When the arty bug bites, no artifact is sacred!

You know that itchiness, that urge one gets to just let rip with paints, paper and glue; that irresistable pull to any artifact that sends out yearning signals " Paint me, please! Transform me, shape me, mould me...?  Well, that urge has hit me with feverish intensity.  While cleaning the children's 'Chill room', I see my first canvas: our very first fridge we bought 28 years ago for R250 I think.  We had bought the fridge from a Constantia couple via the Argus classifieds.  I was addicted to the Argus classifieds and always saw a bargain in the 'Furniture' section. Once I had identified the prized item, Basil and I would dash off to strike the deal with the seller. Another addiction of mine was visiting auctions. We would travel to Wynberg, Paarden Eiland - any place where a 'bargain' was waiting for us. But let me not digress.... There was the fridge, waiting with white epoxy coat, dull and dreary in the corner and here I was, ready with a bit of blue grey paint, some yellow and my imagination.  After giving our old faithful a new look, the whole family was invited to come and view the transformation.  The artwork received a nod of approval from all the family members and then I looked for another canvas.

Fridge with Facelift
My second project which is still under way, is a wonderful old bench or bankie for the stoep. This one-seater bench was going to be dumped by Bruno, the previous owner of our house. Oh no, I said, that bankie stays right here. So, over the years, Bankie has been painted peach, burnt orange, white -whatever left over paint was available. I gave Bankie a good inspection and decided that she needed a retro look. Out came the left over yellow paint, old family pictures, some pritt to glue these pictures to the seat and dark oak varnish that Trevor, my brother had left behind. 

Slowly but surely the retro look is taking shape. First I painted the bench a sunny yellow. Then the pictures were glued on. In the corner sat Basil in his Khaki traffic uniform, reminiscent of his days as a traffic officer at Johannesburg traffic, in the centre sat the royal couple and surrounding us, pictures of the children during various stages in their lives. The poor pictures were smothered with the dark oak varnish and I had to rescue the faces by getting my hands all gooey.  Every now and then I would invite Basil or the children to view and comment on the progress I was making. This wasn't always a trip they enjoyed, yet they obliged.They probably figured out that the quick preview with complimentary noises was worth more than the neverending cajoling by the excited artist if there was no response.

Top view of the bench/stool
On Friday, I made a detour to Builders Warehouse in Steenberg on my way home from work. I needed clear varnish and new brushes to continue dressing Bankie who was taking shape. And I needed proper glue as well as the edges of the pictures were lifting. There I met Sisanda, the cashier - young and friendly. During our chat, I learn she is the guardian of her two siblings aged 17 and 9 respectively. Their parents died in 2010 she tells me.  Sisanda has a matric certificate and she says she would love to study but she has to work to look after her family.  She says her 17 year old sister is often rebellious, reminding Sisanda that she is not their mother.  What a courageous young woman Sisanda is! I leave with my purchase, silently reprimanding myself for always amplifying my own struggles. We think we own the world's suffering yet our challenges are really nothing in comparison with these youngsters who have to head households - an adult responsiblity.

Side view of bench or stool
Mind you, our children are also quite arty. While I was busy with Bankie, Sasha was making a peppermint fridge cake. Christo is also the drummer for the punk rock band, OXY - remember the one that is taking shape in our garage? Christo,our Drummer Boy, likes cartooning as well. He transforms his canvas takkies into amazing art pieces and white sweaters are given their own cartoon characters in no time. Brett, our eldest handsome son, used to cartoon as well. Nowadays he has progressed to subjecting his discerning eye and artistic flair to interior decorating - applying these either to his car or to our home. I love his technical skill and his ability to see big picture. As much as I appreciate all these qualities, we sometimes fight when his creativity and financial liberation run riot.  If we don't put on the brakes, half our furniture would have been relegated to the dump and all our walls would have been dressed in shades that my brain cannot process yet!

One of Christo's designs
When the bench project is complete, I would like to be more courageous and tackle a more ambitious project. For now, this has to remain a mystery because I will need the go-ahead from my spouse who is the regulator when there are hints of unbridled creativity waiting to be transferred ,Lol...


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