Monday, January 29, 2007

Sick Computer

My computer has crashed and will be gone for about a week. I will visit the blog and my groups when possible - but no new posts or blog visits. I have sent an e-mail to all groups with an alternate e-mail address for anyone who needs to talk to me in a hurry.

Thanks Julie

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Self Portrait and Something New.

I am participating in an altered canvas round robin and today I painted the background. This will be posted on to the next person to add a layer. My fingers were itching to add layers and to keep going, so I decided to try a larger canvas. This one is 8" x 8". I may replace the photo tomorrow as my night photos are a little distorted, in this one the fleur de lis are much more prominent than on the actual canvas.

I had a lot of fun and am happy with what I learnt, not sure if I will leave it as is or not. The beautiful escutcheon was a gift from my friend Kylie, and can be removed if I change my mind. The background is influenced by Misty Mawn's work of 12 months or so ago - check out her new work, if you have not already, her style has changed.

Back to school tomorrow and that is OK. I have achieved a lot of my goals for these holidays and knew I would never complete the list. Two days of meetings and final prep' then the fun starts. I look forward to meeting my new classes and discovering who I will be spending the year with.

Have a very safe and happy week!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Wind, wind and more wind ...

Scrap paint background, collaged ephemera and an all over coat of bees wax. Follow with extra beeswax applied through sequin waste, rub with stazon ink. Thanks Dot for the inspiration.

I made these ATC's last night and am quite happy with them, I think the same effect would work well on a canvas.

We have had constant wind for the last few days, and while I love it when I am curled up in bed at night, it irritates me throughout the day. My garden is drying out, the washing (while drying) has to be anchored with triple the usual number of pegs and I have to keep windows closed to keep out the dust. Aaaaaaaagh!

Last night I had a perfect view of the Australia Day fire works from my house. It was lovely to sit outside, and chat with neighbours, while sipping a glass of wine, even in the wind.

In the spirit of neighbourliness (my own word?) I gave Maggie her Valium an hour before the fireworks, set her up comfortably in my/our room and popped all the cats inside too. Only to find that the bangs could hardly be heard over all the other barking dogs! Oh well, at least it was stress free for Miss Maggie.

Now I think I will use this wind as an excuse to visit my bed with a book for an hour or so.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Funny Times

I have added to Maggie's wardrobe over the past few weeks and each time I made her a collar I made a spare.
I am feeling a little frustrated and displaced at the moment.
And yet, I am in a good space - a million miles from the lows and stresses I have experienced in the past. I sometimes wonder, 'Where am I?' - on my journey I mean ...How long is the road? What is the highest point? The lowest?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Play Time at Last

Two totally different 'plays' today. A set of ATC's for a swap on a West Aussie group and some 1" fabric squares for two swaps.
It was odd, even though my fingers were itching to play it seemed take me a while to warm up! I also started listing some things on e-bay, by products of the last months cleaning and sorting.

Monday, January 22, 2007

One Fresh Lounge Room

I have included before and after shots of the external doors and one corner of the lounge, which also has wooden French doors leading to the kitchen/dining and large windows on another wall.

Maggie seemed to delight in being with me for the whole sanding/filling/painting process. She followed me every step of the way - usually only a few centimeters away. I am used to this and fully expect that at the end of a paint job she will be wearing some of the paint.

As I move around Maggie is usually on my right, often licking me as I have both hands tied up or simply sleeping under the ladder. I know some people would find this annoying - I love it! I love that she wants to be there. When I went for a quick coffee with friends on Friday, Maggie came in the car with me - and sat on my left. It was then that I noticed the huge globs of polly filler hanging off her head. I had no idea I had dropped them (at least 24 hours previously), let alone that they had landed on her! What a good girl she was to stand very still while I slid a razor blade underneath to remove them from her hair!

Phantom had his own strange take on this painting process. This is the door leading into the lounge, from the kitchen, about three feet to the left is "his chair". And yet, time and again during this week I would pass through the area at night, and find my lovely boy asleep on the towel provided for wiping 'painty' feet and paws. Surely those electrical cords were uncomfortable?

And so tonight the room reeks of paint, but all my furniture and treasures are back in the room. I could polish the floorboards and one day I will paint the outer brick work on the old fire place. But for now it is done. The fire does not draw well and I have decided it is not worth the mess - I will try a winter without it and probably not use wood heating in there any more. All in all I am well pleased with this breaks work. Anymore painting I do this holiday will be at my art room desk and with a much smaller brush.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Painting - but not having fun, yet.

The lounge room "quick paint job" has turned into what will be a five full day marathon of scraping, sealing, replacing, painting and cleaning. Needless to say I am falling into bed each night without creating a thing. I have taken some before shots and will take some after's so hopefully you will see an improvement.

I am taking a little time to drop by a few blogs -usually while eating, so have been very slack about commenting. I really am missing my daily interactions - but hope to be back on deck next week. Meanwhile stay safe and know that I am thinking of you all.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Read and Laugh

I am a reader. I am told I taught myself to read before I went to school, and always read books which were years ahead of the grade I was in. These days it does not matter how busy I am I still read every day - perhaps it is one of the reasons I like to read blogs and browse the Internet.
I read a couple of books most weeks and will read more if I have the chance.

Last night after a long day ( more about my that another post) I ran a bath and allowed myself 30 minutes - by the kitchen timer - to read, with a glass or rather good chardonnay. This is always a dubious time allowance, as in general I can be sitting underneath the timer and not hear it if my head is wrapped around a good book. So as extra precautions I chose a book I did not think would be too gripping, and put a bookmark in at the end of chapter three.
Not gripping? Well no, probably not, but one of the funniest books I have read in a long time. William McInnes talks about everyday life, his childhood in Queensland some 30 to 40 years ago. By the end of page three I was laughing so hard I could not breath. As the belly laughs rolled up through my body I crossed my legs - no accidents for this big girl, then in an attempt to protect my often dodgy back I grip my sides with my elbows and tense my tummy muscles. All the time laughing so hard tears are streaming down my face. After a very short time all this holding things tense while laughing leads to a lack of air and I simply lay back wheezing and snorting.
A few minutes breathing and then I bravely start to read - only to end up at near exploding point once again and again.
Three more chapters in bed last night and I awoke this morning feeling as if I had been for a tough session at the gym ( I think - never venture into those smelly places). It is taking a major act of will-power to continue cleaning out my lounge ready to paint. But tonight ...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Talented Friends with Heart

These fabulous ATC's were made by my friend Dawn - a very talented West Aussie with a huge heart. Dawnie loves her dog as much as I love mine - Don't you love what she has done with that stamp? And, I am told that fabulous background is texture paste - guess what I will be playing with soon?
Dawn and I shared an on-line giggle when we realised we had both been playing with Maya Road tins at the same time. Under the perspex lid is a lot of three dimensional work. The angel is mounted on core board, their is a partially melted embossing powder background and that lovely metal rose is actually also under the plastic. I am so blessed that Dawnie made it for me .
Dotee sent this mini (ATC sized) canvas recently - and it honestly left me speechless, and choked up. It means so much that she used my Maggie - and made her girlie! I'm not sure Maggie looks thrilled ... reminds of the times my Mum made me where 'frocks' as a little girl.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Kits (and cleaning)!

In the process of cleaning, sorting and tidying (Pick yourselves off the floor - prior to the "noughties" I did it all the time!) all sorts of things have emerged. For instance, in my Art Room I have found an entire medium sized drawer of kits. Some of the kits I bought when I first began paper arts, most have been gifts from friends. I have decided it is time (2007 - not this week, giggle) to either make them or pull them apart and use the components.
This 7 Gypsies circle book came with two sheets of double sided paper, the suede letters, the large burgundy flowers, walnut ink, some core shapes and some ribbon. I left out the shapes, added some more flowers and leaves and made a double sided quote book in around two hours. It is to be a birthday gift next week.
These cards are part of a six card kit one one of my lovely English Aunties gave me this Christmas ( Along with a lot of other treasures - aaah, I am so spoilt). This is a new technique for me and I will make it my in front of the tele/on the phone play for the next week. Another New Years plan was to make a stack of cards early in the year, and then to use them to keep in better touch with friends across the globe - so this kit will help me meet my goal.

Back to that sorting, tidying and cleaning ...

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Blogger does not seem to want to let me load photo's today so I am just stopping by to say, Hi, and thank you so much for all the kind and constructive comments on the previous post.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Go on - you are allowed to giggle.

I am happy with this little assemblage, just a little surprised by it. Oh don't get me wrong - it reflects accurately my thoughts - and I was awake, just, when I constructed it.

I sat down last night, after a very physically active day, to play for a little while. I settled at my desk, Phantom quickly positioned himself under my chair and I got out this little tin, planning to practice some assemblage before I do Michael de Meng's class at Art Journey Retreat (about 50 days away - who is counting?). Those of you who know Michaels work are now giggling, for those who don't, take a quick peak.

On what was I thinking? I have a lovely neighbour who spends a lot of time enticing and feeding native birds. Don't get me started on the amount of bird poo they put on my house! But, she gets a lot of pleasure out of buying lots of different types of foods, for all the different birds - including fresh meat for the Magpies (The vego grimaces). Also, last night - into my head came a recent news article. An article about there being so many hunger and disease related deaths, in an impoverished African country, that people were being dumped into mass graves.

How did these thoughts lead to such a 'pretty' assemblage? Can anyone get into my head? Should I be more disciplined with my art? I think I shall simply continue to enjoy the journey. What do you think?

Monday, January 08, 2007

A glimpse, Isabella and a lesson learnt.

Here you see my entrance, which is a big word for a very little space. It is of course the very first thing I see as I walk in and out of my front door. I have told you that each time I step over the threshold of my home I relax, I often physically feel the tension go and let out a healthy sigh. One of the many reasons for this joy is this collection of art works.

To the right just out of sight is my front door; also on the right is a patchwork wall hanging I made while house hunting for the home to put it in, this one. If you look carefully you will see my ATC files - bursting with inspiration and much loved art; an art doll made by Nat; an art doll tin by Dotee; a microscope slide assemblage I made in one of Dawn's classes at 2006 INKrediblyRT camp and a basket full of recently received art work.

The focus is Isabella and this is her story, or rather our story. Isabella was painted in Chile where my beautiful friend R spotted her in some markets and was instantly reminded of me. Despite her size and the costs of bringing her home to Australia R purchased her with love. Over months I heard of Isabella as R continued to teach in Chile - how like me she was, how much R loved her etc. When R's teaching time was up we expected her to come back to Western Australia - that did not happen, my friend went to teach on the other side of Australia and Isabella went with her.

More than a year, perhaps two, after R purchased Isabella for me she came to visit and brought the well traveled painting. I must confess - to my shame - that when I opened the painting I took an instant dislike to Isabella! I could not find any similarities between us - and was hurt that R would identify the things I saw in the painting with me. For other reasons that holiday did not end well, and the painting - in my hallway served to remind me of my pain and confusion; of a fractured long term friendship. And yet I left her there. Every day, many times a day I had to look at her. Slowly over months I found myself coming to know this self contained, independent lady and to see her spirit. I saw her hurt and her hard work - see those hands. Oh, how distraught I was when R said those large bony hands reminded her of me.

Over time I learnt to love Isabella and I learnt about art. I truly learnt that we can see different and equally valid things in any art work.

As I learnt to love Isabella I found a new bond with my old friend - a shared joy - and was able to take steps to reconciliation with this much loved woman. How precious is this painting.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Self - Today

These ATC's use another of my waste paint backgrounds (what else?), and the Tim Holtz Scratch background stamp. The face is mine.

I was messing around with a five year old friend, B, taking photos - then turning them into colouring in pictures for him ( a feature of my Kodak software), when he suggested I do some of me. This is a photo I took of myself a few months ago. I printed them on ink jet transparencies, transferred them to the background and then let my mind wander ... The green text on the top right says "imagination". The journalling was a memory.

I know a fabulous boy (he's 10 now) who is wise beyond his years and very, very kind. As a toddler her was the same - which led to many, many laughs. I remember crossing the road with J and him stopping. Dead still. Just before we stepped off the foot path. He looked carefully left and right, and looked a little puzzled, then did it again, all the while muttering left and right. I did not hurry him - figuring crossing the road safely was important. Eventually J said, "If that
is left and that is right, which way is wrong?" I remember answering lightly, "Crossing without looking is wrong" and all the time admiring the thought process of the four year old.

But I digress. The journalling. I think it was that same night that J said, "Where do I go when I sleep?", I explained his body stayed and his mind dreamed. That was not what he was looking for, he said, "I am awake and I know that I am here, when I am asleep I do not know that I am here - so I must be somewhere else - but where?" I had no answer, but the theme was playing in my head last night.

If it seems a little odd that I know so many boys, then let me tell you that three of my closest friends have 10 boys between them, ranging from 19 to 2 - and being friends with Mums means sharing their lovely children.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Letting the Art Through

A group I belong to has a Mystery Muse once per month and in December it was my turn to make a gift for my beautiful friend Dawn. It was my idea that we have a Christmas theme for the gifts in December, it sounded like a good one at the time. I sat down three or four times and started Christmas ornaments and each time gave up - they had no soul. Then I tried a mini album - same result. Finally, just days before it was due, I got out one of my waste paint backgrounds, the one used here.

My idea was that these were quite bright colours - I could give each little face crowns and wings and make them festive. Somehow my fingers followed my thoughts of the day. And at that time I was contemplating labels, and stereotypes, and the hurts they cause people - especially teenagers.

These faces all come from the same mould, so they are similar. However, they are all different shapes and colours with different little personalities. And yet, at first and perhaps second glance the adornments - the outside trimmings are what catches the eye - and in society often leads to judgments.

When I finished this project I felt such a release, I had worked through some angst and sadness. I was left with a feeling of peace; I can't fix the world, I can see the teenagers in my care ... Really see them.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

My Art Story

Settle in, get a cuppa if you like - I have a feeling this may take a little while; alternatively you could click back and visit someone else's blog. I should not presume you want to take, or have, the time to read...

I can not remember a time in my life when I did not create. In my spare room there are tapestries I completed as a primary school student. In the suitcase of dolls clothes I keep still - for visiting children of course - there are clothes and blankies I stitched 30 years ago.

My mother taught me to embroider, to tapestry, to knit (still not good at that one) and to arrange flowers. At school I learnt cake decorating, to crochet and to sew. Later in life I learnt patchwork, applique and to make dough roses. Who would have thought anyone could spent hours making roses from 2mm wide to 20mm wide out of a mix they made themselves (it even had white bread in it)? I have recieved many compliments and a few awards for my craft.

I enjoyed all of these accomplishments, really enjoyed them, and yet, that is what they were - accomplishments. Oh yes, I would spend hours with graph paper designing my own cross stitch patterns or patchwork pieces - but the focus was always on how it would look in the end. Sometimes, I admit for others compliments, mostly for me - but always the focus was product and process, never my heart, my soul ...

In 2000 I suffered a complete mental and physical break down, no secret, but a story I like to tell face-to-face. Suffice to say my whole being hurt - my heart, my soul and my body. And yet, in this time I felt led to go to a wire workshop being led by an amazing wire artist, Tanya Colby. I asked a friend to go and we spent a full day playing with wire. I think we made a Christmas decoration and a bowl or vase. Tanya at that time made mostly bowls. I don't actually remember.

What I do remember is loving the feel of the wire in my hands.

I am a farm girl and wire makes fences - it controls and restricts. It is hard, especially when you are fencing in the rain on a cold winters day. I can't tell you how many times I have cut myself with wire - I can tell you it stings. Wire is incredibly heavy when you are pulling 500m of it down a fence line in the wind. And yet wire was calling to me.

I went home and raided my supplies, tie wire (kindly supplied by Dad for any gardening jobs) and wire cutters. A quick trip to Bunnings and then I sat, at my regular desk. The desk where I prepared and marked my school work - and I let my fingers talk. An angel seems such a cliche'd form to make, but I truly believed I was alive as a result of angels and that I would continue to live with the help of angels. Heavenly angels and Earthly 'friend' angels. I poured all my grief and hope into this little angel (about 30cm tall). I molded and twisted, squeezed and stretched that wire - until she emerged. When I had finished I was surprised by her beauty and form - they were not planned, they were consequences of the message and messenger. She came from within.

6 1/2 years on the halo is a little wonky and she gets a little less symmetrical each year, but she is a symbol of hope and of the beginning of my art journey. Oddly, she has had a special place in my home for years and never received a comment (something I had not really noticed) and then in December two first time visitors praised her within days of each other. Oh how my heart sung. Perhaps the timing was right. I am feeling 'normal' for the first time in six or seven years, and I am finding my art pulling me back to wire.