#myindigoobsession


Last year I started having some sessions with a counsellor. It was during my blue period. I was experiencing a very strong attraction to dark, indigo blues. My paintings were being pulled in that direction. I seemed to be drawn to dark blue fabrics and items #myindigoobsession Indigo, cyan, navy, cobalt, azure, cerulean. Even the names of the blue pigments attracted me; their mellifluous sounds haunted my mind.

all artworks my originals


I found myself nesting, actually curling up on the couch pulling the soft blankets in on top of me. The television may have been turned on but I wasn’t. Books couldn’t hold my gaze; their words raindrops beading on my skin. I avoided phone calls and even refused to read text messages or emails. Bailing on prior commitments, I found the clutter of people draining. I attended my job in automatic mode, flicking the switch that would shut off 8 hours later when I crawled back into my nest. The bills still needed to be paid even if I didn’t feel up to it.


I don’t precisely recall who or what finally made me phone the counselling service but I did and a session was set for 5 weeks time. Five weeks could have seemed an aeon away but knowing it was booked in was a comforting thought. Day by day, the five weeks passed.

There’s an odd thing about counselling sessions. Two strangers sit opposite each other in a neutrally aesthetic room on chairs that at first seem comfortable, and one opens the flood gates on the issues at hand. I can see the counsellor sifting through the oncoming waters trying to pick up the pieces of a jigsaw without knowing what the final image looks like.

My counsellor (we’ll call her Kate cause that’s her name) seemed to know when to raise the levy so we could more intimately discuss a point. Knowing the right question to stop me in my tracks, she was adept at asking questions I didn’t know how to answer. One thing I’ve discovered about myself over the years of journaling is that I have a gestation period of roughly 24 hours. I need time to digest an idea and roll it over in my sub-conscious before I can formulate my response. Even when I was dating I found that I didn’t really know how I felt about someone until the next day. Counselling appeared to be similar. The next day, I could articulate what had taken place but straight afterwards, my head was in the clouds.

I managed to get some great clarity on a few issues during our sessions. I may have made the initial appointment after some depressed episodes but we never directly dealt with depression. By discussing a variety of issues, I suspect we dismantled the depression brick by brick bringing the sunshine back in.

Whilst many of my friends may not have ever known that I suffered from depression, which in and of itself can be a trigger word, I have discovered that by talking and writing about it fears of stigma have blown away. It is precisely people like me who are bubbly, talkative and energetic on the outside who others don’t suspect would suffer from anxiety and depressive episodes. We can. We do. I guess that’s the point. I don’t know how I got lost but I talked to a professional, I took it easy on myself and I climbed out of my nest ready to face the world. I still like my indigo blues and find it grounds my visual art but I’m no longer stuck in my indigo obsession.

thinking back

I married at age 19. It was 1991 and it most certainly was not because it was what I was supposed to do. It was more likely because it was I wasn’t supposed to do. Marriage as an act of rebellion. Why not?

Rebellion is even too strong a word. As a piece of performance art – very possibly. Not because I was bored – I wasn’t. Not because I came from ‘a bad home’ – I didn’t.  In truth, right then I really loved the fella. I could see us doing everything together (possibly not great in retrospect but ain’t hindsight grand). He was my best friend. I felt very much myself with him. I liked myself with him. I liked who I was, how I felt and acted. It was comforting to be with him. I enjoyed his company one on one and also in groups. I didn’t anticipate any insurmountable problems.

 I grew up very much in middle suburbia. The house I grew up in was built for my parents in a court where all the houses were completed in a similar period of time, many with young families. There were lots of kids running around that my two brothers my sister and I could choose to play with. The court had a gentle and a steep incline that we could skateboard, ride our bikes as well as a large round flat area at the head of the court on which play all types of ball games. There was even a large vacant block which provided many abseiling, climbing and cherry eating adventures. It was the era before gluten free, nut free and ethically produced snacks.  When you look at it, those cherries we pulled off the trees were locally sourced, organic, nut free, gluten free snacks.  I never felt my parents were hovering over us watching our every move, though I’m not saying the large lounge room windows that looked smack bang out onto the middle of the court never saw my mum’s eye.

I attended the local primary school following in the footsteps of my three older siblings, sometimes literally as we walked the 700m to school. I had to use Google maps to check how far and how long the trip took because I couldn’t have guessed if we took 10 or 20 minutes to get to school. Google maps says 9 minutes, for the record. It was, in general, a perfect neighbourhood primary school. It backed on to the local park which had a large, shallow, muddy lake to one side. Certain teachers would use this convenient resource to ground our learning in the real world.

I remember once being chosen to be on the committee of kids to tour other local schools and test out their play equipment for our newly proposed adventure playground. It was such a prestigious position. Kids were chosen from each year level to survey the equipment, shortlist particular pieces and which were then put to the school council to finalise. At least, that’s how I remember it. Imagine the excitement of being let out of class, whilst your fellow students had to stay inside completing some scholarly exercises.  All the time, we were ferried around a few local schools to play on their equipment whilst their students were also in class. One rocketship/tunnel/fort – no waiting!

We played sport on weekends. We took regular holidays around country Victoria with all 6 of us piled in the car. As I was the youngest and the smallest, I usually was stuck on the front bench seat between mum and dad. I do recall straining my neck trying to be part of whatever was going on in the back. As we got older, my parents bought a beach house on the Mornington Peninsula opposite the area where we’d always camped each summer holidays. The afternoon of December 25, we’d pack up the car and drive the 90 minutes or so down to the beach house. Of course, summers then seemed almost endless. Not returning home until the start of February, days and dates lost their significance. It was only the weather that would shape the day’s activity schedule.

There were boats to be sailed, boats to go fishing from and boats to take on trips out around the bay. There were walks up to the lighthouse, if you only wanted a little walk or up to the pier if you wanted exercise or a chance at a private conversation. Plenty of scrub to hide and muck about in. Wet weather days meant jigsaws, books from the everchanging in and out bookshelf or maybe a trip out to the movies or bowling. There was a great little book store called The Hole in the Wall where they sold and bought second hand books for a couple of dollars. It was cool in the dark recesses of this tiny space. So many books piled high with hand written labels on the shelves letting you know if the section was Western Adventures, Biographies or Mills and Boon Romance novels (bleurgh). The shop even had its own particular smell.

To be continued

long time no see..

So I’ve been a bit busy lately. Who am I kidding ? I’m always busy between paid work, family and art.

I recently finished a series of 12 small watercolour pieces based upon scenes from the Yarra Valley and its wine. They will be featured by the Australian Wine Tour Company over the next few months on their website (link here) and social media. It’s been a great experience working with them and clearly a subject I am passionate about after 12 years working in the Yarra Valley and many more years imbibing.

I also took part in an online course (#etsyresolution) to revamp and make the most out of my etsy shop (link here). I learnt about SEO, call to actions, tagging and so much more.

Subsequently I’ve also put more effort into my Instagram  account (link here) .

To celebrate my new found self-education, I’m offering a 10% discount (excluding shipping) when you spend over $20 in my etsy shop. Just use the code “BLOG10” to receive your discount.

Painting en plein air

I’ve a great travel set of watercolours and am enjoying discovering the pleasures of painting in the open. I recognise it is quite the established tradition but I’m a newcomer to it.

A little tweaking when I got home but most of the work was captured on site.

I don’t belong here


I’m living in the wrong place; somehow it just happened. One thing lead to another and there you go – I’m living in a place to which I don’t belong. Please don’t misinterpret me. I love my house. I have friends in the local area. There are some great shops, cafes and public transport within waling distance. It’s visually pleasing, mostly quiet and I’ve mostly good neighbours.  It’s just that I don’t belong here.

I don’t feel like these are my people. I often find myself at odds when discussing ideas or issues. The main thrust of my artwork usually gets greeted with raised eyebrows and an open mouth. Worse – I find myself censoring what I show and (here’s the real kicker) even what I create.

This isn’t where I want to be – literally.
For now, I’ll stay – due to ties that have a natural limited lifespan.

Good thing that I dwell in two places. I also have a part time inner city abode. The vitality and fast pace I find in my other home stimulates and energises me. I appreciate this dual living for how it sustains me for now.

Next big thing

This last weekend I was fortunate to share in a delightful reunion of our mothers group that was first formed over 16 years ago. What follows below is my response to a conversation that inspired after a vino or three. We were discussing how supported we all felt when we had our wee ones and would bring any issues to our mothers’ group. Our eldest kids are now 16 years of age but that kind of supportive environment is never redundant. 

Most of us are blessed to be in a position to explore new directions right now. It transpired though that being somewhat accountable could help push us along to reach new goals.


So we have given ourselves six months to achieve our personal, self-set goals.


Below is what I have submitted. 

What?


to explore mediums other than painting acrylics on canvas
to explore ‘vessel’ – the term, what it looks like, feels like etc

How?

I know it’s vague but, for me, that’s how I roll artistically/creatively. When I start I only have an indistinct idea. I’ve tried starting with clearer thoughts of the end product but it only constricts me, doesn’t allow me free reign and I pretty much always end up dispirited and disappointed. 
I need freedom to play, to explore… to be wrong.

Practical steps
I’m planning to partake in open pottery sessions at my local Living and Learning centre 
I’m re-visiting my love of crochet – some pieces will be stiffened with the use of a simple sugar syrup (combining my foodie bent?)
I’m planning to play with paper-mache and see where that takes me.

Why?

I had a dream that I created milky porcelain vessels, held in both hands they were supped from.
They were almost breast shaped (doesn’t take a genius to see connection there) though slightly almond, tear-drop shaped also. 


Anyway – that’s my two-cents worth.

I’m planning on collating everyone’s ideas/plans and sharing them amongst us all as I don’t wish to be the keeper of information but rather a co-facilitator. We shall all hold each others’ ideas amongst us as a group.Many years ago we nurtured each others’ children. Now we can nurture each others’ ideas. What beautiful symmetry!


What feeds me

How do I feel? Actually I feel very calm. Possibly it’s just asking a deeply hidden anxiety but I don’t think so. I’ve done the work so really there’s nothing more to do right now but cruise into it all.

I’ve been asked to sift through and find some items to place into a cabinet in order to add to my story

          Things that inspire me
          Things that I need
          Things that I write
          Things that I read
          Things I draw
          Things that I play with
          Things I think about

Clearly my blog is all part of this too but I can’t exactly put that inside a glass cabinet. This evening I’ve fished out some old sketch books and marked some pages that I think will work.

I did enjoy the process of hanging and found it all relatively painless. I can see that the miniscule changes could become irritating after awhile but for me the novelty of my first hang was all good.

It’s a gorgeous space in and of itself which doesn’t hurt my euphoria (plus a stunning autumn day). In fact, I did wonder if it being such a classic beauty of a space might overwhelm my work but I felt right in the space.

This afternoon since I got home, I’ve just been taking it easy. I’m in a very relaxed positive mood and one thing I love to take my time doing is to cook. There’s quite a satisfaction to be had in preparing food. My mother had given me home-grown Jerusalem artichokes straight from the garden. Into the sink they went to help ease the dirt from their skin. As I began to peel them with what may have been the world’s sharpest peeler (most fingernails are intact…) I delighted at how fresh they were. Thanks mum! An entire Paul Kelly cd’s worth of songs later and they were peeled, clean, sliced and caramelising nicely in my new copper pan with lashings of organic butter and sprigs of thyme from my front garden. Adding half a litre of vegetable stock and before you know it, a batch of delicious homemade soup for my fridge and a batch for my freezer.

So the link here is that good seasonal produce, mindful preparation and satisfaction of the senses all feed my art and fortunately at the same time – my belly

art darts


I’d like to tell you a story….

I felt that I was stalling a few weeks ago. Was it some metaphysical block that I wasn’t even aware of? I phoned a friend..we talked and she ran me through a few scenarios..trying to lead me to what she felt was super obvious. It’s time I took the next step art-wise and get serious about earning income from my work. She suggested to me that I ask the universe for a very clear sign as to what my next move should be that would help me financially. So I did as she posited and that evening when I went online and typed in ‘art awards melbourne’ the first item in the search result was ‘Kennedy Art Prize’. OMG! If that was not an incredibly clear sign, then I’m a monkey’s uncle…

That was a few weeks ago and I’m furiously submitting here, there and everywhere. I call it throwing art darts. It feels like throwing a dart out there into the big bad art world. Who knows what it might hit…

I’m excited, exhausted and at times over-whelmed.
I’m in the process of submitting my work for all sorts of gallery exhibitions and art awards. I’m learning a lot I.T. wise and getting all professional about myself as an artist. I’m not looking to make myself rich but it would be nice to earn more than I spend on materials. 

I’ll post any developments here as well as on my Facebook art page. Please support these galleries/institutions as that’s how the circle of art/life survives.

I do have a spot in a group show entitled ‘Nude’ 17th October -8th November 2014 at the Beth Hulme Gallery in Fitzroy North. 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Beth-Hulme-Gallery-Studio/369818639726064?fref=ts

I’ll remind you all closer to the time. In the meanwhile, keep up the good work, peeps!