Tuesday, 30 December 2008


'perfection' - watercolour/ink.

i called this little piece of art 'perfection', mostly because i made a mistake somewhere in the design. can you spot it? i bet if you zoomed in closely enough you would find it. if we seek imperfection in something, it is guaranteed that we will always find it. actually, now that i've looked more closely, there are two mistakes! on the day i made this i was tired and my concentration kept dropping out like a dodgy phone line. never ask me to fly a jet plane, perform an operation or anything else that requires precision when i'm tired!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

i am enough

if christmas has left you feeling that you were somehow not enough....

i am enough

i have enough

i love enough

i risk enough

i fill enough

i get enough

i handle enough

i am loved enough

i am healed enough

i am ready enough

i am enough

thanks to olivia, who posted this poem a while back. i have reproduced it here.

'frolicking fish' - water colour & ink

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

a gift for you

a very dear friend sent me this link today.

this is my christmas gift to you..... please pay it forward!

wishing you nothing but love and happiness tomorrow - breathe deeply, look around at how much you have, smile, then think of someone less fortunate than you and do something for them. make them smile too.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

two more sleeps

'earth energy' - water-colour & ink.

the lead-up to christmas has been nice and steady for us. we have had end of year school activities, watching phil perform (electric guitar) for the first time on stage; a family christmas get-together, where we all stayed overnight in apartments at a golf resort (max & phil loved it!) and a neighbourhood christmas bbq, meeting lots of new, lovely people.

gifts have been bought and wrapped. we will give them out in the evening on christmas day, since max will be working & we don't want him to miss out on the fun. can we hold out till christmas evening? it's going to be tough! :)

Monday, 22 December 2008

keep on swimming

with the style of art that i like to make, the challenge is to try not to be too 'colouring-in book'. so i attempt to marry the simplicity and detail that i love together, to make what i hope is an artwork. sometimes it works and sometimes not. i was happy with this one though.

'keep on swimming' water-colour & ink.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

aussie sunshine

here's some aussie sunshine for my friends snuggling up in the northern hemisphere.

can you imagine a hot summery christmastime?

cicadas chirruping, pavements too hot for bare feet, cold beer, sweat trickling down your back, purple agapanthus stalks blooming - everywhere, backyard christmas barbies in daylight saving time, beaches, sunscreen, seafood & sand. christmas carols outside on summer grass, electrical thunderstorms, ice cold air conditioning, lawnmowers droning, heavy humidity, evening walks to view christmas lights, swatting mozzies, mango juice trickling down your chin, doors and windows open wide, candles flickering in the breeze.

i wouldn't trade this for anything.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

ask, believe, receive...

i had lunch with my friend jenny last week, at a cafe in a group of shops known as the 'gnostic village'. while browsing through a book shop, jenny, who works as a holistic health practitioner with a focus on energy psychology, recommended 'spontaneous healing of belief'- shattering the paradigm of false limits by gregg braden. so i bought it.

in between vegetarian lasagne, a liver cleanser juice and later a pot of chai (all recommended) and a vegan muffin (not recommended!), we happily spent a few hours discussing how our reality can be affected by our thoughts & beliefs. how powerful the mind is. how much more powerful the heart is & how important it is in the decision making process.

the book likens the universe to a large ancient computer. the message is that we participate in creating our reality, at the same time that we are observing it. we can alter the 'program' at any time, thereby influencing the outcome. shades of 'the secret', louise hay and eckhart tolle. interesting!

after giving us ways of identifying our beliefs, braden gives us a simple formula: live as if you already have what it is you want, believe it in your heart, be grateful for it, then be prepared to receive it. amen!
pic: 'seashells' ink & water colour.

Monday, 8 December 2008

day of magic

if you are going to visit me, come on a monday afternoon. monday is drala day - or day of magic. some people call it housework, but i like to think of it as making good energy. like the boy santiago in the alchemist by paulo coelho, i 'polish the crystal'.

windows & doors are thrown open. beds are stripped & re-made. sheets & towels are washed to line dry in the sun. floors are mopped and vacuumed, mirrors & glass polished, bathrooms scrubbed, entrances swept & house plants given attention. everything is back in place after a weekend of family living.

today i have been burning incense in each room as a sort of weekly space clearing. sage is supposed to be burned here (and a gong should be banged!), but i'm improvising. out with the old energy & in with the new!
pic: 'ice flowers' - ink & watercolour

Saturday, 6 December 2008

summer saturday

some artwork (watercolour & ink) created for a friend to cheer her up. i have set up a corner of a spare room with an art table, so i'm back making art again.

today was 35 deg C or in other words, a bloody hot summer day! i kept cool by playing with watercolours, changing my blog template (after lots of messing around, but fun) and by doing some gentle yoga in the afternoon. afterwards i made a cool lentil salad with homegrown cucumbers and tomatoes, and a fresh tub of hummous to keep in the refrigerator.

at dinner time, a cool breeze began to waft in through the back door. relief. it is now 8pm and the crickets make an endless chirp as the sky begins to darken. the rest of the neighbourhood is peaceful. inside our house lauren is busy in the kitchen cooking - i smell baked sweet potato and fresh basil chopped for bruschetta. max is drinking a quiet beer after a long day at work. there is no electric guitar in the background tonight - phil is staying at a friends house. no tv. christmas lights on the house across the street change from blue to red to yellow, flashing fast, then slow. gardenias perfume the air. i love summer!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

one word

in 2007 , christine kane wrote about choosing one guiding word for 2008, instead of making a famously ineffective set of new years resolutions. this year we are invited to do the same for 2009.

my word for 2008 has been 'balance'.

this one word has been surprisingly powerful and has encouraged me to constantly check for my centre, no matter what it is i'm doing or thinking about. it is such an ingrained habit now, it will continue to be my word in the years to come.

i'm not certain what my word for 2009 will be yet. i'm still thinking on it. if you would like some inspiration too, check out these posts.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

balancing act

thanks for your comments last post. i needed some balance. thank you siblings, suki, martie...

no, i don't want to 'become a nun', but i do want to become a yoga instructor. i checked with a yoga school to see what the requirements were for yoga teaching and the response was vegan, practice every day, no alcohol and moderate behaviour.

often yoga instructors are not moderate - one i read about drinks only rockmelon juice ie. no food. this is insane! my naturopath/dietitian tells me that my diet is excellent and well balanced. this should be enough i believe.

my body tells me that i need meat, not every day, but sometimes. vegan at the present time seems impossible to do and replacing food with supplements seems somehow wrong to me. i like to socialise with family and friends, so a drink now and then is enjoyable, but it's not the end of the world if i don't drink. i do like to practice every day, but my policy is 'family trumps all'.

now that my art studio is a yoga studio, i miss my art studio. i miss the colour and there are paintings queuing up inside my head that need to get out. it's a passion i find difficult to sit on.

passion is not moderate, being a strict vegetrarian is not moderate.

i will meditate some more on this.

Friday, 21 November 2008

happy yogini feet

i normally practice yoga anywhere i can find a quiet space, which means toting all my gear from room to room. this week i packed up my art materials & easel (dramatic in one sense, but from a different perspective, not so dramatic), took my art table out of the room and turned the space into a yoga studio, where i can 'summa iru' (simply be).

yesterday i began a morning asana practice in this lovely sun filled room (quite literally, salutes to the sun) in addition to an afternoon practice. non-yogis out there may think this extreme, but i feel wonderful - calmness. clarity. physical ease. grace under pressure.

the more challenging postures like headstand, full backbend & now full lotus are coming more easily now that my practice has progressed and i have begun pranayama now also.

this book by australian yoga teacher alix johnson: yoga: the essence of life, interviews eight prominent yoga teachers. it is a fasinating look at the many different yoga paths. sadly, the teacher i found the most inspirational, muktanand meannjin, died before the book was completed. (she lived in the 'bihar school of yoga' ashram for twelve years, then later taught in brisbane, queensland).

i love this video of b.k.s. iyengar practicing back in 1938. this 'guruji' is such an example to the world, whatever age you might be - born in 1918 and still going strong! he was apparently voted one of the 'top 100 most influential people' by time magazine. his yoga teachings have been a huge influence on me - if only i had a ticket to india!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

a friendlier world

can you remember a time before blogging? our social networks were certainly a lot smaller then.

it was interesting to hear Mena Trott the co-founder of sixapart (the company that created blogging software - typepad/vox etc.) doing a TED talk about blogging in the early days - imagine just 100 blogs!

blogging statistics show conflicting estimates on how many blogs are actually out there now (but then what do statistics really mean anyway !) in any case, for me, the world is definitely a friendlier place.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

a new companion

for a long time now i have felt the need to write a journal. i have an art journal which is a purely creative place to play, express artistic ideas & emotions, collect meaningful quotes etc. i still write poetry from time to time, although i haven't been involved with writer's island for the longest time & i have to say i miss it. blogging of course, is a journal of sorts, but it was a personal space that i seemed to need.

while reading the artists way i would get up early every morning to write stream of consciousness 'morning pages'. these pages were great & helped to identify the hot & cold spots going on in my life at the time. but i found it difficult to fit them into my early morning routine.

now, i meditate first thing in the morning. great for re-charging the mind & connecting to that 'creative genius in the sky', but still there are thoughts that need to be written down on the page, whatever time they might appear in my head.

life's companion:journal writing as a spiritual quest was just what i needed to get me in the zone. it is a guide to journal writing for those who want to connect with their spiritual inner self. it contains lots of guidance on ways to get thoughts down & how to seek your own feedback. it always surprises me that i live inside myself 24/7 but don't always know what's really going on in there! today i wrote five foolscap pages & it really does feel good. something is shifting inside me.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

in search of wisdom

as someone who is always in search of wisdom (it's never too late!), i loved this short andrew zuckerman video jen lemen posted recently. you might like it too.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

crazy moose ink-blots

this is an ink-blot/water colour doodle that has been sitting on my art table for the past couple of days. every time i walked past, i added a little more to it. it reminds me a lot of my morning meditation. i sit in a room that faces east & as the sun comes up my head is filled with light & colour like this, which then spreads throughout my whole body. a great way to start the day.

you of course, can interpret the ink-blots any way you please .... & now that i look again it could be a crazy moose - a drunken bullwinkle...!

this morning i harvested some strawberries & talked to my cucumbers that are growing fat & green. tiny cherry tomatoes emerging from small yellow flowers are pale green & shiny. furry leaves on my mystery seedlings are now huge like elephants ears & snails get plucked from damp leaves in the morning & thrown a good distance away. i have created a happy green microcosm :)

thanks to badfaery & the big draw i have been inspired to pull out my sketch book. this is a bromeliad that sits on the front porch in an old terracotta pot. the flower spikes which appear in autumn/winter/spring are fuschia pink with purple tips. lovely.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

beach shack dreaming

saturday afternoon at the beach...

the ever watchful surf rescue, patiently looking after us...

we've been visiting the beach occasionally throughout winter, but now that spring is here it's hard to stay away. yesterday afternoon the tide was coming in, & the waves were surging towards the shore.
the lifeguards were having a difficult time getting over the breakers. they had to keep making do-nuts, & approach the waves again & again. they finally got over them.
after walking from one end of the beach to the other, i sat here on these rocks, watching the surfers & body boarders do their thing. each wave became increasingly larger & closer, till i suddenly realised i had to run or get washed away. the people who were sitting behind me laughed their heads off!

this is my beach shack (not!) this kind of real estate is worth a couple of million.

kelly talked about beach shacks & mindful consumption a few posts back. if my beach shack dream came true, i know i'd be happy with the bare essentials - a beach towel, a beach basket, a hat, thongs (flip flops), sunnies, a hammock, a mosquito net, a basket of fruit, books... could i do without technology...? just imagine...!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

open sesame

my daughter brought 'the food of morocco' (a journey for food lovers) into our kitchen last week & i instantly fell in love with it. in my dreams, i travel to spain & drop down to visit morocco afterwards :)

the recipes are healthy & wholesome as can be, often dairy free with gorgeous ingredients such as dates, figs, olives, quinces & apricots.

i've been inspired to make a tomato, capsicum & onion salad (chakchouka), the result - a bowl full of colourful, shiny jewels. a tagine of chickpeas (tagine bel homus) fragrant with red, orange & yellow spices, served with couscous & topped with fresh green herbs (straight from our garden), nutty sesame seed cookies (ghoriba dial janjlane), almond macaroons (briouat b'looz w'assel) coated with icing sugar & laced with rose water - in morocco, these cookies were made daily and cooked in communal ovens, to be eaten later with a glassful of mint tea. all so simple to make & so delicious.

there is a recipe for a light, flat moroccan bread (kesra) sprinkled with sesame seeds & coarse salt - this will be my next thing to make. have i stirred your appetite yet?

Sunday, 5 October 2008

talking to plants

at the findhorn foundation spiritual centre, founded by eileen caddy, the cabbages are famous for their size (40lbs!), reputed to be a result of connecting with nature in a spiritual sense. in essence, talking to the plants.

in the sixties the centre, originally a caravan site on a scottish hillside, attracted lots of attention from television stations, wanting to record the 'miracle'. hippies they may have been, but the results you cannot argue with! the findhorn foundation's ecovillage, like their famous cabbages, is still thriving today.

in our little vegie patch, the seedlings i planted only a couple of weeks ago have tripled in size. i talk to mine as i water them each day & i'm thinking i should meditate on my peas, cucumbers & tomatoes as well & see what happens! :)

do you recognise the seedlings in this next pic? they are bonus seedlings that have emerged from the compost and i don't have a clue what they are. we'll have to wait & see i suppose. i hope we like eating them cos there's plenty of them!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

spring things

spring has arrived down under - trees sprouting new growth, hot sunny days. today, soft rain is falling & the air is warm. on the weekend i planted seedlings in our vegie patch - lebanese cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, mint, summer basil, continental parsley, strawberries & peas. these newbies are looking fresh & ready to climb crazily up the garden trellis.

our old diswasher must have known it was a time of renewal & has now gone to diswasher heaven - a shiny new dishwasher hums away in the kitchen now. ah, the joys of sparkling clean cutlery!

spring is perfect for weekend reading on our back deck under the shade of the umbrella. i have just finished the bhagavad gita (with a clear-cut introduction & translation by eknath easwaran).

it is described as 'a timeless spiritual classic' that is 'acutely modern'. i agree, it is so relevant today. though surprised that i didn't pick it up ten years ago when i first began practicing yoga, i believe we come to these things when we are ready & not before. it has made clear many things i have read about in relation to yoga. some 'ah-ha' moments for me. better late than never!

spring & babies go together of course - i know this movie has been out for ages, but have you seen Juno yet? if not, it's worth taking a look. i watched it this weekend for the first time - a sweet & timeless story (unplanned teen pregnancy), great acting (ellen page is wonderful), great soundtrack.

spring means bare feet. is there anything better?!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

a sign

our house & home, which we have named 'querencia' (spanish pron. - ke-ren-cia) has a sign at last. i decided to paint a 'trompe-de-l'oeil' mosaic look instead of making an actual mosaic. it was tempting to use bright colours for the sign, but in the end i chose earthy/terracotta tones that suit the house better.

the sign is not hung yet as it is painted on fibre cement board and i need to work out a way to affix a loop onto the back, so that this can be used to hang on a hook in the wall. in other words, the technical details that i should perhaps have worked out before i started :) a coat of varnish would probably be a good idea too, since it will be living outside.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

beauty, happiness, art & laughs

i thought i'd share some links;

the first is three beautiful things, where each post is just that.

the second is gleeful, the happiness project of a melbourne girl.

the third one is great if you're feeling arty.

and this one, just in case your monitor needs cleaning!

Friday, 12 September 2008

going in deep

it has been three months since i returned to a daily yoga practice and in that time i have given up alcohol, returned to vegetarianism, got my mental health under control, dropped two dress sizes and have begun meditating again. not surprisingly, i am happy.

for the past few days i have increased meditation from 10 mins a day to 20 mins in the morning (roll out of bed, shower then sit) & 20 mins in the afternoon (after asana practice). this has had a huge effect on my health, making the core of fatigue i have been living with for such a long time now, disappear completely. my eyesight has also improved (clearly there is a relationship there)

don't be fooled, meditation is simple and i will share with you what i have learned;

sit in a quiet place free of draughts in half lotus (legs not completely crossed - left ankle resting on right calf) on cushions or folded blankets. your hips should be higher than your knees. get comfortable. rest your arms with wrists facing upwards on your knees.

be dressed for the season - I wrap myself in a pashmina shawl which is light and warm. when not in use i wrap this shawl in a cake of sandalwood soap, so that when I sit I am surrounded by the scent, which aids relaxation.

it helps to set a timer to the desired length of meditation, so you avoid obsessing about time - its good to begin with 5 mins then increment by 5 mins thereafter, as your practice improves. the longer the practice the deeper you go, the better it is for you.

keep your spine aligned and upright, but relax into the posture with the breath, which can be either short or long, it matters not.

breathe in through your nose and out through your nose.

just observe what happens.

if you become distracted or sleepy, use a mantra such as 'ham-sa' (i am that) - ('ham' on the inhalation, 'sa' on the exhalation) i love this mantra for its simplicity and because it sounds like the waves coming in on the beach.

keep coming back to the breath.

adjust your posture gently if you feel you are slumping, or find that your chest feels compressed. but don't wriggle around! ignore nagging aches & pains, they are only trying to distract you!

think of meditation as housekeeping: imagine that your mind is a desk cluttered with papers and files which require sorting. your thoughts are these papers & as each paper (thought) floats into your mind randomly, read it (observe it), then let it go. eventually you are left with a blissfully 'uncluttered desk' & space for your mind to function effectively. when new thoughts/problems arise during the day, you can deal with them more efficiently. these benefits will follow you into your day to day living.

when ready, open your eyes gently & stretch your legs out in front.

finally, I will leave you with an excerpt from 'Eat, Pray, Love' by elizabeth gilbert

Ketut Liyer, the medicine man from Bali;

"why they all look so serious in yoga? you make a serious face like this, you scare away good energy. to meditate only you must smile. smile with face, smile with mind & good energy will come to you & clean away dirty energy. even smile in your liver."

good advice!

Monday, 1 September 2008


for a long time now i have been searching for the right word to name our house. this is not as easy as it sounds. i once even searched through the back section of 'lord of the rings' for one of those beautiful names created by tolkien, like 'lothlorien'.

sounding beautiful was not the only criteria though. at the same time we wanted something less commonly used and of course the meaning had to fit. it had to feel right.

i spent time searching the spanish-english dictionary. although i have never been there, i love everything about the country, its art, food, music and language. i tried to find words for home, or words that described what we know and feel about where we live and what we believe in.

nothing seemed to fit, until recently when i picked up a book at the library called "isabel's daughter" by judith ryan hendriks - an enjoyable read by the way. the story eventually leads to santa fe (a vibrant centre for art ) in new mexico. the main character is given the generous gift of a small adobe hut which once belonged to her artist mother, the first thing she had ever been able to call her very own. the property was named;

'querencia'. (pronounced ke-ren-see-a)

there is no exact translation for the word in english, but these are the definitions i managed to find;

  • a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn.
  • in spain, it is the place in the ring (the 'corrida') where the wounded bull goes to renew his strength and center himself, ready for a fresh charge.
  • a place in which we know exactly who we are. the place from which we speak our deepest beliefs.
  • a safe haven, affection, fondness, homing instinct, den, lair, nest, roost, home, sanctuary.

this is the name we have chosen.

although i was originally searching for a house name, it is one we would take with us wherever we go, as it is more about how we feel about our home, than our house.

the next thing will be to design a sign or perhaps make a mosaic to hang out the front.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

My Verbs

I have just finished reading 'Life is A Verb' by Patti Digh of 37 Days. A very inspirational book.

You might like to read some of the posts on Patti's blog too - stories of what others would do with only 37 days remaining of their life. They are deeply touching.

what would I do?

My 37 days (my verbs): yoga; meditate; create; give; love; share; read; sing; eat; feel; garden; smell; touch; taste; see; hear; walk; pray; laugh;

everyday things magnified.

it's all so simple really.

Friday, 15 August 2008

The Wafting Wind

I have not posted poetry for ages and found this one that I wrote last year which you might enjoy;

The Wafting Wind

Under a grand oak tree canopy,

dark with shade & fragrant with rich, musty earth,

a flurry of leaves floated & fluttered and fell.

So I climbed upon one

& was carried away by the wafting wind.

Over steep, red rooftops & winding, dusty roads,

past soaring white seagulls & a lonely lighthouse,

where the glittery, turquoise sea meets the soft, yellow sand.

Dancing waves threw salty spray in my eyes and

before I could cry into the sea

the wafting wind lifted my leaf

in a swirl, with a flourish & a twirl.

I was trapped in a sail taut & white,

while sailors pulled ropes below on the wet, shiny deck,

too busy to notice my turbulent flight..

Before I could grasp the weathered, wooden mast,

the wafting wind returned

to carry me back past soaring white seagulls,

over a lonely lighthouse & winding, dusty roads.

Over steep, red rooftops,

to rest under a grand oak tree canopy,

dark with shade & fragrant with rich, musty earth.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

be brave: standing on my head

Brave thing this week;
I approached a headstand with confidence and went up with ease. Yay! It's now back into my practice after a couple of years avoiding it, for fear of aggravating a neck injury. Conversely, headstands make your neck and shoulders strong and flexible. I feel I did the right thing using caution though.

I remember when I first began learning to do a headstand. I spent many a day trying (too hard) to master it, falling down backwards and forwards, going red in the face, feeling disoriented and dizzy. It took a lot of bravery back then to keep going back for more. For so long I just didn't get it and my ego didn't like this one bit! However, I persevered.

The day I achieved it was when I finally managed to string together all the elements required - breath, bravery, concentration, poise, balance & alignment, abdominal strength, letting go of ego and finally, grace. And like riding a bike, once you learn, you never forget.

Picture: journal page doodling, the middle awaits some writing.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

I Am.........

A longish meme I found on Dove Love's Points and Passions which you are welcome to share;

I am: a child of the universe......
I think: deeply
I feel: peaceful
I have: faith
I know: there is magic all around
I wish: on the evening star
I hate: bullies
I miss: summer
I fear:
mental confusion
I hear: silence
I smell: organic chai
I crave: the grittiness of life - have you read 'The Razors Edge' by Somerset Maugham?
I search: and often find, the magic that is out there
I wonder: a lot, about time travel/quantum physics - are people travelling back in time as we speak? I believe they are.
I regret: not going to art college at 18 yrs
I love: family, art, yoga, dark chocolate, chai, film noir
I ache: for people less fortunate than me
I am not: pessimistic
I believe: in a responsive universe
I dance: in the kitchen
I sing:
out loud, often
I cry: under intense pressure
I fight: to keep my integrity
I win: when I am conscious
I lose: when I am not conscious
I never: say never
I always: have breakfast
I confuse: when I meet ambiguity
I listen: to sixties music - Woodstock era
I am scared: less often these days
I need: yoga
I can usually be found: making art
I imagine:
colourful paintings in my head
I am happy about: practicing yoga


Wordle - It's fun - you try!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Mind, Body and Spirit

I am very grateful for the response to my last post. It means a lot to have the support of my family and blog friends, who are as we all know, gems. It was something I just had to get out of my system. Feeling well now, thank you.

One thing towards self-care that I have not been doing for some time now is a daily Yoga practice. If you read my blog, you know I love my yoga. Last week I began again and it feels so good to have the peace that it brings and the strength of mind and body returning. I am sleeping deeply at night and waking up refreshed and have promised myself that I will not stop again, no matter what. Cuz if I don't care for myself, who else will?

Not much art happening lately, with the exception of doodling on my shopping list and feel as though it might be time for some journalling. I am missing all the colours :)

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Coming Soon: Be Brave

Inspired by Eleanor Roosvelt's quote "Do one thing every day that scares you." Jessie (Diary of a Self-Portrait) is revisiting her Be Brave project this year and is inviting others to join in. What have I got to lose?

So in anticipation of the coming project on 21st July, here is some more inspiration to be brave:

"Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." Omar Bradley

"Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid.”
Franklin P. Jones (American Businessman, 1887-1929)

"Bravery is believing in yourself, and that thing nobody can teach you.”
El Cordobes (Spanish Matador, b.1936)

“You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.”
Mary Tyler Moore (American Comedian and Actress, b.1936)

"The bravest thing you can do when you are not brave is to profess courage and act accordingly”
Corra Harris

“Come on, somebody be brave.”
Dave Gould

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Reading, Browsing & Dreaming

The days here have been clear and blue with strong gusty winds keeping the temperature down. The washing is drying fast on the clothesline and with doors and windows shut tight, all is still and quiet inside. Perfect for;

Reading: 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez. First published in 1967, it is the forerunner of the 'magical realism' genre I love so much.

Browsing: Christine Kane's blog I know I linked to this blog last post, but there really is a lot of wisdom there to browse through. I enjoyed this post on High Stakes Positive Thinking Worth treating every day as if your thoughts have a high intensity and therefore, impact. Make them good ones!

Dreaming: This big old tree I found on my morning walk. It's the kind of tree I love to paint and dream of climbing :)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


In my early days of blogging I created a gratitude list in my side-bar which I have added to nearly every post. Most of the things I am grateful for are constants - family & friends, the pets I have the pleasure of caring for (even Phoebe the difficult cat!), things like the roof over my head, my spectacles (even though I dislike the frames I have chosen!) morning walks, the opportunity to paint and then all the many, many little things. Practicing gratitude is like doing a stocktake of your life, discovering just how much you actually have.

The science tells us that we are happier when we practice gratitude and I would extend that to telling others how grateful we are for the things they have done for us. Not just a quick 'thanks', but really getting the message across that they have made a difference to your life. Take a look at Christine Kane's blog post on being present in a state of gratitude.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Home Baking

In all the books I have read on creating a Vegie garden, the advice has been that I should observe the site to see where the sun falls, locate the direction of the wind and become familiar with the fall of the land. Despite being very keen to start, I held myself back from digging and took their advice. Just observe. Sadly, the site gets a lot of shade in winter and I don't believe that this is the best place to plant. We have a sunny patio tho, so vegies in tubs will be the way to go. Back to my planning again.

I have been very busy in the kitchen lately, baking apple & banana muffins and another cheesy version. It is wonderful to smell the aromas wafting through the house while the rain falls outside. Very cosy.

If you're interested in vegie gardens and baking down to earth is a fantastic blog by an Australian who is living the life I would love to have. To get there takes many small steps. I have taken a few baby ones but have a long way to go. Rhonda talks about sustainability, frugality, baking and just living a slow and grateful life where every little thing becomes special. Her bread is so good to see. Soon I believe we will all be returning to this kind of life out of necessity and the tips and experience that Rhonda provides are so valuable.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Walk With Me

The Problem: Lately I have been having difficulty sleeping, often laying in bed awake until 3.30am, only to be woken up after a blissful 2 hour sleep at 5.30am by the alarm clock. This makes for a day where you could easily fall asleep in the washing machine tub, the kitchen sink or at the dinner table! I have been reminding myself of my son when he was small, falling asleep into his dinner face down, while sitting in his high chair :) It was funny at the time!

The Remedy:
I already walk for half an hour each day and my clever husband suggested that what I needed was a longer walk, more like an hour, to make myself tired enough to sleep well.

The Action: We took his advice and Jess and I now take ourselves down to the bay which is a five minute drive away from our home and walk and walk. It is so peaceful here and if I was a painter of 'scapes' this would be a perfect place to set up an easel.

The long road winds its way alongside the houses that edge the water and this old house on the high side of the street begged to be photographed. It could probably use some tender loving care though. I always think that big houses look great until you have to clean them and fix the roof!

Many gardens of the houses along this street are lovely and this Australian native grevillea has such beautiful colour.

There are many private and public piers extending out from the houses that sit alongside the water. Jess and I walked out on this one while she sniffed at all the watery, muddy mangrove smells.

An hour later this gorgeous girl and I were ready for a rest.

The Result: I slept more soundly than I have in years.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Smile at Someone Today

Have you ever been either a victim or perpetrator of the
fundamental attribution error ? I can say yes to both. I guess it's just the way the world is. Or rather, how people are and the shortcuts we use to navigate people and situations. Unfair but true. more here on FAE.

An example is the child who paints entirely in black paint and it is assumed that he must be disturbed and depressed, when in actual fact it's just that he is polite and allows the other kids to beat him to the red, green and yellow paint and all that remains is black.

Or we think little of a person who does not perform well at work and assume that they are just not trying, when in actual fact they spent the night awake caring for a baby and are dog tired the next day. In actual fact they were doing their best.

The person with the dark mood on their face may not be an unpleasant person, but have just lost someone they loved. Or maybe it's the other way round and the happy go lucky person is actually depressed and lonely.

Smile at the people you meet today however they may seem, and cut them a little slack. They might be struggling too.

'A Still Life' luscious acrylic colour on canvas!

Monday, 2 June 2008

I am in the middle of a cat painting which is coming along nicely. I have not had the chance to paint for a couple of days and used to think having breaks in between while creating an artwork was annoying. I felt it broke into the meditation. But I have learned that sometimes it is a good thing to walk away and think about it some more for a day or two. Paint in my head first. If you were to draw me as a cartoon character, you would see a bubble over my head as I walked around, with a canvas inside and lots of changing colours and re-positioning. Digi artists do this on their computer, I use the bubble. Now I know where Bill Gates got the idea for windows!

For now though, 'Lucy's Swing'. And in another bubble, a still life for my dining room wall.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Lucy and the Birds

'Lucy and the Birds' Acrylic on 24" x 32" canvas.

I have had my new 'turbo' multi-focal reading/distance glasses for a few days now and life is SO much easier. Gone are the headaches and fatigue. Yay! The blurry vision kind of crept up on me since I was overdue for an eye check-up. Concentrating will not be so tricky anymore.

Next artwork will be a cat painting, promised ages ago to a friend. I hope she forgives me for taking so long!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Saturday Markets & Mother's Day Sunday

While driving the boys to the beach on Saturday I saw that the local art/craft market was on. So I quickly dropped them off for a surf, then headed back to check out the market for a spontaneous 'artist date'.

While being serenaded by a guy and his acoustic guitar, I browsed through piles of second-hand books and racks of clothes, went clucky over some seriously cute kids clothing and saw some really beautiful jewellery too. I finally settled on a colourful journal embellished with sequins and beads, a pot of greek basil (winter basil) for my herb garden, a happy ceramic fish (I collect fish) and a crocheted shoulder bag made of 100% paper. The total bill under $20 - I love the simple pleasure of market shopping!

On Mother's Day Sunday, 'foodie' daughter Lauren took over the kitchen and made me a sensational dinner while we sipped bubbles with a dash of guava nectar. The Menu - Baked balsamic pears wrapped in proscuitto, salmon steak with a salsa & rocket leaves and for dessert a pinenut & rosemary tart with natural yoghurt. Mmmm. Very spoilt!

I hope you had a Happy Mother's Day too!