The ART of Wasting Time

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If there was a certificate for time wasting, it would be hanging on my wall. Top of my class 2017. When I read my last post I was on fire. WHAT HAPPENED?

It seems the winter frosts have placed my creativity into a deep slumber. Walking past my art room a giant canvas glares back at me. Three white cockatoo’s flying high across a red, magenta and orange sky. Only its incomplete. The customer has given me the permission to take my time, (NOT GOOD) its taking way too long. I promise to get to it but the days seem to drop off, one by one and it never gets done.

I scan my desktop, opening a file that I can’t remember starting. There I discover the half written scratchings of a possible blog post dated back in May. It never quite formed in my brain or made it onto the page. Line drawings of birds sit waiting for a splash of colour and some detail to bring them to life for the market stall. The picture book sits gathering dust on the work bench. (I know you have heard it all before in my newsletters. Along with my not-so-helpful tips on keeping on track). Numerous attempts at my cover illustration and a total of zero designs made it to the rendering pile. Time does not wait, whilst I procrastinate over each image and if its good enough. My motivation that I bragged about in April had vanished.

It’s like someone hit the stop button on my creative drive. I guess its a kind of blockage similar to writers block. Frozen on a different timeline these ideas and dreams sit waiting for me to return. I imagine if this was someone else’s workshop I had stumbled upon ……. what would I say about all this unfinished business.

I would say to me.

“You silly woman! you are almost finished that vibrant painting, get it done. And please no more excuses on why the picture book is not ready! Just get the last few illustrations finished and go back to your cover later. Get that picture book ready for printing. Wake up Kath time is precious.”

But the other practical side of me would reply……

“Im sorry I never realised taking on a part-time job would do such damage to our creative activities. Life gets in the way. This has to be the longest time I have gone without writing or creating anything. It’s not a good feeling, its like a part of me simply went on a holiday.”

The thing is my gorgeous husband has been putting money away for the print costs for my book. He believes in the beauty of my dreams why can’t I? There are no more excuses left. I am going to self publish with Balboa Press and sell signed copies at my local art market stall (the dream). You would think it would motivate, but instead something is stopping me from doing the last few pages. The fear of failure indeed, but we all go through this.

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To my credit I was out in the real world learning new things. Not creative skills but still challenging my middle-aged brain. Learning karate, which has blown my mind and stretched a few tired muscles I can tell you. Learning the ins-and-outs of my part-time position at the a local department store.

I wish time would stay put, as I work out the new areas of my day for creativity. Finding a balance between work, kids, life and keeping my dreams alive. Now I find myself with five months of this glorious year left to get it done.

The awareness of this may get me through, that and the fact I gave myself a serious hammering in this post.

Don’t let the rest of this year get away from you. Get out there and do the thing you dream of doing, do it today. Im happy to say after writing this post I finished the painting and now its time to illustrate the rest of the book. (To be honest, I wrote this part before finishing art so it would motivate me). It worked!

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Feel free to share any tips. Anything on pushing through the last barriers of my work in progress, (i.e long awaited picture book).

As I sit here on the first frostless winters morn, sipping a coffee on the deck. A warm breeze reaches me. The promise of spring brings a feeling of endless possibilities to come.

NOW GET TO WORK Kath!

Posted in moments in time, N is for NEVER give up. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 61 Comments

Never too Old to Learn and Evolve

This morning I woke up with a new found energy.
My 5.30am alarm is usually met with a groan, I slide out of bed with a bad case of bed hair and a foggy brain. This happens most mornings. Even if I make it to my yoga mat. I’m usually in sleep-walk mode, bumping into the furniture before finding my purple mat. I huff and try my best to get into the zone. I tell myself to show up and do some yoga moves. What usually happens is I begin to wake up and the yoga takes over. I begin to feel alive and almost human.
But this morning I was awake, even alert and excited to start my day. My reason? I believe it’s because I am feeling a shift in my mindset, a place of great change and belief in myself. This can happen when you cross over certain boundaries. Like challenging yourself with new experiences. The ones that scare you.
My yearly trip to the Bundanon Art Retreat set off a series of new experiences. I enjoyed the workshops like I always do, along with the company of amazingly talented women.
This year we had the opportunity to learn basket weaving. Talk about a fear, it was something I felt sure I would not pick up. But with my experience in crotchet, I told myself it can’t be that hard, maybe there was some hope.
The lesson was so addictive. (I started a wall hanging but did not finish it). I am sourcing my own materials now to learn how to make a basket with the techniques we learned.
When you learn something new, there is a certain feeling. Learning something new wakens the brain. Your mind goes into creative overdrive, you feel alive and switched on. I have often said to my kids I will always be learning no matter how old I get. (they laugh at me) What they don’t realise is it lifts us to a higher level of  awareness. It keeps us in constant motion and we don’t stagnate.
I also started karate last week. Yes at 52 I am the new student. Feeling like the ugly duckling amongst a flock of swans here, but the learning curve is HUGE. The moves are quite beautiful even if they are self-defence weapons. I try to train every day, I can feel a level of fitness awareness here too. Like I need extra cardio work outs to keep up. All in good time.
In this new curve of learning and training I find myself eager to start each day. I wake up early, and go through my day with a positive vibe. I get more things done.
I have been keeping my subscribers up to date on my picture book journey (top right hand corner, subscribe button if you need some motivation). Its looking better than ever. I have learn’t so many skills and my art is evolving as I practice and practice. I often complain about time in those newsletters and how fast it slips by. Its a constant battle to manage all that we want to do in life. The funny thing is the more I learn the more motivated I have become.
I have even been researching printing companies for the picture book. Three years ago I would never dreamed of doing this. I found a company called Balboa Press who set it all up and you can order your book on demand. Perfect for this noob (my kids say this one when I play computer games with them). I am now on the verge of learning all about this self-publishing game. Now that is scary!
When I look back I can see how far I have come. when I look forward I can see many more stories and lessons to learn, as I gather wrinkles and knowledge. All these skills, from yoga to karate even the basket weaving, they all play a part in who I am meant to be.
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My attempt at weaving a wall hanging, did not finish it but enjoyed the workshop.

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Our weaving workshop left us all addicted and wanting to do more.

There is always time to learn something new, I know I usually don’t feel like there is, but there is, you just have to make time. I also know this energy does not last so I will enjoy it while it is here.

I hope you find the time to teach yourself something new, please share with me what you are learning at the moment.

Have a great day!

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Printing workshop after sketching a banksia we had to make a printing plate, my picture did not turn out but I liked this area of the picture. The process is the gift.

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Sketching nature at Bundanon Homestead 

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Finding our New Normal

Note to readers  I started writing this post in January?

Life can drop some serious bird poop at you from time to time and I’m not talking the sparrow variety. Think more like a pelican dump load of @#$%.

But thats life isn’t it. It all started with the realisation we needed a new coffee machine.

I don’t drink gallons of coffee but I knew there was something wrong when I reached the grainy mud at the bottom of my cup. The pod machine was on its last cycle. That was the beginning of it.

Maybe the situation was my fault, Who knows? Maybe I manifested it. You see I have been searching for answers to where I want to take my art skills. I started meditating in the mornings. I would imagine my bank balance growing and a path to a successful art career opening up to me.

Why?

Why not, what could it hurt to put the positive vibe out there folks? You can find some weird free webinars online, trust me I have sat through quite a few.

I decided instead of worrying about money I would imagine we always had enough, this is usually so for us. But lately, the money train didn’t deliver.

The free meditation made me realise I see my bank account is for taking money out. I never imagine putting loads of cash in. So I meditate each morning listening to this woman tell me to smile because my bank balance is growing. A nice cheery thought.

And yet quite the opposite seemed to happen in January…….

You know those moments, we all have them. Where everything needs replacing.

A few examples…..

Our fridge produces a contstant puddle on the kitchen floor. I step in it every morning with surprise. I dont know why I forget as soon as I mop it up and each morning I step in it again. Yes, as I age my short term memory is failing me.

The coffee machine spits out another cup of black goop as I sit down to write an inspiring post to start January. Hello…its now MARCH yikes! January vanished somewhere along with february I know not where? Maybe they took a trip to the Bermuda Triangle? That subject always fascinated me as a child.

To add to my dilema’s my back tooth broke away, I was chewing on one side for a whole month due to Dentist being booked solid.

The kids needed uniforms for school.

We needed a new couch, I got tired of covering up the hole in our old one when visitors dropped in. Both cars needed a service.

You get it right? It was time for some serious budgeting.

I thought I could not take anymore of it. I did what any self -respecting mother would do in the holidays, I went on a holiday, yep hang the expense!

So glad I did.

After a wonderful catch up with family in the Blue Mountains. Except for the weather which reached 45 degrees. Not to mention two power outages, ensuring there was no airconditioning. I received the phone call, the big life changing one. My husband rings to inform me he had resigned from his job and we had a month to leave the farm house. The guilt of taking that holiday started to sink in.

Take a breath……

That was January. My reason for not blogging? I was trying to find our new normal.

Now that it’s March I can tell you we survived. I’m sitting on my new couch, drinking coffee from a new machine. The fridge does not leak, not sure why?  The kids are back at school with new school uniforms. My tooth is fine and my husband has a new job. Only negative issue we had to cancel our holiday to Phillip Island. But we can reschedule for next year.

I am happy that I went to The Blue Mountains now. All is well and in the new rental there are couple of spare rooms.

I get a studio. Yay!

The universe knew what we needed all along, a new start. Those months of chaos made me realise I need to appreciate this crazy life. Even in the challenging moments, bills and all. My father use to say.

” At least you know you are alive when things get a little crazy!”

He had plenty of experience, having nine children.

I wait in the bunkers for the next wave of bills to hit us but I won’t stop living, or dreaming and now I can start my new year in March. I hope the first few months have been good to you. I will leave you with some art I created once I found my new normal.

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Magpie magic from my new studio.

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A Moment of Reflection

Thinking about this year of 2016. I was ready to type a positive farewell.

Then I heard the all-to familiar  song of not one, but many Magpie’s. I will admit at 7.30am  I sat there watching them instead of writing this post. There were eight in total and I think the parents were trying to shed a few siblings that had reached the age to be let loose on the world.

The swooping began and to me it looked like a cruel ritual of diving and pecking at each other. It was over in a matter of minutes before they started singing once more. It left me wondering how far away the young adults go when they leave the nest. I was lucky enough to capture a photo that was worth sketching (below). Two Magpies singing or maybe giving out a war cry of warning. No matter, the song was beautiful and I thanked them for my breakfast music.dscn8810-copy

I guess when I look back on this year, the small moments like this one, I cherished most. It gave me time to breathe and reflect on my day before the madness begins. Yes the simple things, like a glorious sunrise or sunset are the events I try to be present in. Sometimes I won’t get my camera out because I just want to savour the moment, like watching a giant full moon fill the night sky.

I found many moments of joy this year in stretching my abilities in art. My passion for birds grows larger I think. I also enjoyed watching my children spread their own wings and learn to reach high for the best results in karate. Their Dad inspiring them all the way. Love them heaps!

So I say to you before the clock strikes twelve on New Years Eve I hope you remember to collect the Minuscule Moments now and in 2017. Find your happy space by doing the things that you love to do. I will be sitting on a beach for New Years Eve with my husband and kids enjoying fish and chips and the cool of the ocean. I leave you with a wonderful Quote and wish you all A Happy and safe New Year.

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you, shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” Helen Keller

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Nourishment for Heart and Mind.

dscn8797“Let Christmas not become a thing Merely of merchant’s trafficking, Of tinsel, bell and holly wreath And surface pleasure, but beneath The childish glamour, let us find Nourishment for heart and mind. Let us follow kinder ways Through our teeming human maze, And help the age of peace to come.”
— Madeline Morse

My thoughts on Christmas this year boil down to one question?

Why do we put ourselves through this festive circus? Battling the rabid crowds to find the perfect gift. The long queues, the tired, screaming children. And don’t get me started on the carparks. We find ourselves flustered and frustrated before we even reach the over populated elevators.

Each year when I walk into the mall I swear to myself next year will be different, next year I will shop in July. It never happens.

As I walk by the shops I see Santa sitting there on his giant chair. His beard has seen better days,  a child, her arms outstretched for her mother is wailing on his knee. Well when I say wailing I mean a high pitched squeal. She is upset because her parents want that perfect xmas photo. The one with the beaming smiles and happy baby. I stopped forcing mine to go when they were small, it was not worth the stress and tears. It seemed a tad cruel for two shy kiddies to be thrown on a strangers knee and to expect them to be happy about it. All those talks about stranger danger, if you know what Im getting at.

Today I decided to find an inspirational quote to get me in the festive mood to write a positive blog post about Christmas. I found this quote above and fell in love with it. My issue is I cannot find any information on Madeline Morse and where she came from. So if you know anything about this poem please feel free to share it.

Nourishment for heart and mind that is what Christmas is all about. I come from a family of nine children. This year almost all of us will be together on xmas day. Its not about the presents, but being present. My father (now gone) loved to gather all of us together his friends and family and have a sing along, a couple of drinks, good food, and lots of silly board games….. That is what I remember most, the gathering and the laughter. We have not all been together for a long time and our family has grown in size. I think there will be nineteen adults and eight children for xmas lunch. My father always said the more the merrier. No matter that he had nine children, he often asked neighbours and friends to join us for dinner if they dropped in to say hello. He will be with us in spirit.

My wish for you is that you find nourishment for your heart and mind, you receive  kindness and love from family or friends this xmas.

I am blessed to have a large, crazy, loving family but I know there are plenty of people who don’t. I raise my glass and say to you at christmas I hope you find peace and some joy in the small moments. I sit on my deck this Christmas eve morning and soak up the quiet beauty before me (Picture above) and wish you all a Merry peaceful Xmas.

 

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November Moon

dscn8767-copy Some may think I have disappeared from the blogosphere. Its November already and a giant full moon hung in the sky the other night. I have taken many photos of the moon before but after the super moon I had an urge to combine one of my scratchy ravens with a big full moon behind it.

My art is devouring much of my time at the moment. The picture book art is slower, but I read somewhere if you can’t run, you can still crawl. The bank balance for printing my first picture book grows. That and my obsession with crows and ravens. I guess the line drawings are my signature art. I do have a fascination for the darker side of life when it comes to birds and stories.

There will be a story eventually about these scratchy birds, but not sure if it will be for toddlers. (A tad scary)

I have started experimenting on canvas with acrylics and paint pens (below) instead of the usual pen and ink on paper. I was so happy when a lady took my card at the last art markets she told me her daughter loved my scratchy birds and wanted to buy some that she had seen at the last market. It gave me a smile and made my day.

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Funny because that day at the markets, my daughter and I agreed it was really slow and so I doubted myself….. should I keep bothering about creating these dark images? Something drives me to do them, I feel alive when creating them. I opened up my inbox with a heavy heart the day after and asked myself what should I be concentrating on? And there it was, her email saying she wanted to purchase some of my scratchy birds. We met up and I was  surprised when she brought the painting and two other pieces. She texted me her photo’s of all the original art she has collected over the years and my raven now has a place amongst some amazing pieces.

DSCN8436 (copy)My biggest issue now is I don’t have enough Raven/Crow photo’s for reference. I guess if I hang around the side of the road long enough, next to some road kill, they will come (ewe). They are very smart birds and never let me get real close.

After selling the first one, I painted another, same composition as the pen and ink above. I took it to a market yesterday and once again I found another lover of ravens. A young 12/13 year old boy from Sydney and he said he particularly liked the moon behind it. And that it would look awesome in his room. His mother was a beautiful soul, we chatted for some time and she told me that I should keep powering through with my hobby and art dreams. She said she would pre-order my picture book when I told her the story and my journey. How cool is that.

dscn8778-copy This hobby of mine is slowly turning into something, I say thank you to all those encouraging people who have commented or purchased a piece of my art. Each time I have shared my creations at markets or on social media I am humbled by the positive feedback.

I now paint what comes, I don’t try to think too much on whether it will sell. I just paint what inspires and feeds my soul. The rest will fall into place. Next year I can see this turning a corner and maybe becoming a legitimate business. Now that scares me because Im not good with paper work etc but I can now see my art printed on jewellery, cards, mugs, bags and the list goes on. Im just following my hearts desire and having so much fun learning along the way.

Below is a new idea for my ravens, dog tags, can’t wait to see what they look like when they arrive all the way from the USA.

4-176405636-0-2-1As I create new images, new ideas evolve. I like the idea  that my art might one day be scattered across the globe. Have a great day and believe in the beauty of your dreams. I know a few people now who have my art on their walls in Canada, USA and Australia and that makes me smile.

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Admiration and Appreciation

dsc_0562-copyINSPIRATION, ADMIRATION and APPRECIATION

It has to be said that if it wasn’t for my husband Peter’s wonderful photography I would not have anything to sketch.

So before I take my leave to the city of Canberra, hopefuly a weekend jam-packed with family fun. Like a visit to Questacon, to check out a Spider Exhibition (Eeek! kids choice! Due to a live huntsman colony on show) Of course then to my favourite, a Bird Aviary. Also to the Old Bus Depot Markets for a shopping spree, yay we love shopping.

So before I leave I wanted to share my better half’s photo’s.

I imagine we will have plenty more after we visit the Canberra bird aviary.

Peter and I take our camera’s at every opportunity, but somehow he captures the better photo. Neither of us have much of an idea on the technical side of things, well he may know a bit more than me. I’m a point and shoot kinda gal (keep it simple) and Pete well as you can see he has a flare for capturing much more than most amateur photographers. Keep and eye out for the four legged gull (I kid you not!)

We enjoy a healthy competition to see who can get the best capture of the day. He beats me every time. And so I usually end up using his photo’s for my art.

How could I not.

Enjoy the many beautiful images from the birds, farm life and of course the cows.

My dream when we retire is to go on a birdy-bucket-list tour. First around Australia and see all the birds that are not in our state. Then a bird tour in the United States one day to see the hummingbird. Yes I will die happy if I get to see one in the wild.

Birds have become a big part of our life, and I hope to join a local bird watching group when I get some time. Enjoy the slideshow of some of Pete’s stunning bird captures.

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This post is to say thanks to my Husband for forever surprising and inspiring me, as you can see from the photos and my art below. They are perfection and I hardly do them justice.

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Sometimes I think I should not try, yet something stirs the creative soul when I look upon them and I have to create.

I will leave you with one of my favourite cat portraits of Apple the cat. I could imagine this one on a giant canvas, one day I will get around to it.

Thanks for stopping by I would like to know where your inspiration comes from when you create?

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