Thursday, December 20, 2007

I am still alive (Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year)

My attempt at subtle humour and a tribute to On Kawara, but yes - I am still alive!!!

It has been a crazy time of ups and downs, of creative bursts and downtime, of frantic essay writing and doing not much at all, of health and the need to recover again.  I have made some stuff I'm really pleased with but in browsing my files tonight to add an image or two, I find I have recorded none of it.  Strange.  Some of what I wanted to show you, I have given away as Christmas presents.  Some of it I can photograph later (when I again have access to a camera - it's away on holidays and I will join it tomorrow afternoon).  But the end result is all I can offer is typed words on an illuminated screen that claim that I am still alive, and say that I truly wish you a happy Christmas and, as I aspire to myself, a VERY good New Year!  

And my next post will be picturesque again - I promise!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Excitement with a stamp on it

Look at this! This gorgeous surprise arrived in my mail box all the way from Janey! She has created this fabric postcard of one of her fabulous drawings by stitching with various machine embroidery stitches onto patterned fabric (ingenious! I would never have thought of that!) and then, it looks to me like she has also added some ink into the mix just to finish it off. THANK YOU JANEY! I love it! And what Janey didn't know was that it arrived just in time for my birthday! And what a lovely birthday I've had. I had a nice one last year - this is the sketch I drew in San Gimignano last birthday.

And a year ago today I went to the Uffizi Gallery in Firenze (Florence, Italy). I LOVE art and (strangely) I love kitch. And I love it when the two coincide. This pencil case is what I bought in the shop at the Uffizi.

I said I've had a lovely birthday this year and here is just a small portion of it...
But the excitement that comes through the mail with a stamp on it won't be ending just yet. For my birthday I'm getting something I'm really excited about, and all I have to do is wait for it to turn up in the mail... Don't worry, you'll be the second to know (after me)!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's that time of the year...

Spring is sprung, the evenings are warm and longer, the smell of mozzie coils fills the air... I find my mind, once again, turns to cocktails...
We've had visitors staying with us for the last week. It has been really great, especially as it resulted in my trying out a couple of new (well, new to my shakin' repertoire) cocktails. While my taste buds really jumped excitedly with the Margarita, the Cosmopolitan was the most popular, even with the guys completely ignoring its stunning shade of deep pink and just plain guzzling them down.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It's my deal...

I'm making a deck of cards. Here is another batch of completed cards. All cards are 3.5" x 2.75" and are drawn on both sides. (Each image shows both the front and the back.) My suits are a little different to the traditional ones. My 'Hearts' suit actually contains other body parts too. My 'Spades' suit used the basic shape of the spade, but turned it into a footprint. My 'Clubs' suit has a variety of objects that are all 'club' shaped. My 'Diamonds' suit is all food; many of the foods have an element of the diamond shape in them, some don't. It's all a bit of fun.

The King of tippy toes

The two of kidneys

The seven of staphylococci

If you missed seeing the other cards previously posted here, click on the 'playing cards' label below or visit my Flickr site and view the Playing Cards Set.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The game goes on...

The five of eyes

The Ace of cobblers

The ten of tangle

Friday, September 28, 2007

A new way to journal

I was filling in a comment form on some wonderful blog or other a couple of nights ago, when the words "Choose an identity" gave me an idea. How wonderful would it be if we could actually do this in the analogue world?!

"Who would I like to be today?" could be a question we could ask ourselves just after the usual "What do I feel like for breakfast?" (or before - bizarre breakfast possibilities are springing to mind.)
But journaling in this way is the only way I've found to transfer this digital possibility to the real world - so far!!! (I'd kinda like a stamp made of this to make it easier to do on a daily basis...)

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Remember the new journal I started? The one from Firenze (Florence, Italy)? Well, if you missed it, or you've forgotten you can check it out on Notebookism. Wow. Yes, really. My new journal is on Notebookism!

(You could just scroll down to see it, you know, but that would take all the fun out of seeing it on Notebookism.)

Thanks Armand!

When I was a little girl...

Monday, September 17, 2007

EDM Challenge #14 - Draw what you see in the morning

This is my view when I look up in bed. It looks like a funny face to me.

EDM Challenge #19 - Draw something you've made

On the little wire table on our bedroom balcony is the ceramic sculpture I made of Gaia. She lies, each part of her body is a world in itself, gazing at the world she holds in the palm of her hand - planet Earth. She never looks away.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Spider bite*Cellulitis*Shingles

I am slowly getting there. Very slowly. Still struggling with fatigue all the time. My shingles are still in the 'active' stage nearly 5 weeks after they erupted (along with cellulitis, as a result of a spider bite on my forehead). I didn't intend to harp on about it here, but I've been very surprised to find that this trifecta of mine is not an isolated occurrence. In checking my site stats I've seen several occasions when my blog was visited by people searching a combination of these ailments! So I thought I'd post just a little about what I'm doing about it and how I'm going.

The week before the bite I was feeling very well, culminating on the actual day of the bite with feeling positively great! I'd been eating well, exercising, I was happy and looking forward to the future. My research tells me that a spider bite will only cause consequential cellulitis and/or shingles if your immune system is already low. I don't have a fabulously strong immune system, but it was at its peak at the time. Some alternative health practitioners I've spoken to have said that the bite itself is enough to affront our immunes; when you think about what spiders eat, they must be filthy and then there is the added burden of the injected toxins.
The cellulitis was fixed by a couple of days of IV antibiotics. The shingles has remained and been slow to progress. It has traveled from the site on my left forehead, up across the top of my head, down to the top of the back of my neck and now across to the right side of my head near my ear. I have been lucky that the early medical intervention involved anti-viral drugs which has meant I haven't had to suffer the awful neuralgia most shingles attacks bring.

But its been weeks of extreme fatigue, headaches, itchiness and hot and cold flushes. I am having Kinesiology treatments and have taken homeopathic remedies, but right now I've settled into a routine of taking mix of 5mls of an astragalus herbal tonic and 5mls of olive leaf extract with a little juice and following that with a liquid mineral supplement in a glass of water. I take this 1/2 hour before breakfast and lunch. With my breakfast I take 1000mg of vitamin C, a womens formula multi vitamin (chosen because it includes extra B vitamins), 5mg of folate and 'good bacteria' capsule. I'm contemplating adding a l-lysine supplement to the regime. At lunch and dinner I take additional 1000mg vitamin C's. I also take paracetamol with each meal because I find it makes me more comfortable. I'm eating lots of vegetables, eggs, cheese, beef, chicken, fish, legumes and yoghurt while avoiding nuts, seeds, dried fruit, wholegrain bread, chocolate, coconut, oats, brown rice and soy products because of the amino acids in each group of foods. And I'm drinking St Johns Wort tea and lemon balm tea because both are have good antiviral actions. Both also promote an anxiety free state of mind, which is helpful as stress is also a factor in shingles (Wisdom of Healing has an interesting article). And the last few days I think I'm finally beginning to see the benefits of all this with a slight improvement in most symptoms in spite of more spots still emerging.

I've started ANOTHER journal...

I bought this book in Firenze (Florence, Italy) on my last day there last year. To be honest, I found Firenze a bit of a shock. So old, the streets so narrow and twisting, the architectural and artistic 'icons' all squashed into the tiny Medieval space. I guess it was my Australian sensibility kicking in, but I had expected to be able to stand back and look at the sites, but in Firenze the only way you get to see anything is by looking up, or so it seemed to me. We were staying right in the heart of the old city, a stones throw from the Duomo. Our street was incredibly narrow but our hotel was fabulously extravagant - perfect for Firenze.But, back to the book. I have always loved the fleur-de-lis symbol. I really wanted a full-on Firenze souvenir with it on. But I couldn't choose. I left it, thinking the perfect souvenir would present itself to me, but on the last day I was still undecided although I did know it needed to be something in leather. I had seen a book like this but with an attached cover. I liked it, but knew the 'pressure' of what to put in it would be too much for me and I'd never use it. Then I found this one with a reusable cover. I could replicate the book itself with my bookbinding skills later. The pressure was off. I could write or draw in a book that could be replaced with a new one in its fabulous cover. "I'll take this one!" (My Italian is nonexistent.)But, up until last week I could never bring myself to use it anyway! I have many journals in current usage, but the temptation is always very strong to start another. I love books! I started this one off with writing down all my most recent 'ideas'. (I have a lot of ideas. I often don't write them down which is always a mistake.)Then I began to be a little disappointed with the black writing on every page, no colour, so I thought I'd try a quick sketch to see how the paper held up. It's not designed to be a sketchbook.I'm surprised how much I like the format of the book. It is a delightful size. It's thick, has substance but isn't too big. It's light and robust and the paper is lovely to write and draw on in spite of its thinness and slight translucency. I'm looking forward to seeing "lived in" signs on its leather cover. It will only help to make me love it more.

Post edited 17.9.2007
I've realised I can claim the mozzie coil drawing as EDM Challenge #59 - Draw a sign of spring.
And I can claim the apple one as EDM Challenge #24 - Draw a piece of fruit.
And the herbs as EDM Challenge #136 - Draw something that's alive.
Yay! It's good to be getting some more challenges done!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Indecisions, Indecisions, Indecisions.

The 8 of indecision

Walter from Thousand Sketches was kind enough to ask about the making of my cards. I have made a stack of blank cards out of my current favourite paper - Art Spectrum 'Draw & Wash' (210gsm acid free, fine tooth for dry media, specially sized for wet media). It comes in 230mm x 320mm pads of 30 sheets and it is reasonably priced. I have used this paper for printing (without a press) where I found it picked up the ink the best and didn't need soaking. And I've used it in bookbinding and various drawing projects. It comes in a rough finish too; I have a pad but haven't tried it yet.

Walter also asked if they were ACEO's. Well, I don't know. When I was deciding what dimensions to make the cards I did look at ATC and ACEO websites to see what dimensions they used. I decided it would be easier to use the standard format for these cards so I cut my paper into 3.5" x 2.5" cards. (How can thousands of artists worldwide be wrong?)

The 7 of Samba

I was instantly disappointed with the look of the cards. They NEED round corners. I NEED them to have round corners. It became just a touch of obsession really. In spite of being unwell, I had to go straight out and find a way to make those seductively perfectly rounded corners. I actually had to visit a couple of shops before I found my new favourite thing - my rounded corner punch. I must admit the obsession didn't end there. Over the next few days all the junk mail, catalogues, even a few bills - everything in my house really, ended up with rounded corners!

The time had come to make my first card. I still wasn't sure what it was going to look like. I got out my playing cards for a little inspiration. I decided to maintain the format of the original cards so with my little ruler I measured carefully across to locate my images in the same spots as the original... and guess what... my playing cards are 3.5" x 2.25"!!! Back to those ATC sites... it even says you can use playing cards as a foundation. (?) Does this mean playing cards in Australia are different to cards from other parts of the world? And no, I don't just have one strange pack of cards. I have many (we love games here) and they are all the same size. Oh well, I don't really mind. It gives me a little more space to draw which is good as I'm not really that adept at drawing very small.

The Jack of Judgement

Friday, September 07, 2007

Death of the Heart (and a couple of Spades)

In my uni course I'm reading Roland Barthes 'Death of the Author'.

The 2 of splits

Meaning is made in the seeing not in the drawing.

The 3 of hopping

It's all in the context of the seeing.

The 3 of thought bubbles

Truthfully, I can't tell you these aren't Hearts and Spades.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

...but while I'm mid-worry, it certainly feels like I'm alone.

You've might have noticed I've been a bit sick lately - and it has affected my creative output. And you may have noticed I'm busy with my study - and it has affected my creative output. You probably haven't noticed that I'm racked by doubts (because I purposefully try to keep that well hidden) - and it has affected my creative output. I guess I could say that having a job - has affected my creative output. And I could add having a brain (thinking about all this way too much) - has definitely affected my creative output. But, think about it too much, I do. (Truthfully I think these are all excuses.) What do you think?

Well first, if you like, you can have a look at what other people think here in an article on this very subject on Notebookism. (The video is a gem!) This proves what I've known for a long time - that I'm not alone in worrying about what I create. But while I'm mid-worry, it certainly feels like I'm alone. Is it good enough? The idea was so great, can the work do it justice? Where will I start? What will I do to finish it? Hang on, isn't the problem that the idea was crap to start with? And then it begins again.

Eventually I become creatively crippled, unable to do anything at all. Again.

The four of Mexican Standoff

I've done The Artist's Way, The War of Art, Trust the Process and several of Eric Maisel'sexcellent books and programs to break blocks and stimulate joyful and plentiful creating. All of these books have helped me enormously, some more than others, but ultimately they have helped me get through periods of block in the past. But here I am again. Does it mean these authors and their ideas have failed me? Or does it mean I have failed myself - again?

Actually, I'm not that pessimistic. I have experienced it enough to know that if I keep looking I will find the way out. Maybe it will be through one of these books again. Maybe it will be by trawling through thousands of images on Flickr, looking for inspiration. Maybe it will, by some miracle, be spontaneous. But I know I will get there. I am getting there.

The five of hopscotch

In a lot of the stuff I've read it is recommended that trying to recapture a child-like approach to creating helps. In the past I've taken this to mean doing child-like things, like drawing with crayon and textas or leaving detail well enough alone, maybe adding some gold star stickers. It was a lot of fun, but it hasn't really left me feeling creatively fulfilled. The search for that fulfillment remained an empty feeling in the back of my brain.

But this time, for some reason, the actual meaning of recapturing that child-like approach hit home. Not recapturing someone else's child-likeness! (Duh!) But recapturing my own child-ways of creating. As a child I did like to paint and draw, but what I really loved was making things. If I wanted something and I didn't have it I would make it out of cardboard, paper and wool! Aaah, thinking about those wild and free days of creativity is like drinking from a mountain spring to me.

The six of strangers

So that is what all these cards are about. I'm making something I don't have and I'm making them out of paper. (Actually, I have plenty of playing cards. But I'm not letting that stop me - I don't have any like these!) I'm not worrying about why I'm making them, I'm just embracing that creative spirit I remember and going with it. And I'm loving it!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Go Fish

I'm really enjoying doing these cards. It is so nice to be drawing again after such a long break. Let me introduce you to The King of Lollypops, Ten of Brains, and The Four of Cauliflowers.
And these are the backs of them. Yes, I think I will see if I can do a whole deck. Not sure how much fun they would be to play with though. But they look good. (For some reason my scans are a little yucky.)

Not much of a hand

Inspired by these cards, I decided to make my own cards. On the left we have the Three of Apple Trees, in the centre there is the Nineteen of Spots and on the right is the Nine of Cha Cha Cha. And these are their backs.
I've had such a lovely time drawing these today. Finally having a 'good' day in my recovery process. My attention span was just long enough to scratch these out with pigment and pitt pens. It's raining outside and turned cool again, so it was the perfect day for this kind of linear meditation.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Flies, spiders and other pesky situations

This is my first attempt at animation, done on Flipbook!
which is now part of Benettonplay! Toybox
I only found this site today, and this was done on the trackpad of my laptop
(that is my excuse for the wobbly bits).

After creating 'Louey and I', I realised
I could use Flipbook! to explain my long absence from my spare time.
So here goes... (I'll use my mouse this time...)

I'm recovering but it is slow. I have no idea what type of spider bit me, and the doctors didn't need to know. The spider bite caused cellulitis and provoked shingles. I spent 48 hours on IV antibiotics and a week popping all kinds of medications. It has left me weak and fatigued. I've been off work for weeks now! To get better I'm now having vitamin B12 injections, taking an array of vitamins and minerals, eating really well and visiting my Kinesiologist. With all that I should be back and bouncing really soon!

P.S. My template is in flux and all because I really wanted
one of those "older posts" links at the bottom of the page. Bear with me.
I will get it done, but it is a lot of work, and I need a rest now.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Roly movie on YouTube!

Want to see more of my gorgeous Roly? (It's short for Roland, which sounds like a movie stars name to me!)
You might remember a couple of months back I got my first laptop and my first Mac all in one sexy piece - MacBook Pro. I've had a dabble with iMovie and what other subject could I choose? Here is Roly's first stab at international stardom.
If it hasn't already loaded, just wait a moment and it will appear in the space below. It's worth the wait. No, really, it is!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Barking at Shadows

Really that is just an attempt at a 'catchy' title. There is no actual barking or shadows in this post. Instead I've gone back into my own archives to get some dog portraits I did a couple of years ago. Of course there is the stunningly handsome "Roly" up first. He is my number one dog!

I really like this next one. Of course his name is "Buster". What else could it be?
At the time I was experimenting with using a standard size square canvas and using multiples of that for the various size paintings.

Up next is "Brandy". At the time I painted this, Brandy was a pup who had transformed his owners lives. He really does have that little Hitler mustache, but I purposefully included the devil horns in the shadow of his head. A little artistic license.

And here is "Freddy". I've never met a more gentle and affectionate dog. He lived across the road until recently when he passed on. He was a Briard. And very gorgeous with it.

And this handsome man is "Sandy". I had painted his master and when I was looking for subjects I had a stab at Sandy. He just doesn't sit still for a second. He is also a really interesting colour. Yes he is sandy, but the tips of each hair/fur is charcoal.
I really do hope I'll have something new to add here soon, but I just don't know if I will. I took a break, yes. But I had no idea it would extend itself. I am now starting to realise I was pretty burnt out. I do feel myself improving and I am enjoying myself, but not in a drawing or painting way. Would you like to see some photos of the fabulous food I'm cooking, the shirt I'm sewing or maybe a board game shot? Because that does seem to be all I'm doing at the moment.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


This is a drawing I did earlier this year. It is of my daughter's bedroom. It's ink done with big brushes on a large sheet of paper (A1). I'm posting this because I'm working slowly at the moment and don't have anything finished yet to show.

I've had a lovely few weeks with separate visits from my two daughters. We've had a lovely time including playing a lot of board games. We are big on board games here and have recently begun playing Carcassonne. Lots of fun.

Friday, July 13, 2007

For Janey (You can look too if you like)

In my break away from blogging and art I made my first patchwork quilt. I have had the fabric for ages and the project was firmly in my "one day" basket. But a visit from my daughter who loves to sew and wanted to show me how to make a quilt, meant that I actually have made a quilt!

I'm actually a little disappointed in the intensity of the colours now it's all together - I thought they would look brighter. They are actually more subdued than shows in these photos. They aren't dull! But they don't 'pop'. As a result I've discovered I prefer the look of the quilt folded. (I've always secretly loved folded quilts and I've found out I'm not alone!) So you only get to see it that way. Also it's a little to big to photograph easily as it is a generous single bed size. And you get to see it here thanks to Janey who asked so nicely!

On the art front, I have started painting again (phew!) but nothing to show just yet.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 too much chocolate

I think I just needed a break from everything. I was a bit surprised myself. After I finished my submissions for my art course, got healthy again, no visitors, no major commitments, I thought I'd be drawing and blogging up a storm. But no. It does feel a bit like when you eat too much chocolate. You know, it was sooooo good and you didn't want to stop, but you really just had to. The end result for me is this little break in my blogging output. It won't be for long though. I promise.

And speaking of sweet things - how sweet is this! This fine artwork has actually been drawn by someone who I would never have guessed would dabble with a pen. The keyboard is firmly his friend. But here it is. And furthermore, he did it to brighten our day at work. What a lovely surprise. And regulars to my blog may almost recognise him. He visits here from time to time leaving strange comments. His cybername is something indecipherable and starts with "A". Maybe he'll leave a comment this time.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Do you know 'Notebookism?'

If you don't know of the great site Notebookism, you should definitely check it out, and not just because it is such an interesting site where stationery lust is paramount, but because they have been nice enough to feature my 'Tidarithms' artist's book. This is the fourth time Armand has been nice enough to post about one of my books. If you missed seeing my book before click here or here to see the Notebookism article about my book. If you would like to see more images of my book (on Flickr) click here. And if you missed the other rebound books click here and scroll down, and artist's books click here and scroll down..

Monday, June 04, 2007

Drawing up a storm

These two drawings were done as part of my drawing course. This one, "Warming to Warming" is a satirical look at the issue of climate change. I was thinking about how ridiculous some of the politicians 'solutions' seem; the 'solution' you have when you're not having a solution. I began to extrapolate that ridiculousness. I came up with the idea that if we could get used to the problem, and even work with the pollution to create a new kind of beauty - decorative smog - that would be a 'solution' too."Grey Greenhouse" is a work with similar inspiration. I found a recent quote from Prime Minister John Howard - "...economic growth should take precedence over emissions cuts". I silhouetted key words from this quote with smog coloured paint and added some of the 'decoration' I had included in the above drawing. These images were then cut up and shuffled in an effort to emulate political process.
Both of these drawings were done on pages removed from an old book from the "Teach Yourself Building" series, JE MacFarlane's 1945 "Electricity in the House".

In the news yesterday, John Howard promised to commit to greenhouse gas targets - after the election! Seems my artistic motivation wasn't too far from some kind of twisted reality.