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.