Category Archives: Artistic Ramblings

looking for a quiet place


I have had an interesting few months since last time I wrote.  I think this is the longest time I have gone without a post since I started blogging in 2006.  Yes there have been life distractions – but more than that, I have sat at the keyboard so many times thinking – I will not go to bed until I post – only to be distracted by the slightest thing.  No, not writer’s block…….I am wanting to break away, break the mold my art has settled in – I am still searching for my voice………..I am want to find something – inside me……  It started in about late October last year when I created that ‘murky’ greeny, collaged junk journal…….which I loathed (& still sits on the shelf where it landed after I photographed it!)………..I parred back and started to create a journal using white, titan buff & burnt umber – with just small amounts of colour on the pages…………and while it is a ‘nice’ journal (BTW – by the end pages – I was in FULL colour again! LOL!) – it is still not authentic…….it’s a mish mash of things I have seen in books, life experiences, You Tube vids, coffee conversations……I spent the two years I was at art school trying to figure out where the dividing line in the sand was between art & craft (so mercilously distained)……..and I think I am kinda getting it……its about contemplation, reflection, gestation, inspiration, time…… much of what is around at the moment is the same…………. and I was making more of it……….what began as intuitive, use what’s on hand, use ANYTHING art of mixed media, has become formulaic & predictable……..In the world of everyone being published it seemed to me that much of what is around (whilst beautiful & inspiring publications in their own right) are just variations of the same thing.  Gel transfers & stencilled lines & dots & texture paste & stitching & golden paints………..and sooooooooooo many girls faces…………..soooooooooooo many journalling books.   ..I felt like a fraud…..whilst I believe the plethora of resources is equiping & encouraging people that may never have tried in the past – it is also almost creating a ‘style bias’………. I ache for fresh.  I have it.  I just can’t find within me yet…….. so I just stopped.  I didn’t do any art.  My family noticed it first.  I was crabby and not nice.  Too often.  I realized that I can’t separate the creating thing from who I am.  I must art.  Misty expresses it, as ever, with such poetry & elegance…………

So much of what Misty says here resonates with my soul – but I want more.  I spent a disproportionate amount of money to cross the country, thinking a different environment, with different tools & different influences would produced……….um, well………..DIFFERENT art……….alas – NOT.

So, little by little I have been playing – not turning any heads – nothing of any significance…………..dabling, sorting, questioning, writing………hoping………..for fresh.

I am blessed to be surrounded by influences like Seth Apter………who encourages & nutures artists into being………& am honoured to be a part of his blog this week… can check it & other entries out here:

I’ll keep you posted………….


old is new again


WOW – only a week in as a FB newbie & I love it!  Have touched base with heaps of old friends and have even managed a 'catch-up' coffee & a dinner date for this week.  Facebook's not my only 'uncovery' of IMG_0592the week – I have also managed to discover iPhonography (like I need ONE more distraction from my iPhone………… hubbie just groans & mummbles something inaudible as I display to him my latest iPhone discovery………….warble, warble, fandangled……warble………)…. I am not going to go on about that here, I have done a post about that on my journalling blog if you'd like to look – it is pretty amazing what can be done with 2mg camera + iPhone apps = fascinating results………here's a peak of one of them

What I have been concerntrating on (art wise) is finishing off to very special gifts (!gulp!!! - they are actually a CHRISTMAS present! - we have this understanding see – by recieving late gifts, the celebration lasts longer!)…… these friends are adopted 'family' & we have an understanding about these things! – don't we guys????  we still do – yeah???? LOL!) - I just can't seem to finish it I think I'm done – but then I want to add more - I leave it a day or overnight, and then hate it when I come back to it.  I swear I procrastinate in a way now over my art in a way I NEVER did before art school – here's a clue for budding artists – DON'T go!  ANYWAYS, enough of my cynicsm (sp?) - I have been on the computer all evening – still haven't bought it to a conclusion – and it's time for bed.  TOMORROW i WILL do better! (ummmm……if I don't open my Facebook page! [sheepish grin]

 Here's a sneak peak of a little – as it isn't sent yet – I won't show too much – but just a little eye candy! IMG_1511_resize
IMG_1526_resize IMG_1545_resize


I have been exploring the concept of Wabi-Sabi with this project and I have to say that I have a nurtured & growing appreciation for it.  I'll explain more about this later when I finally post it.  Finishing this off has kept me quite busy as there is a lot of work involved – but it's a labour of love for special friends and so I want it to be unique!

AND to finish off on a great note!  An absolutely intriguing YouTube video of an altered book form.  It's not new – it's another of my uncoveries of the week!

Presents & Lines That Ask Questions


I have heaps of work from my end of year assessment to scan & photograph to post, but some of it (A1 life drawings, are just too hard – even to store & I have already 'binned' them!  In the process of 'filing' & sorting' all of my work from the year, I came across this quote from my drawing teacher.  He said it at the start of the year, at the time, I was still under the illusion that going to 'art school' meant that you would get some actual 'instruction' in art – instead of here's the 'thing' (whatever that happened to be on the day) – draw it!  Lines that ask webso, after quite a frustrating year, I felt it only appropriate that I create something funny out of these 'high brow' ideals of drawing……….. this is my page for the Paper Trader's calendar for 2010.  I will post a link to buy them if you'd like one, in a couple of days when it's ready.  I am not sure if the resolution is high enough for you to read any of the questions these lines are asking of each other, like….

does this drawing make my nose look big?

How do you like your hair cut?

Is it nicer to kiss fuller lips?

I wonder what it would be like to be taller?

Can I help being so straight?

What do you do with your self when you are not part of a drawing?

I used my old typewriter to create the text, then coloured the paper by giving it a 'quick' bath in clean water, spraying some walnut ink & Horny Toad Teal Moonglow on it & then drying it with a hairdryer.  The hairdryer gives nice 'spidery' lines that look intriguing as a whole, but when they are cut up they just add interest & tonal variation.


we made lovely things


at the recent retreat.  Gorgeous Stephanie Lee & DJ Pettit let us into their secrets and we lapped it all up.  I guess it is a mutual admiration situation – we love what they do and are eager to learn, which makes their teaching and visiting experiences all the nicer.  The nice thing for me was that I didn’t have the same suffocating sense of inability that had overwhelmed me with the fabulous Misty Mawn’s class last year.  I have worked hard on my face structure and shading, and felt (although Miss Contemplation here is STILL NOT my Mona Lisa) ok with the day and the outcome.  She is a lot more lovely in real life of course, because I have used gold and Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold (simply edibly delicious paint), which gives it all a deep & mysterious look.  I REALLY worked at a soft biscuit colour like the rest of the class – but some how, the colour just kept beggin’ to be seen……I didn’t add the ginger hair till after the work shop – mine already looked like the odd one out – but hey – I like her – and that’s what counts!  LOL!!!


Artists at the retreat were very kind in their support of my altered offerings…..I just about sold out of the luscious ribbons and DJ just about single handedly sold the 50 hemp wraps I bought with me…….she was a fan!

The House of Dying


IMG_2975_resize Moving on from all of the 'metallness' I wus telling you about in the last post – now my house kinda looks like a Chinese laundry!!!!  I am doing a whole lot of dying, packaging up beautiful threads, embroideries & fabrics in preparation for a fabulous Creative Soul retreat.  My classes are with Stephanie Lee & DJ Pettitt, which I am JUST ACHING for – Bernie Berlin is also going to be there spreading her cleverness to everything she touches!  It's only three weeks away now, I booked in SUCH a long time ago, and finally it is here.  My hubbie is EXTREMELY easy going to put up with this – there is hardly a surface that doesn't have a bowl on it with dye in it, or things being laid out to cut up – or some other mess!  There are some benefits to having a messy husband – at the times when you are happy to have things messy – he's cool and it doesn't worry him.  I found out a long time ago, as long as it doesn't disrupt eating or sleeping – he doesn't care what I'm doing!  LOL!!!



It had been my intention to talk about my visit to Degas in this post however, it's been a kinda odd week – with the losses of someone close and someone far – so dancing doesn't seem to be appropriate subject matter.  I have been continually drawing, getting to the point where I will perhaps start to 'grade' what I show you, there is so much and I can tell from the literal halving of my blog audience – that interest is waining – but I have been drawing so prolificly - constantly looking for something to draw on………… I have always made a point of showing my work good and bad so that you don't get the impression that 'I've made it' or that my art is up on some unattainable pedistal – believe me – I make PLENTY of ordinary stuff – this week I was drawing one of our dogs (German Shorthaired Pointers) – oh my goodness……it went through several metomorphosis in the process looking like a possum, a bear, a wolf and a small horse!  It IS finished now – and The Princess at two and a half can recognise it as a dog – (1st base) – however I think she could have done it just as well herself!  LOL!!  Maddie-is-watching-for-you- This sketch is called 'Maddie is watching for you……' and looks significantly sweeter in real life (particularly without the scan shadow from the gutter of my journal)… I also wanted to share with you about an artist who finished his life journey this week.  I don't know well personally – but he was always encouraging to me and I found his work fascinating……. his 'take' on a scene always provokes a sense of wonder for me…….His name was Andrew Wyeth, & he lived in Pensylvania & was a member of the huge online art community Wet Canvas – to me - Andrew so often seemed to capture what I call 'Ephemeral Moments' – moments that have an element of wonderlust about them – and that  pass in a blink.  They are often missed and rarely recorded……you know, like how a fabric of a dress swishes as someone walks by – or the light that dapples on autumn leaves that makes them almost transluscent….. and the way that the glow of reflected light at sunset can soften the harshest of faces – Andrew did that - he was the master of the moment…….here are some of his moments……


here are some words from him………

 I can't work completely out of my imagination. I must put my foot in a bit of truth; and then I can fly free.

I don't really have studios. I wander around around people's attics, out in fields, in cellars, anyplace I find that invites me.

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.

I search for the realness, the real feeling of a subject, all the texture around it… I always want to see the third dimension of something… I want to come alive with the object.

I surrendered to a world of my imagination, reenacting all those wonderful tales my father would read aloud to me. I became a very active reader, especially history and Shakespeare.

If you clean it up, get analytical, all the subtle joy and emotion you felt in the first place goes flying out the window.

It's a moment that I'm after, a fleeting moment, but not a frozen moment.

It's all in how you arrange the thing… the careful balance of the design is the motion.

One's art goes as far and as deep as one's love goes.

To be interested solely in technique would be a very superficial thing to me.

To have all your life's work and to have them along the wall, it's like walking in with no clothes on. It's terrible.

Artists today think of everything they do as a work of art. It is important to forget about what you are doing – then a work of art may happen.

Goodbye friends – thank you for being a part of my life and art journey

taking the time to stop and dance



A rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.
— "Interview with God" (author unknown)

I have been spending a bit of time with The Princess lately & she has a penchant at the moment to just impulsively stop when she hears music playing and start dancing, regardless of where ever she happens to be at the time. No inhibitions, no thoughts of being embarrassed, or that it is inappropriate for where she is at the time!  Talk about fun – complete strangers are stopping their Christmas rush to watch the pure joy of this toddler with her hands raised – twirling round – singing nothing in particular at the top of her lungs!  (someone suggested she was so entertaining we should put out a hat!! LOL!!) We have often heard, and sometimes even said that the REAL meaning of Christmas is something other than the gifts - but interestingly, it is not until now, faced with the prospect of literally not having anything much to give this Christmas I have been feeling very challenged.  It's okay to say gifts are not the real meaning when your tree is burgeoning with gifts, but what about when it isn't IMG_0065_resizeand when there is not going to be anything much under the tree?  I usually buy for Christmas all year – so my Christmas shopping is usually done by the end of October or so, and it's just a case of pulling out the many bags and parcels I have tucked away with all of the things that I have bought during the year, & marking off my list.  Some years there are a few gaps to fill, but I usually have things left over that I carry over for birthdays and unanticipated gift giving through the year.  This year – there has been no extra – all year – so there has been none of the gradual gift buying through the year.  This year – that's what we have – the left over's from last year.  I am not crying poor, or asking for anything – this is a REALLY necessary lesson for my SOUL – and there are MANY people in DIRE STRAITS this year – I feel for them deeply and despite our own circumstances, still intend to create a food hamper for some local people in need that we know of…… so I just was going to share with you some of the things that I am doing to have a Christmas with very little money to spend. 

I have written personal letters to each of my children, sharing some of my heart and telling them things that I love about them.  I have written them on really special paper & embellished the envelopes, as I am hoping that they will keep them for the future, when I am not here to tell them these things.  

I have cooked them each a christmas cake & made them home made bottles of my famous salad dressing and MY grandmother's lemon cordial.  Which are some of their favourites.

I have made 'photo' fridge magnets for the babies with all of the relatives on them & other things significant in their lives. (Nonna's House; Daddy's Car, Poppa's BBQ, etc)

I have made each of the girls and DIL a heavy duty shopping bag as in Oz you are now having to pay extra for 'plastic' shopping bags at many stores. 

It's not a lot financially, but they are meaningful gifts – and hopefully significant


Sticky Note Experiment by EepyBird from Eepybird on Vimeo.

this is tooooooo wild to hardly imagine it actually happening………hmmmmm……..I wonder what 280,000 sticky notes would cost!



FotD-121108-web I have often regreted that Australia doesn't have a day just to be thankful.  We have a harsh land, one that is unforgiving, is tolerant of the 'battlers' (those a bit down on their luck) and intolerant of 'tall poppies' (sad but true)  This has been a difficult year for us and I have to say that at times it is difficult to see past the black.  This year is a year when things are really stripped back to 'bare bones' as we would say in Oz – down to what's really important to your whole being.  This year I am thankful for:

  1. TRUE friends (which everyone knows are only revealled in tough times)
  2. simple pleasures (every night the sun paints me a new canvas viewed from my front verandah – it is NEVER the same, and I have watched for 17 years)
  3. my faith (I KNOW in whom I have believed – 2 Tim 1:12)IMG_5818_resize




moving on a little from there – I am a little behind with my drawing, getting caught up with Christmas favours & gifts at the moment.  These are a couple of recent every day challenges…..a rope and a remote (as I remarked when I posted it – it was the longest time that I have ever spent with the remote as DH believes they are divinely ordained for the man of the house!)

196-Rope-web  197-Remote-Control-web




Today it's 20th November in Oz, but only 19th November in USA – it's always a bit of a conundrum when participating in a link or a challenge which is the appropriate day to post – ANYWAYS – on with the story – the one & only – amazing LK LUDWIG has posted a challenge at her Poetic Words blog for today (ummmm….yesterday!).  I love her work & am lucky enough to be teaching with her in June next year at the Artistic Journey Retreat in Sydney - so I am looking forward to catching up with her.  I own both of her books – Mixed Media Nature Journals AND True Vision - I highly recommend them - True Vision in particular is a mix between gorgeous eye candy and prompts to make you think about how you work.  LK manages to illicit more reflective and intriguing responses from you as you read through the treasure trove between the covers - her work has such an organic – easy feel about it, it's infectious.   

(??!! I CAN'T believe how cheap they are at the moment – I guess everyone is having bargains to generate business during tough times.

HERE'S the challenge –

A Day of Sharing Words

(pasted directly from challenge site)

The idea:

We have words that touch us, move into our hearts and resonate, creating a feeling, taking us some place- past, present, future- perhaps some place we have never been and may never go, but for whatever reasons, the words pulse in our blood. Meeting new words, new poets, new poems, new ways for my heart to beat, is an intruiging concept. Want to go on this adventure with me? It will be easy to travel along.

Many of us already do this sharing; this idea is just to help us find each other and hear the words we have to share.

The Date: Wednesday, November 19.

The Plan:  on your blog, post a poem that moves inside you, touches you, reaches you.  (quotes and song lyrics welcome).  Include the author (or composer or musician) and source (book, album)- perhaps also the amazon link if there is one.  no explanation required, no other revelation necessary. 

HERE'S my 'WORDS' with curtesy to author Kavanagh A. McGeough from Poetry in Nature

Plunge into the glinting fjord,
Dive into the deep rushing river, IMG_1268
Glide across the muddy swamp,
Float in the green lake,
Submerge in the salty ocean,
Freeze in the icy sound,
Immerse in the soggy channel,
The winding river is gushing into the artic ocean,
A swirling puddle reflects traffic,
Changing life,
Sustaining water.

It has taken some time, but I think that 'city bound' Australians are only JUST understanding the value of water as we are now entering our 4th or 5th summer of drought – which has escalated in severity as it has dragged on.  Today we have had some morning rain and the whole world looks cleaner, fresher and happier.  I am trying to grow my own herbs and vegetables, and I have my VERY FIRST TOMATO on the bush – I am thrilled and of course it's a great lesson for The Princess to learn that tomatoes don't grow on the shelf of the supermarket……. however it is a twice a day exercise to keep them watered & nurtured when there is no rain & it's hot.  I am not complaining though, I do have help with that job.

IMG_1219_resize   IMG_1233_resize

ok – I’m back in the web world


Ok – I am back in the web world with STRICT instructions from 'web-boy' DO NOT TOUCH SETTINGS!  (scary man! LOL!)  It probably WON'T actually stop me from having a go – 'cos of course – I have to pay him every time he comes & 'tweeks' something for me so its a case of risk vs cost!!  Amazing how much art I got done while I didn't have the internet!  I must really spend more time on it than I realise – but then I love it – how else would I have met you fine folk???  In my absence – I have been 'tagged' by the very lovely Tami and Lucy both in the same week.  I am to tell you 6 quirky things about myself & tag 6 others.  So without trying to be too 'DEEP' (how unlike me!)…here goes……..

1. I love the sensation of leaving the ground when I am flyingBill-parrish-library-2
2. I rarely paint with a brush (except now that I am learning watercolours – I mostly do)
3. I am a book-a-holic and my dream house has a huge traditional two story style library (complete with wooden 'shelf' ladders – like the one that belongs to Bill Parrish (Anthony Hopkins) in the film Meet Joe Black – whoa – now THAT's a LIBRARY! I find it VERY hard to throw out a book – particularly if it has become one of my friends along life's journey.
4. I am obsessive about the colour of things and it ALWAYS influences my buying decisions.  (my husband doesn't understand how this even figures in a car purchase, but I think that car manufacturers are starting to recognise this!)
5. I am attracted to soulful, old, imperfect objects, with a patina that only comes with age - I almost take on a responsibility for the heritage they hold.  I keep buying these sorts of things to alter – but then I can't bear to.
6. I like to view life through a lens & reflect on it later

The lucky people that I am tagging for this exercise are: the very clever Debbi Baker, my new art buddy Natalie, the abundantly resourceful Kelsey, the amazing Linda, the young & aspiring art of Dragon Baby and the VERY COLOURFUL & always inspiring Gaby

AND now – for some art –

Chalice-explained-web    Chalice web

I kinda touched on this subject a little at the start of my 'A Journey of the Soul' Seahorse-webjournal – the intangilble, almost etheral mix of factors required to 'create' and for your 'creative process'.  There are days it pours out of me – there are other days I can't STRAIN something out – I currently find myself with a list of 20 art 'obligations' (things that I am committed to participating in) and yet I don't want to work on any of them – I just want to draw at the minute………I am not feeling very 'painterly' lately – which is a little odd – 'cos i generally love the sensation of acrylics oooozing between my fingers…..anyways – I have lots of 'drawings' to share over the next couple of days….here's a little watercolour I did over the weekend….a 'thorny seahorse' with a bit of artistic colour license.