Hello! Lovely to see you! Here you will find random posts about living a creative life in country Australia. I am an illustrator. I create, take photos, faff, collect, teach. Watercolour, collage, colour, cheese, travel and dreaming are my faves. And Turkish delight. And cushions. And gardening. And op-shops...

Thursday, 30 November 2017

cactus crazy, prickly person, succulent sucker!

 CACTUS CRAZY, 
PRICKLEY PERSON,
SUCCULENT SUCKER!

 lead pencil and watercolour echeverium 2017


There is no doubt about it, I have fallen hard for cactii and succulents. 

I have always loved plants, but these guys are a relatively new thing - only in the last few years have I truly appreciated their wonderfulness. 

 cactus blooming, watercolour and gouache 2017

I know they are "on trend" so to speak, and I am just one of the cliche'd masses who have fallen so hard. But I do not care. I have now got a little collection going on... well you know I like to collect. Cannot just have one! 

some of my collection

So I have been buying them regularly, at farmers markets, CWA shops, and regular plant kinda places. I have also taken cuttings, snapped off bits from friends and the odd wayward forage, even salvaged some from the green waste pile at the local tip.

And so easy to make more! I looked on Pinterest and Googled how to propagate them, and made a whole pile of new baby plants the way they told me to. Cactus Mumma. 

some more babies!

(Thank you Internet!)

So now they are breeding, growing, greening and flourishing. And they are inspiring me to paint and draw them, sketch them and photograph them. I have bought books about them (thrift shots are great for this)and am beginning to know their types and names.

sketchbook doodling, ink pen 2017

And if there was ever any doubt about how lovely they are (maybe when I get a few little prickles in my thumb) when a cactus flowers, for a day, the stunning fragility of these tissue paper thin, translucent delicate single petals, these blossoms are mind blowingly WOW! Such a contrast to the tough robustness of the plant themselves.

cactus flower

So I learnt to wrap newspaper in a strip around them to hold them, and plant them, became ever so careful, and forgave the little ouches. One suffers for beauty.

Therefore, I tell you, if you do not have a cactus yet, or succulent... go out and get one. Or two. Or three. Or maybe more. You will find them prickly perfection, I promise! 

 pretty pastel cactus, watercolour 2017

Saturday, 25 November 2017

When Life and Stuff Goes to the Crapper ( and so does your blog)

When Life and Stuff 
Goes to the Crapper
( and so does your blog)

head full of ideas- and prickles. watercolour and ink, 2017

Well, miracle of miracles. A blog. A new post. Shock horror, lift my jaw off the ground. It is actually happening. 

I am not lazy. I am not just incompetent. I am not merely distracted. Well, maybe a little. 

Truthfully... I have taken on too much.TOOOO much. Superwoman I ain't. Swamped, overwhelmed, snowed under. Tsunami of life stuff bearing down. Juggling balls, left right and centre.And look, there they go... I dropped them, most of them, and then they went, merrily merrily, bouncing off down the road, and me? I just stood there, watching sadly, with no effort to try to gather them back up again. Sigh.

she held rainbows in her hand, collage 2017

I am not Robinson Crusoe here, right? You get this? It resonates with you too?  

So what is the problem?

Because I WANT the lovely house. I WANT the nice good stuff. I WANT my kids to have them too. I WANT the garden brimming with lushness, I WANT success with my art business, I WANT to have exhibitions and sell lots, I WANT to be recognised for what I do, and make a life from being creative.

I WANT to op-shop and collect, I WANT to travel, I WANT to paint. I WANT to support my husband in his profession, and  my kids to have great learning experiences and opportunities. 

German ceramics I have collected, watercolour 2017

I WANT...
to be a good wife, mother, daughter, friend, teacher, artist, illustrator, maker, businesswoman, gardener, photographer, Instagrammer, Facebooker, blogger... etc etc etc

And then... I feel like I am doing nothing properly. That guilt nagging and pulling away at me. That I ignore. As I eat some mac and cheese.(HMMMMM, nom nom nom, pasta)

Until my daughter gets diagnosed with something not great. And has open surgery. And all focus switches to her. And I remember  what is really important. Health. Then she is okay, and we breathe a huge sigh of relief, collectively as a family.

So we move on...to another drama.(And another bowl of pasta) 

All the while I am aware that there is something at the core of me that I am ignoring, but that it  is okay, because I am doing so much other stuff to distract me from it. 

Multiple exhibitions, new products to sell and trial, hosting workshops all over the place, teaching, taking commissions... having a whirlwind of momentum that is making up for lost time due to leg crappiness earlier in the year.

Then WHAMMO BAMMO MUMMA! Life goes to the crapper. I can no longer ignore it. The elephant in the room. Me.

she has her head in the clouds, ink and watercolour, 2017

Yes, the weight has piled on. The depression, anxiety, the medication, the lack of caring for myself and putting everyone and everything first, ahead of my health, has gone and resulted in an arse the size of Texas, deserving of its own postcode really. Resulting in shame, and denial, and me hating myself for it all. But just being #whatever.  

And why do I have to STOP. Why can I no longer ignore it? Why the WHAMMO BAMMO MUMMA!? 

Cos in the last few weeks I have found out I have type 2 diabetes. And now, life has changed. For me. For my life. For the rest of my ever. And it is not all bad. It will be okay.

But no more pasta.

And I will navigate it, absorb the information, work through it. And blog about it. If anyone reads it, great, if not, I think it will help me. I somehow want to blend all this with the art and the creating. I think I have to if I want it to be really part of my life. I have some ideas...

But there I go again, thinking of projects. Thinking of new stuff to do... good thing I still like juggling. Just will not be doing it with pasta. Or potatoes!

simply rainbow, watercolour, 2016










Saturday, 22 July 2017

PAINTING AND DRAWING A TEACUP!

 PAINTing AND DRAWing A TEACUP!



You know those cold mornings, when you need to fill your belly and your soul with something a little warm. You know those moments when you need to feel soothed and at peace. You know those moments when it is a cuppa you need to do these things? 

So much a part of everyday living, mundane but also bloody lovely. Something that can be elevated to a status of high tea, grand tea, even a tea ceremony.Brilliant. Well, A little while back,( OK, at the beginning of the year actually!) as a way to kick myself up the butt, I did a little challenge I made up called #projectTlove. 


The finished artwork from the video

I painted, collaged and drew cuppas and cuppa related things for 100 days on my Instagram feed, and it was a lot of fun, even if at times time itself was in short supply. 


But it was such an easy thing to draw and paint, with such a huge variety of possibilities... I could of kept it going really!


Others joined in too, obviously falling under the charms of a humble cuppa. There is so much scope for experimenting. It really is not hard to sketch out a cup, and then just "jooooj it up" a bit with pattern or colour.  Have a look at the little videos I did, and you will see what I mean!

                         



As a result of these 100 days, I now have a little portfolio of cuppa stuff, and could draw them in my sleep. But I would rather sit down and drink one right now. And so..off I go, to put the kettle on...





Tuesday, 4 July 2017

HOW TO DRAW A MUSHROOM... because I keep doing it!

DRAWING A MUSHROOM 


A looooong long time ago, I did a blog about mushrooms, and how it is quite ironic that as a vegetarian, I should devour mushies. But ... I am allergic to them so I just cannot do that. Along with being allergic to bananas, and mopping, and cleaning windows, this is another quirk in my genetic makeup.



Another quirk - I seem to just be a bit addicted to drawing and painting them. I know as a kid I had a stamp collection, and one of my little first day sets was of Australian fungi. I remember thinking they were so goddamn cute! As per lots of little girls, I imagined fairies playing and sitting on them, making little houses with them, you know, lovely make believe stuff. Of course, I am old enough now to know better, but I still find them adorably cute!


I have drawn them in crayon, texta, pencil, painted them in watercolour and ink and acrylic, on canvas, paper, and scraps of stuff. I have taken photos of real ones and made ones, I have made collages of them and I have even sewn them!



They are so super easy to draw, I often just sit and doodle with a pen and pencil, and find that suddenly, they have...well, mushroomed up all over the page!  So I thought I might share with you how I draw one of these little cuties, and how easy it is. Maybe you do this too? Or would like to try? Would love to know!




So here you are, a little video or two of me drawing some mushrooms. Nothing too fancy, just a few shapes and a bit of shading... and there you go.





A quick one in lead pencil...


And another little one... this time watercolour...


And so as you can see, I really do have a thing for these little fun-guys! And I see no time soon that I will stop playing around with them... endless possibilities still to explore. Go the Mushie!

BETWEEN HERE AND THERE In Country NSW and how a photography exhibition happened....


BETWEEN HERE AND THERE
In Country Australia


 Rainbow Sky

It is inevitable, when you live in the country in a continent as vast as ours, that you spend many hours and kilometres in a car, driving. We drive for family, friends & social events, we drive for sporting & cultural stuff, we drive for shopping trips, medical appointments, & we drive because we have to.

To be honest, it can be tiresome, and takes hours out of your day, week, your productivity. BUT for me - a guilty secret. Most of the time it is a quiet pleasure. 

When my hubby drives, I spend my time in the passenger seat dozing through half closed heavy lidded eyes. Light flickers through, trees blur by, and the rocking of the car lulls me to dream and think, and imagine. Telegraph poles, green and golden fields, they all move by at rapid pace while my mind wanders.


Canola Dreaming

When I am not dozing and dreaming, I am admiring the views, the vistas, the light, the colours, the shapes, the way the golden clear light creates halos around trees & weeds, the long shadows, & the lonely trees surrounded by an island of crops. Huge endless skies, whether grey, blue, or looking like magical fairy floss as dusk falls.

After almost two decades of living here, I am still thrilled by the beauty of this place, the Central West of NSW. It is never boring - the change of weather, time,crops and seasons ensures that.

As a result of this love of place, it is not uncommon for me to be randomly pulling over into the verge to take photos. I often have one of my cameras with me(Canon 60D or Olympus OMD)& always my phone(Samsung Note 5). All of the photos here have been taken with one of these. If I do not have a camera on me, I feel a bit bereft actually!


Cotton Candy Clouds

And it is not unusual then for me to take twice as long for me to get home as it does to arrive anywhere, because with appointment and commitments met, I am free to dawdle and stop along the way to get a shot I like. A line of trees, a windmill, a lovely crop, a windy road…

When I look back on these photos I see they tell the story of the journey, of the places BETWEEN HERE AND THERE, the unknown, unnamed, unnoticed, quiet spaces between places. Not the destination itself that matters. If I was going to get a bit deep, I could say... this is not unlike life itself, eh?

Single Lovely  Tree

And so, what to do with all these photos? Well, from an initial pool of about 600 pics, I edited, and culled, and edited, and culled. And squeezed it down to about 35 photos. Why? Because well, they have become an exhibition. 

They have become something hanging on walls, printed professionally on archival rag paper, framed and on display. They have become a thing I am sharing with others, which is always a bit nerve wracking! Will they see the beauty in the blur and the movement, and the golden light? Will they scoff instead?

Well, really, all that matters is that I love them, and for me they tell the authentic story of how I get between the here and the there... and the bits in between!





 My exhibition, Between Here and There, is hanging at Japanese Gardens and Cultural Centre, Ken Nakajima Way Cowra, NSW, for the month of July 2017. Here is the online You tube Catalogue of the exhibition!  All pieces for sale!


           

Friday, 24 February 2017

Finding Creativity Again... or...how I feel like I am chasing my tail over and over... and then caught it!

Finding Creativity Again... 
or
How I feel like I am chasing my tail over and over...


Creativeness, Creativity. You find it. You lose it. You seek it. You crave it. You reject it. You embrace it. You fight and struggle with it. You chase it around like my new kitten chasing its tail.

Sometimes you are too caught up in domesticity, work commitments, family needs and dramas, financial  demands, physical or mental pain, lack of time or energy... any number of one or all of these, and  creativity slinks away, retreats to lick its wounds and lay quietly in a dark corner.


And it can stay there, sad, lonely, feeling overwhelmed and useless, not needed. With no attention, deprived of stimulation, it just sighs and goes even quieter. 

Will it ever be found and cherished again? And the longer it stays there, it seems like often it becomes more reluctant to come out and play. Shy, afraid of rejection. What can entice it out? Coax it? 

Soothing words, the promise of fun. A safe space and place to do it, with no judgement if it fails to live up to the hype it has heard?


Maybe something little and small to ease into gently? Not so intimidating.

Well, it is true, in the last few months my creativity has really been waxing and waning. I have struggled with pain and this has derailed me quite a bit. And there was been some rather large and personal, not for sharing, family dramas, that have pressed hard against my sensitive soul and squeezed me dry.It was an awful end part of the year. But 2017 came along, all shiny and new, and I expected greater things. 

But when you lose your mojo, your momentum is bloody frigging hard to find it again!


So that is why I started #projectTlove. Which has been great, and definitely helped me connect with others and get my drawing fingers busy again. But by chance, scrolling through Instagram I found a great feed called Creatively Squared.

There I found an abundance of lovely images, varied and fun. Stylish and imaginative. And enough people to feel invigorating, but not so many it felt overwhelming. 

Creatively Squared have challenges every week, with sponsors... and at first I was bamboozled by what was going on.

So I messaged them, and one of the lovely members sent me the email links to the website and info.  Straight away I signed up. 


Now please know, my email gets full of crap. Lots of it. Tonnes of it. Even when I delete and delete and unsubscribe, it seems to gain monumentally staggeringly large amounts of crap. But these guys actually have short, sweet, lovely, useful stuff. I actually read them. Shock horror!

So without thinking about it too much, I began to take part in the challenges on Instagram. I have only done a couple, but what has been lovely, has been the stirring and whirring of creative juices that I have felt going again. I am hoping I can keep it up, because I know that this problem solving and task orientated challenge really helps to drag that shy old creativity out into the sunshine to play again. Because she really is quite competitive and bullish at times. She does like a challenge, one she feels she can actually really be in the mix for.


And with a bit of play, the creativity muscles build, the confidence picks up, and soon that creative beastie is running and jumping and whooping it up again. Yahoo! And so bloody flipping fab!





















Sunday, 12 February 2017

SUMMER LOVIN' (or maybe not)



SUMMER LOVIN'(or maybe not)

Summer.
Endless blue sky days.
Heat.
Salads.
Water to cool down.
Sunscreen and beach towels.
The tight feeling of sun kissed skin.

It is now February, and we have just endured 2 days of blistering, scorching, officially catastrophic weather conditions. Any novelty that Summer brings has well and truly lost its appeal. Really. It is actually a bit scary. 

We are very lucky, because we have a lounge room in our house that we can keep air conditioned and cool, and we have had no power cuts to interrupt it. Thank gawd.

My family has resorted to sleeping in the lounge, this oasis. There are mattresses strewn about and cushions proliferating wildly. It looks a right bloody mess, and we do have cabin fever, but we still feel grateful.

We have drunk frappes galore, gorged on watermelon and fruit, eaten a tonne of super dooper frozen ice blocks, played dominoes and cards, read books, watched DVD's(including Frozen). We have a new kitten too, that has proved very entertaining for us all.

But seriously, it is no longer fun. I want to be able to snuggle my hubby without feeling that I will melt. I want to be able to use the oven to cook with without feeling like I live in the Sahara. I am sure camels would feel right at home in our house. And I think the kids might be permanently scarred by the sight of me wandering around naked but for undies. Years of counselling ahead for them all.

Truly, I am trying ever so hard to remember the good things about Summer. The lovely things...

Summer fruits. 
The smell of gardenias and beautiful summer blooms.
Golden fields.
Bright happy colours.
Ice cream and ice blocks. 
Swimming and splashing and frolicking about.
Xmas and New Years'Eve 
with family and friends.
Holidays.

Trying hard... but really, I am over it. How about you? Are you staying cool? Or are you on the other side of the world, snuggled under blankets?!

So, now I have had my whinge, here are some photos that seem to sum up some of the nicer things about Summer. Stay cool my friends, stay cool. x