Wednesday, 28 March 2007

In The Garden

The late afternoon autumn sun lights up my kitchen window, overlooking our Golden Robinia tree and Thunbergia Grandiflora vine with its purple trumpet flowers. This is a last look at the lush greenness before the leaves turn yellow and fall. Now that the heat has gone out of the days we can focus on the garden again. I love the way gardening gives you such gentle exercise, you don't realise you've been using and stretching muscles until you stop.

The cycad pup that we transplanted back in December appeared to be dried up and dead, so I was delighted to see that it has at last sprouted a few pale green fronds.

This photo I took (with my modest camera) in the morning just after sunrise. It is a favourite corner for spiders and so we know to be wary when walking along this path. The webs are so beautiful, I try and avoid knocking them down unless I have to.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Something I Am Proud Of

Today, I donated blood at our local mobile Blood Bank. This was my ninth donation, and because each donation goes towards helping three people, that means that I have helped 27 people thus far. This is pretty humbling stuff. Last time I donated I met a woman, also donating, the mother of a son with leukaemia. So I was not only potentially helping her son, but also it must be a relief for her to know there is blood available for her son when he needs it. I can only imagine how it must be to have a child so sick. So yes, I am proud to be a blood donor. If you are able to donate blood and haven't for a while, I'm sure your local Blood Bank will be pleased to see you too.

On a different note, I have found a new blog called the bliss quest and have been enjoying Athena's often funny, insightful and well written posts. I especially liked her 27th note to self and her 28th note to self

These pages, written on her birthday, are heartfelt and contain wisdom and inspiration for everyone. I believe that when your greatest supporter is yourself, you can't go wrong. So I am inspired to write my own letter of support and encouragement on my next birthday, a good time to both reflect on the past and look forward to the future.

Another blog I'm enjoying is talented artist Eileen Miller, commonly known as the dream. She has also been cheering her self on in life and is happily infecting people with positive vibes.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Hands and Feet

Hands and feet can be very interesting subjects to sketch . This is my own hand and my own foot that I sketched a while back. I would like to do more however I am uninspired by my own appendages and am seeking other people to model their feet and hands for me. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007


Continuing on with the book illustration theme, I have been trying out some more ink and water colour drawings. So far I have produced a few that I am not totally happy with, but I feel I am heading in the right direction, I just need practice. I also need to brush up (sorry!) on my water colour technique. I have been using water colour pencils which have a fantastic palette, but are probably a slightly different technique than mixing your own colours.

This warm and sunny morning, I have been sitting outside under the umbrella on my deck to paint, and despite the mosquitos, who are enjoying the moisture after all the rain we've had (and my blood!), I found it was a really relaxing way to work. So if you haven't sketched or painted outside for a while and your weather is good, take yourself out and enjoy the fresh air. Infinitely more inspiring than four walls.

This last drawing is a semi abstract african violet, and once again was not quite where I wanted it to be, but where that place is, is slowly emerging.

Friday, 16 March 2007

For My Artist Child

This is a little piece of verse that I wrote for my Artist Child. An Artist Child is the part of you that has never grown up, who overrides your adult self and says, come on, lets play and have fun. For an exercise in the Artists Way I had to choose an occupation that I would like to have if I was not doing what I'm doing now, and then do something that echoes this occupation in some way. eg. Go horse riding if you like the idea of being a cowboy. We were not supposed to over think this exercise, so I went with my first thought of a writer and illustrator of children's books. The poetry and the simple illustrations are in the spirit of letting my artist child play and have fun.

The verse, just in case you can't read my writing, from left to right, is as follows;
This is Me!

Morning sun throws out gold to fill up the sky.
I wake, thoughts wash through my brain as I lie.

I eat in a room filled with joy and sunshine
and I vow to myself that this day shall be mine.

I pack up my things and I climb on my bike
and pedal and pedal, this is just what I like.

Happiness bubbles, I recognise glee,
I dance and I twirl, this is me, this is me!

I pedal back home with a smile on my face,
I need no-one to tell me I'm in the right place.

The moon rises up as I sink into sleep,
and dreams take my soul to a midnight blue deep.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Positively Inspiring

I have now completed the title page for my art journal, which I have called "Positively Inspiring". I remember as a school girl I used to love the beginning of term when you opened to a fresh page and began illustrating the title. Nothing has changed there! Now I need to begin filling the journal. I thought I would start with some sketching, so I need to gather together some props and will maybe do some hand studies as well. If I can get my son to pose for me I will do some feet studies too. Or I may find some poetry to illustrate, or even better write some poetry and illustrate it. We'll see what happens.

I am enjoying writing the "morning pages", I really do think they make a difference, even though they can sometimes be hard to fit in first thing in the morning. Morning pages seem to help you to "know yourself". Usually, we get up in the morning, our heads filled with the things we need to do during the day and never seem to stop to really listen to ourselves. Next to meditation, it's the best "therapy" I've come across, and like meditation, is so simple.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Catching Up

As you have read in previous posts I am revisiting Julia Cameron's book "The Artist's Way". I originally decided I would not write "Morning Pages" this time around but have now decided half-way through the book that I really need to do them if I am to see any change in my self. Morning Pages are three foolscap pages of writing, or a stream of consciousness, that you do first thing in the morning while your mind is fresh from sleep but unsullied by the day ahead. It is an essential part of the creative recovery process apparently, so I do ten or so mins before I walk each morning. These pages are not for anyone but yourself to read, they are simply a way of bringing to light both problem areas you need to work on, as well as for sprouting new ideas and bursts of inspiration.

I have noticed that some change is occurring as I was recently inspired to change the furniture around in my loungeroom, and have had my hair cut into a new style. These sorts of things are apparently signs of a creative recovery. However the painting I attempted last week didn't turn out well at all. So it's back to the drawing board. Julia Cameron says creative people need to know that failure is all part of the process. This is much easier said than done.

Yesterday my husband, leading a team of family and friends, removed part of a medium-sized tree that had fallen over onto the roof of our house. While we were at it, the entire corner of the garden bed was given a good weeding. Getting rid of weeds always feels good and we now have more light and openness in that corner of the garden and it looks great. It was a hot day and having a team made the job so much easier. Thankyou everyone, including Jess the Border Collie, Phoebe the black cat and me!

Unfortunately I have had to ease off on my Yoga practice due to a nagging aching hip. It seems Yoga aggravates it. I still walk in the mornings and will gradually introduce some Yoga postures back again. I have found before that stopping Yoga for a while, then starting up again gives the problem a chance to recover itself. I miss my Yoga but sometimes enough exercise is better than too much. Or, as Gretchen Rubin says in her Wednesday tip in the happiness project - "don't let perfect be the enemy of good".

The boys are both back playing pre-season soccer matches and Autumn is showing itself with darker mornings and with the first purple flowers on my Tibouchina plants. It is a typical mixed bag of weather at this time of year, with the last couple of days being very hot and humid, then we have been getting some spectacular thunderstorms, with rain in the evenings. Consequently, all our neighbours with water tanks are very happy and the grass is a lush green. It's hard to believe our dams are so low and that we are on water restrictions. The rain is just not falling over the dam catchement area.