Tile 10: Rushed Drawings

During one of our meetings in the DRC, I drew a border around boxes and paragraphs to highlight the content.  As the meeting progressed, I kept drawing lines around it, and then eventually criss-crossed with more lines … and more lines … The colleague next to me liked it and asked me to sign it.  I told him I had better drawings for him to keep, and not scribbles on the agenda sheet lol

So then I had to come up with something before we left the Congo.  I had brought WIPs with me just in case, and thought it would be easier to finish one instead of starting something new, but I rejected those as I wasn’t coming up with anything to finish the doodlings.  Needing to come up with something, I started out with the basics, from the beginning.

Two days later, this is what the finished piece looked like.  Pressed for time then, I didn’t work on the shading too much.  I see little things now that I could have worked on some more, or shaded to make darker for contrast, but it’s done.  The recipient liked it – of course, an original signed piece from me! lol – but if he liked it, then it was good enough.


And then … he said that he actually liked one of my other half-finished pieces, and if he could have that too … Why didn’t he say that from the beginning?  lol  So another rush drawing overnight, to finish just in time for our last morning in Goma.

I thought I had taken a progress pic, but I can’t find it now.  But here’s the finished piece, after I added four more rounds and a little shading.


What did I learn from these rush drawings?   That my mind isn’t free-flowing enough yet, and it still looks for the structure and symmetry under pressure, instead of just letting go and never mind what comes out on paper.  I didn’t have any designs in mind when I started, anyway, so maybe that’s why I couldn’t think of what to do next when trying to finish it.

How do you come up with your doodles?  Do you have something in mind when you start?  Or do you just put pen to paper and start?

So that will be the doodling goal for the year … free up the mind and just draw.




Looking for Inspiration

During my last trip to the DRC, I had been inspired by the traditional masks and arts and crafts to work on a big piece, which I usually don’t do.  But since that turned out so well, I decided that I was going to do another one, and came prepared with all the pens that I thought I would be using.

As you probably know, you can’t force inspiration.

I knew that I would be doodling or scribbling at some point during the trip.  But as I looked around for inspiration, I couldn’t find anything that I liked.

I started working on this, with a plan that I would just fold the poster paper again, and work on a panel with whatever designs I come up with.  Except that my OCD brain kicked in, and said that it had to be the same on all four panels.  Oh well …

Freehand, out of proportion, and a little off-center.  Maybe it won’t look so bad once it’s all filled in.

Meanwhile, in my little sketchbook, I had also started some doodles, and putting some ideas to paper to see how it would look.

And that’s when inspiration hit … 

See those flowers?  I got them from the bed runner … and came up with the squiggly lines for the leaves … and realized that I could draw these up on the poster paper too …

So I flipped the paper over, and started drawing …

And there it is … the inspiration for my next DRC masterpiece …

Can’t wait to see how this one ends up …


That Crazy Lady with the Camera 

That’s what they seem to be saying, as I take some quick shots. 


‘Yeah, remember her? She’s back again and taking endless snapshots of us. ‘

‘Let’s glare at her … Maybe she’ll go away. ‘

‘Nope, she’s still there.  Let’s just turn our backs and walk away. ‘

One of a Pair

Before I arrived in the Congo, my colleagues came across a table in the office cafeteria selling arts and crafts, and liked a pair of handmade slippers. None available was in their size and so the seller took their foot measurements to make them each a pair. They paid their $20  and left. 

Coming back a week later, we went to pick up their slippers. 


There was a long moment of silence as my colleagues looked at the slippers. 

“What’s wrong with it?,” I asked. 

“It’s not the same colour,” they said. 


“I wanted the yellow one that they had the first time. ”

Oh ok. Guess she didn’t specify that she wanted the same yellow ones. 

“Ok. So what about these? You don’t like them?” I asked. 

“No! They don’t even match!”

Oh. Not seeing the original pair, I thought that was how they were sold and worn … Green for the left foot, red for the right foot.  Oohkkaaayy. 

I looked at the rest of the items on the table.  Yes, they do make slippers that match. 

Note to self: when ordering something custom-made, be very specific as to what you want. The same yellow pair, if you have them. If not, a pair in the same colour.  Got it. 

They asked to make another pair for them, this time in the same colours. They haven’t got it yet, so we’ll see if the colours match this time. 

Stay tuned …. 

Beads in Her Hair

In Kinshasa, Congo, DRC, we were taken to a little restaurant that was also an art gallery. Didn’t quite understand if the artist was also the owner of the restaurant, or was using the restaurant as his art gallery. 

Here’s a few of the paintings and art work that caught my eye.  Apologies that I did not get the name of the artist (or artists). But here’s their wonderful work … 

This painting really charmed me. A beautiful girl and a beautiful smile, with heads in her hair … 

And I liked this because it was in  black and white. I love colour, but there’s just something about the simplicity of black and white that calls to me. 


And of course … The masks. I found this a little different from the traditional … 


Maybe because it was in colour? 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Creepy

Masks and wooden carvings usually don’t bother me, but there was a definite mental step back for me when I saw this …


I don’t know if it was the white eyes, piercing yet blankly staring at the same time.  Or if it was that the white eyes did not belong, and to me was not a traditional mask.

I don’t know what it is, but it’s …. creepy.

Rwanda Day Trip 

‘Come, let’s go for brunch on the weekend’, I was told.

Ok, no problem.  Where?

To Gisenyi, Rwanda.  Over there, just across the border.

Oh.  I didn’t realize that our hotel was only a five-minute walk to the border!

So we walked to the border.  ha!  After a round of filling out forms and getting our passports leafed through and stamped in the DRC, we showed them to the officer sitting in a chair exactly on the border, who leafed through them again, and then let us through.  We then stepped up to the window – there, where you see people by the building – to fill out the entry forms and have our passports leafed through and stamped again.  I wanted to take out the camera to take pictures, but I didn’t dare in case they took it from me.  I took the photos with the phone camera instead.

At last we were through.

We decided to walk to the resort hotel that was offering the weekend brunch.  It was a nice day, not too hot, and it was good to stretch our legs and walk and take in the countryside.

This is the same Lake Kivu, taken from the Rwanda side.  That’s Goma, DRC that you see in the distance.


We arrived at the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel resort.  Nice, upscale hotel resort, decorated with the native arts.  We sat down to a continental breakfast, with what I think is a traditional Rwandan or East African breakfast – stewed beans, chicken drumsticks, matoke stew (mashed bananas), soup? Ok.  There was also beet juice and cucumber juice, in addition to the more common papaya, watermelon, orange, pineapple juices.  No, I wasn’t adventurous enough again to try the beet juice.

Jane asked for hot sauce …1890993_10153967136553906_9175902384203872265_n ‘Here’, they said.  Be careful.  Just one drop.  One?  Yes.  One.  It’s very hot, very spicy.  Hmmm… chili oil, it says.

So Jane squeezed out one drop … then another drop in a different spot … and another in a different spot … Several drops and a forkful later, she was fanning her mouth and looking for water, tea, liquids, to cool her tongue …

I stayed away from it … Remember, I’m not that adventurous when it comes to culinary adventures …

After breakfast, I took a walk on the hotel grounds.

A football game in progress, complete with spectators on the side …

A strip cleared and filled with sand, with umbrellas, for people to work on their tan … 

Flowers, of course …

… the souvenir shop.  I really liked those white statues … hope they weren’t made out of ivory!

It was a relaxing morning.  Refreshed, we walked back to the border, and went through the same process coming in.


It was quite a change of scenery, but then I must remember that we were in a resort, inside its walls.  Regular life continues outside the walls.

Little boys under the trees