Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Meditate on art.

I have a special little meditation table.  Some people call it an altar, or shrine......I don't really know what to call it. It's made up of items that hold a special meaning, and it's just by the back door to the house, so I see it each time I go in or out.

Our house is very small, so a few years ago we enclosed our back porch into a sort of family room that we could fit a bigger dining table in, we could fit our kids and their friends in, we could even fit our visitors in - and I could also have a desk to work at.  I love it.  It's full of crummy old second hand furniture, is as hot as the hobs of hell in summer (tin roof and all) but I have a special little corner out here where I can plan, dream, paint, sew, meditate and 'do stuff'.

I've always dreamt of being a full time artist, and a couple of years back I chose a few items that only held a special meaning for me, items that I knew if I saw them daily, and thought about them - I would move closer to my dream.

The green 'cloche' hat I made at Tafe.  One night I raced into the felting class late (as usual, because of work) and the only wool roving that was left was lime green.  Great.  I hate lime green.  Oh well - "It's all about the process" I thought to myself.  Just shutup and do it.  I ended up with a lime green slimy stringy mess that extended far beyond hat shape nearly onto the floor.  It was so embarrassing....nobody else's 'hat' was spreading all over the place like this.  So I just kept my head down, kept working it and rolled the incredibly yukky ends into little swirls which I ended up embellishing with embroidery and tiny beads.  I named the hat 'Cabbage Roses'.  I learnt that something quite exquisite can be made from a major yuk.....if I just listen, persevere, and go with the flow.  (Maybe not quite exquisite....but I think it's fabulous).

The framed watercolour was painted by my favourite lecturer.  She is gentle, kind, and incredibly giving of her knowledge. I've learned from her that there are no mistakes, every artwork and process is valuable, and every artist has a place in this world.  I hope I can be as humble and generous as she is.

The little cloth doll angel was made by an artist friend.  She told me when I bought it that it's not normally the work that she does.  I disagree.  This little angel reminds me that we do what we have to, to achieve our goals.  We raise money for the things we need, we work into the night while our family rests so we can create, we put ourselves 'out there'.  I love the angel's retro colours and I love her little rickety rusty wings.

I also have a candle which I light when I'm home and also for meditation, and a box of Louise Hay cards.  I pick a card when I need to.  Sometimes it gets displayed, sometimes not.  The card I got for today was 'I let go of all expectations'.

About a month and a half ago I resigned from a job I've held for over 20 years in community services. I finish up early January.  I'm scared, sad, excited and nervous, all at the same time.  But I think I'm moving closer to my dream.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas Banners in the Mall

A few years ago in 2002, local artists were asked to submit a design for hand painted Christmas banners for the Mall.  My design was chosen, along with lots of others, to be displayed on a banner. We had to paint our design ourselves on a pre-constructed vinyl banner. I was so excited AND it was a paid job - $100, which was a lot for a starving artist!  Those same banners have been displayed in the Mall each year at Christmas ever since, and even though they are no longer shiny and new - it's still a lovely 'Christmassy' feeling.

My name not quite up in lights.

It's the same design on the back, but no names were put on the backs of the banners.  
Not a bad shot of the Mall either.


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Only a week to go!

Christmas is only one week away.  I'm so excited.  We have been busy planning, wrapping, cooking and preparing. Our tree looks just gorgeous and little gifts are magically starting to appear underneath.

Our faithful lights are putting on another sparkling show for us.

These shots are so grainy - obviously still doing something wrong.  Oh well that's ok.....I happen to know there's a new camera lying round here somewhere!

My daughter has been baking scrumptious gingerbread.
There was a little bit of mixture left over so she made some yummy cookies........all crunchy on the outside and soft & warm on the inside.  I couldn't leave them alone.........then she hid them.

Everyone is happy.  Even our little old dog is smiling.  No that is not a crooked tooth.......that's her happy face!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Ok........the wait is over.

What's in the box?

My new camera......yay!

It took me ages to unwrap because firstly I wanted to savour the moment -  and the best time for that is a Sunday morning when most of my 'real' jobs (like housework) have been taken care of the day before, and secondly because it took forever to pick off all the sticky tape from the bubble wrap.  Saving bubble wrap is one of my 'things'.  I need to save bubble wrap because when I'm a rich and famous artist I'll need it to post out my artwork. In the meantime, my wardrobe has no room for clothes ............... it's full of bubble wrap.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Is this my new camera?

I've been trying to win a digital SLR camera on ebay for several months now.  I've researched, asked around and sought lots of advice from a friend Louise (thanks Louise) - and kept watching and bidding......and losing.  Blah. I had decided I wanted a Canon 1100D (apparently a good 'entry' camera for a beginner) and my budget was $450 for a good second hand one........... $500 max - but only if the seller sounded really lovely.

Weirdly, things suddenly seem to be falling into place and about a week ago I won a new camera for $460!  I've been waiting patiently for it to arrive, and silently threatening to strangle the postie every time he turned up empty-handed.  So after what seems like an incredibly long wait, I have a box to open.  About time.  I don't know what's in there, but I bet it's my camera.  I'm going to wait until the weekend to find out.

I'm such a sucker for anticipation.

Yep, looks like a camera shaped box to me.
Hopefully it's not just half a dozen new pairs of undies from Ezibuy.....well packed.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Working in my Bali journal today.

I have been madly trying to get a few things into my little Bali journal before the whole experience just becomes a distant memory.

I took a small Moleskine 8" x 5" watercolour journal with me, thinking I would be sitting on the beach, watching the sunset, drinking the odd Pina Colada and painting exquisite little watercolours.

Very funny.

Most of the time we were frantically racing around trying not to miss any of the fun, shovelling weird and wonderful food down our throats,  drinking anything that sloshed, and feeling decidedly hot and wrecked!

Hence my journal has become a half-baked notebook of snapshots, dockets and memories, quickly jotted down before it all disappears from my pea brain.  Not the amazingly illustrated, riveting to read, worthy of publication travelogue that I intended it to be.  But you get that when you're having fun!

This is as much as I've completed so far........

Yep....there was a Gloria Jean's.  And we loved it too (like we've never seen coffee before).

I tried to enhance this page so that the blue pen could be read, but all I got was a pink background.  I need to improve my technical skill with the computer I think.

Stay tuned.........

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Return to Bali

I have just come home from a week long holiday in Bali with girlfriends.  I haven't been to Bali for about 30 years, and although much much busier and louder than I remember, the Balinese people still continue to delight with their gentle and giving nature.

The chef is carving a centrepiece for the table from a watermelon.  Each evening there was a buffet meal at our hotel with a different centrepiece carved from either watermelon or honeydew melon.  This carving had black olives for eyes.....some mornings I felt like that.

Hand weaving little baskets for the daily offering.  (Note the mobile phone!)

All offerings to the Gods are made in equal proportions.  The same offering is made to the good, and also to appease the bad.  That way, no god or spirit is offended, and everyone stays happy.  Not a bad idea.

We went on an elephant safari.  We were behind this particular elephant (obviously) and although the elephants ambled along quite slowly and sedately, it certainly didn't feel like that when you're perched up so high.  It was a bit scary at first, but at least I let go long enough to take a couple of snaps.

Our guide pointing out some farmland.  Each little plot is only about 10 metres wide, but very deep.  Families keep their animals and grow all their crops on this small space (if they're lucky enough to have some).  Some plots are only rented.

This family actually live on their land in a small compound of several homes, which house several families.

Couple of men taking back their harvest of banana leaves which they'll be using to encase their cooking or for making little offering baskets.  All these shots were taken from the back of an elephant, so I'm surprised they're even in focus!

 We went to visit a coffee plantation.  This little lady roasted the coffee beans in a metal dish over an open fire.    Hasn't she got a beautiful face, full of wisdom?  This shot isn't even in focus, and I was off the elephant by this time!  Still trying to get my sea legs obviously.

Spices and coffee drying in the sun.

One of the highlights of the trip for me was visiting the area where the batik is made.  It's so painstakingly slow, but the result is just magnificent.  (Ok, ok, so maybe that statement is a bit of overkill....but I really was in absolute awe!)

This piece still has several processes to go through.  Any wonder traditional batik is so expensive.  I only bought a couple of lengths of fabric for myself and a pair of slippers for a friend.  I wish I could have bought more though.

We were taken to a couple of small villages by our (ever obliging) taxi driver, where the Balinese still live in a traditional manner.  This chap is carting away the rubbish.  The rubbish is put out in little woven cane baskets and emptied into this cart by the 'driver'.  The lanes in this part of town are too small for any vehicle to go down and we had to walk for quite a while to get there.  Lucky we trusted our taxi driver because we never would have found our way out.  We were invited into a private home (where this photo was taken from), and although the Balinese have very little, I was surprised to see that the home was tiled in the most exquisite turquoise blue tiles.  Amazing.

We stopped a little way up the mountain to get some fuel and this was the view from the rear of the fuel station.

Nearly to the top.

And another one.  The scenery is gorgeous.
You can't see it here but in some areas flowers are grown (as we grow vegies) in great blocks of a certain colour. They're harvested and sold to the Balinese so they can make their offerings to the Gods.  I expect that the different colours of the flowers have a purpose, but I didn't find that out while I was there.  Must do some research.

Traditional market mostly with textiles.  I was offered some batik for 70,000 Rupees a length (about $7.50 Aud) which I declined because it was so hot and humid, we were all dying of thirst, busting for the loo, and pretty much 'over it'.  I could kick myself now of course.  They had fabulous patchwork bed covers too which you can see just in the left foreground.  None of us bought one of those either..........how dumb.

We stopped here on the way back down the mountain.  The weather was starting to get a bit drizzly.  This was also our first experience with a 'traditional' loo.........oh the powers of balance!

On the last night of our holiday, we were treated to a complimentary dinner with traditional Balinese dancing.  These people really are just so generous.  We could learn a lot from them as a society.

The beaches are pretty much just as I remember them, minus the umbrellas............
.............and the skies the same amazing azure blue.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Truth Cards

I've been making some little 3" x 5" index cards called Truth Cards.  They're easy and quick to make and satisfy a  mini creative spurt when you've only got a few minutes to spare.

Sometimes I display one or two around the place to remind myself of what's important when I seem to be eternally bogged down in a busy life.

Isn't the morning sun coming in the window just gorgeous?  And I love my new paint caddy.  Just got to get my paints out of the ratty old box I've got them all in at the moment.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Housework free weekend - Yay!

Our septics need attention (to put it politely) so I got to do absolutely NO washing or cleaning this weekend.  Bonus.
Instead I've made a cover for my big journal, which has been waiting for some attention.

I had time to mess about with some collage, Modpodge, and to just 'play'.

Yeah I know - this journal entry for today is a bit cutesy, but who cares.  I like flowers.
(I was going to say "So suck it up princess" but that wouldn't be very polite for the internet would it?)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Nanga Bay

Ok I've been 'off the air' again.  I always think to myself that I never do anything interesting, but when I look back through my blog, I seem to be away quite a lot.  Off camping or having a 'girl's weekend' somewhere.
(Should be more of it too!)

Last weekend we went to Nanga Bay for a couple of days, just to get away from the hustle and bustle of our country town (!) for a break.  Nanga Bay is the most peaceful, gentle and serene place.  I loved breathing in the healing atmosphere.  We kayaked for hours, had a lot of fun, met a couple of interesting people, got bitten by about a million mozzies, drank a 'tad' of alcohol and came home rested............and itchy.

Looking from our camp to the beach.  We had our own private track where we walked down to the beach each afternoon to see the dugongs that came into the same spot each day.

Track to our camp from the beach.

Sunset on the first night.

Crystal clear water, and we had it all to ourselves.

Me and my peanut toes....just to prove I was there!

Speck in distance = husband on kayak.

Sunset day two.

Still not a soul in sight.  Magic.

You can't see it very well here but this little bloke was bright green.

The wildflowers putting on an amazing show for us.

The last sunset...and the best.  The calm before the storm I think!