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.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016



Autumn Leaves

Creativity and creating is a weird, slippery beast. Sometimes it's natural and easy to catch. Sometimes it just seems to slide out of all attempts to hold it. It just does not happen. 

Often before I create I hear those words of doubt. Often I resort to just putting marks on a page, or bashing out some words, and hoping for the best. It just does not flow.

Sometimes I put up barriers up of my own. Washing clothes, housework, taking another silly photo to post on Instagram, being sucked into a time vortex somewhere, faffing in the garden, having another cuppa, doing errands, writing lists of things I need to get to rather than getting to them...and depression and anxiety and feeling overwhelmed.... when really ...I just need to START

some mockups for a client, not used

Of course, some of these barriers are very real... real people, real commitments, real needs. I have a family, a home, a job. Apart from creating.

The creating thing is central though, and it all rests with me. The lovely, but also the most difficult thing about being answerable to myself about my creativity though is that if I do not push myself, if I do not find my way around or over those barriers, then I only have myself to blame.

No-one else ultimately.

mistakes happen

And if I don't not stay focussed and disciplined, I know from past experience, I end up feeling awful, just terrible. Because I know that I can do better. I am not doing what my head and my heart needs. I know I am letting myself and those who believe in me down. When I let fear,depression, anxiety, laziness, and momentum fade....Inertia takes over... then I lose. Big time. 

pot plants in a row

The fear of that feeling. The fear of those feelings... is motivator usually to get it all happening again. It pushes me, propels me, drives me... even if it is only one little step everyday, I try to take it. I try to stay disciplined and think about the race, not the sprint. There are lots of days I just gogogogogogogo, and do tonnes. Amaze myself. And others not so much. And on those days...

I will sometimes spend too long in bed, lingering over coffee, procrastinate and not achieve much. And I feel insecure and realise I am not helping myself much. AND THEN... Like an arrow that uses negative force, the pull back, to propel itself forwards again, I harness that insecurity. When I let go - I zoom forwards and into action. I start creating.


So sometimes I ignore those distractions, the voices in my head. And my home has become messier, a bit rougher around the edges and my garden has weeds and blank spots. And I do not engage as much on social media as I am told I should to build up my followers, and I may not bake cakes for the kids or be on the P&C or at every school function, and I do not go out for coffee as much as I once did. And I ignore all those emails about how to improve time management, and be successful, and be better, better, better...


Because if IGNORE ALL THAT, then I carve out the time and the space, and use that discipline, the benefits are immense. The muse, the flow, the mindfulness has time to play. I invite it in, flirt with it, and it charms me. It amazes me.

Because if I push myself, get some mojo happening, the universe will often step in and give me a nudge, a little spark... and let me know I am on the right path. 

And there is nothing better than an email saying WE WANT YOU AND YOUR WORK,(and want to pay you for it!) or a letter from a friend or follower saying I LOVE WHAT YOU DO, or a blank page that instead of looking scary and empty instead makes you feel FIZZY AND JOYOUS, and thoughts and colours and ideas just start to tumble out. And then creating something you like the look of after all, and feel happy with. 

happy flowers

It is truly the best. Ever. Feeling. 

Of course,inevitably the fizz fades. (Damn!)

Inevitably I begin to wonder if what I a doing is really absolute crap and why am I bothering. Ugly little doubts creep in.

Maybe it will always be that way, a cycle of up and down, reflection, quiet contemplation and distance, followed by fear and looking for new experiences, then propulsion going forward, going through all of the feelings, having no idea, then creating anew and invigorated again. 

Maybe I am okay with that. 

All I know is that if I don't make, do, create, paint, write... and I don't have discipline and push through... then nothing good will come of it.

cactus, detail

But whatever, I really have to go now. I need a coffee, and there is a set of new paints waiting for me, and a drawing-a-day challenge to complete. There is also a few loads of washing and children to hug and talk to because they have just got back from school. And I want to talk to them and see how they are. Time to let go of this caper and pause it for a little while. You know how it is.
See you on the flip side muse.

Sunday, 26 June 2016



There are so many inspirational memes about how to live a lovely life. About overcoming obstacles, living out our dreams, or being the person we dream of being. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway, that type of thing. Sometimes I read them and it has no effect, other times it feels like a lightbulb just went on in my head. 

On this little journey of trying to lead a more creative life, I have way too often compared myself to others and found myself wanting. And feeling crappy. Sigh.

I am slowly learning that rather than compare myself to others I need to just compare me to me... and as long as I am going along, learning, doing new things, pushing myself, stepping up to the plate, then it is all good. Really.

I wrote a blog a while ago about feeling like a winner, a most unusual feeling! One of the fabulous things that came from being named a winner was that a couple of awesomely stupendous successful business ladies asked me to host some creative workshops with them. They are beautiful creatures, entrepreneurial, successful  well known and basically totally inspirational. Amongst other things, they run Little Lane Workshops together... and I was gobsmacked and thrilled to be asked to be part of this venture.

Of course, my initial reaction (after squealing) was OH MY GAWD! Feeling a little sick in the stomach, and feeling like a tsunami of fear engulfing me.

But I gulped, and said SURE THING

I admit it took a while to get the ball rolling, but I nibbled off little bits at a time. I began looking at stock needed, I started formulating possible workshop ideas, I began pricing up costs and then I began to get EXCITED.

I went to other workshops myself to see how it was done, and as the weekend inched closer, I did a dry run of lessons at home, and then tweaked ideas and lesson plans.

The crazy, mad, insane, ridiculous thing is... I am a teacher! A university trained, practicing actual teacher! It is my other profession! I teach art every week. And have done for years. It is just that it is usually to little people.

And art, and creating is my other profession. And I have done this since forever. And have a University degree in this too.

  Some simple drawings, like you might find at one of my workshops

So actually, teaching at workshops is the perfect marriage, a wonderful dovetailing of skills. 

Lightbulb moment Shani, you dufus. 

So how did the workshops go?

They were fabulous! Wonderful people came to them, oozing  creativity, eager to learn and sparkling and shiny eyed. The feedback was positive, enthusiastic and thankful.

Vignetting props 

PLEASE come back the participants said! We want more!

The space was beautiful and inspiring, the art materials plentiful and top notch. It really was lovely. I do not know what I was so scared of. Silly me.

Drawing workshop

Since then, I have had a few more workshops, and am planning others too. I will need bums on seats, and lots of peeps to support me, and that bit still scares me. What if no-one comes? I am not famous. I am not a big brand name. Nervous! 

Drawing workshop

Then I remember all the great things people have written to me, said to me, commented on my posts about how much they have enjoyed and learnt from my teaching. I reflect upon how nerves can be a good thing. And I ignore all those silly thoughts.(Having said that, please come to one if you can! tell or your friends, share my posts, write it in the skies, broadcast to all and sundry...) 

Perhaps the nicest thing though, the coolest thing, was that I knew spending a few hours creating would be super uber fun and enrich the soul but what I had not thought about was the connectedness, the networking, the interaction and laughs, the sharing that goes on at these workshops. It fills the heart. 

Lovely ladies and me! Litle Lane Workshops

And I had not anticipated how many people are craving being creative and want to get back to touching, feeling, making. I wonder why when I feel like it myself! I wonder why these things take so long to realise? I wonder why it took me so long to get workshops happening! But eventually I did. Thanks to lightbulbs.BLING!

So many wonderful lightbulbs!  

PS.My next workshops are at 
in Brookvale Sydney, 
on Saturday July 2
Simple Watercolour & Simple Mindful Drawing
and also
Flatlay, Instagram and Editing
& Watercolour 101
on Saturday 6 August