Iona, Scotland. Photo taken by Morag Noffke

Monday, October 3, 2011

Everyday Art: whale watching

Mother whale and her calf just off Muizenberg.

Instead of painting this last week, we went to watch the whales. The mother whale and calf were close to the shore. It was good to get out and enjoy nature. What struck me deeply was the transformation of the sea, while the afternoon went by, from turquoise calm to a grey, choppy sullenness. And so, as I thought about the sea, a poem emerged in my mind. Here it is:
The sea
The sea with its temperamental complexity
reminds me of our humanity.

It holds within, the shallow and the deep:
Once sad grey, wanting to weep,
then angry and violently mad,
the waves relentlessly rolling in,
never stopping
as the orange-sun sets with a grin.

Rough one day, the next calm:
its 'turquoise-tranquility' watched
is the traveller’s balm
while the sea storm
teams with life
it also takes a life; someone's death bed
uncovering treasures
and swallowing the dead.

Just like the sea
we live with complexity
of contrasting treasures
and desperate-dark measures:
Humanity is infinitely interesting.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Everyday Art: silk in the wind

Waves breaking at Buffles Baai, Cape Point, 2011 by Morag Noffke.

The elements, such as the wind and the waves of the sea speak to me of the mutability of life and humans while the rocks speak of the immutability of certain physical and spiritual laws such as gravity and giving. There is variability and security woven into our existence. I believe ultimately the Creator knew what he was doing.

Who are we?
A fleeting life, a mere breath…
Aimlessly blowing in the wind
when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind”
- Solomon, Ecclesiastes

We are a spirit-soul malleable in the Makers hand
like a seed blowing where He wishes through the land
Gently responsive to his Spirit
merging with the flow as one
in unison,
My life is to receive His kindnesses
to return to fuller connection
to repair this world
to live my fleeting life,
a mere breath
in response to His
He does, the Spirit-Maker, is create us…
we are His silk blowing in the Wind
In response to his toil
he has achieved,
he has loved,
he has breathed
His life

We are not
blowing in the wind
although our achievements
and our toiling might be meaningless
a chasing after the wind, in place of the Wind. 


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Everyday Art: mixed medium flowers

Fantasy flowers floating: Acrylic paint, pearly acrylic inks, beads, glitter, and patterned material,
by Morag Noffke 05.09.11
The same painting: light reflecting on the pearly inks from a different angle.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Conceptual Journaling: let watsu begin

Warm water is a wonderful way to wellness.  It is relaxing; it is soothing, calming and playful. These are all the words that come to mind when I first had water therapy: flowing, fluid, malleable, buoyant, viscosity, soft and gentle. Nothing can express the experience of water therapy adequately enough but I was so taken by it that I tried to capture my feelings in this series of acrylic ink washes and the poem which I wrote.      If you are interested in this therapy you can learn more here and watsu

a delicate energy
Let the quivering child become whole.
My power and Your emanation

Conceptual Journaling: watsu 2

Smooth satin azure
Water I embrace you
Emotions mingling
Water swirling
Water and I are one.

Soft glow gently rocks
Fetal bliss
Body cradled
Mind stilled
Petal kiss.

a delicate energy
Let the quivering child become whole.
My power and Your emanation

I have a voice
Courage to make a choice
Freeze a frame
Let the adult find
The laughing child
In the end.

Watsu Motion Picture 


Conceptual journaling: memories of 'mermaid playing'.

Sometimes childhood memories remind me of what I use to like doing. What we think of as childish play can be a clue to new inspiration for recreational and creative endeavors; they inspire new ways of creating and being for me. I am sure you can think back to some of the favourite places where you have liked being. One of my favourite places was the sea where the warm Indian Ocean ran. I could stay in the water for hours. A lot of my friends had surfboards. I had a lilo. This did not deter me from enjoying myself. I use to float around on the water pretending I was a mermaid riding a seahorse: 

my wonderful world -
warm fluid water enveloping my being; 
turquoise glass stretching to meet cloud and sky, 
salty translucence magnifying the under-world.

Free Sun-Princes, Acrylic Inks and pen, by Morag Noffke, 29.10.08


I am curious like a cat with night vision for the dark. I have whiskers for intuition; it’s good for the journey on which I embark. Cats are peaceful, content, proud and individual. On my head I wear the Sun-Princess crown and I am free to be me.

My butterfly wings are a sign of transformation; like from pupa to butterfly transmuting, is the psyche from one level to the next. There is a time to bleed and a time to need. Emotions merging like water colours, and emanating like translucent light. My wings carry me in flight to places without traces, like vanishings: once hidden, once appearing at will.

I have a mermaid’s tail, moving, propelling me forward, upward and downward; this way and that, exploring the darker depths with my strong fleshy tail. It is flexible and long; has scales both to protect and delight, a beautiful boundary hidden out of sight.

My tail is not like the pupa’s corset holding the tender, delicate, fragile, vulnerable worm. It is not rigid or cynical, looking on with scorn; keeping the princess in the tower with her insolent glower. Its mythical nature tells of its traveling journeys in joy and in sorrow; collecting wisdom. 

I have my crown, my cat's eyes and whiskers; my butterfly wings and mermaid's tail. I am a curious cat with a muscular tail, willing to fly and merge with the air; willing to swim in the dark and dare. During the day, with delight I stay and in the glorious sun I play.   

Monday, August 29, 2011

Conceptual Journaling: water

Photo by Morag, 2007

Water has many symbols, there are too many to elaborate in one post.
 The next series of drawings and poems are extracts from a conceptual journal 
I created in 2006.

Water carries many symbols.

Drawings by Morag Noffke, chalk pastel & poems collated onto one page.
It has an translucent overlay on  which  I wrote the poems, 2006.
and overwhelms.


and quenches.

The next poem speaks of my origins, the way my parents came together; 
the way life unfolds and opens up, enlarging as it goes.

One single droplet of rain
is the source of where I originate.

One single droplet of rain
and the action consummated.

They come pelting down
each colliding together.

They come pelting down
making my river bigger.

I am the droplet, I am the river, chalk pastel by Morag Noffke, 2006. 

I thirst.
I drink.
sending out ripples.
Ripple effect
in my life.
comes crashing,
splashing and splitting -
making changes.
Dew drops ripple
ripple effect changes,
changes my life:
I thirst, I drink and I am satisfied.

Changes, chalk pastel by Morag Noffke, 2006

After these drawing, many changes occurred in my life. 
It could be that the writing and drawing helped me process what was going on; 
that by expressing the issues my insight and quiet conviction grew.
This gave me strength to grow through the changes.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Conceptual Journaling: working with dreams

2010 Journal entry, Geese: Pen, highlighter and pencil crayon, by Morag Noffke.

Dreams are important to me. I like allowing the symbolism of dreams to 'speak' to me. Once after dreaming of geese I did some research to find out about geese. I identified with many of their characteristics which I then illustrated in drawing and writing. This is an example of one of many journal entries which I made during the time of pondering the topic of geese.

In the same year I also dreamed of a golden nest which I found to be both inspiring and encouraging; helping me to be expectant of new things. I work through things, such as dreams, by painting, drawing and writing about them.

2010 Journal entry, The Golden Nest: water colour, acrylics, oil pastel gold glitter glue and gold ink, by Morag Noffke.

Everyday Art: The goose laid an egg.

11,5 X 8,5 cm, The Goose laid an Egg, Pen and water colour, by Morag Noffke 22.08.11

When passing time by doodling and painting I fall back upon symbols I have enjoyed thinking about in the past. Geese have become one of my internal friends; one of the many properties (symbols) which have been included in the fabric of my life.

Nests are symbolic of nesting, germination, incubation, brooding, nurturing, etc. You will notice that this is one of the many  themes to which  I return. That shall suffice for now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Conceptual Journaling: swans

Size 12 X 12 cm , Chalk pastel, by Morag Noffke 18.03.09

I have a fondness for swans. It reminds me of my father. He drew swans. He grew up in Scotland where he came into contact with them. So swans also remind me of love, the love a father has for his daughter: the love that encompasses unconditional positive regard, empathy, compassion, care, grace and mercy. It reminds me of the stillness of being seen by a father for who I really am. It’s the love which understands the privilege of seeing his daughter grow up.

Positive regard
Compassion and care
Grace and mercy
The stillness of being seen
The privilege of seeing

Monday, August 22, 2011

Conceptual Journaling: geese

Size 30 X 24 cm, Oil Pastel,  by Morag Noffke 03.03.09

When I think of the human spirit I often draw, paint or fashion 3D birds: geese, swans, robins, and finches to name a few. In this drawing I have tried to symbolise the nurturing relationship which is often found in the healthy parent-child bond of children growing up, inter-dependent friendships and counsellor-counselee relationships where one comes alongside another. This image of a parent goose swimming with the gosling is a personal reminder of the rarity and worth of such a relationship.

Everyday Art: my neighbouring geese

I watch the geese...
they see me...

they relax...

and preen... 

I like birds of every kind.
Birds remind me of our souls.
They are free to move between earth and sky
that is why
I like birds to be free.
One of my favourite birds is geese.
They symbolize migration
and know their direction. 
They are water birds.
Water is the age old symbol 
of the psyche's unconscious and emotion.
When they call
it is as if they reach deep into my heart;
and my soul 
echoes back in humble response 
to the knowledge that we all 
are part of nature created by the Great Designer. 
I am grateful that I am free.

These are Egyptian geese.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Everyday Art: labyrinth of life.

Size: 15X11cm: Pen, watercolour and gold glitter: Shell (perlemoen) inspired.

Life is a Labyrinth

When looking at the lines and shapes of this shell
I saw the winding pattern of the labyrinth. 
I think I have labyrinths on the brain. 

I like to think that we all have our own personal labyrinth to follow; 
they come in every design. 
Maybe through the years our own one changes when going through different challenges. 

I think I rarely come to dead ends only difficult corners.  
I sometimes have difficulty seeing the corner
and run smack into the wall before realizing it.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Conceptual Journaling

Invitation in...

You may be wondering what ‘Conceptual journaling’ is.  It is my term for conceptualizing my ideas, my processing of experiences, thoughts and feelings, through art, prose and poetry.  ‘Conceptual journaling’ is visual journaling and poetry journaling combined. I often use metaphors and symbols.

My processing and conceptualizing includes psycho-spiritual elements. While the word ‘conceptual’ refers to ideas and logic, psycho-spiritual refers to: the emotional, thoughts & behaviours, conscious & subconscious (psycho); and meaning, subjective, intuitive & supernatural (spiritual).  

Spiritual beliefs are personal. I hope my personal beliefs won’t overshadow the manner in which I present my conceptual journaling or get in the way of potential viewing and dialogue. Many of my symbols are both personal and universal so I think it could appeal to a wide audience.

I find this process is a personal and meaningful approach. It is most often a solitary journey and it appeals to me as I like spending time on my own. My motivation for showing you my journaling is that sometimes I would like to share who I am to others. I choose carefully what I share with you as some topics are private and not to be shown to anyone therefore I will either display whole books or sections thereof which I will then link together in categories.

I invite you into my world of conceptual journaling...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Everyday Art: A rainy-day poem

I thought I would share one of my poems with you as it shows the other side of my enjoyment of weather.
I like communicating with written words; and especially using words that I make up.

I love the Rain.  11.07.08

Some people say:
"Wetting clothes,
Getting cold...
Cold seeping through to the bones,
Bones creaking to a halt,
Freezing cheer,
Wheezing chest...
I hate the Rain!

I love the rain.
It is a comforting sound,
Hearing it pelt against the pain,
Feeling cocooned against the cold.
The bidding call of the Olive thrush,
Synonymous with rainy seclusion,
Adds to my appreciation.
I love the rain.

This is the rain.
I see it puddling across the garden,
Pouring down from the Heavens.
A roaring sound dying away
To a spittering glitter at play:
A patch of sun.
A dash of fun.
This is the rain.


What do you think of my words:
Puddling and  spittering?

Here is my explanation: Puddling is the verb for a puddle growing bigger or many puddles forming. Pittering is a smaller version of pattering, just at the ‘i’ is a smaller shape than the ‘a’ shape. Think of pitter patter little raindrops (the sound of rain) and mix with splitter splatter little raindrops (the feeling of the rain) and you get my word spittering which is a tiniest wet soundless sound (the opposite of a roar). J

Everyday Art: A warm winter's day

Size: 17cm X 8.5cm
Pen and Watercolour

In this little painting
I have tried to capture a sense of warmth and brightness.
As I mentioned in my profile 

I like to communicate through the creative medium.
I enjoy winter because here in the Cape the weather can be quite changeable: cold, windy and wet, sometimes stormy, 

and at other times the days can be warm and sunny.
 A warm winter’s day has a soft glow about it.
While I love the storms and the rain
 the sunny days are my favourite,
they make me feel good;
warm right down into the centre of my being.

What type of weather do you like?
Tell me why.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

ATC walkthrough

Hi Everyone,

This is a little photographic walk through that I put together of how I do most of my Artist Trading cards. I want to stress that I am not a professional, this is just the way that I like to do my art.

Just incase you don't know what Artist Trading cards are you can learn a little about them at this article.

Okay so a general list of what I use is:
  • watercolor or mixed media paper
  • HB Pencils (sharpener and eraser)
  • Waterproof Fine liner
  • Masking tape
  • acrylic paints
  • water colour paints
  • white ink
  • copic markers
  • paint brushes + water + pallet
  • craft knife
  • metal ruler
  • (Some times I use coloured pencils and a tooth brush for flicking paint, camera)
So to start you need to rule your ATC shape. I cannot rule straight lines to save my life so I use my handy architect man to rule lines for me. Here you can see that I have used this before and have already cut out an ATC. The space around them acts as a nice bleed edge so that you don't have to worry about painting over onto another card space.

I start by doing a rough sketch of how my painting is going to look. I may later add a few details.

Then I am more precise when I ink out my drawing with my fine liner. I also do a thicker line around the main focus of my piece. It's a good idea to make sure that your sugar levels are not low so you are less likely to shake and then take a long time about inking your art. Smooth strong lines can really make your art appear clean and professional.
I carefully erase my pencil lines and apply the masking tape. The masking tape helps to keep the paper taught and add some protection against the paper warping. I leave a little white space between the card and the masking tape to act as a bleed area for cutting.

Here is the cow after I have done the markers, I use copics because they have a nice blender. I sometimes do my background before I do the foreground it all really depends on the piece that I am doing. I just spend sometime before and decide what I think would be the best approach.

I did my background with watercolor. How I do my water colour is to mix my colour, add the water and then paint it directly onto the paper. If I add another colour I wait for it all to dry and then layer it waiting for each layer to dry and I change the colour gradually. The reason for this is that I find it makes the paper less likely to warp.

Here I have added the white ink for accents and highlights.

I love my shiny paints that are supposed to be for my WarHammer models. I've added mithril silver around the flowers.

Here is my finished piece after it was cut out with a steel ruler and a craft knife and then photographed in sunlight.
I hope that you enjoyed this walkthrough.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Everyday Art

Inspired to give it my all; by playing everyday 

I don't know about you, but I tend to take myself and life too seriously, at times, when I actually should let go and be. One way of being, for me, is to 'play.' So it is with caution that I share these two recent pieces of inspiration; I want to qualify it by saying that I would like to learn to focus my creative energy and play with child-like gusto. It is in the balance of work and play that talents and skills are developed. 

I have been inspired by the book Becoming a writer, written by  Dorothea Brande (1934). She encourages one to write everyday just after waking and before getting on with the daily activities. This is often the time when one is between dreaming and waking; here dreams are readily remembered .She says this is a good time to tap into the creative center of the brain. It helps to draw the creative juices out of the well; the more you do the more steadily the flow pulses. 

Soon afterwards, I read a quote by Ira Glass on (6 Aug 2011) which has inspired me to, as Ira puts it, "do a lot of work". I have decided to commit to practicing my artistic skill (which I have neglected for quite a while) regularly throughout each week. It could be sketching or painting that I will do, just as I already practice my writing.

I think there are many of us ‘mere mortals’ who feel that sharing one’s creativity with others is too intimidating, that we would be seen to be showing off or that we are not good enough. This site is to encourage others and inspire, not by showing how good we are, but that we grow by trying. 
The creative muse visits us and inspires us one way or the other: art, writing, and poetry, music…dance…drama…craft…etc. When we are visited we should not disrespect her by fobbing off these inspirations; but with child-like gusto we should begin our play. As a friend said, "don't try to be perfectionistic.

So I will be 'playing everyday' doing a lot of art and I look forward  to sharing some of my 'works' soon. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Overlooked but not forgotten.

My apologies… I have become flustered as possibly I have been too ambitious for a beginner blogger; taking on two blogs at once. Somebody said to me the other day that she thought I had too many irons in the fire and so I have become, so to speak: distracted… preoccupied… engrossed… or otherwise engaged with life and my other interests. My attention has been diverted.

Don’t think that Artist’s Guild has been put out of my head or that I have become confused, muddled or disturbed. I am simply finding my way, slowly.

Here is a poem I wrote on 05.07.11about walking a labyrinth; I also think it is a lovely metaphor for life.

Walking in square circles.
as I walked I thought
'so quick and easy' but
Just as life is... it is not that way
I found myself criss-crossing
zigzagging on my way

inch by inch

another thought entered
as I walked the folding corners of the circle
overlapping this way and that:
'I know where I am going... I think... this is taking time'
life's just like that and that’s a fact!

inch by inch

I meet up with an 'other'
for a while our paths travel abreast
walking a quiet connectedness side by side 
then going our separate ways
only to meet up again later

inch by inch

traveling along ways i don’t anticipate
I feel like I am turning away from my destination
the path seems to be going in the wrong direction
'I am lost!' begins to disorientate
but the path is ahead of me all the way

inch by inch

I feel like I am close to the end
when actually I've just stepped into the circle
following the many folds
a journey of a thousand 'noticings'
is like waking up:
first noticing so much detail
leaves, feathers & drawing pin
then noticing my surroundings,
the court yard that I'm in
again noticing the 'others',
inevitably on their own way

inch by inch

for a while traveling faster
but then again winding
my way at a slow pace
to stay on the path

inch by inch

Living life as it comes
living with surprising turns
on my own
having the confidence
that this is the way
following the path
wherever it goes (inch by inch)

life and it's many layered pathway
can be confusing
can feel futile
so I just do what I must do (inch by inch)

putting one step in front of another
the path will emerge
as it is laid out before me

there is no hurry
slowly slowly on my way
walking in square circles.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Welcome to the Artist's Guild

Hello and Welcome to the Artists Guild.

This is a joint post from Morag Noffke and Lolitadewdrop. :)
With this blog we want to inspire and encourage other people and artists by sharing our creativity and thoughts. We hope to include a few tutorials from time to time.

To start off lets define art:
Art is any creative expression of the soul. Therefore art can include; fine art, graphic art, crafts, sculptures, poetry, music, literature, dance, song, spacial design (gardens, interior decoration, architectural drawings). Sorry if we have left anything out, if you think that something else should make the list, leave a comment and we will consider it ;)

In the weeks to come you can expect to see some of our creativity and art.

Morag and Lolitadewdrop