Sunday, 29 May 2011

In the Store

Meeting and greeting people in the shoe store is often done with mixed feelings.  You never know who you are going to get - a wonderful, average or difficult customer.  I have learned to shift into neutral gear and deal with whoever it may be.

One day I served an elderly lady, who after trying on a couple of pairs of shoes, decided that she only wanted shoelaces after all.  It was clear to me that perhaps she couldn't afford the shoes I had offered her, on an aged pension (a common occurence).  So I began unlacing her old shoes and re-lacing them with the new laces.  When I picked up the shoe, a jigsaw puzzle piece fell out and I held it up to her - "were you looking for this?"

She was instantly delighted with me for finding it and gave me a friendly shove.  She had looked everywhere for it!  She asked me my name and I told her.  She laughed and said her name was Pat! She left the store as happy as can be, with me also smiling!

It's these little connections made with people that make the job so worthwhile...

Friday, 27 May 2011

A Sunny Nook

After much looking around, I found a new wooden table and a couple of director's chairs for our sunroom.  They need oiling with furniture oil to protect them, so that's my job this afternoon.  It is a lovely sunny nook now, perfect for reading the morning papers with a cup of coffee! 

We also had the flyscreen replaced yesterday on the sunroom so it is all new again after Jess the Border Collie put her doggie claws through it one day, when we left her on her own.  Separation anxiety!  I have enjoyed ticking these things off my to do list!

In the studio I have been creating more story boards - a girl with a big red balloon, a mermaid in love with a sailor and next, a magic carpet ride!  If these work out I will try and sell them in a gift store or two.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Story Boards

I have begun writing little stories again - very short prose, then painting the story on a 18" x 18" canvas.  These little stories I absoloutely love and are about angels, mermaids and dragons.  I tap directly into my childhood when I used to read all sorts of books with these magical themes.

One of my fondest childhood memories is of my mother loading me and my brother and sisters into the old Ford Station Wagon and driving us up to the local library.  We would be bathed and dressed in our pyjamas and then spend the evening reading and selecting books from the library shelves.  I loved going out at night and being cosy and warm inside the library.  And all those books!

So I write the story onto the canvas creating a little story board. I need to improve my lettering before I can consider them a success, still,  I'm having a ball creating them!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

This and That

Autumn Berries
The garden at the villa is small and planted mostly with native Australian plants, like bottlebrush and tea tree.  There is not too much that you would pick to put in a vase inside, so I was happy to see these berries appear on a nandina plant in a corner of the garden.  I love the Autumn colour!

I bought a new pair of trainers today so I can get back into a more regular walking routine.  Being busy means I have to squeeze in exercise where I can, and Jess the Border Collie has been missing out on her walks too.  As soon as I reach for my shoes, she heads for the door, all excited.  I'm grateful for her enthusiasm or I might not be quite so motivated!

I also picked up a couple of canvases, so when I get back from my walk I'll have an afternoon of  painting to look forward to.....

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Time Out

These photos were taken today at Terrigal, one of our favourite local beaches.  The day was cold & clear with just a wisp of cloud.  There were lots of people out enjoying the day, a group of learner surfers the only brave ones in the water.  I was taking some time out for myself, no rushing today!

To answer your questions, yes, I am still selling shoes.  It keeps me very busy a few days a week, leaving me a little time free to squeeze in art school once a week. 

I'm  loving the people-contact in the shop.  Bad customers are few and far between and I've learned not to let them spoil my day.  There are also many eccentric people who make things interesting and plenty of lovely customers who make it all worthwhile.

I'm busier than ever, but life is good!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Today at Art School I finished off the Ancient Roman bust I began last class and started on a skull - some man with a seriously lopsided face!  He needs a bit of work, but alas, it's too late for him!

Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House
It was very cold today, so I needed to rug up with socks, a scarf and quilted vest for my trip down to Sydney.  I love the seagulls scattered all over Circular Quay in the mornings and the ferries plunging through the water at peak hour. So many people rushing off to work, I wonder if they still notice how beautiful it all is!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

An Old School

I have enrolled at an  Art School - the oldest (c1890) continuously running School of Art in Australia.

Arthur Streeton, William Dobell and Brett Whiteley, all famous Australian painters, attended this school.  Once a  week I ride the train down to The Rocks in Sydney Harbour and learn how to draw and paint.  I was excited & nervous on my first day and humbled by the talent at the school.  I'm an absolute beginner when I look around and have a lot to learn!  Yikes!!

Life Drawing was going on in the same large classroom when we first arrived, so we did some quick sketching exercises of the model to warm up.  We only had a minute before the pose was changed, so had to work quickly.  I was too slow!

Then we had to choose a bust from a selection and draw it.

This is a glimpse of my first effort, without any instruction....

And my second effort, with some instruction.... this was some ancient Roman I think!

I took a while on the nose and the mouth is not quite right, but I ran out of time so it is unfinished.  Next term I'll take the afternoon class as well, so It'll be less rushed.

The students are very friendly (if serious) and the teacher is helpful and keen for us to perfect our drawing, giving us loads of technical tips.  I loved spending the day in Sydney too, always a pleasure!  I'll post more next week...

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Soaking Up Sunshine

This 'mother's day' orchid flowers every year around this time and I was tempted to bring it inside, but because I can see it from my studio window, decided to leave it there.

Today the weather turned out to be absolutely beautiful, so we left the housework behind us and headed down to the waterfront with Jess the border collie, a thermos of coffee and the Sunday papers.  We did some celebrity spotting (an ex Sydney TV newsreader) and soaked up the sunshine while watching the boats bob up and down.  So relaxing after a busy week.

The Sunday papers were full of  'The Wedding'.  Kate Middleton's dress was roughly the same design as mine was 30 years ago.  I thought it looked really beautiful!  Will and Harry, also gorgeous!  Kate's sister's dress - stunning!  What did you think?