Lost Inspiration

I love sketching and creating a weekly entry in my nature journal, but I haven’t touched my art supplies for over 2 months.  I wondered if I had lost my creative inspiration. How had that happened?

As I pondered the reason for my lack of art, these changes came to mind ….

Feeding our bull and weaned calves

We live on a remote mountain farm in a semi-arid area called the Klein Karoo, and have been in the grip of the worst drought in living memory. We have had to supplement feed our cattle completely since March this year and it is a labour-intensive affair. Our whole family have all pulled on our boots and climbed in the Landy to help my hubby every day and especially on the weekends when our worker takes his weekend off. It would seem natural that I would not sit happily sketching and painting in my free time, especially when there is hard, physical work to be done.

My herb and vegetable garden earlier this winter …

The drought affected my gardening and I could barely manage keep my veggie garden going through the winter. My pretty rose garden withered and died back. Full-grown trees died, and about 4 other trees blew over in a terrible wind storm. I was definitely not inspired on my nature walks when I went outside.

I recently decided to re-landscape the rose bed and I transplanted several rose bushes in a smaller cluster while they were in their winter dormancy.  I also transplanted several plants dying in other neglected garden areas to this focused garden bed. I hope to carefully water this smaller area and keep them alive.  I suppose I could have journalled these changes in my nature journal, but I was simply too tired.

Off to prune pomegranate trees

With our livestock farming under stress, we decided to make full use of a neighbouring farmer’s offer to prune his pomegranate orchards and use the cuttings to create our own pomegranate plants. We spent the last week pruning, cutting slips and planting over 5000 plants. Back-breaking and hand-cramping days.

At the end of April, my 17-year-old daughter graduated homeschool and she is transitioning through her options for the rest of this year.  This is a difficult phase to navigate.  On one hand, we recognize that she has been very isolated and protected, while on the other, she has worked very independently as a homeschooler.  Even so, we as parents have struggled to let her go even though we know that this is exactly what she needs and wants to do.  I suppose this phase has been tough for me emotionally.

We all go through seasons. This has been a physically hard and barren season, which has literally dried up my time and energy, which in turn, dried up my art and creativity.

Snow on our mountains!

Thankfully, just in this past week, miraculous rain and snow has fallen, and the drought seems to have almost broken. While it will take months for the fields and grass to recover, and we will still have to supplement feed our livestock, there is hope in the air and in our hearts.

It seems that my art and creativity are linked to regular watering of my spirit and soul. Perhaps my sketching and painting will bud and fruit sometime soon again ….

The Lord is faithful to keep us, even in dry and weary times.

What inspires your art and creativity?

Wishing you every blessing in whatever season you are in, Nadene

I’ve been Doodelwashed!

This week I have been featured as a guest artist on Doodlewashed.com!

Doodlewash sketches I discovered Doodlewashed on Instagram and loved Charlie O’Shield’s generous and inclusive approach to sharing art with others in his #WorldWatercolorGroup.

So, what exactly is Doodlewashed?  Here’s Charlie’s explanation (emphasis mine) ~

doo·dle·wash \ˈ[dü-dəl-wawsh]

  1. Anything one creates that involves a drop of water to create beautiful washes of color and/or ink: I grabbed my brush and made a new doodlewash.

doo·dle·wash \ˈ[dü-dəl-wawsh]

  1. To apply water to colors and/or ink for the purpose of creating immense satisfaction: After I finished that sketch, I just had to doodlewash it!

doo·dle·wash·er \ˈ[dü-dəl-waw-sher]

  1. Avid creator and artist who uses water with color and/or ink to make beautiful things
  2. One who can’t resist adding splashes of water to sketches: I sometimes just use pen and ink, but I’m a doodlewasher at heart. 
  3. A super cool person: No way! I didn’t know she was a doodlewasher. That’s so awesome!

DOODLEWASHING – (verb-ing)
doo·dle·wash·ing \ˈ[dü-dəl-waw-shing]

  1. The compulsive need to make something new and then apply water to itI know there’s a new show on TV, but I’d rather be doodlewashing. 

DOODLEWASHED – (adjective)
doo·dle·washed \ˈ[dü-dəl-wawsht]

  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a person who has become addicted to daily doodlewashing: I can’t imagine stopping now. I’m totally doodlewashed!
  2. The state of being one feels while “in the zone” while creating a doodlewash: It’s been how many hours? Oh my, I was so doodlewashed I didn’t notice.
  3. Having your amazing watercolor art featured on doodlewash.com: Yay! I’ve been doodlewashed!


  1. happy, calm, ecstatic, relaxed, delirious (it’s really your call here)

I took part in his August Adventure “Share Your Favorite Things” and it was a wonderful way to get to learn a little more about each other.   He posted 31 topics for the month and we shared our daily sketches on Instagram’s  #WorldWatercolorGroupNad's Art

Similar to participating in Sketch Tuesday, the simple act of daily sketching and sharing really heightened my creative juices, and I couldn’t wait to doodle and draw daily.

Join  @Doodlewashed September Travel Memories and share in the creative Doodlewashing fun!  doodlewash-september-2016-adventure-prompts



Give Creative Space

20141022_113005Recently I met several new homeschool families, most with teen high schoolers and a graduate homeschooler.  Apart from the joy of sharing like-values and hearing their encouraging and inspiring stories, there was a repeated theme  = homeschooling gives children the freedom and time to develop their gifts and visions.

Several experienced moms exhorted a new homeschooling mom of  young primary school-aged children to relax.  We urged her to give her children the time, space and freedom to explore, discover, read and create.20150308_174550It was refreshing to be reminded/ urged to give children space. More importantly, encourage creativity!

Creativity needs space and opportunity to develop.  Creativity needs time.  Children encouraged to fill their time with hobbies and interests will find things that they love and are good at, and given enough encouragement and freedom, they may even follow this into careers or short-term jobs. 20151020_123634_001One parent told me how her unqualified, yet very talented son was offered a position in an internationally selected team.  His unique flair and ability stood out among those far more experienced.  His untrained style and ability gave him the opportunity to land the job, and his new work experience provided additional training  to add to his ever-growing portfolio.

Don’t worry about formal training.  20150328_114825Often formal schooling has a preset framework and children often lose their unique style and ability in order to fit in to the school’s requirements and expectations.

Allow your child to be unique!  Don’t be afraid.  They may be challenged later, but they will have a deep sense of their authentic self.

I think it is this very uniqueness that makes homeschoolers seem “odd”, but the cookie-cutter career is no longer an option.  In fact, many large corporations are looking for homeschool graduates for this very reason!20141114_170311My hubby and I decided a few years ago to buy our children tools and supplies rather than other the more ordinary gifts for birthdays.  In the past we have bought leather-making tools, art easel and canvases, soldering iron and craft tools, packets of beads, chains and jewellery-making items, or several reams of fabrics and ribbons.  Often these gifts have provided the inspiration and means for our children to create for months on end.20150224_105140

But more important than buying materials, we need to give our children the freedom to “be“.

Let them use the stuff!  Encourage them to create, make mistakes, invent, explore, gain experience, become frustrated, try again, learn.

If they need help, watch YouTube videos or tutorials, or visit an artist or artisan, or take classes, or find a tutor.

I loved   Jess from A Thoughtful Life‘s  post on “Hearing your Child’s Voice” and wish to end with her words of encouragement:

“All people are destined to be both observer and mentor. Your child is destined to be both your observer and mentor. But if you rush to fill all the spaces, be the one to only ever lead, then your child can only ever follow.

My children take me in directions that I never could have planned. Space left free, is space full of endless potential.”

Please feel free to share how you create space for your children in the comments below.


Sketching Daily Delights

We have sketched regularly with Barb’s Sketch Tuesday for years and years and I shared of the advantages of sketching regularly.

But this year I felt led to sketch more than once a week.  

Looking in Pinterest, I found a 30 Day Doodle Challenge,  made my own little sketchbook and started!

01-20150208_111540 02-20150208_111553

I made no laws or rules … simply try sketch daily and use different media and methods now and then.

My pages are small, A5, and so the sketch should take 30 minutes or so.

I had a blast!

Some days I spent an hour or more totally absorbed.

Some days I just had to do another sketch …

and another …

My creativity levels just blossomed and bloomed.

I discovered the joy of new techniques, using water-soluble color pencils and my water-brush instead of my water paints.

 Sketching daily stimulated me!

I felt alive.

Somehow, I could calmly think, pray, plan and dream as I doodled.

It relaxed me.

This was “Mother Culture” … investing time in daily nurture and creativity.

It was delightful!

I’m off to start my next 30-day sketch challenge, and my youngest daughter has just made her own sketch book to join me.  We are going to have fun!

Will you also join us?