Inspiration for my Art. Found on the beach

The New Year this year has rolled joyously in, riding on a cloud of inspiration gratitude and wonder.

I feel a shifting in my spirit, a move towards a new insight into my creative journey’s purpose and with it a deep peace, a lifting of the heaviness of soul that sneaks in through daily striving against the tide.

I was incredibly blessed to go on two separate holidays over the December/ early January holiday period. I travelled across a total distance of approximately 3000 kms to 2 distinctly different places and along the way I almost feel I might have “found myself”! Can one ever really say that though?  Life is a series of seasons and growth, and valleys and deserts all bringing steady transformation, so maybe I should rephrase that and say that I have found my place in this current season!

Straight after Christmas hubby and I headed off to our regular holiday spot in Vilanculos, Mozambique, where we have a small rustic holiday “hut”!  Moz, as regular visitors call it, is a favourite country of mine for vacation time.  I love the sea, and gorgeous beaches, and here I find so much to inspire and tug at my artist’ soul. It is a tropical country and the fierce sun burns through my skin and comes to rest in my inmost being, warming my heart and lighting a fire within me. The sea shows off a glorious range of blues and turquoises and when the tide is out the golden sands beneath shimmer through the wet surface. Strolling along the beach I find a whole world of beauty beneath my feet. There are a multitude of small shells that are of a white so pure and clean, creating a contrast with the colourful remains of dead, minute crabs and dark glistening seaweed. Other shells are dotted around, displaying subtle earthy stripes and markings, interspersed with little gleaming dark,  impossibly smooth pebbles while miniature crabs scuttle all over, digging little holes for themselves and leaving tiny little balls of sand on the surface.

Vilanculos beach crabs. Teeny little crabs on Mozambican beach. Leaving little balls of rolled up sand
Vilanculos beach crabs. Teeny little crabs on Mozambican beach. Leaving little balls of rolled up sand

To add to the charm, there are always dhows (the traditional wooden fishing boats that the locals have been using for many years) scattered across the beach or moored just off the shore line. The bright cheerful paint is usually peeling off, showing the wood underneath. On the beaches you’ll also find local fisherman going about their daily business, either fishing in groups from the shoreline with long fishing lines they pull in teams, loading or offloading their dhows,  or walking along with the day’s catch in hand.

Vilanculos. Dhow boat on the beach
Vilanculos. Dhow boat on the beach

Fascinating people, the Mozambicans are humble and friendly and hardworking. The women and children possess a unique beauty that I find to be in stark contrast to the poverty most of them live in. A lot of them still wear the traditional Capulana which is the African sarong skirt. These are made in colourful African print fabric and they often combine this with a very “western” top. These sarongs are  used to carry their babies on their backs or sides as well. I have much admiration for these women who work very hard and walk long distances and yet remain cheerful and helpful, waving a friendly greeting as you pass.

(Here is one of a series of paintings I did of these women recently. There are others to look at in the gallery on my site.)

Capulana. Mozambican woman. painted on traditional Capulana. Acrylics
Capulana. Mozambican woman. painted on traditional Capulana. Acrylics

I returned to Joburg with brown(ish) tanned skin, a camera loaded with photographs and a mind brimming with inspiration for art works. I felt healthy and rested and enthusiastic.

But, not quite done yet!! No time to assimilate all the ideas in my mind yet! A week later I was privileged to have the opportunity to fly to Cape Town to visit my daughter and her family, who have recently moved there. The blessings continue!

As the plane descended to land at Cape Town airport the night lights of the city twinkled in a moving welcome to me and I knew that all was well with my soul! What a glorious greeting!

No words can explain the joy of reuniting with children and grandchildren after an absence but with the world being the global village it now is, I’m pretty sure that a lot of you will know exactly what I mean. Families are scattered all over the world these days. I mention this in order to show the “happy place” in my heart from which I viewed Cape Town.

And what a joy to behold is this city! More fantastic beaches and turquoise ocean!  Every beach I visited is different. Some are strewn with dark rocks that create fascinating pools of water with black mussels clinging to their sides and teeny little fish swimming around in them. Another one had no rocks at all, just endless vistas of huge snow white, soft dunes. Here and there a bunch of grasses blowing in the Cape winds, their reed like stems catching the sun as they dance over the dunes, flashing yellow green and white light across the white of the sand alongside.

Dolphin Beach Blouberg Cape Town. White sand, golden grass
Dolphin Beach Blouberg Cape Town. White sand, golden grass

Most of the beaches are full of shells, some so dense and crushed, they hurt your feet and you hardly see the sand beneath. Others are more artistically arranged, interspersed with dark pebbles and bits of shiny seaweed.

Cape Town. Seashells in abundance
Cape Town. Seashells in abundance

The ocean alongside these magnificent beaches shows off a depth and range of constantly moving changing colours that is a perfect foil for the white sand and black rock it plays on. Hordes of cheeky white seagulls populate the shoreline, screeching and scavenging as they swirl and dive around you. And everywhere, wherever you are, are the mountains. They stand strong and majestic, protecting their Mother city and remind me of the verse in Scripture that says “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds those who love Him”.  Rock and Foundation.

Hubby is a lover of sunsets and sunrises so of course we had to go and watch the sun set over the Cape Ocean. As we sat on the beach watching the sun slowly sink into the golden water, its colours tinting the water and the sky with a warming glow, the kite surfers took advantage of the last light to strut their stuff. What a magnificent sight! The changing colours of the fading sun gleamed through the almost transparent kites making them appear as other- worldly creatures of light dancing across the rolling waves. I can only imagine the dream like joy it must be to play in and ride those glimmering waves and to feel as if you are touching the sun and the sky!

I feel certain that if I took up this sport I would quickly become addicted to sunset surfing!

(If I was the sporty type that would ever take up any sport that is!)

Blouberg Beach. Sunset.Kite surfers
Blouberg Beach. Sunset.Kite surfers

It was incredibly difficult to leave both of these magical destinations and return to normal life.

And as I sit, with mind and heart full of memories and inspiration, the burning question arises……how as an artist do I even begin to translate these images into artworks that could do them justice? Of course I cannot. My only hope is to attempt to convey the joy and the peace that has taken root inside me. Both of these destinations brought me a serenity that is inexplicable and the beauty of the landscapes seems to have permeated my very soul. I don’t know yet how I will express this with paint but it will come.

As I ponder on the shifting ocean and sands I acknowledge the shifting of my spirit. I will embrace the change that has come over me. I’m not really sure where my path will go now, or how all of this will play out in my art but I feel an assurance within, a deep knowledge that all will be well. I need to trust and learn to play with abandon and give up the need to question and strive.

I have a storehouse in my mind that I can travel to whenever the need arises, filled with images and emotions and colours and warmth.

The empty canvas awaits…..!

6 thoughts on “Inspiration for my Art. Found on the beach

  1. So beautifully written! Every word
    had me captivated! I am so glad the
    seas have stretched straight into
    your soul and stirred an inspiration
    within! Can’t wait to see the
    transformation of that empty canvas
    you boast about.

    1. Thanks for the comment! Appreciate your support. Sorry about the late reply, I didn’t realise I had comments on this post! XOXOX

  2. Lin, how beautifully you write, I could
    relate to so much you said, I too have
    a beloved daughter now living in
    Cape Town, as well as the ocean
    being my happy place.. this resonated
    with my soul..

    1. Thank you so much Lois! Sorry I’m only replying now….I’m learning this new technology as I go!
      I appreciate your comment. Still trying to get all that on to canvas!!

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