Sunday, May 31, 2009

Easy as pie ...

A quiet Sunday in WA - it's a long weekend so we get tomorrow off too! Today I've been organizing my creative space I've managed to create in our room between the lounge and kitchen. Because it is a thoroughfare I need to put everything I use most in plastic boxes with lids so I can pile them up in an attempt to look neat. I will have to be good and put everything away when I've finished creating. Could be a long learning curve!

Tidying up piles of art materials and throwing out rubbish doesn't make for good photographs, so I've taken a picture of the lemon meringue pie I made today, with a lemon off our very own tree! It's been a very, very dry season this year so the crop has been minimal to say the least - 3 lemons - but we still get a buzz out of using our home grown crops!

And ... I've got to the end of my 'Every day in May' challenge! Giving myself a pat on the back for a good effort.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dreaming of green

The only arty thing I've done today is to continue sewing my hexagon flowers - thought I'd scan it from the actual product rather than take a photo, and it's turned out all right.

Last night I had a really weird dream that I was involved in a community event and my job was to help with the cupcake making group with icing all the little cakes. I was just about to start making my masterpieces when somebody came up to me and started telling me how to do it. I remember thinking to myself "I can't believe they're telling me how to ice cakes!" It must mean something mustn't it? If nothing more than I don't take kindly to being bossed about, or perhaps that I think I know best! Perhaps it simply means I shouldn't have eaten those cheese twisties before I went to bed.

Yesterday I looked at a couple of blogs that a friend had recommended to me and they were really very good, so I'm posting the links to them here. One is called Attic 42 and features beautiful and colourful crochet, and the other is a blog by a crafter with a wicked sense of humour. Check them out. One of them showed the British countryside, and I realized when I saw the pictures that I really miss the lush green. Perhaps I will have to do some green art to soothe my soul!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Live life abundantly

We've just finished watching the film 'Seven Pounds' with Will Smith. It was a bit of a tear jerker, and a heart featured prominently which is why I felt like drawing one when I came to write the post. The character in the film also takes something remembered from his childhood that helps him on his chosen path as an adult. As a child I was always drawing hearts and am still using them as one of my main symbols in art. This one is in the form of a mandala, the spirals 'reaching out' to everyone surrounding them. It's only a tiny post, but definitely from the heart.

Oh and the title of the post is a quote from the film - it really caught my attention. I'm sure there's a painting in there somewhere ...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Busy, busy ...

My guardian doll face lying on some gorgeous fabric I bought from ebay - received today - I'm going to make a bag with it.

An amazingly productive day today! I was lined up for a creativity class, but it was a no-show; however, I did not despair and sat and produced a wonderful mindmap on a piece of A1 paper with ideas for marketing, products and workshops. If you read yesterday's post you'll know that I've begun to make a website (although I am having problems getting the domain name I want, due to purchasing rather than it not being available!) So it's not doom and gloom at all, perhaps it's just not the right time for the class, and I know I need to work on my marketing techniques. It will happen though!

After making my mind map, I made a face for my guardian doll out of air drying material. I needed to do it before anyone came home and distracted me - which would happen very easily because I've been dreading making the face! No excuses, and I sat down with the clay and my modelling tools and just started to fashion the face. And I'm so pleased with the result. It's supposed to look like a mother looking at her child with love - it does look a bit strange with no colour and no hair, but trust me, it's going to look brilliant!

Then ... I managed to do some more painting of my Celtic knots. It takes quite a while and I need to do it in the daytime, because it's hard to see how the paint is going on when it's nighttime, and we don't really have suitable lighting for night painting. Add to that it's also time for chores and feeding the family, I don't get much opportunity to paint. Can't be an artist all day I suppose. So today has been spent working on the business and in the business. It's been lots of fun, I want to do this job full-time!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Redheads rule!

I'm not blogging tonight - I refuse! I've just spent nearly an hour trying to register a domain name to be told my address was wrong time and time again. I know where I live!! Anyway, my son has been stomping around the house in a grumpy mood too, and my husband looked from me to him and back again and his only comment was 'it must be the ginger gene'. Hmph ... Back tomorrow in a better mood.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In knots!

This is the detail of the Celtic knots I'm painting on a big canvas which I did post about some weeks ago now. It's not my usual colours so I came a bit unstuck and out of my comfort zone, so I left the picture standing against the wall where I could see it until inspiration hit. In the end it wasn't inspiration but necessity that made me put the canvas up on my easel and begin painting again - the canvas has been standing at the top of a small set of steps, and unbeknownst to me somebody had been running up said steps and using the canvas as a braking board! Therefore, I've decided I'd better finish the picture and get it up on the wall where it will be safe ...

It was really hard to know what to tackle first, but when I found a tube of gold oxide my dilemma was over! Orange is one of my favourite colours to paint with, consequently I felt at ease to paint, and the colour goes well with the brown earth colour that it blends into on the Celtic knot ribbons. The paints I'm using are Jo Sonja's artist's colours. It's a slow process but I haven't given up - the finished piece will eventually be shown here!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Obsessed with a hat!

It's been another bookkeeping day so I haven't been able to do much arty activity. Having said that, I would have finished the bookkeeping much earlier if I hadn't sat down to knit the rest of my hat that I want to felt when finished. Well, I finished the hat and it was ginormous, great for bad hair/make-up days! I've spent the last 30 minutes trying to felt it, and whilst it's getting smaller it's still too long. It's now shaped over a mixing bowl and I'll have a look at it tomorrow - it may need to go into the washing machine. I know the wool felts well because I've used it before; I think the pattern may have produced a hat that is too long, so I may have to do some creative shaping and cutting to achieve the desired result! It does look fairly good though, and the crown fits my big head OK, so I know I can make this work! I'll post the funny photo of me with the too big hat tomorrow, hopefully with the beautiful finished result underneath it!

We really need the winter woollies now - it was 8 degrees this morning, which feels awfully cold to us! (As my sister in the UK says, I've gone soft!) Next project will be a pair of felted slippers ...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Truly inspiring

I tried to have a quieter day today - my ears have been ringing for most of it after standing so near to the speakers at last night's concert! The day started with a children's party, but then became more sedate when I got home. I've spent the day tidying up again, sorting through some more of my piles of paper (great filing system!), and once again I've found a very powerful and humbling quote to share. Be inspired!

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances." Victor Frankl

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fabulous Pink

Getting ready for the Pink concert - we've been joined by a little imp!

We've just been to see Pink! What an awesome performance, by an amazing woman! She sang 3 of her songs hanging upside down from a trapeze!! Top marks for creativity and passion. It was my daughter's first concert and she really enjoyed herself, which is really great after her mum worried her by catching the wrong train to get to the concert (oops). Soon sorted out though and we got a top spot by the stage. Some amazing costumes too - I swear her finale costume was just thin bits of ribbon in strategic places, but it looked stunning.

It was just the 3 girls - I felt really honoured to be with the others on their first big concert. A great time was had by all!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Venturing into the City ...

Unfortunately I don't have much to write about today. We had to venture into the corporate junky world today and go to the City to sign some papers for my husband's business. The hour we were there was more than enough! In a former life I used to be a secretary - I've worked for some lovely people and used to really enjoy organizing them (okay, bossing them about), but as I've got older and realized what sort of work I enjoy doing the desire to ever return to the 'corporate' world gets less and less!

Perth has really grown since we first came here for our big OE adventure way back in 1994. Thought it would be fun to post a couple of photos from back then, when I was a youngster! The first is me at Barrack St Jetty, which has changed enormously - there is now the Swan Bell Tower and a 'Perth Eye' ferris wheel. The second picture is of me standing in front of the replica of the Endeavour at Fremantle. It was pretty cool as the ship circumnavigated Australia and when we arrived in Syndey after our travels around Oz, the Endeavour was there to greet us in the harbour.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Healing Avocado!

I've had the opportunity to work from a friend's studio for a couple of days, and today I painted a picture of an avocado lady! You can see her in the top picture. As you may remember I've been having a few health issues of the hormonal variety, and they keep revisiting! So today as it was making me feel miserable I thought I would paint through it and put my feelings about the whole matter into art. The result is my avocado lady looking sad, though I have surrounded her with healing orange light, and re-affirmed that I want healing with the word 'healing' at the bottom of the picture. If nothing else it made me concentrate on something other than discomfort, and I did feel soothed by the time I finished. I just have to keep reiterating how healing art is, to mind, body and soul.

The other beautiful picture is by my youngest who accompanied me to the studio. We painted the little wee man together, although it is mainly the younger artist's work. I just lent a hand to painting the t-shirt! We found some awesome kids paint that was clear in colour but contained glitter, so when it dries you're left with a lovely sparkly surface. That gained top marks from both of us. In fact the time creating art with my children is another thing to be thankful for, precious together time doing something we love.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Afternoon Tea

Take a look at this mandala tote painted by one of the ladies from my creativity group. Isn't it amazing!

After the kids finished school today we sat round our kitchen table eating afternoon tea and chatting about the events of the day. I realized how well my children are coping with growing up and what lovely people they are. I really appreciated the time we had just 'to be' with each other. So much so, I'm starting a new label for posts describing things that I am thankful for. One thing I am learning from my mentors and books I'm reading is that being grateful for something every day, even the small things, gives you a much happier outlook on life and gives you a mental lift. A bit like art really!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Transformational Tuesday!

Today has been the opposite of my art deprived Monday! It has been very productive; I had some quiet time to work in my healing doll journal, and above you can see a (very) quick sketch of my guardian doll, some notes I've made and some felt sheets. I started to create my doll by making a couple of felt sheets for her cloak. I just love making felt! I realized today it's because it is such a transformative process, from soft, fluffy fibres to a beautiful soft fabric in minutes, just by using hot water, soap and your hands! Because the process is so hands on and the wool so tactile, you become really lost in the moment, it's really very meditative.

I received a lovely comment on my post from Sunday evening, and Jacquie (who left the comment) added to the same quote I used from Nelson Mandela. Just in case you don't get time to read it, I will repeat the quote here, because it is definitely worth sharing:

"Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you".

Thank you Jacquie for the quote, it is much appreciated!

Also, I had to laugh this morning when I thought about how sad I felt the day before, as I was wondering if anybody apart from my mum and dad read this blog. As you can see, I was feeling very sorry for myself! Then I had the comment on my blog, and it was like a little knock on my head telling me to stop being silly and carry on writing, because the people are out there and reading!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Brain drain

Today has been a total non-art day, and I'm suffering! I've had to do bookkeeping, which though vitally important does not float my boat as they say! Instead it has left me feeling like I've been run over with a steamroller. Probably is good for the brain to work in the left sphere, as well as the creative right sphere I suppose.

Coo, I was getting a bit worried by a little wriggling noise I could hear as I was typing. As I looked to my right, an enormous ant was walking across a piece of paper - phew, that's all it was! ...

So after my mammoth bookkeeping session I settled down on the sofa to start knitting a hat from some recycled 100% wool, which I'm hoping to felt when it's finished. It's a brown colour (I do like brown, I know sad, but true) and to pep it up a bit I'm going to needlefelt some patterns onto it when completed. Then I'm going to post a picture of it on Ravelry, which is a cool site if you're into knitting and crochet. It provides a place for you to organize your work as well as swap patterns, ask advice and be part of an on-line community. The internet provides everything doesn't it!

Well, I ended up writing more than I thought I could. Time to take a break I think!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Releasing fear and moving on

Today I was just going to write up my quote, but then I found this pen called 'Tech-Riter' and I couldn't resist doodling with it! Decided to see what I could come up with in 5 minutes and this is the result - it probably means something at a subconscious level I'm sure!

Here in Australia we have this great holistic journal magazine called 'Nova', and in this month's issue I was reading about letting go of negative beliefs so that we can move forward. The article finished with this quote by Nelson Mandela, which is too wonderful not to share:

"As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates those around us." - Nelson Mandela

As I've been working on overcoming my fear of ... everything ... I thought this was a very powerful quote and a real encouragement to move forward into our true potential, which also benefits those around us - a win-win situation!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Growing all the time

I created this picture using water soluble oil pastels on cartridge paper. They have a lovely thick texture as you pull them across the page, very soft and squashy! Art isn't just about the colours; it's about feeling the materials as you work with them - or at least that's what I believe. It's a truly emotional experience to create something! I didn't have any agenda in mind, started in the centre of the page and drew in an outwards motion. Expansive - growing. I like that, it's a positive feeling of moving forward. Like I'm doing with my art dream.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Time for sleep!

This is a photo of a typical street in our suburb. It's very pretty! Taken yesterday so you can see how sunny it still is. I love the way the sun makes shadows amongst the trees - it always makes me think that God is watching over us - funny, hey?

I can't believe it - I have writer's block. I truly don't know what to write about! It's been one of those days when you have chores or have to wait around for other people. Spent most of this morning in an orthodontist's waiting room, and the rest of today tidying the house and setting up the fish tank with a new filter system. At least the fish are looking happier :)

This afternoon I did meet up with a friend I haven't seen for ages and we had a cup of tea and a chat. One of my favourite hobbies! Then she walked around my house with me and made a few suggestions as to how I could carve out my own creative space - we have a small 'anteroom' near the lounge which just has stuff in it and isn't really used for anything. So there is a great possibility I can claim it for my own space - it will have to be done in a way that is approved of by everyone though, so I will have to plan carefully! Isn't it great though that there are people in my support network who are so encouraging of my creativity - sometimes you need that little extra push to keep going. Thank you to my encouraging angels - your support is appreciated even if I don't always say. xxxx

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Change of plan ...

Violette wrote a post recently about looking at your failures, then looking again to see the lesson within the failure. Well, today I think I had one of those days! No-one turned up to my creativity lesson today! Now usually I would probably go home and sit there wondering what on earth I'd done wrong, but today I sat with Linda (she owns the studio where the lessons take place) and we sat and talked about art dreams, ate the muffins I'd cooked for class, did a visualization and some artwork together. It was lovely to sit and create with someone who's on a similar journey, it's very encouraging.

So the picture above is my image of how the dream will manifest - Creative Seeds being at the centre, the tendrils reaching out are people we influence directly through Linda's art therapy and my art workshops, and the little curls off are other people learning about their experiences and spreading the word that the studio is the place to be, and that art can lead to healing. I feel so much more positive after putting the image on paper.
Art really does heal!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Interview with Violette!

Today is the day I publish my interview with the vivacious Violette, who has recently achieved one of her dreams of writing and publishing an art book - "Journal Bliss - Creative Prompts to Unleash Your Inner Eccentric", which can be bought online from Amazon. It's really interesting to get an insight into an artist's world, especially someone who loves to encourage people to embrace their natural creativity, a cause close to my own heart. Thanks Violette for taking the time to answer my questions!

LMG: I think this blog tour is a great idea, we are learning so much about you and seeing other people's creativity into the bargain, which is also a goal of yours - to bring creativity to everyone - well done!

V: Thanks is my main goal! To inspire!

LMG: It's been really great to see all the questions asked by the others on the blog tour, but at first I was thinking to myself 'how can I come up with questions as fabulous and thoughtful as these?' I have been known to get others to check out my blog entries to see if they were 'ok' (how embarrassing). I've been caught by the gremlin of negative thought! Violette, How do you silence this inner critic?

V: For me silencing the Gremlin is an ongoing thing. I still have that Gremlin sitting on my shoulder or on my head.....depending on the day. Sometimes he shouts louder than other days.........some days when the critic is so loud i actually return to bed. That's the truth! One thing i try and do when the Critic is on me is to remember all of the things that i have accomplished - for example the magazines my work and writing has appeared in, my book, the workshops i've taught. You may have heard me talk about my "Warm and Fuzzy Drawer"? Well i have a warm and fuzzy drawer which is jam packed with lovely notes, drawings, collages, postcards and greeting cards from people who tell me how talented i am and how much i've inspired them. I look at those items when i feel really down on myself. Another thing to do is to have cheerleaders who are on your team - for example i have Mr. G who is super duper supportive and reminds me of my talent and how i make a difference in people's lives when i have forgotten. You know the saying "Friends are angels who lift you up when you've forgotten you have wings"? Well supportive friends and family are like that - worth their weight in gold! I know your husband is like that for you - a great supporter of your creative journey. How wonderful!

I have considered sewing a Gremlin from cloth (similar to the Gremlin in Journal Bliss) and to actually stuff him in a glass Jar whenever he's getting to me. The only problem is i'd probably feel bad seeing his smushed little face in the jar that i would liberate him. Because i'm so imaginative i'd most likely hear his little muffled cries........"Mmmmfffffffffffttt...........lemme outta here!" Maybe a better idea is to dress the Gremlin up so he looks very funny and colourful - in essence knocking the wind out of him and making me laugh. That might be a better solution.

I understand what you mean though about getting others to check out your blog..........every now and then i get Mr. G to check mine out and i ask "Does this look stupid?" Silly isn't it?

LMG: I love your outlook on life, you're always very encouraging and marvel at everything! How do you stay focussed and motivated, through good times and bad? Does writing the blog help?

V: Thank you Lara. Well you may have swung by my blog on days when i could not muster the energy to be positive - when i've been down or overwhelmed or on empty. Generally speaking though knowing that people are checking in helps keep me motivated. When i feel like i've helped others it helps me. You know it's like Volunteering - it enables you get out of yourself and do something for others - to uplift them. You cannot help but have that positivity rub off on you! Another thing i believe in is that we are all divinely guided in some way - it's like some unseen force is there helping lift me up with a poke so i'll notice something wonderful or a whisper that everything is going to be alright. The unseen force has me noticing the most bizarre things and helps me see things that most others do not.....for example the other day the large tub of Cayenne pepper was turned toward the tub of Tumeric and they were having a conversation. I just can't help it.....i see humour in so many things......i do believe i am guided by unseen forces - call it God/the Universe/Spirit guides........whatever... so i can smile. That doesn't necesarrily make me focus but it helps me make it through the bad times. And of course simply drawing and painting my feelings is very freeing and liberating. A deadline such as a book deadline is a good motivating factor for me too! Sometimes i set up artificial deadlines so i'll get work done! That works!

LMG: We all get them, the scourge of the creative community - CREATIVE BLOCKS! How do you overcome them?

V: Well i don't really get blocks anymore......i used to.......about 12 or so years ago.....and then i found the TAO (which is a philosophy of living - go with the flow). The Tao taught me to move through my blocks by simply going with the flow (don't push the river). I ended up painting a walking stick in multiple colours and patterns and that was the end of the creative block which i kept whining about forever! I surround myself with paper arts magazines, art books, inspirational notes on the wall and on the bathroom mirror - Mr. G leaves me messages everyday which i put up. And i also surf the net for inspiration.........i'm over flowing with ideas - they end up in several books - one of them being my "idea factory" so that i capture them and they're not totally lost forever. I can't remember where i read it but one of the most important determining factors of creativity is one's belief that they are creative. Well since 12 or so years ago i believed i was creative (in part because my Bohemian tribe believed in me and my art) and the most interesting thing is - that the BELIEF is the driving force which enables me to be creative every day! It's like a miracle............believe that you are and you are!

LMG: When people see my creations, or come to one of my creativity classes, one of my major obstacles is to convince them that they are creative too. I believe like you that it's important for people to embrace their natural creativity, and not to be stopped by fear. What would you say to people who feel they aren't creative?

V: I would encourage folks to broaden their view of the term "creative". We are creative in our everyday lives like when we plant a garden, arrange flowers, make soup from scratch, design and create our childrens Halloween costumes etc. We don't give ourselves enough credit. It's important to realize that creativity shows up differently for's debilitating (and i know i do this from time to time) when we compare ourselves to others who are seemingly "better than us". They have a different way of showing up in the world than we do - why don't we appreciate their art and then appreciate ourselves and the manner in which we create? We are all creative, we simply need to give ourselves permission to express it. When you do that you just never know what will appear. For example by embracing your creativity you may discover an ability to create your own lettering. You couple that with an innate ability to write inspirational prose and voila!!!!! You are creating beautiful illustrations on colourful backgrounds of your lettering and prose. Do you see what i mean? It's like begin creating and then your soul begins to speak to you in different ways. You may be moved towards making dolls and can express yourself creatively there. The Creative world truly is your Oyster! Just give yourself Permission!

LMG: Now Violette, I love to collect inspiring quotes - one of your favourite quotes is "Follow your bliss" - do you have another quote you would like to share with us?

V: is one of my favourites (next to follow your bliss) it's by Antoine de St. Exupery:

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."

Thanks so very much Lara for this fabulous interview. I loved your line of questioning. I'm so happy to share with your readers!

Thank you Violette - it's always a pleasure to talk with you and hear your take on life and our natural creativity. Yet again you've been inspiring - I'm getting an idea for a cloth Gremlin doll myself that I can sit on my desk and tell to go away if negativity strikes. Of course he will be cute ...

I would urge everyone to take a look at Violette's blog and also the links to the other blogs on this tour - there is just so much creativity out there, and each person has their own unique way of being creative. It's very inspirational and encouraging. (You could be sitting at the computer for a while though, so don't forget your cup of tea ... if anyone asks what you are doing, tell them it's research)

You can buy Violette's book online at Amazon.
You can go straight to Violette's blog from here!

All images in this post copyright of Violette.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Being thankful ...

A brief post tonight. I've reworked the background that I used to showcase my stones which I will use for my guardian doll (posted Friday, 8th May). The Ancient Britons used to believe if you took something from nature you should repay her by leaving a gift. I guess this is my gift - saying thank you for the quartz, rock and clay with a piece of my art.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Inspiring artists

As a prelude to my interview with Violette on Wednesday, I wanted to show you a couple of pictures inspired by her art activities she posts on her blog for anyone to try. The pink canvas is celebrating the year I took part in the WA art festival 'Artopia' (alas, it is no more ...) and the yellow canvas is one I created at my classes last year. The common theme is the little half sphere in the corner which I made everyone incorporate in some manner into their artwork! Violette called her work "I'm going to Pluto ..." which I thought was awesome. The sphere in my Artopia picture is all my arty ideas floating in the ethereal realms waiting to be fully realized. All good fun - check out the website if you feel inspired, and look under the 'art tips' link on the menu.

It's funny what little things make you happy. Today I saw in my 'blog following' window that Dooflinky Dolls had written a post after an absence of a few months. I went straight to her site to check out what creation she was writing about. This site is about dolls made from felting and the work is just so lovely, I wish I could felt like that! It really is worth a look; I love the way 'Dooflinky' is so honest and all her work is from the heart. Genuine creativity, beautiful. It was lovely to hear from her again in the blogosphere!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Arthur: 'It's at times like this I wish I'd listened to my mother.' Ford : 'Why, what did she say?'
Arthur: 'I don't know, I never listened.'
Douglas Adams

I did look for quotes for Mother's Day, but some were too soppy and most just not right. The one above appeals to my strange sense of humour, and after all it was my mum who introduced me to 'Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy', so it's kind of a tribute as well you see. :)

In my little book of Friendship I did find this quote which I thought was appropriate:

"When I count my blessings I count you twice." Thanks mum for everything!

Do you like my lovely necklace my children bought for me? It's got glitter and sequins in it, and I love it! I also enjoyed a lovely brekkie in bed and was left alone to read my book for an hour or so. Absolute heaven.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Still blogging ...

I'm still trying to write a post every day in May, and realize I've only just managed it for today. Ooops! But I'm not one to give up easily.

Tomorrow it's Mother's Day here in Australia, so I've found a quote which would be lovely to share with our mums (and other people you love too!)

"I thank you for your gifts. All of them. I see you are trying to teach me all the time. I think of this when the lessons hurt. I love you." - Alice Walker, 'Living by the Word'.

I'll try and find one about mums for tomorrows post, because we need to let them know how much we love them.

Oooh, and the girls won against the boys at Pictionary last night - yay!

Friday, May 8, 2009

She's all heart

This is going to be an expresso blogpost tonight! We are in the company of friends for a Pictionary night, so at least we are being creative!

Anyway ... the picture above is of some rocks and pottery I found on the path behind our house. I wanted to collect some pebbles to put in my guardian doll as 'ballast' to help her stand up, and decided quartz and the red rock which makes up our area would be fine to use. My favourite of the elements is earth and I want to incorporate it into my doll, so these finds will do the job brilliantly. If you really squint and look at the piece of red glazed pottery, you might see that it resembles a heart - well I did anyway! So that makes it extra special. The other heart is made from needle felting some wool fibres; I was experimenting.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Real work?

I ran another creativity class today and it went so well we lost track of time and will have to finish our project off next week. As I posted yesterday we painted mandalas onto a calico tote, using acrylic paints. The bags look brilliant, but I forgot to take my camera - aach - so I've taken a photo of my bag at home, and will hopefully remember the camera to photograph everyone else's creations next week.

We were all feeling somewhat stressed this morning when I arrived, associated with work, family, school runs - the usual busy lives we lead. So after Linda gave us a reading on the Aura-Soma bottles we'd chosen, I eased us into the class with some wet-on-wet watercolour - I have posted about this before; you simply wet a piece of watercolour paper with water until it resembles a mini swimming pool, choose 3 colours for your palette and then brush, splodge, flick, dot paint all over the page. Don't let your head lead - it's all from the heart! Then take a look at what you've done and you'll be surprised what shows up. Our symbols ranged from angels, starbursts, flowers to pebbles! It really relaxed us, and made us open to painting some of our favourite symbols into a mandala for our bags.

It's a real honour to be working with the 'girls' in the group. They are all very creative, even though most of them would deny it! And they inspire me - hopefully I do the same for them. I told my husband about my 'work' today and he teased me by saying that it couldn't be work because I enjoyed it too much. (He's just jealous!!) Maybe I should call it a blessing instead of work?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Preparation is important

I'm very proud of myself - I've managed to work out how to 'shrink' my photos so that I don't use up so much of my picture allowance. Now for you technically minded people out there it's nothing to brag about, but trust me it's a big thing for me! The added plus is that the photos are loading in seconds, rather than me having enough time to go off and make a cup of tea, have a chat with someone ...

Today we changed around the furniture in the kid's rooms and did other house chores. It has to be done I suppose, can't spend every moment of everyday doing something arty (if only ...) I have been thinking about my creativity lesson tomorrow though - I do actually have lessons planned, but as I go along during the week I'll think of a different way to approach an activity, or think of something else I can add to the particular activity. This week we're going to be painting a design on a shopping tote, and I've since last week decided we should make it a mandala design. Let's see what's produced tomorrow.

Oh well, had better finish now. I've got some homework to do - it's my turn to interview Violette on the blog tour next Wednesday and I have to get the questions to her today so that she has some time to prepare. The other blogs that have taken part so far have set the bar high, and I may have to re-think a couple of my questions. It's been great to see so many other creativity blogs whilst learning some more about a unique and lovely artist.

The photo above was taken by my son; we are standing on the beach at Mission Bay, and you can see Rangitoto Island (yes, it is a volcano!) in the background - it can be seen from anywhere in Auckland and is particularly distinctive in shape. It's featured in a couple of my paintings, and in a fair few more around the world I should think.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Creative Overload? Never!

Today was the opposite of yesterday! Then I was sitting and calmly cutting and piling up my hexagons - today I couldn't stop creating! As you can see from the photo above I've been painting some of my spirit dolls, getting them ready to sell in my Etsy store. I love the purple and orange smaller dolls, but there's more work to be done on the green doll. It's funny how our tastes are though, because my husband came in from work, and said 'hey, I like that doll'. They're just not my usual colours I work with that's all, but it's good to break out of my colour comfort zone, and not everyone is going to like orange and purple as much as me! I also painted another part of the larger canvas I shared with you a few weeks ago, and designed a bag that I will be able to produce quickly and then paint, again to sell on Etsy.

After this flurry of activity I made kumara (sweet potato) soup, and a lovely scrummy lemon meringue pie. I feel tired now! But that comforting sort of tired you get when you've worked/studied hard and feel you've had a good result!

Nearly forgot to mention having time to muck about and take photos of myself wearing my NZ necklace I bought in Raglan. Then editing them to give more attention to the necklace rather than the laughter lines on my face!! Quite a good arty photo though, and I like my smile! I was trying not to laugh a lot of the time, because my sister takes photos like this and we always end up with huge heads, or candid shots of our nostrils!

Now I'm going to sit down and watch an old episode of the UK series 'Teachers', whilst trying to needlefelt some heart shapes for an idea I've had about my creativity class on Thursday. I suppose you could call it work, but I love it so much ... I'll post the results tomorrow if it works. Hey I'll even post it if it goes terribly wrong, it's good to have a laugh!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Quiet Monday

To be honest I've been a bit off focus for the past few days because of some health issues - hormones - say no more. I'm being sent off for a few tests and am now feeling relieved to be taking some action, rather than sitting there imagining no end of awful scenarios. And yes, mum, I promise not to read any more medical manuals to try and work out what is wrong all by myself. :)

Today has been spent cutting out the 400 hexagons I drew yesterday. I like taking care to get the shapes perfect and piling them up into neat mountains on the arm of the sofa. It must mean something, probably not good, that I'm as fastidious as I am with a very boring and repetitive job!

I've also had a bit of a breakthrough with my guardian doll for the healing medicine doll course with Barb Kobe. I had a creative block for some reason, and it all fell away when I thought of a name for my doll. Can't wait to get her finished now, but I'd better start making her first before I get excited about that! I'll post pictures as the process happens.

So there you have it, a quietly meditative day for me, creating in a very understated way, but still taking steps forward. Enjoy the photo of the 'tiki' - it's from a monument on One Tree Hill in Auckland. I love the no-nonsense attitude it conveys.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Taking time out ...

Eastern Beach in Auckland - we used to walk along here every day to take the kids to school.

This hill is just amazing - like someone carved it. Too beautiful. (Raglan)

Must be because I'm English, but I just love clouds! (Raglan)

It's a Sunday, but with my 'writing every day in May' challenge (couldn't resist naming the challenge - too much rhyming to miss it!) I have to write on my usual day off. So, what have I been up to on this lovely autumnal Sunday? I've been sitting in the back yard drawing over 400 little hexagons onto quilting fabric with my cardboard template. Seriously. My husband was a little worried, but I actually found it very meditative and was away in my own little world for hours, until the magic was broken at twilight by a mozzie trying to have me for tea!

I've also found time to browse some of the blogs I follow, and today I was looking at the work of the unique and talented Alisa Burke. Take a look at her website - I love her work because it's so vivid and original. It has a real feeling of freedom, and makes me think that she has had the courage to step forward and follow her dream of making art with passion. Her whole attitude is inspirational to me - take a look for yourself.

As it is supposed to be a day of rest (ha, ha!) I've included some more photos of our New Zealand holiday. Still trying to maintain that lovely, relaxed feeling of not being obliged to do anything by any deadline - fading rapidly, but I'll cling to it for as long as I can!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Art from the heart becoming real!

Gorgeous colours

A 'birds-eye' view - creativity abounds - look at all that lovely glitter!

On Thursday I had my very first creativity lesson of 2009! A step towards my arty dream! The classes in this series carry on for another 4 weeks, so if you feel like taking some time out to nurture your creativity, meeting some great people and be inspired and inspiring, drop along to the Creative Seeds studio at 5/264 Kalamunda Road, Maida Vale - Thursdays, 9.30 - 11.30 am. Cost is $30 per session. I'm hoping to do some workshops over the next few months as well, so watch this space ...

Our first project was on the theme of nurturing our creativity, and affirming it visually. The first step was to felt an (empty) egg with wool fibres, build a nest for it and finally to write an affirmation to creativity! I had thought of getting each person to write a tiny letter to themselves with creative encouragement written on them, but had a brainwave the day before the class about writing the affirmation on a small mandala to place under the egg. Mine read 'I am living the creative life' in a decreasing spiral to the centre of my mandala, and on the bottom of the nest I wrote 'I am an artist - and loving it'. I've read in so many self-help books that if you want to become something, you have to act like that something. Between us we all produced some lovely nests to nurture our creative spirits. Isn't it wonderful how different each one is? That's the beauty of creativity, it's infinite in its possibilities.

Whilst I'm writing about creative people, I want to mention my mum who is a very talented writer, who's always been so busy looking after us all she's never found the time to indulge in her passion for creating wondrous worlds through her stories. I'm hoping now she's retired she'll be able to find time for her passion and write and create with abandon! She was (and is) one of the biggest encouragers of my creativity - thank you mum!! Now it's your turn!

I think it's vital we all follow the dreams we have, after all imagine if you didn't try - you'd never know what could have been ... so go on ... follow that dream.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Setting myself a new challenge ...

Now I know a few posts ago I wrote about not feeling obliged to write a blogpost, but I'm a bit disappointed with how little I wrote in April, so I've decided to give myself another challenge of writing each day in May. I think I lost my focus somewhere along the way, as does happen, so now I'm bringing myself back to the path (see last post!) and heading towards my creative goal again.

As we are on a creative note, check out Violette's blog for a list of tour dates for her book tour by blog - yes, the amazingly talented Violette has had her first book published, and she is promoting it by inviting people who have a regular blog to post an interview with her, which she will promote on her blog. The tour started on 29th April and the bloggers have asked some very interesting questions. I'm wondering how I can manage to live up to the ones asked so far, and am working on a list of questions right now. It's my turn to post my questions and Violette's answers on May 13th, so keep a look out. In the meantime, take a look at Violette's blog which is always very informative and also click on the links to the other blogs involved in the tour. The book is called 'Journal Bliss: Creative Prompts to Unleash Your Inner Eccentric' and you can order it on Amazon.