Happy warm greetings from an overcast Cape Town! It should be Summer already but it's feeling a little bit more like Winter today. I thought I'd get back to posting again and what better post to share first than an illustration I created ages ago for the month of June (hello Winter!) for this year's Essie's Artist's Almanac.
An amazing brief found its way to me last year in the form of illustrating a map of South Africa as well as some spot illustrations on unusual activities to do on a summer break or vacation in South Africa for the Men's Health South Africa November 2014 issue.
The full illustration. The spot illustrations refer to Orange River rafting at the Gorge, tracking big game at the Addo Elephant National Park, the Green Mountain Eco Route (a hike and bike route near Botrivier), rock climbing at Waterval Boven and the annual 4 Peaks mountain race in Moolmanshoek.
The map is a very stylised representation of South Africa and depicts some of the mountains, vegetation and desert areas found in South Africa.
So as you can see dust has been collecting on my blog as I've just been too busy working and hardly sleeping to devote a good amount of time to it. I'm hoping to get a lot better at this! On those rare days where I've had a little spare time, I've been dabbling in Postcrossing, where you send a postcard to a random person in the world (you're given a random address after registering) and receive a postcard back from another random person in the world. So far, I've sent two postcards and have received three very lovely postcards. (I've taken out my address because stalkers can be weird. And also because I really wanted to show you the awesome stamps on the back. Yes, I am a nerd. I collected children's book stamps when I was a kid.)
This postcard was sent to me by Dasha, a Russian postcrosser. The photograph on front shows a young boy and others dancing the flamenco.
This was a postcard posted by David from South Carolina. SO lovely! It shows the S.S. Florida.
This postcard was from Adam in Poland who was keen to do a direct swap. It depicts a ship sailing on the Baltic Sea. I love seeing so many different stamps from different parts of the world! Speaking of stamps, how cool are our South African 3D dinosaur stamps? Here's the postcard I designed and sent, using my illustration of Cape Town City Hall on the front.
It was so fun posting it! It took me right back to being in London, near Russell Square sending postcards to friends and family back home. I'm hoping to travel again soon, just so I can send some more postcards back home ;)
So as you can tell, I've been phenomenally busy, so busy that I'm sure my blog is starting to collect cobwebs and breed a new type of spider due to my neglect. But I am back again, clearing away the cobwebs and hopefully will get around to posting far more frequently (definitely one of my New Year's resolutions, along with climbing Lion's Head before this year ends).
In between the busyness I've often been thinking a lot about loved ones I lost early this year. I haven't mentioned them as yet here as I felt too raw at the time to speak about it. Early this year I lost my aunt, the last relative on my mom's side of the family. Every time the phone rings I think it's her calling but then I remember she's gone. Every time I see a ridiculously cute cat or dog photo, or Turkish Delight I immediately think of her. I'm still in shock that she's gone.
We also lost a close family friend - one of my best friends' gran also passed away early this year. She lived around the corner from us. She was such a loving woman; both my grans passed away when I was still young so she felt like a gran to me. This morning my mom happened to show me a bunch of memorial service pamphlets that we'd kept and hers was one of them. I keep thinking she still lives around the corner, but I know she's not there anymore.
I'm at a loss to say words that sum up and describe these wonderful and amazing ladies that used to be in my life. One day when I'm feeling more ready, I will share more about them, but for now, let this serve as a tribute to their beautiful lives. Gone, but not forgotten.
Thanksgiving teaser for Where is Robin?, a children's picture book on the United States written by Robin Barone and illustrated by myself.
Wishing you and your loved ones a happy Thanksgiving! I'm so very grateful for truly stellar friends and family, you are all such great blessings to me! And for all the new and exciting opportunities and projects that have popped up this year, many of which have been dreams of mine! Wherever Thanksgiving takes you, travel safe!