Baboons: A Thrilling Tale of Chaos and the Art of Alchemy

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Most of you may know, I live in South Africa where, of course, wildlife is abundant. Especially a particular type of mischievous (as well as dangerous) primate called a baboon.

You may even recall an incident I had many years back which involved me, a tub of butter and an alpha male baboon. You can recap on who won that particular battle here: The Baboon and the Butter — Part 1 .

I moved away from Welcome Glen in Cape Town, where baboons terrorized the locals, to start my sustainable living adventure here in Barrydale. Barrydale didn’t have the baboon problems of where I’d come from. Or so I thought.

Yes, I was insanely wrong about that.

Although we had a peaceful first four years, things started to change rapidly once I started a successful fruit and veg garden.

Utter Ruin

I got hit hard by a solid week of visitations by troops of baboons in December 2019, and the truth hit hard too.

I had beautiful crops of almost ripe onions (which take around 6 months to grow), potatoes, apricots, apples, almonds, peppers and Swiss chard. They didn’t stand a chance. The baboons ravaged my crops in minutes. I was devastated after putting in so much hard work, as you can well imagine.

To add insult to injury, they don’t even eat chard or peppers but they pulled it all out and left it on the ground. Pfft.

Problem vs Solution

Needless to say I was livid and despondent. I don’t wish any animal harm, so I would never hurt them but I  couldnt see a way out of this gigantic problem. Someone suggested I give up my dream of an edible garden. No way, Jose. I’m probably a sucker for punishment but I can’t do that either.

After an excessive period of feeling incredibly sorry for myself, I decided to try and find a way to alchemize this situation. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Baboons aren’t all bad. Yes, they’re smelly, destructive and deadly dangerous with massive fangs and no fear for women (known fact look it up. Utterly sexist little maruading bastards). However, they are very amusing amidst the mayhem. I’ve had many a giggle watching them frolick in their troops, play daredevil on the R62 with oncoming traffic and torment the tourists by grabbing their freshly acquired snacks in an ambush.
  • Their babies are incredibly cuuuuuuute. Ag vooitog (Afrikaans for ‘Oh bless’ or something like that).
  • I can’t think of a third plus but let’s just say the world wouldn’t be the same without a bumbling band of baboons!

After my above conclusions I decided to:

  • Concentrate on growing things they don’t eat like herbs, green spinach, beans, chili’s, peas, lettuce, etc. They seem to prefer root vegetables. They also didn’t touch my grenadillas or my gooseberries, which I found strange but somewhat comforting.
  • Make myself laugh rather than cry. After reminiscing on all the funny moments they have provided, I came up with ‘ZenBoon’.

The Zenboon Revelation

I’ve decided to put pen to paper, brush to canvas, digipen to screen and I’m drawing my cheeky little friends in an attempt to shed a more humorous light on the whole ordeal. The idea of a Zen baboon is ludicrous and certainly dichotomous (A word that irrelevantly rhymes with hipopotamous). However, these monkeys have gained mastery over mischief. Aka ZenBoon is born, my way of alchemizing my low-lying mood.

So, my lesson in all this is don’t let it (insert your problem here 😉) get you down, let it get you thinking ANEW. You always have a choice.

Here are two designs I have already come up with below, I hope you like them ☺🐒 These crazy fella’s are available on all sorts of products from posters to shower curtains (see below). You can see the full shop scope here and here.

   

Other blogs you may like:

It’s Colour Therapy Time! Download your FREE Pic Today

Going Large: The Start-to-Finish Photo’s of Painting ‘Woodland Stream Gathering’

 

Why I love to paint flowers…

When I paint a flower I feel an overwhelming bliss – an excitement to capture the beauty and magic of what I see and feel when I am in their glorious presence.

I am never happier than when I have a house full of flowers and the scent hangs on the air. Or when I am in my garden just being present with the smell of lavenders on the breeze.

They are my main source of inspiration because I still cannot fully fathom their exquisite beauty. Eckhart Tolle put it in a nutshell when he said that we could look upon flowers as the enlightenment of plants. I could look upon flowers all day and still be mesmerized. They are a true gift to us and to gaze upon their delicate wonder is to look at the unfolding of pure potential.

Here is an example of one of my floral paintings called ‘Red Poppies – Finding Beauty in Chaos’ from my new portfolio book – the original is still available and can be found in my art brochure 2011, which can be downloaded for free (see sidebar or click here to download):

To read more about what inspires me, please visit  or click on the book below – you can view a full preview of the book (preview button is at the bottom of the book icon on Lulu.com).

Art Portfolio - Cherie Roe DirksenSubscribe here to receive my monthly newsletter and free gift or click ‘sign me up’ in the side-panel to receive blog updates as they are released.

How Many Carrots does it take to Screw in a Light Bulb?

I’m not too sure what the answer to the joke is…perhaps none as they were all rooted to the spot?

The Vege-Tate Gallery — Beginnings…

My idea for a Vege-Tate Gallery grew into full blossom when my husband and I decided to try and plant a vegetable garden around the back of our house.

This was no easy task as we have vegetable guzzling baboons to contend with on a regular basis — so strong fencing and locks were needed for this venture to succeed.

I am happy to report that my actual vegetable patch is doing very well and is starting to bear the fruit of our hard-earned labour.  Well, except for the poor runner beans that never made it to the finishing line due to a critter biting them off at the base of the stem, which consequentially led me to create the ‘Has Bean‘ design.  You have to work with this!

Whilst planting the seeds of the garden, my mind started pondering all these crazy ideas for a vegetable joke shop with lots of corny but fruity ‘green’ humour.

The designs started to take shape as I sketched out the ideas as they came to me, with a little help from the hubby.

The Next Step

When I had a good 20 designs to work with, I began the digital journey of drawing them onto the computer (yes, using my mouse!  I am still using that old archaic rodent until I get my digital pen) and loading them as t-shirt designs.

I am officially launching my new gallery entitled ‘The Vege-Tate Gallery’ — I do hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

The link to the store is here.

Below are my personal favourites.  Next week I will showcase the rest of the store along with some other fun merchandise from this range.

Literally for the man who has everything!

This one is for the ladies — especially the ones that can make a grown man cry!

For The Beatles fan

For the humble…

For the melon appreciation club

For the overworked!

For the political activist

Keeping abreast of things

Please let me know what your favourite design is!

Christmas Gift Ideas…Part 3

A Recap

In the past 2 weeks I have discussed great sites such as RedBubble and Zazzle for creating your own gift designs, whether it is from photographs or your own personal artwork.  See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Need inspiration?

Today we are going to go behind the scenes and discuss getting inspired.  It’s not an easy thing to obtain if you are stuck for motivation or ideas.  This is where perusing other artist, designers and photographers websites or works on sites such as RedBubble is such a great way of seeing what other creative beings are up to.  Not that you want to copy their ideas but it does, more often than not, lead you to do something that is triggered by someones idea but made completely different by your creative style.

A lot of these gift ideas use captions along with images that can really have that added ‘wow’ factor touch.  So, to get you going on some inspirational visuals, I have been introduced to a site called Pinterest and I want to share this wonderful site with you.

Pinteresting…

For those of you who are not acquainted with the site, it is a really great visual social network.  Displaying not only art, design and photography but also captions, short quotations, illustration, fashion, home decor designs, food and a whole lot of other fantastic things to stir up your creative juices.

“Set aside some good quality time for this as I guarantee the candy feast your eyes will be lapping up is going to make time fly…”

It is a fairly easy site to navigate and it allows you to ‘pin’ any image you like, adding it to your pin board on the site where others can have a look too and repin if they desire.  You also get to check out what other people have pinned on their boards, whether it be their personal creations or other images they have nabbed off the web.

Again, these pictures do fall under copyright laws — so obey!  But have fun getting inspired and motivated to start your own creations.

Set aside some good quality time for this as I guarantee the candy feast your eyes will be lapping up is going to make time fly out the window…next thing you look at the clock and hours have passed as you have perused the many visual delights!  Enjoy and, most of all, have fun.

Future projecting

Can you imagine how impressed your family and friends will be when you present them with a gift of your very own design?!

It is a great way to express yourself, feel a sense of achievement and to get that Christmas list looking good.

If you still feel like making your own gifts is just not for you, here are some more gift ideas from my store:

  

Christmas Gift Ideas…Part 2

A little bit of silliness never went astray!

Over the past couple of months my husband and I (no, I am not the queen) have been trying to plant our own vegetable garden.  This is not as simple as it would usually sound as we live near Cape Point and have baboons for neighbours.  And as you can surmise, baboons eat vegetables.

So the plan is to build frameworks with chicken wire around our vege garden to protect it from our hairy adversaries.  A challenge to say the least.

So what has this got to do with art?

Well, during our spates in the garden, we have come up with some witty vegetable ‘catch-phrases’.  I was wondering how to incorporate this new avenue into my art and have come up with a bold solution.

The vegetables have given rise to new unfounded inspiration…(picture opposite – ‘Can you handle me?‘:  Warning!  I come with many different layers…and I can make a grown man cry!!!).  This has led me to create the….*drum-roll*…

The Vege-Tate Gallery

In a moment of pure silliness I invented a joke shop, which I have named The Vege-Tate Gallery, that hosts a number of incredibly cheesy vegetable quotations accompanied by my digital artwork of these tasty morsels.

I wanted to make the designs simple yet effective.  At first I contemplated freehand drawings and then scanning and cropping them into a T-shirt design but decided to go the digital route.

This involved my hand, the mouse and the simple paintbrush program that most Windows packages come with.

I then transfer these crude drawings into Photoshop, where I can put them on a transparent background and ‘clean’ them up.  Finally I add the text and upload it to the site (at the moment I am using RedBubble but you can also do this on Zazzle – see my previous article for all the goodies you can create there).

Voila!

Another gift idea for Christmas in the (shopping) bag…

How can you do this?

If you struggle with the graphics side of things, you can use photographs instead.  Ever taken a funny photo of a child or pet? – well, use that! Everyone has at least one crazy catch-phrase they can use as an excellent and unique gift idea for that someone special.

The wonderful thing about both these sites is you can have the gift sent directly to the person, so it is simply fantastic for those relatives and friends overseas!  No excuses.

Can’t be bothered?

Visit my ever-growing store and have the hassle taken out of Christmas shopping.

This is my first batch of vegetable produce:

Feel free to post some of your creations here for others to see and get ideas from.