Rae and I are driving along a broad boulevard; hover-crafting above the tar surface. An image of her latest, unfinished, painting flashes by; a striking repeat of red posters on the tall wall of a brick warehouse. She turns sideways to look, but the road bends and sweeps us into a different direction. We soon pass a series of installations erected next to the road – small replicas of various aircraft invisibly suspended in mid-air, each following its own course. These installations are an experiment, I tell her, to test wind speed and -patterns in Cape Town. We laugh at the beauty of this scientific experiment; we both agree that we want to stop the car and run around in circles, like children do, waving our arms about and making airplane noises.
“This limited edition artwork (from therubybox.com) was originally drawn by hand from an original ink drawing then later on screen printed on olive green French cover in three colors. The artwork features girls dancing or flying amongst airplanes. The beautifully drawn images can be subject to many interpretations but is undoubtedly beautiful. With the use of minimal colors such as light blue, brown and white the artwork is pleasing to the eyes.”
Art always offers an answer.
We turn from the broad boulevard and leave the airplanes behind, each spinning along its own flight path. The wind is picking up, and leaves and trash frolic across the narrower streets of the inner city. The image I see is that of an arterial map, overlaid by an ordinary road map of the city; traffic pulsed along by unseen, contracting forces. Rae and I talk about a recent art exhibition she went to see, and she tells me of a drawing she found there, of a cat crouched on top of its dead prey, a white pigeon. Not a dove? I ask, but she shakes her head – it was a pigeon. She mentions the name of the artist, and I’m surprised that she doesn’t recognise it as that of my husband.
Some things should remain hidden.
Today I am thinking about what roots me – in my life and in my work. I know that I seek a wider, deeper connection to the natural world and all the creatures who inhabit it. When I paint, I lose myself in the soothing repeat patterns of cellular structures until I look up and find the sap green praying mantis staring at me. A certain dragonfly visits on warm afternoons to sip at the small pond outside my studio.
The beginning of a story, or another dream…The artist, the praying mantis and a woebegone dragonfly.
All the small creatures that visit me daily root me to the here and now, I realise. My friends are roots that settle my heart and stimulate my mind. I like having their art in my house, or a stone or seedpod given as a gift. The ritual of lighting candles roots me on special days, pruning dead wood on others. Spending time with the Zimbabwean soapstone sculptures at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens root me deeply to Africa, my continent.
And most of all, I am rooted by my work. The threads and scraps and rough fabric I use in my art, become the fabric of my creative life.