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Showing posts from 2023

Watercolour Painting, Alcohol Markers, and AI

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The autobot above was my next project because I wanted to see what I could achieve with my new alcohol markers. As you can see it isn't finished yet - it is still a work in progress. I have made a few digital enhancements so that I could put it up on my blog. He is called AI Autobot and will be undergoing some changes to fit the description. Recently, everybody has been raving about AI Artificial Intelligence. I am steering clear of AI at the moment because my intelligence is okay for me. I don't want to lose my edge by relying on some computer program for now. After all, I got this far in life without it. After starting with watercolour painting and succeeding with that I have ventured into multi media to get some exposure to a new dimension in my art. Working with different mediums comes with its challenges because the ideal paper for markers is the opposite of what you need for watercolour painting. To successfully blend these two together on smooth paper is not the easiest

I Wrote a Book

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MY BOOK UPDATE: 24 JUNE 2024 I have finished my book, and it feels great. All I am focusing on at the moment is getting it online and connecting it to a payment facility so that people can buy it. Hopefully it will all be ready this week. Once it is done, I will start promoting it on this blog. Now I am making my dream come true because I have enough content for my book. Yesterday I decided to compile my book in a better, more logical order. I was getting new information for my book and just created the pages haphazardly. So, I stopped for a moment and then looked at how I could improve things so that readers can understand what I am writing about better. All I am doing now is recreating the book page by page, then it will be complete, then I can make it available online. My book will be filled with useful information about the company I worked for up until 1991. Then, it will also have information about the products that were sold and how it started. There will be lots of photographs

50th Anniversary

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  There comes a time in one’s life that you reach a milestone. When that happens you can stop and look back at what you have managed to do. Exactly fifty years ago I made a promise in the form of a wedding vow that I would love my bride until death do us part. We have both been through troubled waters that have tried to shipwreck our boat many times and have managed to weather all sorts of adversities. People wish us well with kind words and say, “Well done, congratulations.” It’s nice to hear those words because it makes one feel good. If they only knew of all the times, we had to bite the bullet, knuckle down and keep going. I remember the very first time I had to resign from work in Cape Town and move back to Johannesburg without having a new job and a wife and two kids to support because my salary couldn’t go far enough every month. Then, I got a fantastic job and managed to buy a car because I got a salary raise and back pay plus a Christmas bonus for excellent work. Imagine h

Smashed Car Parts

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When motor vehicles end up in an accident and get written off because of extensive damage, there are parts that can still be salvaged. That is where a company that specializes in these smashed cars buys the wrecks and makes them available to mechanics that buy certain parts they need to repair cars. The parts are usually in a good condition and are sold at a fair price saving everybody money all round.  The company I am referring to in this instance is called Smashed Used Auto Parts who keep damaged cars in stock on their premises in Fairleads, Benoni, South Africa so that customers can access a very large variety of used vehicle spares from them at unbeatable prices.  Smashed Used Auto Parts was started in 2016 with one car. Since then the company has grown to include more than 2000 smashed vehicles of many brands. The company has a huge following that access their massive parts stock and therefore benefit by saving on new replacements.  To keep up with the great demand they buy more

Watercolour Painting Practise

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Today I practised some more in another way. I drew another picture and coloured it in with watercolour pencils and then used some water on a brush to add water to the flower. It didn't work like I expected it to so I used coloured markers to deepen the colours some more. The idea was to see if I could eliminate the watercolour paint. That somehow improved things but the original looks better than the photographed version. So I have now added it above. Here you can read about how I started watercolour painting . Sometimes it's nice to also practise something different and completely new to you. So, I decided to see what would happen if I painted something on newsprint. I was surprised to see that one could manage to paint on newsprint and that it handles the water from the paint pretty well. The result is above.  Recently, I bought painting journals. One was cheap and the other was more expensive. To test the cheaper one first I sketched a picture and proceeded to paint with wat

A Rhinoceros Calf At Alzu

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 In an earlier blog post I mentioned that I would be displaying wild animals photos on my blog. I had to wait until after the weekend to be able to keep that promise. The time has arrived although the animals stayed away and I couldn't get the shots I wanted. What I did manage to get will be shown here. Some of you may know that rhinos in South Africa are being pouched for their horns and is a big moneymaking business. We are still fortunate that we can visit the Alzu Petroport in Mpumalanga. The two rhinos casually walked up to the water troughs and the calf allowed the mother to drink first and only after a while also started drinking. It looks like these majestic animals respect the hierarchy within their kind and don't just but in and drink or eat before the matriarchs or elders first get their share. I think us humans can learn from them. It looked like there was a tight bond between mother and calf because the latter remained at her side wherever they went. Inside the cen

More About The Safest Place

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  On  August 13, 2023 , I wrote about the safest place for me because I wanted to share a scripture that I had found that morning that spoke to my heart and circumstances. This morning I woke up to a noise on my roof. I looked at my watch and saw that it was one o'clock and it was very dark outside. Whatever climbed on my roof was moving around because I could hear that. I decided to get up and switch some lights on to let whoever or whatever was up there know I was awake. I then switched on the kettle and made myself a cup of tea. Since my sleep was disturbed and I was wide awake, I may as well have enjoyed a nice warm cuppa. Then, I decided to have a look at what was happening with my blog. I found that people from all over the world were visiting. They came from United States, United Kingdom, South Korea, South Africa, Germany, France, Ireland, Singapore, and Canada. So, I decided to write this blog post. When you are at my age with no means of protecting yourself and your wife

Rugby World Cup Final 2023

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  The 2023 Rugby World Cup Final on Saturday 28 October was an exciting game to watch. The two best teams that made it to the final gave it their all and kept us spectators biting our nails as it looked like the game could go either way. I know that there was so much at stake because the All-blacks wanted to win so badly. Unfortunately, they made mistakes through bad judgement and received penalty after penalty.  Fortunately, the referee was very unbiased and called the game correctly according to the rules. All praise to him for his good judgement. When he needed to ask the TV judges for a decision because he wanted to make sure all the decisions were fair, it actually improved the game and to show that there were no favourites. For me that made the game more enjoyable, even when it looked like a setback for the Boks. The important thing is that the Springboks won, even if only by just one point. As a South African spectator, I learned just how committed the Springboks were when I lis

Crazy Quilting Bag

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  Three years ago I asked my wife Maggie if she could make me a bag for my iPad. The iPad is too valuable to carry without some form of protection so that it doesn't get scratched or damaged. She is handy with those kinds of things. She then spent a lot of time searching the Internet for a suitable design but nothing suitable could be found. In the end she decided to ask me if we could do the design ourselves. With some adjustments and trial and error we finally got the design we wanted. Maggie then used the template we had made and she cut out the material for the bag. Once that was done we saw the bag emerging from the pieces she had prepared. We also checked that the bag was still able to house the iPad because we made sure it was a tight fit. I just took a photo of my bag which Maggie made 3 years ago so that I could add her heart to the front pocket. The bag has become quite popular and she has made some for a few clients. I use my bag every day because I put my mobile phone i

I Painted a Horse

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Who can resist a beautiful picture of a horse? These elegant animals are majestic and have served mankind for centuries. Many stories have been written about them. They have featured in movies, used to transport stagecoaches across America, transported cavalry across borders into battle. They have ploughed fields, been used to pull chariots for ancient Greeks and Romans. Horses have been raced to enrich people financially. They have been entered into show jumping events. The list goes on. Horses have also roamed the prairies in the wild and that is one way to remember them well. When a picture comes across one’s path that looks so beautiful, we stop and admire it. In my case I decided to paint this one – my very first painting of an animal in watercolours. I am sure a lot of people seeing my painting will know that painting with watercolours is not the easiest thing to do because mistakes happen, and the water paint goes where you don’t want it to go a lot of the time. It doesn’t mat

RWC The Springboks vs France

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  On 15 October, the Rugby World Cup match between the Springboks and the French took place in France. The match started with an early try from the French prop Cyril Baille. Then, Kurt-Lee Arendse sprinted to the corner for a brilliant try and after that Damian de Allende muscled over to give the Springboks a 12-7 lead. The French hooker Peato Mauvaka scored a try, but the conversion failed because Cheslin Kolbe miraculously spoiled the kick. Baille scored again and Ramos converted a penalty to put the blue team into the lead by 22 – 19 as the whistle blew for half-time. In the second half the battle continued as Ramos extended their advantage with a penalty. South African player Etzebeth stretched over fourteen minutes before full time and replacement Handre Pollard converted plus a late penalty. The Springboks were finally victorious with a nail-biting 29 to 28 win. I haven’t seen players battle out a rugby match like this one for a long time. It was physical and intense all th

RWC Argentine vs Wales

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  On 14 October, the Rugby World Cup match between Argentine and Wales took place in France. The match started with Wales taking the lead. Fourteen minutes into the match Dan Biggar scored the first try for Wales and then converted to push the score up to 7 points. It looked like Wales was on fire because in the 21 st minute Biggar kicked again due to a penalty, and they were leading by 10 to null. In the 39 th minute the Argentinians started smiling when Emiliano Boffelli brilliantly converted a penalty, and they had 3 points on the scoreboard. He struck again in the 45 th minute and pushed their score up to 6. So, at half time it was 10 – 6 in the favour of Wales. The Prince of Wales, William, was in the grandstand. He must have been chuffed. After a long break the game was on again. The Pumas scored again twice with penalties and moved ahead of Wales. In the 55 th minute Wales scored a penalty under the posts. The match swung again in Argentines favour when Joel Sclavi score

The Urge to Paint

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  When the urge comes to paint and I don't have the time to create something elaborate, then I just allow the watercolours to flow wherever they want to. The results can look odd or a bit messy but it's just another practice session, nothing serious. The idea was never to create a masterpiece, only a result. Then I can learn from what I painted and judge what's good and what's not so good. I know the green wasn't such a good idea. But now it's there anyway. There is something very positive and rewarding from this effort. It is an escape from everyday life and the pressures that accompany it. So, it is food to the soul and healing to the mind and body. It is also a creative endeavour to fortify the mind.

Tonga Tackle the Springboks 1 October 2023

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  The match started with Tonga putting the first points on the board. Shocker! Tonga looked good and the players were huge, physical guys – like real WWE wrestling champions. Fortunately, it didn’t take the Boks long to score a try and convert it. If I enjoyed the previous games I managed to watch, this one was a real humdinger. Whenever the Tonga players attacked it took everything the Boks had to keep them from scoring. Sometimes you just saw bodies flying around on the field as this rugby match became very physical. You could understand that those massive Tonga guys were able to show their physical strength, but the Boks were just as good in the tackling department. As the game progressed the South African score kept on surging ahead. They really had to show their mettle because their opponents were giving them a run for their money. When it came to scoring those extra kicking points, we weren’t disappointed this time around as the ball kept sailing between the uprights when kic

RWC Argentine vs Chile

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  During the Rugby World Cup in France yesterday the Argentinian team were enjoying a runaway victory against Chile. I didn’t see the start of the game but entered just before half time. Immediately, I saw the passion with which the Chile players were fighting against their rivals. I know from past matches Argentine would be a tough team to score against. When they took possession of the ball soon after that they scored a try and made it look so easy. For a while they had things going their way. But I found myself cheering for the underdogs, Chile, who displayed superhuman tenacity and awesome fighting spirit. During the second half of the game the Chile team seemed to get the break they desperately needed. During a lineout near the Argentinian try line they made a few bold passes, and a player scored their first try. Unfortunately, the TV judge ruled that there was a forward pass, and the Chile score sank back to zero. It was like someone had poured cold water on the Chile support

RWC Springboks vs Ireland

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  The long-awaited Rugby World Cup match between the Springboks and Ireland took place last night in France. Before the match various speculators couldn't decide whether Ireland would have a large score against the Boks or what the outcome would be. Ireland was performing so well in their matches that it looked like it was going to be a whitewash of the Springboks squad. However, that was not to be. The Springboks played very well and gave the Irish a run for their money. You could see by the faces of the Irish fans in the grandstands that they were thoroughly enjoying their team's performance. The match started of with both sides being very cautious and they defended very well. However, the score remained low because both teams were strong and defended their territory with all their might. In the second half Ireland made a daring attack and scored a try. South Africa also scored a try but failed to add the two extra points and missed their kicks. The final score was in Ireland

All For Love

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  When I was a young man, I was searching for a partner that would love me in return. It so happened that I corresponded with a young lady who lived far away in the country. We didn’t have mobile phones then and she never sent me a photograph of herself, so I had no idea of what she looked like. Because I didn’t own a car, I decided to hitch-hike the distance of 960 km (596.516 miles) to her home. That was a crazy idea and a first for me, but love showed no boundaries since I was determined to get to her. Fortunately, the journey went well, and I arrived at her home without any problems. She turned out to be quite pretty and I felt a wonderful connection with her. It looked like we loved one another, and we enjoyed the time together. I helped her with her daily chores on the small farm where she stayed and even milked a goat. We swam in the Orange River and picked ripe tomatoes for supper. In the evenings we prepared all the beds outside round about the house because that is wher

My Watercolour World

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  This painting of mine didn't take long to complete and it was part of a learning exercise I did whilst practising during a Domestika lecture. The exercise was to see how one could add two elements together in a way that creates perspective. The lady is in the foreground and the building in the background. It was suggested that it would be better to have a human figure in the picture which makes the image more natural and appealing to look at. I must say that she has a sort of Mona Lisa expression and I like that. I am not suggesting that my artwork matches up to the Mona Lisa. This painting project was fun to do and I relaxed and added my own style to the painting. I gave the lady rosy cheeks and made some other adjustments of my own. In the end the result is quite okay. This watercolour painting is an addition to my creative collection and a daring one because I successfully added a person to the painting which is new to me. I hope you like it.

The Cost of Living

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  To start an article with the words “the cost of living” is like opening a can of worms because the subject is so large and depends on what your viewpoint is. Having said that, I will have to give some context so that whatever I say will be clearer to the reader. I have been self-employed since 1991, which means that it has been 32 years since I last worked for a company. In the beginning, it was a disaster because I had no experience of how to run my own business. You would have thought being a former department manager that would have given me enough expertise in running a business, but it did not, and I was completely lost not knowing what to do. For 13 years I struggled to make a living going from one idea to the next and many of them failed. Testimony to my determination, I continued doing all sorts of things just to make ends meet. One day, out of shear desperation, I called out to the Lord for help. I said, “Just give me something that will work, please. I am tired of st

Kids With Superpowers

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  Superpowers are usually regarded as the ability to fly like Superman or scale up buildings like Spiderman or display immense strength like Superwoman or be as indestructible as Ironman. There are many kinds of superpowers as portrayed in Marvel comic books and, as a parent, one usually thinks of your children as special with awesome characteristics. To show my children that I think highly of them I created images of them as superheroes.  Why would I do something like that? Firstly, it's a fun way of showing them off. Secondly, I hope that my creations show them how proud I am of them. Thirdly, they deserve it even if they didn't do anything more to prove anything to me and my wife. By the way, my wife has pretty awesome powers herself. Love, kindness, a bubbling disposition, a strong will, and a heart of gold. She also gave birth to these children who make us very proud. Each son or daughter has special superpowers in his or her own way. The oldest son also has a heart

Dedicated to Women - Art

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When time began the man was alone without a companion, so he was put into a deep sleep and a rib was removed from his chest. It was used to create her. When the man woke up and saw her, he fell head over heals in love with her. She was spectacularly beautiful. Together they formed a bond, and, in the evenings, they fellowshipped with their Creator. They could speak to animals which listened and obeyed them. They had that kind of power and dominion with words, just like the Creator. One day, Havah (Eve) met a serpent who deceived her with crafty words and she and the man disobeyed the Creator. As a consequence, they had to leave their abode called Eden. Years later, the Creator appeared to Abraham and told him he was going to have a son in his old age. His wife, Sarah laughed when she eavesdropped on the conversation. She endured many years of being childless and had become old. Consequently, the boy was called laughter (Isaac). Much later, the Creator’s people were about to enter

The Most Important Thing I Learned in America

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  I once worked for a company called Frasers Ltd in Johannesburg. My director nominated me for an educational trip to the USA. That was back in the 1980’s. I was surprised to have received such an honour because it was company policy to send staff on those tours after long service. I had only been working for Frasers for just over a year. We were a group of people from different companies taking the guided tour and departed from Jan Smuts International Airport in Kempton Park for the long flight across the Atlantic to Madeira where our jet refuelled. From there it was still a quite a distance to La Guardia Airport in New York. Whilst on the flight I wondered what lay in store for me since I had never travelled so far from South Africa. America was huge compared to my small country but in those days our currency exchange rate was almost 1:1. I knew that technologically they were far ahead of my country and that it would be a big adjustment in terms of size as well. The tour operat