It's YOU! Hello! Nice to see you! Here you will find stuff about living a creative life in country Australia. I create with watercolour, pen, collage, mixed media and photos. I teach, hosts workshops, collect, dream. I love cheese, travel, my garden, faffing, colour and whimsy. I am crap at time management, and do way too many things, but it is all good. Oh yes, all pictures and photos on here by me too, just saying.

Thursday, 17 March 2016



DEAR SUMMER (and Autumn)just wanted you to know...

I do not handle the heat well, something to do with my low blood pressure, migraines, and my layers of lard perhaps. But this heat has gone on so long, the feeling of being captive to the air conditioner keeps popping into my head. 

The kids have taken to sleeping downstairs with the air con on, the cat and dog have NO ENERGY, the washing is drying within minutes (shame it is then all scratchy), the fishtank needs water replacement every few days because of evaporation, my green tree frog almost died of dehydration a week or two ago, the garden is decidedly tired and our water bill is HUGE.

All of this is first world problems, I know. And you probably don't care too much. And I might sound blythe, but the truth is, I am worried. I am worried that this could be the way it is going to stay, with global warming happening. I am worried that this is a new reality. I am worried that we are going to spend a lot more time hanging out with you. Summer, you are lovely for lots of things, and I do love those big blue skies but...BUT...

Please hurry up Autumn. I want your cool nights and crunchy leaves, your amazing colours on the trees. I want to snuggle with my lovely hubby at night again, wear scarves and stop sweating all the time. I want to sit in my studio without feeling like a dried apricot all husk and no juice. I want some of those grey cool days, with moody skies. And so does the garden.

Come on now, summer sun, go on a holiday, give it a rest. Take a break, you deserve it. Send some rain to have some fun. You can do it, I know you can. 

Yours in waiting, 

Shani xxx

Sunday, 13 March 2016

WOMEN IN FOCUS - Women in Cowra, for International Women's Day

For International Women's Day

I have had a hankering lately to do a bit more with my photography, because there was this feeling, this gnawing that I wanted to do more than just random pretty pictures. 

I was not sure about what I was going to do,(it has been SO LONG since I really undertook a proper photography project) but then from somewhere in my head, an idea of taking photos of the people in my country town  began to develop. I know it is not unique, nor special, or too original. But I only wanted to do something basic and fairly low key. And it was a start. Especially when I find photos of people quite confronting to take actually! It is easier to do still life vignettes by far!

I lay in bed imagining how, when, where and what I might to do a project like this. And pretty soon I realised that I needed some place that would be a central location for my subjects to sit. 

Luckily, I have friends in high places! I had recently completed a commission for the Cowra Council for the International Festival Of Understanding, and the director of this festival was a lady I admire and feel comfortable with. I thought perhaps she might be able to help... and so, as you do, I reached out to her, and over coffee we talked. And talked. And the idea grew, and began to bloom.

With International Women's Day coming up, my initial idea morphed into it becoming a photographic exhibition about the women in Cowra.

And then suddenly a few weeks later, came a call... We had the shop we wanted! I started the next day. I believe it is called
"hitting the ground running". The next morning we lumbered chairs and tables and stuff down the street, and I started taking photos. We had 3 days in the shop to get as many women as possible to have their photos taken.

A few very hot and tiring days later111 amazing generous ladies later, many many hours spent editing and cropping at the computer, and the project was completed.

MAYBE! Perhaps?!

Because the response has been so positive and overwhelmingly brilliant, that I am thinking I need to continue this. That I need to take it further. These ideas are still percolating. And I will need to reach out and connect with others - more networking - and this is really exciting!

But to be honest I am so bloody tired at the moment, that my ability to think concisely is somewhat dimmed! I am just triaging my way through it all, and will need to ponder it a little longer. 

Another proper exhibition? A book? A magazine?

One of those ideas was to take this to the city, to show that  here in the country we don't all wear Akubras or have children riding miniature ponies before dusk with fields of wheat as a backdrop, wear Blundstones, and have hay in our hair.

Instead I see women who are beautiful, resilient, strong, brave, vulnerable, caring, loving, unsure, determined, nervous, happy, devoted... I see that every face belongs to a women with their own story. There is no generalisation.

And I should add - this is in no way a perfect cross section of our community, and is in no way political. I tried to get women diverse in age, culture, beliefs, colour and creed. But in the end I cannot MAKE people have their photo taken. I cannot drag them in! And so I had to leave my preconceived ideas at the door, and just embrace the generous loveliness of the ladies who did concede to sit for me.

So here are a few of the photos, by no means chosen for any reason... just a small selection of those involved. Wonderful women!