Hello! It's YOU! Here you will find stuff about living a creative life in country Australia. I am an illustrator who also creates, takes photos, faffs, collects, teaches and hosts workshops. Watercolour, doodling, collage, colour, cheese, travel and dreaming make me happy dance. And cushions. And gardening. And op-shops...

Saturday, 30 December 2017

NEW! NEW! NEW! NEW! NEW!

NEW! NEW! NEW! NEW! NEW! NEW! NEW! 

So what is it about  a new year and new beginnings? Hmm... well for me... I am hoping that 2018 has...



New plants and new growing and growth



New appreciating and seeing the sparkles wherever I can

  
Finding the silver lining in the clouds


  Seeing how funny and awesome NEW curly things CAN BE


Seeing beyond the prickles to see the rewards


  Collecting little special things... like more breadties! And writing and sending more SNAILMAIL

  
New challenges and sketching and drawing, and building up my drawing muscles


Seeing beauty in little things


 Putting up my hands for NEW experiences 


Seeking out NEW opportunities and chasing up NEW business stuff


 NEW creative challenges


 Loving NEW creative ventures

  
Following the sunshine!


 Making lots of NEW wishes


 Watching things change and evolve, having the patience to nurture that change


 Walk, MOVE, get healthy, eat better, not NEW ME, just better me


Do more of what I love


 Play with confetti more often.. and
LOVING every NEW day.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Near Enough... is Enough 2017 (Making a list of MIGHTY FINE)

Near Enough...is Enough 2017?
(Making a list of MIGHTY FINE)


A used, messy palette is a sign of creativeness happening... yes?


OKAY, so it looks like 2017 is drawing to its close, way way way quicker than I anticipated!

SHWOoooooooOSH!

There it goes, zooming past my eyelids, yep, 2017. 

And dear me, if it looks like a whole slew of things I wanted to do, achieve, strive for in 2017 have once again eluded me. Sheesh. 

I am not yet famous, or thin, or hugely successful and sipping martinis in a hammock, while minions attend to my art business for me. Not rich. Galleries are not clamouring at the door, nor are publishers or model agencies. I do not yet live in my architect designed too amazing perfect house, and drive the red Minnie Cooper convertible I dream of. Not suddenly wiser, or more balanced and enlightened. Not more with it, over it all, organised, neater, smarter or chilled like a fine iced coffee frappe. I am still not a perfect parent, artist, wife or friend.

Trying to keep it simple, watercolour 2017

And I could beat myself up about it. I guess I probably will, a bit. Sometimes more than a bit. I could get really down, curl up and  have a moan to me, myself and I ( at least I would know someone was listening). And I could go and eat some worms ( as my hubby says).

I am not going to lie, I do have many moments of just not being able to find my mojo, and thinking GAH GAH GAH. feeling blue funky. I have many moments of thinking WHAT AM I DOING!?

 Overgrown, swamped, hiding... watercolour, collage, ink 2017 

But then I have a letter, an email, a note, a postcard, a comment, a contact, a THING happens, that makes me go COOOOOOL and I give myself a little pep talk and put on my big girl undies, and breathe in deep... and keep going. 

And so. 

So I also do a thing, that is really good to do. I make a list. And I add to it. Every time something good and cool happens. Something that makes me proud, or thrilled, or surprised in a good way. Achievements.Of mighty fine stuff. I add to the list. And it steadily grows... all the stuff I HAVE achieved.

Does not have to be perfect to be lovely

So I can look back and think "Wowsers, I am progressing, I am doing fine." 

Okay, I may have not yet reached that world domination on the TO DO LIST, but there is always next year. And that list of mighty fine is pretty good actually. Happy dance time.

So I guess, for me anyway, sometimes, doing the best I can at any given time, is enough. And near enough, can be good enough. So what next?

2018... BRING IT!


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!