Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Birthday Poem

I found this sweet poem on It was written by Victorian poetess Christina Rossetti and goes well with my painting of a girl on a summer picnic.

A Birthday

by Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird   
  Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;   
My heart is like an apple-tree   
  Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;   
My heart is like a rainbow shell 
  That paddles in a halcyon sea;   
My heart is gladder than all these,   
  Because my love is come to me.   
Raise me a daïs of silk and down;   
  Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,   
  And peacocks with a hundred eyes;   
Work it in gold and silver grapes,   
  In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;   
Because the birthday of my life
  Is come, my love is come to me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Black Ascot

The famous “Black Ascot” followed the death of racing loving Edward VII in 1910. Instead of not having a meeting at Ascot, citizens arrived in shades of black and white. Black was also fashionable because of the very popular Merry Widow opera. The lower necklines show the influence of soft materials suitable for draping.
This was a fast sketch made in black and white acrylic paint as preparation for one of my French Belles paintings. I liked it like this and did not complete it in colour.
And yes, I forgot to mention: Cecil Beaton was inspired by this history when he designed the fashions for the Ascot Scene in "My Fair Lady"

Monday, April 23, 2012

Summer Song Nostalgia

Summer breeze
summer long
I'll sing to you
my summer song.....

Don't you just love songs and poetry about summer? (I already used Shakespeare's words on summer in an earlier post) As we are experiencing the last days of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, the days are mild and lovely! You have to know Cape Town well to really imagine this absolutely serene time.

I was searching for lyrics to write into this piece. "Summertime" by Gerswin is one of those hauntingly beautiful songs. My absolute favourite, though, is "There's a Summerplace", a song my parents loved. It always led to an impropto dance and they were suddenly oblivious of us kids! I would love this as a ringtone for my cell phone, the instrumental version of Percy Faith! And  at the same era of this song,in the early sixties, my college days, we could not live without: " Let's twist again like we did last summer!"

And now to my this warm country in the fifties and sixties, girls wore sunhats, it was part of our carefully planned outfits! Even my school wear included a pristine white girly type of panama. This turquoise hat I painted would do for any time, any age. I invented an Art Nouveau type of background to suggest a pergola-with-blossoms feel.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


How popular was Titania, the Queen of the Fairies, since the days that Shakespeare created the character, based on one of his favourite people in real life, Queen Elizabeth the First! The play A Midsummer' Night's Dream was still performed in garden parties in those golden summer days of the Edwardian era. How the more fortunate country children enjoyed to dress in costume, the most beautiful older girl always playing Titania. She was able to walk softly over leaves and grass, always with her Train of many small children in costume!

Titania: "Come now, a roundel and a fairy song;
Then for the third part of a minute, hence;
Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds;
Some war with rere-mice for their leathern wings,
To make my small elves coats;
And some keep back the clamorous owl, that nightly hoots and wonders
At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep;.
Then to your offices, and let me rest.

This is of course followed by high voiced Edwardian/Victorian style singing until Titania sends them off and orders one to stand sentinel. What fun that play must have been, and how little the Edwardian children in those lovely lazy days expected World War I that was to follow within a couple of years to shatter their dream!

This painting shows my own interpretation of Titania!