Hazel Patterson.” Living Water” Etching. 2001.
My etching is of old weathered cupped hands catching up fresh cascading water.
We don’t really appreciate the life giving value of pure fresh running water in a culture where we have a supply of clean drinking water at the twist of a tap.We can jump in the shower and at the flick of a switch have clean cascading hot water to wash away the sweat and aches of the days labor.The life giving blessing of a constant supply of clean water is taken very much for granted.We have to be really thirsty before we start to value how refreshing and life giving, water is.It is only the thirsty man who is satisfied by a long refreshing drink, and only the tired and dirty body that really appreciates the refreshment of bathing. ” Come everyone who thirsts, come to the waters…” (Isaiah 55 verse 1).
For those who thirst, get satisfied. The Psalmist describes God’ s home as a place where there is a constant supply of clean drinking water,a ” river of delights ” for He is the source, the very “Fountain of life.” He loves to supply His children abundantly.
“How precious is your steadfast love, O God!The Children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They feast on the abundance of your House,and You give them drink from the river of your delights. For with You is the fountain of life, in Your light do we see light.” (Psalm 36 verse 7 to 9)
“All who are thirsty, come to the waters…”
Source: Somerset West
The red tiles are still warm in the evening sun as we open the wrought-iron gate and climb the stoop steps, entering through the porch door. We are met by charming and attentive waitresses, who seat us at a corner table near a window. I can see the garden from the window, or what remains of the garden. The menu is excellent – an opportunity to try unusual fish, calamari or cobbleyo cooked to perfection. The table cloths are crisp and white, the silver polished, iced water brought with warm crusty bread while we examine the menu. What a treat of a day! I keep wanting to come back to this beautiful land.
As I browse the menu I become distracted. I am in a family home. The memories come as snap shots. This room has been extended into the garden. 0n that solid wall there were once French doors that opened onto the veranda. I remember my little sister’s pram sitting there, covered in fine netting to keep away the flies. I once pushed the pram to rock the new baby as she stirred, and it tumbled down the stoop steps. Thankfully she was strapped in and the commotion I caused had no serious consequences. I remember the shame of that moment and the alarm it caused. I remember the tall date palms that once bordered the garden with their clusters of russet-coloured fruit, swaying and whispering in the breeze. They sheltered the garden from the hot sun, and the sunlight filtered through their branches, dappling the stoop with light and moving shadows. There was a fish pond. I could see it from the house through the lattice windows. Peeping through their diamonds I could see the golden carp splashing among the water lilies and sometimes catch a glimpse of a heron come to steal his lunch. I remember the red tiles of the stoop hot on my bare feet and then cool where the shadows fell. In the afternoon I played with my brother David, simple games of hide and seek. We built little dens where our teddies and dolls sat in a row, and ants gathered the remains of our picnic.
My parents kept a few hens, and sometimes we discovered a stray egg laid outside their enclosure. What excitement that gave us! I remember the purple bougainvillea that spilled over the white-washed garden walls. I loved the large hydrangea bushes which grew in the garden. When they were wet from a shower of rain the flowers had a faint perfume. I loved to press my face into their generous flowers, and eat the petals when I was very small. There must have been honeysuckle in the garden. I remember its sweet smell in the air. I remember the flaming red hot pokers and the spiky flowers of the protea, flowers indigenous to South Africa. This garden was a paradise to me as a little girl.
This was once my family home. The place of my birth. There was a vine trellis in front of the garage where my father parked the Studabaaker. In season the vine was heavy with black grapes. Cape grapes are the sweetest. I remember a large tortoise wandering about the garden. The tortoise was a family pet. He seemed almost to be the same size as myself. I don’t remember if we gave him a name, but the poor thing had had to submit to having a hole drilled in the back of his shell. Someone had attached a little cart to the shell with twine. He trundled about the garden pulling me or David in the cart. There was a mulberry tree in the garden. Hidden in its leaves we discovered silk moth cocoons. The golden threads of the cocoon, when flattened and teased out, made beautiful delicate book marks. We proudly presented these to our parents..
I remember my mother in a crisp white overall, bending to pick me up, to cuddle and kiss me. She smelt of ‘Harris Tweed’. Her long legs, when she bent to pick me up, looked elegant in a buttoned court shoe. She was beautiful to me. My Daddy would watch her from the surgery door, as he took a short break from examining teeth. His blue eyes were full of love and pride. He affectionately called me ‘Quikle Dukie’ or ‘Betty Blue’. David he called ‘Tordle Ordle’ and my mother was ‘Fro’. ‘Fro’ is the Afrikaans word for woman – she was his woman.
There were family adventures to Cape Point where our car was overrun by baboons, clambering on the car roof and swinging on the aerial. We were safe inside. Dad had an accident on the steep path up to the lighthouse, stumbling with David on his shoulders. David hit his head and my father grazed his knees. I remember my mother’s concern for them both, but they recovered.
We lived outdoors, bare-footed and sunburned. There were picnic trips to the beach, and wonderful sandcastles. Daddy would help us decorate them with shells and sea-weed. We loved to pop the bladders of the sea-weed. We explored rock pools and gathered mussels in our pails. My father later used the mussels as bait for fishing. My mother and he would cast lines out to sea from the beach. Family legend had it that Mummy once snagged a great fish, but did not have the strength to bring it to shore, and the line snapped. Next day on the beach we found the carcass of a whale!
Dad was also a fresh water fisherman. I remember the excursions to the Steembrass River, the car driving rhythmically over the ‘Clankety Clang’ bridge as we called it. I remember the excitement of catching minnows in our pails, in the shallow waters of the river. The pebbles on the river bed were rounded and smooth under our feet, and the sunlight sparkled on the shallow water. Dad would cast the rod back and forward patiently ’til suddenly he had a fish in play. Out would come the net to catch the slippery silver bodies of the rainbow trout. We were excited with him at the catch, my mother laughing her encouragement as she leaned over the bridge. Andrew, the garden boy, lit a fire and made a make-shift spit to cook the lunch we had caught. My parents employed a garden boy, a maid and a mother’s help. My mother was kind to her employees and they grew to love her. Andrew came to work for our household because he liked the look of the young madam. She had kindness in her laughing, hazel coloured eyes. My father named me Hazel because of my mother’s eyes.
As the evening came we would pack up the picnic, dust sand from our feet, take off our swimsuits and put clothes back on again. We would get into the car, which was stuffy from absorbing the heat of the day. The car windows were rolled down and the evening breeze blew in on our faces as we drove the windy road home through the mountain pass. David and I always liked to look out to see if we could spot ‘Granny Smith’. Granny Smith sat knitting by the gate of the orchards of that name on good summer evenings, and the apples are known all over the world for their delicious flavour. It was a good day if we saw Granny Smith. It never occurred to us that ‘Granny Smith was not a real granny but an electronic manikin. We expected her to be sitting in her place by the apple orchard gate, knitting from morning to night, presiding over her estate. When we had sighted Granny Smith we were content and ready for sleep, and we were usually fast asleep by the time we arrived home to Somerset West.
My parents were living their dreams. They didn’t question their good fortune in any way, nor the status quo that permitted them the privileges they enjoyed.
‘Excuse me, Madam, what would you like to drink? The Cape red is very good from Constantia vineyards’. I am back in the room in Henri’s restaurant. So many memories of childhood, some sweet, some sad. If these walls could speak!
“The psalmist describes the soul’s longing for fellowship with God, as an intense thirst for flowing water, like a deer who reaching the point of exhaustion, “pants for the water brooks” (Psalm 42 v 1)
This sensitive noble creature has the light footed grace to scale the mountain heights (Psalm 18 v 33) yet the deer comes to the point of fainting before it reaches renewal and drinks from refreshing streams. If it can find the river’s source it’s thirst will be quenched and it’s strength renewed.
In psalm 42 David says that his soul has come to the point of collapse yearning for the presence of God, yet he still has confidence that at the point where all human energy is exhausted God will meet with him and pour out His refreshing presence.
In my etching, the figure is naked and still. There is no hiding place from it’s Creator. The hand of God is stretched out to give streams of refreshing, waterfalls of grace, and the shy deer watches on. The heart shape in the deer reflects the human heart ‘s longing. The psalmist encourages us not to loose heart.
” Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
my Saviour and my God” ( Psalm 42 v 11)
As a small child I can remember how beautiful the natural world seemed to me.I remember the tall date palms that bordered the garden of the house where I was born. I remember their frond like leaves whispering and swaying in the breeze, heavy with clusters of russet coloured fruit. They brought shelter from the intense heat of the mid day sun.
In the garden of our house at Somerset West I first experienced a sense of wonder.I remember the purple bouganvilia that spilled extravagantly over the whitewashed garden walls.I remember the hydrangea bushes with their large clusters of pale pink and blue flowers. I loved to press my face into their extravagant blossoms, and taste the petals. They had a delicate fragrance especially after a shower of rain. There must have been honey suckle in the garden. I remember its sweet smell in the air. I remember the flaming red hot pokers and the spikey flowers of the Protea, flowers indigenous to South Africa. This garden was a paradice to me as a little girl.
My brother David and I played outdoors, bare footed and sun burned. There were picnics to the beach and fishing trips with our parents to the Steam Brass river. In summer time the fields by the river side were white with Aram lilies. We gathered the lilies to bring home with us to our mother. They graced our sitting room with the simplicity of their elegant beauty. I think Aram lilies are some of my favourite flowers. They remind me, in their careless splendour that God breathes His life and glory into His creation. Why should we worry or fret?
Why be ” worried about our clothing, see how the lilies of the field grow.They do not toil or spin, yet not even Solomon in all His glory clothed himself like one of these… if God so clothes the lilies of the field, here today and gone tomorrow, will he not much more clothe you?” Matthew 6 v 28 and 29. So don’t be anxious, think about the lilies.
There was a tree house in an old willow tree in our garden. It grew just outside my kitchen window, so I had a good view of the children playing, and I could keep a watchful eye on them, as I worked at the kitchen sink, doing laundry or washing dishes. Happy memories of my children at play in the tree house, have inspired a number of pen and ink sketches and a screen print. The screen print was made using cabbage leaves for texture and lolly pop sticks for the slats of the tree house. I incorporated an old photograph of Michael and Joy, when they were small, and a sketch of Michael, as a teenager. The red tea pot is a photograph of an enamel tea pot that still sits on my window sill. Michael almost appears to be popping out of the tea pot. The branches are actual willow tree branches. The bird feeder was printed from the thumb mark of my rubber gloves, that I used when washing the dishes. So this is a very nostalgic piece of art work.
Scrapper Board of Tree House
Our children spent many happy hours in the branches of this willow. It was actually two willow trees, standing tall together, and a little rickety house built with imagination and discarded bits of wood. Their Daddy helped to secure the construction to the tree. There was a swing which hung from one of the sturdy lower branches, and a bird feeder. Lots of little birds visited the trees, wrens and blue tits, robins and sparrows, and sometimes a pair of ring necked doves. There was a variety of little boys and girls who also visited the branches, having tea parties, or playing at pirates The children were mostly safe, and I kept a careful eye on them all as I worked at the kitchen sink, but we did have some minor injuries and once a broken arm, when one of my boys had a birthday party, and there were one too many children in the tree. The broken arm belonged to one of the visiting children!
These were happy days of their childhood, and happy days for me also. The tree house grew old and fell apart. The children grew up and flew the nest . One of the trees uprooted itself, a number of years ago, so there is only one willow left in our back garden. Our boys Stephen and Michael built a new tree house, out of salvaged wood, and our children still come back to the garden, with their children. I look forward to summer time when I hear again the laughter of children in the garden . I watch them as I work at the kitchen sink. When they visit Nana and Grandpa’s house , it is not long before they climb the willow tree to explore the tree house.
“TIPPING POINT ” or “SPILL”
This painting was done as the result of a vision given in a gathering of worshiping young people committed to intercession. The image is of the ruffling as of angels’ wings, and a bowl of incense being spilt out, pouring as pure liquid gold. It encourages me to believe that tipping points come, if we do not loose heart. In Revelation chapter 8 bowls of incense, which are the prayers of the saints, are mixed with fire from the altar, and then spilt out on the earth. The impact brings about transformation. The contents of this bowl are liquid gold. In 1 Peter 1.3-6, we are encouraged to believe that the inevitable trial of our faith results in pure gold, or indeed is “more precious than gold”.
I pray that this would be an encouragement to you who pray, in your work of intercession. Your labour is not in vain, “in the Lord.” There will be “tipping points”. When young men and women rise to the challenge, God is rallying His troops. He promises that there will be a willing band of warriors, in His day of power. “Your people will volunteer freely in the day of your Power, in holy array, from the womb of the dawn, your youth are to you, as the dew.” Psalm 110.3 (New American Standard). The Message puts it like this. “Your people will freely join you at the fresh break of day, join you with all the vigour of youth.”
May those who are called to intercession courageously press forward in prayer, believing that there will be transformation. May you experience “tipping points”, fruit for the trial of your faith. May answered prayer spill from bowls of incense as pure gold poured out on the earth, causing a harvest of righteousness and many turning to God.
November 2012, revised March 2015.
Acrylic and Mixed Media Painting. First painted in (Spring 2009) A second painting “Suzuran” 2. (Spring 2010)
“Wake up, wake up, Jerusalem! Become strong! Be beautiful again, Holy City of Jerusalem! (Isaiah 51.9 – NLT)
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you” (Isaiah 60 v1, 2)
I had been thinking about what it means that the Church is “The Bride of Christ”. As I meditated on Bible passages about this theme, I felt inspired to paint a picture of how I imagined the Bride would look, if she was truly ready and waiting for her Bridegroom. I saw her Awake! Watchful! Dressed in her beautiful wedding garments, scanning the horizon, eager for signs of her Bridegroom. Around her a whirlwind of loose ends, the shape of many unanswered questions in her heart, but her eyes are focused, confident in hope that the day dawns, and her Beloved comes for Her. Her bridal bouquet is already in her hand, fragrant with “Lily of the Valley”, sweetness gathered in suffering.
Researching “Lily of the Valley” to get a picture of the flower, I came across the website suzuranbbc.com. “Suzuran” is the Japanese version of our English name “Susannah” and means “Lily of the Valley”. The website belonged to a Baptist Church, planted in Hiroshima in 1993. The Church had chosen this little flower to represent the good news of Jesus’ Resurrection. Out of the ashes of Hiroshima, lily of the valley carpets the slopes of mountains that once were devastated by atomic fallout!
“Once the snow melts and the harsh Hokkaido winter ends, a small plant sprouts and before long it displays short stems holding many small, cute, bell shaped flowers. Though tiny, these white bells give off a beautiful fragrance. This flower is not only beautiful but strong. No matter how cold the winter, they always return in the spring, so as to ring their tiny bells.”
What a beautiful picture of Christian hope, speaking of Jesus, our “Lily of the Valley.” It was impossible for the grave to hold Him captive, and he endured the cross and grave, for the joy set before him, His Bride. In days when there is so much evil rampant in the earth, it is good to focus our eyes on Him, so that we don’t grow weary and worn down by evil. For those who overcome the promise is sure “Your eyes will see the King in His beauty”.
“Who among us can live with the consuming fire? He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity, he who rejects unjust gain, and shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe, he who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil, he will dwell on the heights, his refuge will be the impregnable rock, his bread will be given him, his water will be sure. Your eyes will see the King in His beauty.” (Isaiah 33v14 to17)
“Look, here He comes… leaping across the mountains! My Beloved spoke and said to me, ‘Arise my Darling, My Beautiful One, and come with me. See, the winter is past: the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth: the season of singing has come; the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my Darling, my Beautiful One, come with me.’” (Song of Songs 2v8 to 13)
Hazel Patterson Summer 2010.
Revised February 2015
My mother often read to me at bed time, when I was a little girl. I loved the sound of her voice ,the smell of her perfume, and the warmth of being held close to her, as she read to me. A favourite book was “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Marjorie Williams. When I became a mother, I read it to my children, and now I am reading it to my grand children. The story is about a child’s favourite toy rabbit. It is a story about love, and about the value of being genuine from the inside out. The little rabbit was precious to the boy, not because he was expensive or modern, but because he had been the boy’s companion for a long time.It was his fidelity, rather than his appearance, that made the worn little rabbit precious. One morning in the nursery, the toys are having a conversation about what it means to be real. “Real isn’t how you are made..it is a thing that happens to you… when a child loves you for a long long time…then you become real… It doesn’t happen all at once.. generally by the time you become real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand” These were the values my mother wanted to teach me.That a heart that was beautiful and true was so much more valuable than being slick and impressive on the outside. ” Man looks on the outside but God looks on the heart”( 1 Samuel 16 v 7)