As mentioned before, I am a devoted Irma Stern art fan and have a copy on board Dayo 1 of Marion Arnold’s book, “Feast for the Eye”, a beautiful commemorative publication printed to honour Irma’s creativity, filled with quality colour prints of a large range of her paintings.
As a mostly self-taught artist I am only now starting to understand how important it is to know why I am painting a picture and there is much, much more to a painting than “prettiness” and “sameness” and there is much, much more to being an artist than painting the occasional painting. Being an artist is a full time occupation – something Irma Stern embodied strongly and is evident in her more than 100 solo art exhibitions she held in her lifetime.
It is in this freshly inspired frame of mind I found myself grabbing brushes, tubes of gouache and sketch book this morning. Early morning fishing boats hugged the Komati estuary beach of Macaneta, on the coast of Mozambique where we’re anchored, and there was a fair bit of preparation and reparation in progress.
The boats and their occupants suggested industry as well as engagement with life. On a deeper level, the one was unraveling his fishing net, which from here looked fairly knotted and the other was scooping water out of the boat – getting rid of the unwanted, both of these activities I work with a lot in my own life as I identify and unravel programming that doesn’t work for me and do my best to get rid of it.
On the beach looking on is a spectator. There are always those around. Unengaged and absent this figure represents those who would rather look than do. The distant fishing boat is no longer near the water and also represents inactivity – suspended life.
All three figures seem oblivious and separated from the distant backdrop of intense and vivid plant life – or just Life. This is how I feel – so engrossed by the work or “Work” on hand that life is forgotten.