bought a dentist lamp at an auction.

dentist1 missed daylight

dentist lamp missed daylight


Panorama

3 May 2012

A maybe 10 years old idea frequently came up last month. I started to doodle on small memo notes.
A few weeks later the pink notes became little colored sketches, taped together to a mini panorama.
Then I moved the furniture to the side of the room and found a way to hang the parts of a ‘sixteentych’.
The diameter is 3 meter. Or the length of all the canvasses together is 10 meter.
This is just the first layer of paint. I still have a long way to … regret, whahaha.

The first sketches panorama

The first sketches

A taped miniature

A taped miniature

Bought the canvasses

New canvasses

Doing a ritual dance

Doing a ritual dance

The first layer

The first layer

Hanging on the ceiling

Hanging on the ceiling

Pantone colours

14 April 2012

Today I received something in the mail I wanted to own by myself for ages. In some way I always found it a kind of ‘tool’ not intended for me. It was meant for shops. But every time I noticed those small colour samples in the paint shop, I stole a few of them and add them to my other few thumbed strips. It didn’t make sense and it took too long to steal every colour that exist.

Now I bought a mature 2-part book with 2058 colors. Every page contains 7 colors and every colour is divided in 6 mini-stickers. I have started to cut off 1 sticker of each color and throw them in a bowl, to grab with closed eyes, for some unusual combinations.

Pantone colours

The face of Taipei city

2 April 2012 (Taiwan)

Although in the end my visit to Taiwan, was absolutely one of the milestones in my life, the architecture of Taipei was not attractive to me straight away. It took me a couple of days to force my way into the somewhat impervious face of the city. The buildings are a bit gloomy and dark, without much windows. The most used form of decoration is covering a building from top to bottom under a pancake of small tiles. And the cloudy weather didn’t help either.
I have been in Singapore and Hong Kong, but I can’t remember I got the same feeling of oddness as in Taipei. For me it was a atmosphere of a futuristic scene build in the fifties. It was not a turn off, but more a kind of intriguing. A mix of spooky and fairy. Certainly in the more silent neighbourhoods.

Taipei  

And then sometimes, in the middle of a spooky alley with never a ray of sunlight, right beside the assembly point of trash bins, I saw an extremely colourful, glittery and warm shelter with a mini-temple. Or a tiny, but loudly sparkling little candy shop hidden in an almost black dirty street full of the exhausts of the airco’s.

 

Of course there also were the new modern blocks and a shiny business centre, that certainly had a more lighter and opener atmosphere. There you find the outdoor caf√©s, the chain shops and the markets, but a lot of the authentic life of the Taiwanese people occurs a bit more ‘behind the scene’ as we European people are used to. But at the other hand; I am sure that is only on the first sight. The sight of the ignorant foreigner who don’t know his way. The Taiwanese people themselves are adorable!
Taiwan is certainly a land I want to know better. This time I’ve only seen Taipei city, but there is so much more I want to experience. And I will.

Here is a kind of a ‘sound greeting card’. Maybe you can imagine the view was an inspiration for my painting called ‘The persistent one’.