Saturday, April 12, 2014

30min-max drawings

As part of an initiative or challenge started by Mark Shaun Hopkins, I've been drawing every day. A quick sketch or doodle that doesn't take any longer than 30 minutes. I find this a great new routine, doing it at the start of my day, which makes it a great spark of creativity for the rest of the day.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cape Town/Helderberg Land Art Meetup

Dear Artists,

Inspired by Site_Specific JOZI we believe we need monthly meetings around Cape Town to help connect us to one another and to the Land!

Please join us next Monday (13 April 2014) in Radlof Park, Somerset-West, at the Gordon Road entrance, map.

Share a day of discussion, inspiration and installation. We will begin  at 9.30am, with a quiet, ‘Open Hearts, Empty Hands’ approach, as described by Wongil Jeon. This means walking into Nature and responding to whatever is there, in the environment. Whatever we build will be respectful, organic and temporary: we may even dismantle it at the end of the day. (Some of us do bring tools in our otherwise empty hands: e.g. cameras!)

Then we’ll share tea and chats, with 2 main aims:
  • Setting up regular monthly meetings
  • finding opportunities and venues for public site-specific events

RSVP if you’d like to join us on 14 April.
Mail if you’d like to be kept up-to-date.
Please send any advice or suggestions!

Janet Ranson -
Janet Botes -, +2772 331 5057

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Soul Awakening and a sketch challenge

I've posted two new posts on the StateoftheART blog that I'd like to share:

I attended the opening of Michaela Rinaldi's exhibition "Soul Awakening" at StateoftheART gallery in Shortmarket Street, Cape Town, and posted my thoughts and photos. Have a look (click here)...

And as part of my preparation for my own exhibition, I've decided to take part in a month-long drawing-a-day challenge that a very talented friend, Mark Shaun Hopkins, initiated. My first sketch(es) are posted on the blog (click here). Are you going to join the challenge? One drawing, sketch or doodle, created daily in a maximum time of 30 minutes. Not a huge challenge, since it only asks 30 minutes of creativity from you! Will you join?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ondersteun hierdie Namakwa-kunsprojek as jy kan!

Onthou jy die Namakwaland werkswinkel wat ek van vertel het? Hierdie is fotos van die voltooide bodymapping werke. Van die deelnemers van die kursus of werkswinkel is: Samenthia Beukes, Magdalena Adolph, Janielle Ockhuys, Albert Visser, Stephan Oortman, Hanna Lott, Elzano Moses, Joslin Kriel, Donovan Stevens, Benita Afrikaner, Waylen Titus.

Die werkskool was aangebied op die plaas "Begin" binne die tafeldruif pakstoor van Nico Greeff.  Deelnemers het gefokus op die tema van hul eie identiteit binne hul gemeenskap.  Die werkskool was aangebied deur Wesland Kunsvereniging en befonds deur die Departement Kultuursake en Sport.  Die gas aanbieder was Garth Erasmus wat op Greatmore Studios van Woodstock se raad dien. Elza Smal, Sharon Pool en Miranda Kruger was assistente.  Daar word beoog om binnekort 'n soortgelyke werkskool aan te bied in Vredendal Noord, waarvoor bevondsing benodig word.  Belangstellendes kan die organiseerder, Des Brand, skakel by 027 2132567 vir meer inligting.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Funding needed for bodymapping project and community workshops

Remember the Koekenaap workshop in which I participated in 2011? Refresh your memory by following this linkthis one, or read my Afrikaans account of the workshop. It was one of the opportunities created for artists in the region of the Namaqualand around Koekenaap, Klawer and Vredendal, and was organised by Desireé Brand and the Wesland Kunsvereniging. The workshop brought artists in from different areas of the Western Cape, creating a space for interaction, collaboration, art-making, discussion and ideas germination. It also culminated into an exhibition in Vredendal held at the Wesland Kunsvereniging, showcasing the work created during the 10-day workshop or residency. 

Artmaking during the 2011 regional Koekenaap workshop

Desireé is now running another similar project that forms part of her research at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, focusing on the state of art and artmaking in the Olifantsrivier Valley of Namaqualand.  The area plays host to a lot of creative and talented people, however there is no public art, galleries or other platforms for local artists. It's difficult enough for artists to create great art despite criticism and self-doubt, but it's even worse when there is no platform, no support and no community for the creative work that you do and to share your interest and passion for art. The following photographs documents one of the workshops organized as part of the new project. The workshop took place on the farm Begin!, located on the R362 between Klawer and Vredendal in the Western Cape. 

The current project is focused on doing body-mapping with people from different sectors - bringing together farm workers, people from the towns and people from the townships in a supportive space where their creativity can be explored and utilised into shaping a collective. Up to now the funding for projects such as this has come from the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs & Sport, but this workshop is the last project that will be funded by the department, leaving a huge gap that needs to be filled. This is where you come in... If you can support or fund the project in any way, please contact Desireé at +27 27 2132567 or

Originally posted/cross-posted on the Green Your Art blog

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Current Experiments and Expressions

At any particular time I usually have to put in time and effort to clear space on my studio table. I am always surrounded by unfinished works (it's a curse!), experiments, natural materials from a recent walk or the garden, notes, quick sketches, and other bits that contribute to the chaos in my studio. Often I have gems hiding in unexpected corners because of this, and sometimes I am able to group together things that really work well together. Here's a selection of some of the many things that are currently occupying surface space in the studio:

A beautiful richly-coloured soil from the garden. I have no idea what I would like to do with it, I might end up making it finer with my mortar-and-pestle, and taking a photo of it strewn onto a piece of glass - then using the photo in the Nuances work I am currently working on. 

Some abstract sketches, possibly in preparation of some of the bigger works for my exhibition:

More bits of 'work in progress'

One of the pieces of seaweed from my recent Gordon's Bay sessions, now stitched onto paper with brown thread:

Detail from a large mixed media artwork in progress:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Expressing the almost unexpressable

Janet Botes
Ink and coffee on fine art paper
420 x 297mm (unframed)

My abstract works generally diverge from the overall environmental focus of my work. These works are rather more personal, inspired by emotional responses to life events or circumstances, especially in times of change. Created in a style in line with Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism, relying on automatism - a very spontaneous, free or automatic approach that aims to express the creative force of the unconscious. 

Janet Botes
Beetroot juice and ink on fine art paper
594 x 420mm (unframed)

Made to represent my first seven days after moving out of Cape Town City, the artwork expresses the emotional turmoil and challenges in adapting to a new environment. The cellular shapes also relates to the seven chakras of the human body - signifying the importance of groundedness and connection to our own body and energy in our wellbeing - physical as well as psychologically. Within those first days of a new life in a new place I maintained sanity or equilibrium through exercise and religiously healthy eating.