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.

IMG_2065

Magpie magic from my new studio.

Posted in moments in time | Tagged , , , , , , | 55 Comments

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

Posted in Inspiration, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 62 Comments

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.

 

Posted in moments in time | Tagged , , , | 49 Comments

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.

dscn8762

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.

Posted in Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 74 Comments

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

dsc_0693-copy

dscn8460-copy

dsc_0871-copy

dscn8462-copy

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?

dsc_0156-copy

Posted in Inspiration, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 92 Comments

All We Have is NOW

DSCN8441 (copy)

Today I had a huge decision to make, a free day to catch up on either the domestics, due to family arriving this weekend or follow a vibe that I needed to paint.

As you would have worked out by the above painting  my house is still in chaos. But I could not resist turning up the music and following the muse. I have not dragged my paint box out in a long, long time due to my passion for using pencils mostly.

I guess the painting reminds me of Spring and the changing seasons give me the energy to declutter. It didn’t happen today but I’m glad I followed my heart and created this little fellow. I have sketched him before and thought he would look good in paint as well.

I have been revisiting old art to see how far I have come and sketched this crow again too. I guess tomorrow I will behave and get the house in order.

BUT I don’t feel guilty at all, seize the day People.DSCN8436 (copy) My next creative opportunity will be Thursday, thats picture book illustration day. If we don’t grab the moments when they become available, they vanish quick enough.

Whether you are heading into Autumn or Spring I hope life is inspiring you to create. I know nature will never stop amazing me.

Enjoy the NOW, go for it! Create Create Create.

Posted in Inspiration, Uncategorized | 102 Comments

Out of My Comfort Zone

IMG_1261 (copy)I know I have not been present in the blogging world, my attention has been with my picture book illustrations. To say I am out of my comfort zone is somewhat dramatic but I’m now thinking about the big picture and even how I am going to get the book out there into the hands of children once I have completed it. For me that is an amazing thought and one I never dreamed I could do. But now I see it in my mind and its all about the hard work. Creating my best work in the hope it captures the imagination or attention it deserves. So whilst I play with illustrations (can’t show originals sadly) I will share another small journey.

A great opportunity to push my skills with a commission to sketch a beautiful pet. She is unwell and my client wanted a memory for her daughter (now grown) of her favourite horse. I’m not that confidant with sketching horses and it is hard to create a portrait and capture the character of the animal from old photos which were not good quality. But in the pet portrait world it seems that people usually don’t have any good quality compositions or images. The darling horse in her day was beautiful. Recent illness and the photos of her now she is almost unrecognisable. We googled the breed of horse to get an idea of colour etc. To create a pencil sketch this large excited me I must say. Yet I was also a little nervous that I would not capture her spirit with so little reference to go on.

I sent my client a black and white outline of the composition (above) taken from several photos. She loved it and said she wanted just the outline, she was happy with that. I told her that the pencil rendering would be even better. Even though I had never really sketched a horse for a client before. I knew I could do better than the pencil outline.

Trust in your instincts and see where they take you. I have left a step-by-step rendering, you can see her come alive. My client was ecstatic and when she handed the artwork to her daughter she cried. She said I had captured her baby perfectly. Not all my art turns out this well but it’s just a matter of starting again if its wrong. I am happy that I can create art that someone can keep as a cherished memory of a special friend.

I hope when the opportunity comes for you to step out of your comfort zone you take the chance to learn something new. Thanks for supporting my blog and I hope to get back to regular blog posts soon.

IMG_1262 (copy) IMG_1263 (copy) IMG_1264 (copy) IMG_1265 (copy) IMG_1267 (copy) IMG_1268 (copy) IMG_1269 (copy) IMG_1272 (copy) IMG_1273 (copy)

Posted in Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , | 76 Comments