Mar 19th, 2019
As I stare at the outreaching leaves and dried twisted roots of the tiny aloe clipped to my studio board, I gasp in the amazement of it’s tenacity.
This little plant can survive pulled out of the ground for days, even weeks, idealistically aided by the energy filling my studio, my music of mood and the sea air drifting through the space. It holds its posture with pride, never losing its colour or stance. Once it has served as my muse, I gently remove it from its vice and place it in soft, moist, life giving soil. Here it thrives again with joy, as if it were a pleasure to have served some purpose other than itself.
How can this be? How can this little plant have such tenacity? What can we learn from it? These questions and more race through my head.
My next muse is an Erica plant. I stare at it from my studio. I brush past it on my stroll with the dogs. I caress its soft leaves and admire its understated flowers. I am no botanist but my urge to learn about these incredible plants that occur in our unique biosphere is addictive.
I find out that this particular Erica, Erica Brachialis, is incredibly rare. The reason is because of its vulnerability to fire and urbanisation. Fire destroys it and as our population grows and urbanisation spreads, so this beauty is destroyed without the realisation that there are but a few of them left in the Western Cape. It was a joy to find out that our property is surrounded by these beauties. It was through curiosity and a yearning for a subject matter that I unintentionally discovered this. What a delight! Although these Ericas are incredibly vulnerable, they thrive on being trampled upon. This is where our baboon troop play a very important role.
As an artist, I am drawn to these plants. I have realised that in order to grow, not only as an artist, but on a personal level, I have to verbalise my truth as well as visually create it. This makes me feel incredibly vulnerable. As I write this blog, I am doubting myself and my ability to choose the right words. All sorts of fears scream in my head! It is for this reason that I continue. Vulnerability is one of life’s greatest teachers and it is tenacity that keeps me from not giving up.