Tag Archives: kudu

‘Let’s be more adventurous’ she whispered

Lying awake at night I saw myself painting a huge canvas entirely black and immediately I thought how dark and depressing that would be… and dismissed the thought.

Then I remembered that some time ago I promised myself and the universe, that if I get any clear inspiration, I would trust it and follow it. So the next morning I took a 100 x 100cm canvas and started to paint it black.

It did not feel dark or depressing… it actually felt comforting, calming and very rich in its smooth deep blackness. Not at all as bad as I had imagined.

While painting I got the following insight:

Sometimes the darkness is not as bad, as it first seems...

Sometimes the darkness is not as bad, as it first seems… (Text added digitally to the photo.)

Then nothing. No new idea, no insight as to how and if to proceed. I hung the canvas on the wall and waited.

Yesterday I heard the kudu softly calling me.

Paint me! Remember, we have a long and special history together…

(When I was about three or four years old, my father worked in the field and my brother and I explored the near-by hill. I was the one who spotted the kudu, very close by. It did not run away immediately, which these wild antelopes normally do. How exciting… a tame kudu!

So what do little girls do? They wanna go and cuddle and play with any nice and tame animal…

Fortunately I had my brother follow close on my heels. We were really unbelievable close to this wild animal and it did not make any signs of running. Being older and already more knowledgable about the wild, my brother noticed strings of saliva running down from the kudu’s mouth. A sure sign that the kudu had rabies and was dangerous. This also explained why the kudu seemed so tame…

Immediately he grabbed me by my arm, softly, but urgently told me to back up and run. I was not very happy about this, as I already was so close to touch this cute and majestic animal. But, fortunately big brothers can be very persistent when they are about to save your life. 

So we ran. Down hill, all along a fence. Chased by a rabies infected kudu.
It is a common symptom that animals with rabies appear tame, but then also attack you… We ran for our lives.

My brother was faster and ahead of me. I realised that the kudu is getting closer and my short little legs had no chance against his (or hers). Somehow I realised that I could slip sideways through the fence and hope that the kudu will continue with his downhill chase. It worked…

But now the kudu got closer to my brother and my brother was getting close to the corner of the camp, with another fence right in front of him. He duck through the fence and at the same time the kudu lifted into the air with his powerful hind-legs to jump over the fence…

Another thing which happens with kudus who have rabies, is that they get weak. Usually they easily and gracefully jump over fences, but now they do not manage the height and get horribly tangled in the wires. Caught with its legs by the wires, this kudu came crushing down to the ground where my brother had just climbed through the fence. It fell partly onto my brother, but fortunately he could quickly get away and was not hurt.

My father, who was already alerted by my screams that something was wrong, came towards us and once he has ensured we are save, he put the poor kudu out of his/her misery.

This was a pretty unusual childhood encounter with a kudu and probably one of my very earliest, clear and lasting memories. And it made a huge impression on me… )

So yes, I do remember. Also the first time that I was asked to paint your portrait. I answered in my mind.

Ok, so will you paint me again?

Mhhh. Ok, maybe with white on black, that could look cool.


What do you think of this?

Kudu White on Black (Detail)

Kudu White on Black (Detail)

Uhh, I like it. It is pretty. But…. hey let’s be adventurous tonight, otherwise we are finished so quickly… and black and white are so… mmhh, boring? Let’s just try something crazy…

I don’t know. I am scared. You look so pretty, what if I will mess that up?

You might, but wouldn’t it be fun? And anyway… if you do mess it up, you can just paint another one like this again, can’t you? Common, let’s just be a bit wild tonight… I dare you.

Ok, I trust you. And yes, I need to remember that I can always start over again. Art, like life, lets you start over and over again, as long as you are breathing. Mistakes can happen and they do. But it is not the end of the world and often they lead to amazing new and unexpected results.

So, yes, I dare…

(Untitled (Kudu on black background), Acrylic on canvas, 100x100cm)

(Untitled (Kudu on black background), Acrylic on canvas, 100x100cm)

So this is the kudu at this stage of our dialog… I think we leave her like this. Maybe, we will rather start another adventure on a different canvas.

And till we do, I am enjoying her presence. We are having fun, like girlfriends do, giggling and enjoying the neon colours we used, her prettiness and weirdness, marveling at the world, laughing at our vulnerability, fears and constant search for the elusive perfection… And think: who cares? When we can just be pink or turquoise or whatever we feel like? We should be more adventurous and less scared of making mistakes.

Facing the Creative Mess

I have not been feeling well these past days. But I tried to paint anyhow - it was a long, painful and frustrating process, cause nothing wanted to go the way I hoped... actually I do not even know what I really want to express with my art anymore... I feel lost. Although I enjoy her (the painting) I could happily do without the struggle.

‘Born of Frustration’ Mixed Media on Watercolour paper, 200g/m2, 32x24cm. I have not been feeling well these past days. But I tried to paint anyhow – it was a long, painful and frustrating process, cause nothing wanted to go the way I hoped… actually I do not even know what I really want to express with my art anymore… I feel lost. Although I enjoy her (the painting) I could happily do without the struggle.

I went a whole month without writing a blog. I miss sharing my thoughts with you, but it felt as if my thoughts and feelings were on a roller-coaster ride (and still are). I just could not focus on any single thing and write about it.

On the positive side it also means that I have been working more on my art and facing all the gremlins that come with that. You know, stuff like fear of failure, insecurity, questioning the sense of it all and wondering if what I do really makes a difference to the world?

“Anyone can slay a dragon, she told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.”

(Brian Andreas of Story People)

I often return to this piece of wisdom when I get fearful of life. And in my personal way it means facing an empty piece of paper or canvas all over again, not knowing the outcome and not knowing if it will make any difference to the world. Or if it will touch anybody in a meaningful way? Will it nourish my soul? And will it support my survival financially. Will I mess it up? Will my insecurities get the better of me and let me abandon it?

Creating art is messy. Not only in a paint-splatter way.

It messes with your soul in a weird way. I cannot tell you all the emotions that I am going through when I create art. It teaches me that I never really can control the outcome, that I need to trust the process and myself and it teaches me, that often what seems like destruction or failure is the biggest blessing to the creative process. All difficult lessons and challenges for me, but I am trying to bravely ‘face the dragon’ every day, even when I feel lost and unsure of which direction to take.

It is strange how my passion for making art can also be so uncomfortable, challenging and forcing me to face my deepest fears and insecurities. But, oh the bliss, of finishing an artwork and thinking: wow, I struggled through that and something beautiful came out of it!

Today I thought of giving you a glimpse into my studio, so that you can see what I am up to and why I have been so quiet.

I also would like to show you the wonderful packaging that my Teabag Totems now come in and the perfect frame, which I found for them. You can buy any of these existing unique little artworks as shown here or I can create one with your favourite or totem animal. If you missed reading about my Teabag Totems and want to find out more, click here. (Cost: €20 plus postage).

Please click on the images to get a larger view.

I just love these frames and how the Teabag Totems look in them! So I have decided that I will offer the option to buy the frame with the artwork. Just ask me about it.

It feels vulnerable to share with you my working space and creative mess, but hey, this is me and how I work and I know that every now and then everything gets cleared and tidied up again. 🙂

View of my working space and creative mess...

View of my working space and creative mess…

And here some views of the artworks which are partly in progress or just finished or waiting to be decided upon. When I am not 100% happy with a work, I love to see it regularly until I either change something again, or I start accepting (and loving) it for what it is.

Small drawings on watercolour paper

Small drawings on watercolour paper

The larger drawing below, started of as a black ink drawing and I expected it to stay that way. Instead it surprised me with this outcome. I love the feeling of lightness and softness, despite the tension and a bit of dreamy sadness that I feel in the figure.

Mixed media on paper and board

Mixed media on paper and board

And hey, look who appeared again! The kudu…

This painting started of with a female figure in black and white, then the kudu appeared and stole her show, so she got painted over. I am not sure if this will be the final version though…

Acrylic on canvas (detail)

Acrylic on canvas (detail)

Ok, that’s it for today. Now I have to start cleaning up the mess, because this weekend I am celebrating my 40th birthday with a few friends and need the space. Currently I am working from our living room until we get the out-building turned into a non-leaking, warm and light space – hopefully in the next few months.

Times of Change

Recently sold artwork (via my Facebook artist page) Mixed media on 170m/g2 acid-free paper, A4.

Untitled (Blaue Kudufrau) – Recently sold (via my Facebook artist page) Mixed media on 170m/g2 acid-free paper, A4.

Social media is awesome!

But also a bit complicated… There are so many easy ways to share my arts and ideas with friends and strangers, connect and get feedback and interesting conversations happening. It is also a challenging world to navigate, as I post on this blog, on Facebook and sometimes on Pintrest and Twitter. And I post very different stuff depending on the general idea of what a blog or a Facebook page is used for.

I realised that many people who follow me on Facebook, miss out on my blog posts and my blog readers do not get to see all the art which I post on Facebook…

When somebody mentioned to me that they love to see much more of my art, I realised that in my blog posts I focus mainly on ideas and concepts in my art. On Facebook I try to post an artwork or sketch per day (except weekends), with brief news or info. So there you see what I am up to much more regularly. Yet I also know that many people are not on Facebook – and I totally understand you.

I love making art and being creative as a way of life, but just as much, I love sharing my art and ideas with people. I hope to inspire, to bring happiness and joy, to provoke some new and different thoughts or alternative perspectives. With that in mind, I am considering posting more often to share more of my art and thoughts, maybe in occasional shorter, news-style posts. I am still not sure how exactly I can and want to do this best and ensure that it is still lots of fun and interesting for you, without becoming too much.

The best way to find out how things work best is to try it. So I guess I will just slowly feel my way forward and would love to hear your feedback.

Recent Art

As I have just mentioned, I regular post new art on my Facebook page. I enjoy the immediateness of it. FB followers see the image in their news feed and can press the ‘LIKE’ button when they enjoy what they see or they can easily leave a comment to which I can reply. And recently the fact that more people see my art there has led to increased direct sales.

Always be your imperfectly perfect self... Acrylic and pen on the back of a discarded Toffifee (choclate) box... approx. 15x15cm

Another work which was recently seen and sold via my Facebook artist page: ‘Always be your imperfectly perfect self…’
Acrylic and pen on the back of a discarded Toffifee (chocolate) box… approx. 15x15cm

Facebook is also the platform where I share experiments, sketches or little projects which will probably never see the inside of a gallery, a frame or somebody else’s house. I might consider to share some more of that on my blog in future too.

Here are some recent images:

Magic Sticks. I bought myself some funky new colours and had some dried rose stems which needed some love. This is the result. (Posted on FB on 17th of July)

Magic Sticks. I bought myself some funky new colours and had some dried rose stems which needed some love. This is the result. (Posted on FB on 17th of July)

Just finished this one... no title yet. Mixed Media on 170g/m2 acidfree paper, A4  (Posted on FB, 12 July2014)

Just finished this one… no title yet.
Mixed Media on 170g/m2 acidfree paper, A4 (Posted on FB, 12 July 2014)

'I just smell that this is going to be an awesome week! - Can you smell it too?' Pencil sketch from my sketchbook, posted on FB on 21st July 2014.

‘I just smell that this is going to be an awesome week! – Can you smell it too?’
Pencil sketch from my sketchbook, posted on FB on 21st July 2014.


New Moon – New Beginnings

But before you expect a whole lot of new posts in the next few weeks, I have to tell you, that it might still take some more time before changes to happen. Because we are moving!!!

We have bought a little house in a little village just outside of Berlin. The house is really sweet, but even better: it comes with a beautiful garden (with a very own cherry tree!) and a lovely outside building and garage, which we plan to convert into a studio. Another absolute bonus is that the area is really pretty awesome and idyllic. There is a large forest just 100m down the road, the Havel river meanders past about five-minute walk into the other direction and there are several pastures for horses in between. We are so excited! And cannot wait to finally get the keys at the end of this month and start moving in and doing some renovations.

I have the feeling this move will be the start of a new magical time in our lives. I cannot wait to be closer to nature again, see how a desert girl can adapt to the forest and real running rivers, picking cherries and planning my own herbs and vegetables again!

Depending on how soon we will have our internet connection installed there and finished the move and the renovations, I will probably write the next blog from our new place, sitting under a tree…

Here is a sneak preview of our new place and surrounding area (click on the thumbnail image to see a larger view):

Wishing you all a great start to this new week! May the new moon energy fill you with wonderful energy!

Ready to Shoot

If you are a regular follower of my creative experiences on my blog, you might have wondered what happened to the kudu painting. Yes the one that asked me to ‘Shoot it – if I can’. And as promised, here is an update.

If you have not read the other posts, you might want to just quickly return to them, to know what this is all about. Part 1- There is a Kudu in my Studio  & Part 2 -Shoot Me!

Shoot Me - If You Can (Digitally altered painting)

Shoot Me – If You Can (Digitally altered painting)

When I finished the painting, I had to wait for a stretcher frame to be made, so that I could transport it safely and easily. Unfortunately it was Christmas time and the framers were just ready to leave on holiday, but they promised to make it as soon as they return.

That gave me some time to

  1. Decide what I am going to do and
  2. arrange everything necessary.

I kept looking deep into the kudu’s eyes, to try and decide if I could shoot her. And if yes, how exactly would I go about it. She was silent and I knew the ball was in my court. She asked me to shoot her, and I had to answer.

Finally I agreed. If that is what she wants, I will do it. Yes, I will shoot her. She will show me how.

For the practical part of doing it, I have talked to a dear friend, and after some hesitation he agreed to help me take the painting out to his farm and shoot it. So everything was set. Just waiting for the frame, so that I could stretch the painting…

I realised that shooting the painting stirred a lot of emotions and questions in me. Why was her request so unsettling? And, on the other side, intriguing? Shooting to me is about killing. So I would have to kill this painting.  Why do I have such a problem with killing something that is not alive?

Oh, but wait. It is not alive? Who said that? To me a painting is very much alive. Artists are often asked, when they know that a painting is finished. I know mine is finished, when it suddenly feels alive, when it becomes an energised, almost breathing entity, when I have the feeling it has a identifiable personality that can survive on its own in the world. When it becomes separate from me.  (I know this sounds strange, but that is what it feels like to me.)

Anyway, I could write so much more on the thoughts and emotions that I had, but I am afraid this post will get too long. I hope to still share my insights in some other form later. I think the main thing was to go through the motions, make up my mind and trust life to take its course.  Who knows what will come from it.

So here I was, ready and well prepared to shoot. Honouring my part of the agreement. Shoot her – if I can.

I could not.

By some fluke the framers took longer than expected and the painting literally arrived back in my studio a few hours before I left to Europe. There was just no time to shoot.

She is save and I am relieved!  🙂

Preparation Sketch for the kudu painting

Preparation Sketch for the kudu painting


Leopard Sighting in the Forest

Once again I have swopped the warm African sun for the cold, dark and wet winter in Germany.

As a reminder of the creative fun that can be had in the cold I decided to share with you a little sketch I did on an outing to our favourite forest last year.

There were lots of frozen puddles of water and I liked how clear they were, like solid three-dimensional piece of nature art. Feeling a bit homesick I instinctively decided to add some African imagery to it. Maybe something like rock-art on ice?

I happened to have a white Tippex marker with me and started to draw a kudu. I was moderately happy with that. So a bit further away I started again, drawing a person, thinking this might turn into a traditional hunting scene.

Kudu and man on ice in the forest

Kudu and man on ice in the forest

The lines I drew dissolved and moved in weird ways on the ice surface, so I did not have much control, and thought adding a bow and arrow would totally mess it up. I felt awkward and unhappy with both figures. It needed something interesting to happen to save it…

Along came the leopard.

Leopard and man on ice in the forest

Leopard and man on ice in the forest

Interestingly the leopard started to chase the person and not the kudu, who was watching from a safe distance.

Unfortunately I cannot tell you how the story ended, as it got so cold, that I rather put on my gloves again and walked on.

Last view of the scene with the leopard chasing the man into the distance

Last view of the scene with the leopard chasing the man into the distance

Wishing you a happy and playful week and the perfect weather for your creative expressions!


Shoot me!

Shoot Me - If You Can

Shoot Me – If You Can

Shoot me!

That is what she whispered to me.
Loud and clear. Looking into my eyes.
Yes, you heard right:
“Shoot me.”

I continued to paint.

Trying to ignore the voice.
Falling more and more in love with her image.
Her gentle presence.
And her calm and confident being.

Silently she kept insisting: “Shoot me.”
Probably noticing my hesitation
she added softly
“If you can…”

I kept wondering what she meant.
“I know it is a lot to ask, but
it is important.”

The request is clear.
She is not begging or whining.
Proudly demanding.
Kindly and wisely guiding me.
She has a plan.

Since finishing the painting part
and waiting for the stretcher frame
I have been asking myself:

Can I?

Could you?

This is a photograph of the kudu cow that has asked me to paint her portrait

This is a photograph of the kudu cow that has asked me to paint her portrait – read more about it HERE.

You can read about how the painting started in one of my previous blogs: There is a kudu in my studio

To be continued…

There is a kudu in my studio…



I have been quiet. I withdrew from the online world for a while, due to computer fatigue – I just needed to take a break. A break from reading, posting, searching, reacting and mostly from starring at a computer screen.

The decision to take a break was supported by the fact that I am back in Namibia, and realised how much I have missed just being out in nature. For the past few weeks I got so much joy and peace from just tending to my garden, watching all the different wild birds and small animals in it, consciously breathing the fresh air, soaking up the sun, slow down and basically just being.

During this time I also tied the knot with the most special and wonderful friend and partner.  We had a beautiful celebration with a handful of selected family and friends in Swakopmund. A special time of love, family and friendship that deserved my undivided attention.

Happiness: Getting married to my love at the Atlantic coast.

Happiness: Getting married to my love at the Atlantic coast.

But now I am happy to be back online and resume sharing my art and thoughts with you again…

My lovely husband and I have been at the Waterberg Wilderness Lodge for a few days, as he is producing an image video for them. During that time we saw a small herd of young kudus. They did not seem to mind us walking up really close to them.

While my man was filming, I just watched, taking some photographs and being grateful for this special experience. After a while I had the feeling that the one kudu cow wanted me to draw her portrait.

Excuse me… what?! I was confused. It can’t be… but I suddenly got a very specific impression about some parts of the painting, like the size and the composition and her insistence in the matter.

I was reluctant. I have often said I do not see the point in painting wildlife just for the sake of it. Isn’t it just too banal to paint a picture of a kudu? But she insisted, letting me know that there is a purpose. ‘Just trust me, I will guide you through it, once you get started…’ she seemed to say. And she did. (Or who or whatever placed those thoughts into my heart.)

What you see here is the almost finished work in my studio. I got some further specific directions while I was painting. Or was it just my creative mind? Anyway, hopefully I can soon follow up on them and let you know about the final work.

For now there is a kudu in my studio, watching me, with her kind and gentle eyes.

A kudu in my studio - not yet finished.

A kudu in my studio – to be continued…