The Grand Opening of iNyoka Gallery

On Friday the 19th of September a long awaited dream became reality when our artists co-operative gallery was officially opened in Hoedspruit.

After years of planning and months of really hard work and renovations done by the steering committee, the artists themselves, their partners and sometimes even their children, we were finally ready.

There was a strong feeling of anticipation within the group and folk worked hard at getting invitations out and a couple of the steering committee worked night and day putting the final touches to the incredible space we had created.  All participating artists were asked to donate one piece for an art auction to raise funds for phase 2 and phase 3 of our project.

I was quite edgy about the auction and worried about the turnout. What if no one bid on my art? What if there was a poor turn-out for the grand opening?

I need not have worried.

The Grand Opening of iNyoka Gallery was the event of the year in this small town with over 300 people attending and our auction raised just under R140 000! What a buzz the evening was!

A HUGE thank you to all who attended.

(If you look carefully at the second picture, you can see my painting of a lions head hanging on the center pillar)

Special thanks to Kerry Simpson for the photos.


Welcome to iNoyka Gallery

For the past year, I, along with a few other Hoedspruit artists, have been busy setting up an artists co-operative and gallery in Hoedspruit. It has been a labour of love with everyone pitching in to paint, drill, weld, wash and waterproof an old building – converting it into an art gallery.



Finally after months and months of preparation we are ready for our grand opening on the 19th September.  Art by member artists from the whole region will be displayed for sale and there will also be an art auction to raise funds for the gallery.  We are proud to have some well known local artists exhibiting in this amazing space.

Please make every effort to join us on the 19th just outside Hoedspruit for a wonderful evening of art, wine-tasting, live music and delicious snacks.

If you are a local artist who would be interested in joining our co-op, please contact us on  



Setting up a business in a small town

We are currently setting up a business manufacturing small steel / wrought iron decor items as well as making awesome lights and other steel work like balustrades and gates.  It’s been a roller coaster ride so far because it’s really difficult to source items when you live out in the bush.  Slowly things are really starting to look good and we have quite a bit of interest in our products.

One of our big stores here in Hoedspruit, that stocks pretty much everything that we need, has such a difficult system to work with that I avoid it at all costs trying three or more stores before having to go there. The system is such that you are unable to walk in, pick up what you want and go to the till. One has to find a sales attendant to help you. They are all so busy packing stock and doing online quotes and helping clients over the phone that they do not have time to assist customers in the store so they avoid eye contact as much as possible. After hanging about for 30 mins one gets frustrated and starts begging for assistance. You are told they will come now but they don’t often come back and when they do the help with one item they then disappear again. Also, some prices are marked quite high and your sales assistant is allowed to give you quite large discounts. So one has to be all sweet and kind even when getting bad service otherwise you don’t get your discount. It seems to be at the salesman’s discretion whether you get discount or not. These are good folk – the system just sucks in my opinion. Yesterday after 45 mins in the store – I walked out in frustration and got everything I needed in 10 minutes at another store, one item in particular being 50% cheaper than the listed price in the big store. Guess where I am going next time?

Here are a few pictures of what we are making.

As soon as I have some pictures of our stunning outdoor wall lamps I will put them up for you to see.

Arty update

While I may not have been blogging much, I have continued to paint.  Here are a few of my recent works.

These wet pebbles were for our “Going Coastal” assignment on Free your Art.

and an enamel bowl and jug – this was an exercise on white on white – I really enjoyed it.

I also painted two wall murals at two under-privileged schools for a charity which does really great work with the schools on raising awareness of our ecology and ecosystems and also running food gardens at the schools

Cartoon art challenge – final pictures

Our “Artful Cartoon” challenge finished after the first week in August and I have been remiss in blogging about it.  You can read the details of the challenge here.

Although cartoons are really not my thing when it comes to painting, this challenge tested our creativity more than any of our previous challenges.  The test was to reproduce a cartoon in your own style and medium – creating a work of art.

Here is my attempt – I called it “the little mermaid grows up” and I painted it in acrylic on board.

As you can see from the picture below we got so many unusual and creative entries. From wall clocks to skateboards, paint shopped images to Popeye and Picasso.

A collage of the other entries

The piece of art that won the popular vote was a painting of Spiderman’s hand on a skateboard done by Jamey Richards.

Excellent detail.  Congratulations Jamey!

To join our art challenges or to just follow along (although we love everyone to join in – no matter what level) please join our Facebook group – Free your Art  


A new road side stall called Piccadilly has opened up near Hoedspruit.  It is really worth a visit if you are driving out towards Lydenberg or just to the reptile park.  I often find it difficult finding small gifts for birthdays and Piccadilly has so many wonderful gifts and ideas.  Elsa, the owner, also sources fresh vegetables from local farms and has a few basics like cold drinks and other groceries available.

I walked away with some very fresh farm potatoes, green beans and onions and some wonderful pictures of the stall.

Piccadilly is located on the Orpen road just off the R527 near the reptile park, and just outside the entrance of Zulaika Country House.  Please pop by and show your support of our local businesses.

Free Your Art – Challenge 3

Click on the picture below to join our Facebook page to participate in this challenge.  It runs from 6 July to the 6th of August 2012.

(written by Vanessa Marais)

The Artful Cartoon

Our third online assignment will test your creativity in your chosen medium and encourage you to think outside the box

Gavin Marais won the vote in the Tree Challenge and he has chosen the next topic to be ‘Simple Toons to works of Art’.

He had this to say,” Sounds silly as a topic, but it could be anything from disney to cartoon network, print-based cartoon or comic book characters to a block buster 3d animated movie character. In essence, I’d like people to have fun interpreting a typically ‘childlike’ genre into an artwork worthy of any wall.”

Choose any cartoon character you like, but make it your own. Who’d expect to see Garfield in Charcoal, the Simpson’s in Pastels, or Goofy in Oils? Bake a cake, embroider, make a mosaic, form a sculpture. Go mad and have FUN!



  • ·         Cartoons are the theme.
  • ·         They must be a personal expression in your style and chosen medium
  • ·         Reference material is to be sourced individually
  • ·         Medium: Open
  • ·         Size: Open


  • The assignment runs from 6th July to the 6th Aug 2012.
  • Final photographs must be uploaded to the appropriate album by 6pm GMT 6th Aug 2012.
  • There will be no time extensions, so don’t procrastinate 🙂
  • Please upload progress and reference pictures to the appropriate  albums. We want to hear from you and see who is taking part. So keep in touch

This challenge may sound confusing to you as it did to me at first so Vanessa has put together some examples so that you can see what we are looking for

We are looking for as many participants as possible. Beginners to  experienced artists are all welcome.  I hope you will join us for this challenge.

A lazy painting day

Sundays on the farm are my best days.  All the housework is done, and I get to do as I please.  I normally take it slow and fiddle in my veggie patch and take Cleo for long walks or I paint.  Today, I have been lucky enough to do all three.  Our weather is beautiful, with the temperatures around 26-28 deg C (not bad for mid winter).

On the painting front, I have been working on painting a collection of fruit and veg for my kitchen wall.  Today I was able to paint two more to complete the collection of four, but now I think I am going to keep going and paint a whole pile of them as it seems they will sell off rather fast judging from reactions I have had so far.

I was really not sure which to paint for this collection but I think my choices have worked reasonably well,

What do you do on your lazy days?

Free your Art – Assignment 2

Heather Leigh Wagner won the vote in our previous challenge, so we thought it appropriate to give her the subject choice as a prize. We also wanted to make this a little more informal and open to personal interpretation, so when she suggested “A tree or trees – and maybe not from a ‘print’ or ‘master copy’ but each person could find their favourite tree in the garden or find a picture to copy…. that way everyone’s will be unique but with the same theme?” – We thought it a great idea! This is our second online assignment, less of a challenge and more of showcase of personal style and taste.

Guidelines: · A Tree/Trees are the main theme. It can be fantasy; macro of a bonsai; a sunset with a tree silhouette, or a perhaps a forest, just stick to the topic · The reference material* is to be sourced individually, either from a photo, or life. ·

Medium: Open ·

Size: Open

Timeline: The assignment runs from 30th May to the 25th June 2012. Final paintings must be uploaded to the appropriate album by 6pm GMT 25th June 2012.

Please upload progress and reference pictures to the appropriate albums on our Facebook page or email them to me on

*This image is not the reference image, please source your own

Please let me know if you will be taking part.  We only had one international entry in our last challenge which was Peter from Belgium. Thank you so much for participating Peter.  We are really hoping for a few more international entries this time.

Why don’t you give it a try? Remember that your entry can be in any type of medium, so clay modelling, photography, any type of painting medium, pencil, scratch board, are all welcome.  Let’s get creative!

End of the “Still life with eggs” challenge

Our first group art challenge is now over.  Thank you to everyone who participated. We had great fun.  Heather who I wrote about in a previous post was voted as the favorite.

My personal favorite painting was the one done by Vanessa.

Isn’t it beautiful!

We are now talking about our next challenge on our Facebook page.  If any of you who do not have facebook would like to put in some suggestions as to what we should all be painting next please leave a comment on this post.  Suggestions should just be whether you are interested in painting a landscape, still life, portrait, wildlife etc.  Once we have finalised this we will be looking for specific pictures.  Please post your suggestions.