Art Studio and Life #2 featuring artworks and painting

Hello lovely family and friends

Greetings from chilly Wellington. It has recently been 12 degrees here which feels cold to me. I know, I know, all you arctic dwellers are feeling patronising right now, but I am nesh. (Google: Nesh is an English dialect adjective meaning ‘unusually susceptible to cold weather’ and there is no synonym for this use.) I think the Scottish meaning is ‘fragile, delicate, sensitive’. My Scottish forebears would be rolling their eyes at their pathetically nesh descendant.

THANK YOU for being willing to receive my weekly musings . Peace to those who politely, (and, thankfully, they were polite), said No thanks to getting this email. You are welcome to join them at any time by sending me a No. When I figure out how to use Mailchimp, there will be an actual unsubscribe button. Always something to look forward to.

Maybe if you are like me, you love wildlife and like to watch wildlife documentaries?

If you do, and want to go on virtual safari, Wild Earth live safaris are awesome:

I (used to) love watching wildlife documentaries, but honestly, after watching some of them, I just want to slide off the couch and lie on the floor feeling depressed. Echoing in my head is David Attenborough’s iconic voice saying, “Act now to protect our world, before it’s too late!” Yes David! I hear you. What a fabulous idea! I want to act now, but HOW? 

Reduce, reuse, recycle – yes absolutely, I’m from Africa. We don’t like to throw anything away. And even if you can bear to throw something away, if you live in Zimbabwe, someone else will dig it out of the rubbish tip and make it into a wire sculpture or pair of shoes. Zimbabweans are such creative survivors!

Now that I live in New Zealand, we Kiwis love Op Shops, short for Opportunity Shops, aka Charity shops. It’s great to rummage and find furniture, books, puzzles and second-hand (pre-loved) clothing and shoes. I’m totally there for that (apart from in the underwear department). I’m an artist, there is not a lot of disposable income around here, and anyway, charity shops are more interesting – you never know what you might find. If it doesn’t fit properly and produces a hunchback of Notre Dame look, five bucks doesn’t break the bank, and the shirt/blouse/jersey can go back to the op shop to make some alternatively-shaped person look great.  

My youngest was asking me what kind of car would I have if I could have any kind, and I said a Tesla, and then hurriedly changed it to a hybrid car since I would be paranoid about running out of power, as well as being paranoid about running out of fuel. My first car, an aged Renault 5, did have a fuel light – it helpfully came on as the car glided to a halt, so you knew why you had stopped. Plus living in Zim (those who know, know). Anyway, since I am not Banksy, such a car is out of my league, so I do (head bowed in shame) use a fossil fuel car.

We have a worm farm, and those worms eat more veg than we do, which is great, but I never quite know what to do with the worm pee (I mean, Tea). You gardeners out there, help!

I really am trying in multiple small ways to save the planet, but that doesn’t feel like enough.

Like Martin Luther (and yourself, Mr Attenborough), I have a dream – I dream of being able to make a positive difference to conserve our wild spaces and wild animals, and to help reduce global warming in some small (big?) way. One day I hope to be sitting on the couch with my great-grandchildren watching the next generation’s inspiring wildlife documentaries on all the amazing, worldwide, conservation turnaround successes! I shall leap (stagger?) to my feet in joy, rather than sliding down off the couch to cry on the rug. 

So, I did an audit – what do I have at my disposal to make this conservation dream happen?

Money – nope.

Influence – nope.

Power – nope.

I have passion, creativity, and years of painting wildlife.

The idea for a painting series came to me when I was reading a painting advice blog which said that people stop for longer to look at paintings of citrus, than other kinds of subject matter. As a wildlife painter, I found that really frustrating. I thought ‘Seriously? You have got to be kidding me. Do you mean to tell me that someone will spend longer looking at a painting of a lemon that may have taken a couple of hours, than at one of my paintings of zebras that has taken weeks?!’ (I have since discovered that lemons are quite hard to paint, apologies to you still life painters whom I had been disrespecting). My mind drifted from lemons, to sliced lemon in a glass, with ice; from ice to shrinking polar ice, and the plight of polar bears (I told you I had been watching some depressing documentaries). I then got the idea for the “Who would like some more ice?” series of paintings aimed at making us first smile, and then to remind us to use our resources carefully – because what we do impacts every living thing on earth.

My plan is to give away 10 percent of the sale price of each painting, and 10 percent of sale price of each print, to WWF. Hopefully to assist them in nagging our governments to pass laws banning single use plastic. Wouldn’t that be awesome? I’m thinking WWF, based on the research I have done. Do you have any different ideas, suggestions of who would be most useful to give to?  

I know, I know, it is a drop in a bucket, but perhaps all our drops will add up to a trickle, and so on. And I want to do SOMETHING, however small. Plus, it’s SO FUN having a bit of money to give away, it makes me happy.

That is a very meandering way of telling you how I came to be painting lemons, water and polar bears in the same painting. Next time, I’ll show some of the process.

PLEASE tell me your pro eco and recycling tips? I’m always keen to learn, and if they are new, I’ll put a Best Of them in the next missive (Will your tip make the cut? The suspense…).

May you have (clean, green!) joy in your day!

XX Barbie

For all you citrus lovers: