How to get High on a Friday Morning at the U3A Art Group

by Lise Day

It’s a cold morning as we arrive old and grey
straggle in burdened with canvas and board
used yoghurt cups, ice-cream bakkies, jam jars
brushes and pencils, spiky and stiff.
We invade the stale air of the dining room
with lingering smells of last night’s fish.
Carefully spread our plastic protectors
so no drops of paint on carpeted floor.

We squeeze our fat tubes, paint blobs out
Raw sienna, burnt umber, lemon yellow
shrieking orange for Tony’s stripey cat.
May mixes cobalt and ultramarine blue
for a paradise island shimmering scene.
Madeleine talks of internet dating
as she paints a hibiscus in opera pink.
Sylvia, who brings her little dog Boo,
brings life to a parrot crimson and green.
I choose water colours which psychedelic
run and merge messy and quick.
No problem with flops, just flip over paper
begin again on the other side.
saturated with colour, intent on creation
we are heady with turps, high on inspiration.


still life with flag

naturaleza muerte con bandera

by Elizabeth Trew

(after Frida Kahlo)

I paint myself as the fruit
Diego picked from my garden this morning
and laid beside my wounded self

painting strokes with my sable brush
hot-coloured melons and citrus
I am round and ripe

heavy with child, my breasts swollen
with milk, my melon seeds
black inside blood-red flesh

the orange cut of my damaged sex
rests on Diego’s yellow fruit

against a deep jade sky
I have planted the Mexican flag
on my tender fruit

I am ready

The artist’s stadium (iii)

by Elizabeth Trew

“Where are you, the disappeared?
Our sons and daughters who sang in the public arena?”
The mothers mill in the stricken stadium
with placard faces of missing children.

She carries the pain back to her house
her studio – her tortured chamber
to keep their presence and enter the pain of herself,
undoes her home – disfigures each thing in her room:

           fills cement in the mouths
                     of broken wardrobes,
           pulls the skin of youth
                     across battered tables
           winds the lock of a daughter’s hair
                     around wrists of a severed chair,
           sews a web of silken hair
                     through the spine of a door
           lets the wind invade
                     a daughter’s dress,
           twists the iron frame
                     of a son’s bed.

She binds the pain so fiercely in,
waits for a clearing house of peace,
for song in the field
so she can rest.

(Unland. Sculptures by Doris Salcedo, Colombia, 1998).

The artist’s stadium (i)

The artist’s stadium (i) by Elizabeth Trew

He paints his stadium in red,
works quickly before the acrylic sets,
rests his canvas on a green point of the wounded earth
on the spirit place of forgotten first people.
Bone girders support  the  body filling the space
where he suspends a ring of global lights.
From a green soccer pitch at the heart
made of crushed glass
rows of empty fan seats rise and rise to the roof
open to the stars.
the air inside sizzles electric
tattooed  with hosts of mechanical parts –
machines  and engines –
wheels,  blades  and butterfly keys.
His stadium turns in its cradle
powered by blades of wind beside ocean waves.
Flexed and ready it waits for the world.  

(Stadium, by Robert Slingsby. Acrylic on canvas, Cape Town, 2010).