Saturday, January 31, 2009

Le Weekend ...

Don't you just love Dr Seuss, not only does he write the most amazing books for children and adults alike, he comes up with quotes like this one:

"be and act as you truly are ... and say what you feel ... because those that mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind."

It's been a busy day, attempting to buy shoes for school. I've mentioned before that I find it hard work visiting shopping malls and today was no exception - I think if you're sensitive you can pick up on everyone else's frustration and become quite grumpy yourself. Me? Surely not! The highlight though was squeezing a visit in to Spotlight and finding felting supplies. Now I have a slightly larger collection of coloured wool to use for both dry and wet felting. My first project will be a pirate's hat like Captain Jack Sparrow's and there's no way I'll get away with not doing it, as it's for someone other than me, who knows how to nag persistently! I will post pictures - even if it doesn't work out, then you can have a laugh!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Big kid at large ...

This is me being silly with something shiny! I'm wearing one of those glow bracelets that you have to snap to make them work - I took the photo without flash, then enhanced the image afterwards on my PC and used the cartoon fun effects just to see what would happen. See - I'm being creative with my photos now! I love the way the light bounces off my charm bracelet, which I've managed to make a ghost image of somehow. In fact the whole image has a slightly ethereal feel. Just a bit of fun, I enjoyed it!

We've had the glow bracelets in our cupboard for a while, and the kids discovered them at the Australia Day party on Monday and asked for another tonight seeing as it's the last official day of the holidays. It was quite funny really, I'd opened the packet and got one out and was putting the rest back when I dropped the pack, and bent the bracelets as they fell out - of course the bracelets snapped and started to glow, so I had to dish the rest of them out. Obviously that's the reason I also have one, so they don't go to waste, not because they are shiny and bright and glow in the dark ...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mama Love!

'Mama Love' is the name of my lovely plump clay lady. We were messing around with air-drying clay, and our little creations can be seen above, there are some monsters, a ball I've tried to make after seeing similar ones at a talented friend's house and of course, Mama Love! She just came to life as I played with the clay. I've put some holes in the top of her head (doesn't sound very loving does it!) so that I can add some feathers or leaves for hair when she is dry and painted. Can't wait to see how she develops. I'm hoping the ball is going to turn out as expected as well, it's like waiting for your birthday, so much excitement!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dreams, desires and sunshine tea

Ah - a comforting picture of sleep. It's been a very relaxing day really, we explored a township we haven't seen properly before, just driven through on the highway. We had lunch at an 'artisan' bakery, very posh - the best buttery croissants we've ever tasted! And I found another bargain for $2 in one of the village shops! I've been looking for a carafe to make some 'sunshine' tea and haven't been able to find one until today. That's one of the things I was looking for when I found my blue heart yesterday. It almost feels as if the universe is showing me through little things that even your heart's desire can be made manifest if you just believe enough that it can happen ...

I had to smile today - my husband had taken the day off to spend some time with the kids as the holidays end soon, and we spent an age deciding what to do. The weather was slightly overcast at the time and cooler so I suggested we should do something we haven't been able to do for a while as it's been so hot. We all got psyched up to go for a walk into the village when it started to rain heavily, so we couldn't go anyway! I just thought it was ironic after I'd moaned so much when it was too hot. :)

Creatively I'm working on a doll from my definition of healing for this doll course. It's made from corrugated cardboard! I won't say anymore than that at the moment in case it doesn't work, but if it does I will be a happy bunny indeed!

Oh - I'd better explain what 'sunshine' tea is. You fill a carafe with water and add some teabags, then put the carafe outside in the sunshine. By the evening it should have brewed into a refreshing drink of iced tea. I got the idea from Violette, and other friends of ours recommend it too, so we can give it a try now I have my carafe. I'm not sure if you're supposed to use black or green tea, it's a matter of experimenting and seeing what tastes best I suppose. I might even try Rooibos (red bush tea) as that's really yummy and caffeine free!

Well, off to dream! Until tomorrow ...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I've been looking for the perfect heart for my guardian doll that I am making for the online healing doll course I'm a member of. I'd bought a pink shell heart last week, although I didn't feel it was quite what I'm looking for. Today I was looking at some glass milk jugs at a local gift shop, and just had to look at their discounted Christmas decorations at the same time. I rummaged around in a tiny pot of tree decorations and found this beautiful blue heart - it was the only one in there, and at the bargain price of 95 cents! It's the right colour, has bling effects and a beautiful, soft to the touch velvet ribbon. For my guardian doll, I'm trying to make her as much a comfort to me as possible, so I want her to be soft to the touch and carry symbols that bring me comfort. She also has to be blue, I didn't know why as I was determined that my guardian was to be my favourite colour purple, but blue kept coming to mind. On looking up the colour of blue, it appears that it is the colour of truth and of the throat chakra - so seeing as my personal goal for 2009 is to speak my own truth, it looks like I'm on the right track. I'll keep you posted on the progress of my doll. I have a couple of doll challenges to meet first, which I will also post in the near future. To me this is also a sign that when you put out your honest desires into the wider world, you may well find what you are looking for.

Last night we enjoyed Australia Day as a family in the company of friends. I was thinking about this today and was so proud of my children who were all very sociable and comfortable with their friends, chatting and moving independently amongst everybody. Completely different to how I used to be (and still am sometimes) at social functions - I'd try and hide and melt into the background. My offspring are nothing like that - they're here and they want everyone to know that - in a very pleasant way of course! Thank goodness they don't have all my hang-ups!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Australia Day!!

Although we've been living in this country for a few years now, I wasn't sure exactly why we celebrate this day, so I looked it up, and this is what a couple of sites had to say:

"Australia Day marks the anniversary of Captain Arthur Phillip unfurling the British flag at Sydney Cove and proclaiming British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia on 26 January 1788. On Australia Day, we celebrate what's great about Australia, celebrate our nation and our achievements and recommit to making Australia an even better place for the future." from the Australia Day, Victoria Government site.

"Australia Day, January 26, is the day we as a people and place celebrate our nationhood. The day is a public holiday. The day marks the founding of the first settlement in our nation by European people." Australian Immigration Department website.

Isn't it funny how different people word the same event differently, and different meanings come across. I think I like the second definition best, it sounds to the point. The first one sounds a bit more aggressive, I think it's the 'proclaiming ... sovereignty' part.

Anyway, we watched the firework display from the escarpment, and could hear our fellow revellers in neighbouring gardens. It's good to hear people celebrating, and I think it's important to keep up rituals and mark time as it passes. It helps us to remember why we're here, and gives us an opportunity to offer the hand of friendship.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sleeping under the stars ...

I am limping to the finishing line of 100 blogging days - by which time I hope to have got into the habit of blogging and I will keep going. It has been a wonderful experience, and has kick started my creativity - my husband is starting to wonder where we are going to put all of my creations. My few missing days recently have been because of sheer tiredness and not feeling well, hoping to resume normal service soon!

Now, although I do frequently moan (sorry) about the hot weather over here, it also does have its advantages. I've been wanting to sleep outside for a while, thinking how lovely it would be to fall asleep under the stars, so last night we took a camp bed outside, plus our quilt and pillows (!) and slept outside. Yippee! We also had my mozzie net up - the first time it's been used since I bought it 7 years ago. I tell you I felt like a fairy princess! It was fantastic! Every time I woke up I just looked up at the stars until I fell asleep again. I can honestly say it's the best sleep I've had in a long time. The kiddies have had fun too today, slipping in under the net and sitting on the bed to read. I took this photo this morning with the early sun falling on it, as it looks so magical.

I think it does you good to have a break from the routine and do something spontaneous and childlike. Sometimes we get so stressed out we need a break from the same old, same old. Tonight I'm going to look at those stars and imagine what my loved ones on the other side of the world are doing in their day time ...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Joys of journalling ...

Just a quick blog tonight. I didn't feel like writing yesterday, too tired! Terrible excuse I know, but I sat up in my pj's and drew some stuff in my healing medicine doll journal last night. Think that's where I needed to be. So I'm showing you my cover - we've had to think over what healing means to us, and I've put my definition in a few words around the sides of the cover. In case you can't see them my ideas are: 'Becoming whole ... learning acceptance ... finding my voice'. I use art on that journey all the time.

It's funny but when I drew the two faces at the top I didn't feel comfortable with the sad, tearful face. What makes it so difficult for us to look at pain? Happy faces are easy to look at, but if someone starts to cry, no-one knows where to look! So I purposefully left the sad face although I was itching to draw another in its place.

This doll course is thought provoking and exciting, encouraging you to shine a light on those dark places with the aim that you will find understanding. Scary stuff, but I'm ready for the adventure!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Have new pens, will doodle ...

At the weekend I went out shopping with the kids and found these fab fineliner pens - I already had 3 of the little beauties in my art kit, but this was a whole set of 12 in a funky pencil pot! Yay - I told you small things make me happy, I am such a kid sometimes. To the practicalities, they are Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, and I love using them for journalling, collages and of course doodling.

What on earth all this lot means though, I haven't really got a clue. I just wanted to experiment with my new pens, so thought I'd do another 5 minute challenge. A good excuse to zone out and do some doodles really, usually I doodle when I'm on the phone ...

I like to keep hold of doodles, because they could well inspire another artwork. Anyone can doodle, you should give it a try (I bet you've got loads on the pad you keep by the phone for messages ...)

Monday, January 19, 2009

I've finished my painting at last ... 'Hiraeth'

Here you can see the middle and completed stages of my painting I've mentioned in so many posts I can't remember. I last posted a picture of it when it was just painted pink. It seems that I needed to feel more homesick and a little depressed before I could finally finish it and express my genuine, heartfelt feelings. Felt totally exhausted when it was completed, but very pleased with the overall result, and a bit lighter in my heart too.

The word 'hiraeth' is from Welsh and I think it's quite difficult to translate exactly into English, but I love it because the sound of the word itself sounds like the breath of longing. The quote I used is part of the prose written by Val Bethell, and it's well worth checking the page out as she has produced a lovely slideshow to go with it. But the term really captures how I feel about my home country. I've used part of her work on the front of my painting and the rest of it is written on the side of the canvas (I've used an extra thick canvas, they're great because you can hang them without having to get them framed). It's almost a graffiti artwork with the quotes I've written around the sides! I've also written a few thoughts of my own which pale in comparison, and have used another quote which I found on the web. As they are so beautiful I just have to include them here:

"Hiraeth - the link with the long forgotten past, the language of the soul, the call from the inner self. Half-forgotten, fraction remembered. It speaks from the rocks, from the earth, from the trees and in the waves. It's always there. Yes, I hear it. Yes, I understand what hiraeth means." - Val Bethell

'Hiraeth - A longing or Homesickness. "It is difficult to define hiraeth - but to me it means the consciousness of man being out of his home area and that which is dear to him. That is why it can be felt even among a host of peoples amidst nature's beauty; like a Christian yearning for heaven." - D Martyn Lloyd Jones

Beautiful, beautiful words, they inspired my painting and healed my pain. Thank you.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Calming quotes

Just a quick post tonight - I've spent the day trying to cultivate calm, my creativity is having a rest day! I dipped into 'The Artist's Way again and found a couple of quotes to match the meanderings of my inner journey at the moment, and hope that you will find them inspiring too.

As you may have read before, I've said that my creativity and my spirituality are inextricably entwined, so I found this rather beautiful and affirming:

"We must accept that this creative pulse within us is God's creative pulse itself." - Joseph Chilton Pearce

And this one resonates with me after spending a couple of frenetic hours in a busy shopping centre this morning, which is one of my least favourite activities:

"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why." - Eddie Cantor

OK, off to read a relaxing book, and hopefully will be in fine form after the weekend!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Shiny things make me happy!

It's been an emotional day for me personally today. Sometimes I think I have my depression under control, then all of a sudden I have a teeny tiny setback, nothing major just enough to make me realize I'm not out of the woods yet!

Luckily I have my art to get me through. Honestly, it really is like a liferaft sometimes - I just cling hold to it until I get to the other, hopefully calmer, side. My creativity is a gift, and I am eternally grateful for it, and the wonderful thing is that creativity is a gift that anyone can have access to.

Today I made a couple of gifts for my sister as it's her birthday very soon. I made her a peg doll angel, which I've posted about at Christmas and a friendship ball (aka witch's ball). According to old English folklore witch balls were hung in cottage windows to repel evil spirits. The baubles we hang on Christmas trees are descended from them. Anyway, as you may know I like round things and shiny things, so this was a perfect way to combine the two and let my sister know how much she is loved. You can buy the plain glass baubles from craft shops, I got mine from Spotlight - after Christmas is a good time to buy them because they are half price! I filled the bauble with silk fibres in our favourite colours and put in a few 'scatters' (shapes cut from shiny plastic, people put them in birthday cards, you open them and it makes a lovely shiny mess!) shaped as butterflies. I don't want to tell you all the symbolism in case this is read before her birthday, but the gift was made with lots of love and thought. The hanging beads even have meaning - for example, the hearts are for our sisterly love that is felt even across the miles, and the teardrops are for us missing each other. Ah - what a soppy thing!

Just as small things can sometimes make me sad, it's the small things that can also make me happy. I've mentioned my butterfly scatters, well I needed to store them somewhere and instead of popping them in a bag, decided to put them in a mini jam jar so I could put them on the side and look at them. I left them on the side in the kitchen until I found them a permanent home; in the early evening with the sun shining through the window and hitting the jar there were beautiful reflections on the kitchen worktop from the light reflecting on my butterlies. I kept turning the jar and watching the kaleidoscope affect. It made me smile, so although the day started with a bit of sadness, by the end I'd found several things to lighten my mind and be grateful for the day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What an arty family!

This is a ship that we all made yesterday - one of the children loves pirates and 'Pirates of the Caribbean', so we decided as it was holidays we would have a crafty day and make our own ship! What a way to keep children busy - this masterpiece took about 4 hours to complete. We used a removal box and cut out a hole, which was then recycled and used to create a shield - you can see it in the corner of the picture. An old broom handle was used as a mast, then elder son got technical and made cannons from an old postal tube and set them into holes in the side. Elder daughter painted the ship with some help from our youngest. Then she decorated the inside of the ship with stamps and more paint. You probably can't see, but although is it a distinctly black, boyish ship, it does actually have some embellishing done with gold glitter at the ends of the cannons and on the top of the ship! You always need a bit of bling!

It's been one of those hot days today, when it's too hot to move, so we haven't done much at all. When I did get moving, I went outside and think I re-broke my little toe it hurt so much, and made crunchy sounds when I tried to move it with my fingers. It's now taped to its big brother toe for support and I'm hobbling around the house, much to the amusement of the others who live here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Do Everything with Love ... Part 2

I can't believe I'm still up and about at this time! I've just finished working on some bookkeeping for tomorrow, and I slightly underestimated how long it was going to take. And I was so pleased with myself that I'd finished my artwork and taken photos of it before 5 pm this evening. Never mind, I'm here now and it will help me relax before going off to sleep. (Might actually nod off over the keyboard!)

Well, here is part 2 of my 'absolute love' theme. It's called "Choose Love" because after saying yesterday that I aspire to dealing with situations with love, but that it must be very difficult, today I realized it is a matter of choice, and it's that simple. I'd had the idea of producing a mandala style heart combination, but initially I was going to draw the heart inside the circle. However, after doing a few doodles to see which looked best, I really liked the idea of a circle of light being inside the heart and radiating out. It became a collage when I rediscovered some of the collage papers I'd made with the other ladies from my creativity lessons, so I just ripped away and glued to my heart's content. Before sticking on the collage papers I'd glued on some tissue paper and 'squidged' it around a bit with PVA glue to give some texture. Where I hadn't stuck collage papers I painted in amethyst acrylic paint (another of our favourites at creativity group), then painted gold acrylic over the top and scratched some patterns into the paint with the end of my paintbrush. Final touch was to add some stamping of a heart, and some gold rings - from a small pot I'd found and turned upside down to use as a stamp in my gold paint. I love it that the heart is so self-contained, radiating out all that love, even though it's slightly chaotic around it.

OK, I really have written enough, my little head is waiting to fall upon the pillow, 'perchance to dream'. So have a lovely day wherever you are, and remember to "choose love".

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Do Everything with Love ... (part 1)

This is the first of my art pieces inspired by reading Doreen Virtue's book, particularly her teaching that everything in life should be done with love. Even if someone is attacking you with criticism or judging you for instance, you can defend yourself and speak from love. I'm sure that it is not easy, but it is something that I aspire to!

Anyway, as I was driving around yesterday I had two ideas pop into my head for pieces I wanted to create around the theme of love. I remember when I was at university in Wales we discovered love spoons at the local markets - they were typically carved from wood, and given as a gift to a loved one. Once I gave one as a gift to a boy I was seeing, and when we broke up after only a matter of months, I was more annoyed that he didn't return the spoon! Well, I haven't really had cause to think of them for an age, but a friend I visited last week showed me her collection of antique teaspoons which had been sent by relatives in the UK, and one of them was a beautiful silver love spoon, with twisted handle and heart which I have tried to reproduce for my spoon.

It isn't exactly as I pictured it in my mind, it's a little more 'organic' than anticipated (for this read 'imperfect'), but on thinking about it, love isn't always perfect anyway is it? I had imagined painting a red heart on it, and embellishing with beads, but it didn't seem right after I'd fixed on my twisted wire. It's funny how your direction changes as you create - but that's part of the joy of creativity - it's forever evolving. The copper wire looked lost on the bare pine of the spoon, so I gave it a wash of violet acrylic paint mixed with a matt varnish. The swirls are worked in the metallic pens that I have, but the gold colour turned into a wishy washy yellow which I was not happy with at all until I'd highlighted it with another gold fine liner. Of course as the love spoon originated in Wales I felt a need to write the Welsh word for love - 'cariad'. Overall, it's completely different to my original idea, but with all it's imperfections I think it portrays the sentiments of love perfectly!

I'm going to use the other ideas still floating around in my head to produce some more love spoons. These particular spoons are the perfect shape and surface for painting on and embellishing, although my local supermarket may think I'm slightly mad when I take a basket full of them through the checkout!

Look out for part 2 tomorrow ...

Monday, January 12, 2009


Ach! My photos have turned themselves the wrong way round - they were the right way up on my file, and I don't know how to make them look the right way up now they're on the blog! If anyone out there in blogland can help I would be sooooo grateful! For now, they will have to stay - I'll try again tomorrow! Oooh, it's so frustrating ....

A day of dreaming about angels ...

I did a little happy dance today because the temperature was a whole 10 degrees lower at 27 degrees! Yay! I felt human again, it has been absolute bliss. We even ventured outside and went to the park.

The other day at the library I picked up the book "Messages from Your Angels" by Doreen Virtue. I have heard of her work but for some reason thought she might be a little too 'out there' for me, but I saw this book and it had a picture of a pretty angel on the front that attracted me to it, and I thought, 'why not'. However, I simply haven't put the book down! It is speaking to me loud and clear in so many ways; the main message I am getting is that whatever you do in life, be it your work, relationships, inner work, do it all from love and you can't go far wrong. It has even inspired a couple of art pieces in my mind, on the theme of love of course, and I will hopefully be able to complete them over the next few days and post pictures of them here. I was so surprised that the book has been able to clarify a couple of personal issues that I didn't know needed clarifying until I read the chapters this morning. At first I grieved, then felt a tremendous sense of peace. Books are amazing and can hold the most intense wisdom, so if you feel drawn to a book for any reason, check it out, it may surprise you, inspire you, even heal you.

Hope you like the pictures of the bobtail lizard. I could hear a scraping by my bedroom window this morning and when I looked outside, this little fellow was there looking back at me. I do love the bobtails, they have a blue tongue which this one moved too fast for me to capture on film, and I have been told they can give you quite a nip if you annoy them! Luckily they tend to hiss at you in warning first. Usually I see them when gardening - after I've leapt 5 feet into the air because I thought I was seeing a snake. They look to me as if they have the cares of the world on their shoulders, as if they know much more about life than we do, old souls. They are so beautiful though, just look at all the scales, even the tiny ones on their legs, so perfect.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Childhood Ambitions

Here are some flowers I've made for my Grandmother's Garden quilt. Only 7 so far, since 2004. Hmm ... it's taking a while! The detail photo shows how tiny the stitching is, all done by hand. The doll course that I'm doing with Barb Kobe gives us journal prompts to think about, and we've been asked to think about dolls and soft toys from our childhood. Well, it got me thinking about other childhood hobbies and ambitions and I remember making a patchwork flower at Girls Brigade when I was 11, and I determined then that I would one day make a whole quilt like this, and it all had to be done by hand. So.... the original pattern I'm using says to make 52 flowers and that's not counting the half flowers for the edges. I've worked out that at my present rate of sewing it will take me about 500 years to complete this amount, so have decided to make 17, so I will have a much smaller quilt but should finish it in about 60 years so a much safer bet! I do enjoy sitting and sewing my wee flowers, it is actually very relaxing if very time consuming. If I was sensible I could actually take it with me when I'm in the passenger seat of the car for example, or when I have to wait for people when picking them up from events (you know, mum's taxi service!) I know I will finish it, if I've been intent on making one for the past 27 years it will eventually materialize!

Friday, January 9, 2009


Doll Number 8

Here is the latest doll for my 100 art doll challenge! My youngest wanted to call it Mr Rosie, so may be it should be called 'Confused!'; but I have decided to name my doll 'Overwhelmed' (aka Rosie). She is the doll form of how I feel some days, small and seemingly powerless, like a tiny person being carried in a giant's hand - life itself?

I made the doll by felting some wool fibres - I didn't really have much of a clue what to do, but knew what I wanted to produce and that hot water and soap and a bit of rubbing produces felt, so in celebration of having our solar water heating fixed yesterday, decided I would give it a go today! I used natural coloured Corriedale wool, and gave it colour by adding some silk sari fibres to the final layer. They mix quite nicely with the wool fibre when felting. Both the wool fibres and silk fibres were found on ebay. I used 2 big beads for shoes, and then I had to add a heart to the front of my doll, because although she's a symbol of overwhelming feelings, I also want her to be a symbol of hope. The hair is made from more silk sari fibres, knotted onto the head, and then gathered up and twisted, and held in place with some gold jewellery wire - I twisted one of the ends up into the hair so the ponytail could be placed at a jaunty angle! Unfortunately as I finished her so late, the only place I could take the photo that had decent light was our walk-in pantry. I decided to sit her in my charm bracelet to signify the circle of friends and loved ones, whom we don't always see but who provide support on our journey.

It's been quite a productive day then, I'm thrilled with my doll, made from beginning to end by me! As I began to make her, a friend arrived and we sat talking about craft over a cup of tea, absolute heaven! My son was watching me for a while trying to make the hair do what I wanted it to do, and he remarked that when I do art I seem to exude happiness. What a lovely thing to say. So, go make art ... and soothe your soul ...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On go slow!

Phew! Am almost too hot to write a post this evening. Just cooled off having a swim, which was lovely - a dragon fly was attracted to the light and landed in the water poor thing, so I picked it up and expected it to fly away once it was rescued. Instead it sat on my hand, its wings beating so fast you could barely see them, to dry them off I suppose - I could feel the fluttering on my hand, its tiny lifeforce beating against my skin. I felt very honoured.

We went shopping today - something I try not to do too often at the big shopping centres, but it was time to spend the Christmas money sent by rellies. What a marathon; hot and grumpy doesn't even start to describe it! I find the energy of a large shopping centre rather overwhelming, all those people in one space and everybody feeling stressed most probably, makes for less than a calm atmosphere. Anyway, finished the day by going to Spotlight, a great craft shop and getting only a few more supplies as I have a rather large stash already. Bought some more papier marche torsos and some lovely peacock blue wool fibre to do some more felting.

Oh well, sorry it's been a bit of a boring post - sometimes it just gets too hot and my brain can't work anymore :( Hopefully have something a bit more creative tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My day in WA

More like my evening in WA really - after our evening meal we all piled into the car and drove into Midland to have a look at my shop front! I'm really pleased with it -my husband had a couple of large windows left blank and said I could use one to advertise my artwork if I wanted. Do I? Well, the lovely people at Its a Sign Company made a stylized version of my painting 'Choices' which I blogged about way back in September, and it looks pretty amazing on a window! I hadn't dressed to co-ordinate with it on purpose, but my bright summery skirt does go with it rather well. My studio is a small room in the back of the store, which will be brilliant as it's my first dedicated studio space. I'm hoping to run some creativity lessons from there later in the year, so watch this space...

It was dark when we got back home, and I still had to water my poor plants who are withering in this heat, and need watering daily by hand. Water is so precious here, we have 2 scheduled nights a week to water by reticulation, then it's watering cans the rest of the time! Anyway, I couldn't see too well and walked straight into a spider's web which was strung between the peach tree next to the house and our shade cloth over the table in the centre of our yard. A pretty big web, which felt horrible as my face went through it - but thank goodness the spider didn't land on my head! It does look pretty impressive though! After my breaking the anchor threads of his web, he scuttled back up his 'line' and went to the centre of the web, so I could take this photo. What amazing colours and all totally natural - the beauty of the living world never ceases to surprise me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Today I took down our Christmas tree and deconstructed Christmas! It took ages, but I was very good and actually threw out some tired looking decorations and tinsel. That's a big thing for a hoarder to do. I've decided that 2009 is my year to declutter. Just ask me this time next year how it went!

The other day I complained that I could not find my spirit doll pattern because it was put in such a safe place I couldn't remember where it was. So I decided to stop being so uptight and wanting my 'perfect' pattern, and make a new one. In the end I made 3 new shapes, which is somewhat of an improvement and I'm happy with all of them. I even remember where I put them.

I don't know why I put myself through this self-torture, but today I took a book out from the library called "The Most Beautiful Villages in England". One of the villages is Clovelly in Devon where I grew up, so now I can pore over the pictures and make myself really homesick! It's not that I dislike Australia or the place I live in at present, it truly is beautiful and we have some very good and dear friends. It's just that England is still in my heart, and denying it's importance as my birthplace and my 'belonging' would be damaging to my very soul. So I don't mean to upset anyone who calls Australia home, I'm just being honest about my feelings for my home country. I also firmly believe that we are where we are meant to be at the time, and that we should live for the present moment and enjoy it to the full. Think these musings are a deconstruction of the longing I described in yesterday's blog post.

Anyway, in this book there are some gorgeous pictures of olde worlde houses with churchlike arched windows, rickety roofs and tiny weeny front doors! Some will definitely appear in my art, and I find I quite enjoy painting pictures with mixed elements from the three countries I've been lucky enough to live in. When I lived in Auckland I remember painting a woman dressed in a medieval styled dress with nikau palms in the background. Very multicultural!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pictures - visual inspiration

Thought you might like to see the 'birth' of a painting ... this one is about longing, and is the painting I referred to several times last month. It still isn't finished, and it sits by my seat at the dining table so I see it all the time. It's almost taunting me, 'what is this longing that you can't bear to look at?' I will finish it soon though, I think it will be therapeutic for me. Anyway, I covered the canvas in a pink wash, because sometimes I find the white almost overwhelming in its brightness and it doesn't help the mood of the painting. Why pink? Think it was almost an intuitive thing; I do know I want to paint a sunset, and will be putting a yellow glaze and blue glaze over some parts of the painting to get my evening setting sun colours. Acrylics are brilliant for glazes (like a watery wash of colour) - you can put the colours one over the other as the paint dries for a very ethereal effect.

Yesterday I didn't write in my paper journal as planned if I wasn't blogging. Instead I sat and sorted a pile of old magazines and cut out pictures for my scrapbook. An activity reminiscent of childhood, but also one I enjoy because it's future inspiration for paintings and craftworks. I collect pictures whose colours I enjoy, fashions with unusual detail, pictures of antiques or vintage clothes, and house and gardens inspire me. Suppose I'm making a catalogue of sorts. It's very relaxing, and I'm getting rid of all those old magazines and becoming uncluttered. A very worthwhile past-time!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sometimes I really annoy myself ...

An early blog for me today as we are going visiting and I don't know what time we'll be back. I've also given myself permission to take Sundays off from blogging if I feel like it, to do some writing in my paper journal.

Anyway, I've had a few moments of self-doubt since my post last night, and felt I had to get the opinion of my husband and a trusted artist friend just to check the post was 'OK'. What a numpty - here I am on a journey of self-discovery still asking for approval! My husband's opinion was it's my blog and I can write whatever I like, and Violette told me it sounded as if I was passionate about my creativity and speaking from the heart, and hello - what was my problem? So now I feel a bit silly but can laugh at myself getting so caught up in one of those 'Shenpa' moments I wrote about last month! At least I realized what I was doing before I let myself get into a real muddle; things are improving!

I also got into a grump last night when I couldn't find a pattern I'd made for a fabric spirit doll. In the last minute rush before Christmas I put the pattern in a 'safe' place, and do you think I can find it now. "It was perfect" I've been lamenting! Then the sensible part of me started to think that if I've created a pattern before, I'll most likely be able to produce another one, and maybe I need to let go of some 'perfect' things and not be so uptight! And that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm planning to do some antidote art to all that Christmas giving and meditate on what gifts we have in our lives already. As ever, I'll post the finished piece - just need to make that pattern ...

Friday, January 2, 2009

I am woman ...

Doll number 7
Here it is - the torso I started painting a couple of days ago. I painted it a lovely lilac colour, purple appears everywhere in my art, it's my favourite colour so I can't help myself, but it's also a spiritual colour - is that why is resonates with me so much? I pasted on some pink tissue paper with pva glue to give a little texture to the heart and red 'ribbon' - it also gave me a path to follow to paint the red on! I just couldn't resist drawing on some spirals in gold pen, they symbolize for me life expanding and changing, but never going in a straight line ... The pens I used for this were Giotto Decor in metal - they are lovely to use. Then I had fun using some iridescent gold acrylic to give the whole body a sexy shine! The lilac on its own seemed a bit flat. I also added some phrases that have meaning for me, on the front is "gentleness is strength" and on the back is "I am woman, hear me roar!" When I showed this to my husband he looked at me a bit strangely as if I was making it up, so I did have a moment of self-doubt although I knew I'd heard the words somewhere. Thank goodness for the net! It's the lyric from a song by Helen Reddy, not something from my imagination at all, phew... Anyway, I think the phrase is really relevant to my ongoing quest to speak my truth, which sometimes I find very hard to do because I don't want to upset anyone!

I've made plans and sketches for 5 art dolls (this is one of them) in my art journal, and the words I associated with this were: "red heart = love, enveloping the body - the red also symbolizes life blood/creative flow/menses/womanhood." It probably is more relevant to women, but I'm glad I've made it. I felt a bit doubtful after my husband's reaction to be honest, almost as if I was being a 'feminist' which for some people has bad connotations. But I'm proud to be a woman, and I want to speak my truth as a woman who knows her own mind - I think this art doll says it all!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Don't think and amazing things will appear!

First of all I will give you the links for the dolls as promised yesterday. You can find information to inspire you to create dolls on the site which is home to the 100- art-doll challenge - Stacey and Arrigo just have the most awesome dolls to share and stories to go with them. I am also doing an online healing-medicine doll course with Barb Kobe; I've only read half of the introduction and am very excited about it already. It promises to be a very transformative process.

I did the above 'doodle' whilst waiting for my husband to finish using the PC. Thought I would do another 5-minute challenge (I've been too busy socialising today to be too creative!!) and come up with something for the blog. So I didn't give myself too much time to think about what I was going to do, as when I think too much that's when I get in a muddle. I decided to do a practised art therapy technique, of which the name escapes me for now, which is to draw squiggles on a page and then look to see what images appear to be there. With art journal and pencil in hand, I whispered to myself 'no agenda' before putting pencil to paper and drawing random squiggles. Then I looked and was hoping for a few images, but I could only focus on one, which I have called 'A Mother's Love' - unfortunately the squiggles didn't scan too well, but you can see the shapes I've coloured in. To me it appeared that there was a mother looking down at her baby, giving it a cuddle! Mum is in the blue shapes, and the baby in the orange. I asked my husband what he thought, just in case I was totally mad, and he could see it too after I described the image. It's a really interesting thing to do - but you have to let go of preconceived ideas and simply look, not expecting to see anything and it's amazing what appears.

This was all the more poignant for me, because we spent most of today with dear friends, who also have children. I watched the mum with her baby daughter, and she would look at her with such unconditional love, it made the heart smile. Beautiful.