Desire


DESIRE
It can waste away – unused
Fade gently
Die quickly
Rise sharply
Slow burn to an intense high
Peak too soon
Be a passing phase
Make you wonder if it existed at all
Ensnare you brain
Ensnare your body
Confuse your mind
Delight your senses
Enliven your skin
Quicken your pulse
Scare your sensitivities
Challenge your pre-conceptions
Spark your creativity
Get your juices flowing
Lead you into the unknown, down unlit pathways, around blind corners and dump you terrified centre-stage with eyes of strangers upon you



Day two of being a goddess

Glowing like a goddess from my facial I realise that I mistimed the whole lunch nap thing and emerge from the spa room bleary eyed from the bliss state of being pampered and find my way to the lunch table. Hair askew with moisturising cream in the roots around the edge of my face, I’m instantly glad of the women only casual in house atmosphere. Joining me at the long table are goddesses still in their bathers and sarongs and those in the robes also direct from some spa treatment.

Changing my seat location at every meal I’m trying to not get caught talking to the same lovely ladies, with but engage with some quieter types or those who came with another. As I am attending this retreat with my sister, some expect us to do everything together but we can talk to each other anytime in Melbourne so we are both more likely to seek out new friends in the making. Today’s food is to be Indonesian and Nadine is excited to learn it will be Gado gado for lunch. Hailing from South-east Asia originally herself, it is a dish she was hoping to seek out. The resort brought it to her. Essentially a salad with bean shoots, tomato, green beans, tofu and hardboiled egg with a spicy peanut dressing. It is both cleansing and filling at once. Local tea with lemon is a refreshing accompaniment.

Satiated from lunch I retire to those inviting big white couches to contemplate a post-lunch nap seeing as my pre-lunch one didn’t eventuate. My phone alarm sounds as I realise that my time for the antioxidant green tea and honey scrub and massage is now. When fitting in a nap is the trickiest thing for the day, I decide that things are pretty damn good. Leaving my things where they are, I walk a dozen paces barefoot to the air-conditioned spa rooms upstairs above the yoga room.

My spa treatment this afternoon is courtesy of Yeni. I’ve had her before when I had the facial this morning.  Her thin, supple fingers are surprisingly strong and she manipulates my limbs and muscles easily. My body is engaged and so my mind wanders. I wonder if her loved ones ever get to experience these magic fingers. Often the builder’s house is never finished just as the chef never cooks meals at home. She leans in close and whispers into my ears. “Excuse me, Miss”. It is enough for me to know how this progresses and I roll over onto my back whilst she raises the thin batik printed sarong of brilliant blues to preserve my modesty.

On the bed in the next curtained massage zone are the sounds of the heated lava stones being moved firmly in long strokes along the body of another goddess. At first, my mind guessed that someone was playing billiards. The solid clicks as they meet along acupressure points, took my mind unwillingly to a billiard table. Heavy solid coloured balls rolling along the felt meeting in all the wrong spots. Improved circulation and not a gambling debt was the intended of outcome of the Sacred Stone Masssage.

After the initial massage Yeni applies a rough scrub of crushed dried green tea leaves and local jungle bee honey, she lets this rest on my skin then slowly rubs it in and off with long firm strokes. A grand mess is no doubt made all over the shiny white tiled floor than she will sweep clean later. Floors are swept and mopped every day and sometimes multiple times a day. This whole environment is neat and clean but it never feels overly pristine and alienating. I have trouble relaxing in a place where I feel that I am the messiest part. The retreat facilitators generally walk around barefoot and that immediately sets a relaxed vibe to the place.

Invigorated and revitalised, I am sent on my way with instructions to shower the remainder of the scrub off. Instinctively I go to smell my arm and it is sweet and almost fruity. I’ll skip the tasting bit. Our shower is a large flat rain head of a shower set over pale tiles surrounded by a bed of smooth river stones. A large potted palm in the corner adds to the understated luxury. The heat and humidity of Bali in February mean that I find myself here multiple times a day. Straight into my still wet bathers and into the pool I dive, two steps from our door so no sarong is required.

The intoxicating smell of frying and pounding of spices and herbs which emanates from the open sided kitchen has stimulated my stomach and I figure out that dinner is two and a half hours away. I ask the very accommodating kitchen staff for a plate of freshly prepared fruit. So colourful and tasty, I am brought lychee, mangosteen, papaya, mango, banana and watermelon with a couple of wedges of the small juicy limes that seem to accompany everything here. Squeezed over the flesh just before consuming, it lifts the tone to a slightly higher level. These tropical fruits cannot even be purchased in Melbourne in this good and ripe a condition. 

What is my art practice about?

What is my art practice about? This is a question which I’m occasionally forced to address, usually when filling out those dreaded exhibition proposals.

I’ll start from the points I easily know and perhaps by pegging those down a shape may emerge.

I’m obsessed with the human female form. Yes I am one so that helps but also I strongly feel that there is too much public representation of a very narrow set of female figures. I’m adding my voice to the story. I can’t single-handedly readjust this direction but through using my family and friends, though generally myself primarily, as model for a lot of my work, but I am widening the canon.

All artworks my original
I am a sex positive person. I do not believe sex is a dirty, secretive thing. It is a pleasure that we humans can and should enjoy. I am conscious of being a strong role model for my two daughters. A large part of sex for women is how they feel about their bodies. Extrapolate this idea further -if they don’t see their bodies represented as an idea of beauty, they may easily not innately know that they are beautiful and furthermore acceptable.

I am sure that I also paint myself as a larger body for my own well being. Putting my form on the canvas separates the end product from me as a person so I never truly feel that it is exactly me. It’s not me. It’s a view of me but it’s not me. I don’t know if it’s narcissistic. I feel quite divorced when I’m applying the pigment. Lines and curves, tone and colour are all I see. Posting images on social media doesn’t even feel like exposure.

I say all this and yet to some degree I occasionally get self-conscious when someone in a public gallery asks if I was the model for a particular piece.
No doubt to a degree part of my way of working involves arrogance. I have to show some bravado that I know what I’m doing. My lack of formal art school training rears its ugly head every now and then but I’m not really interested in spending multiple thousands of dollars for something which may or may not benefit me. A friend started studying art formally a few years ago and she learnt a slew of practice how to information which I think could be very useful. The next section of her education was more cerebral and that’s where it lost me. A lot of conceptual art passes me right by.

When I start a piece I don’t always know where it is going. I have an idea that may or may not pan out. It’s generally more interesting when things don’t go to plan. In fact, I like it when things go ‘wrong’ either from a technical point of view, compositionally or due to other factors. It forces me to come at it from a different angle. 

I know that I’m talking around the thing that is my art practice. I find it very difficult to easily answer the question. In fact, I’m not sure I even really know the question. Perhaps that is part of where I get lost. My art practice is mostly exploration – what it is like being a woman in this time, with my unique set of experiences yet drawing on some universal themes that others, not only those who identify as female, can relate to.

Viciously Dating

It is often said that you meet people for a reason. Well over my 7 years of vicious dating, I met many people. I tried dating in all its many glorious forms.

 First of all I signed up to RSVP which is a well advertised and from my understanding a well patronised online dating site. My best friend at the time ( and luckily for me and her she still is) signed me up over a bottle or more of Sav Blanc. I say it was due to her superior typing and word skills that she did the finger work. Either that or shall was experimenting vicariously through me. … So what to say of those times? I met some lovely people a few of which are still Facebook friends or more. I chatted with some interesting chaps who I’m sure were perfect for someone else – just not me. I interacted with some downright dodgy characters who didn’t even graduate to getting my phone number.

Tired from the effort I thought I needed something which skipped the list keeping stage and jumped straight to the ‘do we have chemistry?’ stage. Speed Dating! Convinced by same said friend, one Sunday afternoon we went speed dating. She swore that friends of hers had done it, had fun and connected with some lovely gentlemen. Well, not one of those lovely gentlemen, were in our session. It appears that we scored the tradies from Narre Warren whose leisure activities stretched as wide as watching tv lounging on the couch whilst drinking beer to huntin’, shootin’ AND fishin’.  

I devoured a few of those popular paperbacks “He’s Just Not That Into You” dating rules and how to find Mr Right kind of books. I turned up looking good even when I didn’t necessarily felt like it. I kept my eyes open to men in all circumstances even in the local fruit shop. And one day whilst waiting in a popular Melbourne restaurant for a friend (I’m always early. In fact if I’m late it just means that I’m on time)I met a man who I spent 14 months with. This was what I termed an organic meeting – all chemistry and no list ticking. He wasn’t Mr Perfect. In fact he probably wasn’t even Mr Halfway-there. We had fun together. We both liked good food and good wine and good movies. I always knew it wasn’t forever but it sure was a fun 14 months.

I even went clubbing with friends which only reinforced that it wasn’t my scene. I have trouble concentrating with background noise, always have. As a mother of 2 teenage daughters, I sincerely doubt that Mr Right or even Mr Almost Right was going to be hanging out in a noisy doof doof club.

So I figured it was back to online dating for me. This time I surveyed my friends. Which sites might be fruitful for the kind of man that I was looking for? Some of the free ones turned out to be big hook up sites which wasn’t what I was looking for. On a side note, I’ve always found that as a semi confident woman, sex for sex’s sake hasn’t actually been all that difficult to find. Certain other sites seemed to demand you fill out essay length forms before anything would even go live.  I found one that was a happy medium. Never one to pay any money, I signed up for my free profile and filled out the necessary questions. Forget that I incorrectly spelt my profile name – not that anyone ever picked me up on it. I was off and running.

One gentleman in particular seemed to continually check out my profile.  Quick check of the photos – ok..Peruse his question responses – nothing to raise any concerns there. DAMN! He’s in Perth. How come his profile states location as Melbourne? Oh, he’s moving to Melbourne in a week. Nice..fresh meat. We connect. We email. We talk on the phone. A couple of weeks later, several days after he moves to Melbourne, we have our first date. I warn him to wear his serious walking shoes as I’ve planned a 4 hour walking tour of my glorious city. He was such a gentleman and after driving him home all I could think was that I wanted to spend more time in his company.

One time I sat down and listed the reasons I met certain men. Moreover, these are the things I learnt about myself while dating these men. Please note the names have been changed to protect the innocent. They are in no particular order and I promise the names are made up so there’s no point trying to figure it out.

Simon – I need someone who is willing to be part of my greater family
Matthew– I need someone with brains as well as a hot body that he knows how to use
Pete – I need someone who matches my inner age
Chris – I need someone who I find sexually appealing
Adam – I need someone who doesn’t spend longer getting ready than I do.
Craig – I deserve someone who doesn’t keep me waiting whilst he answers a work call while having dinner with me
Greg – I need someone who doesn’t refer to me as simply ‘a friend’
Martin– I need someone who is willing to be with me and my children.
Ben – I deserve someone who is motivated and on track financially
David -I want someone who has a strong interest in good food and wine/beer
Jason – I deserve someone who is generous of spirit

All artworks featured are my originals and for sale.

I very much enjoyed my time viciously dating. It was fun. I met some lovely men and some not so lovely men. All said, I’m grateful not to be dating. I love my man and am happy chilling out at home together.

nosebleeds


I used to get a fair few nosebleeds when I was a kid and into my teenage years.  I guess they stopped for many years because I can’t really recall it being an issue. Over the last two years they seem to be returning with greater frequency though.

I don’t know why it happens. I can’t predict when it will happen. I don’t have high blood pressure (in fact I tend to have lower than normal blood pressure which has its own implications). I don’t have a cocaine habit or Ebola or any of the other causes that WebMD suggests. Generally I bleed from the left nostril and it stops usually pretty quickly without much effort or fuss. Afterwards I’m left fatigued and a little too crowded in the head.

The internet search was deeply unsatisfying so I widened the search to symbolic meaning of nosebleeds. Now things get a bit more interesting. Apparently I am feeling unrecognised. So I sit and dwell upon this for a bit. No one wants to admit to feeling unrecognised. 

Andy Warhol said that we will all get our 15 minutes of fame. Maybe mine is still to come but let’s assume I’ve had it – what happens now? Does fame constitute recognition? I doubt it in all honesty. I could think of nothing worse than not being able to walk down the street picking or sitting in your car at the lights quietly picking your nose (not that I’d do that as it wouldn’t help the nosebleeding issue) without being recognised and harassed. In fact, I dislike working near where I live as I like my privacy too much. Bad enough that one has to be polite to customers at work.  Goddess forbid I should have to be civil to them on my time.

Okay so if it’s not fame then what does recognition mean to me. Peer and industry recognition perhaps? Not so much of “yes, I’ve heard of Amanda Kennedy the artist” but “You’re an artist. Great . Would love to see/discuss your work”. Or “You’re an artist. Great .  I’ll put you in touch with so and so”. I know that artists are a dime a dozen and art covers such a wide scope. It often feels like I’m wandering alone in the shallows in the dark hoping to catch something with my small hand held net.

It’s taken me a few years to easily answer ‘artist’ when that question of what do I do comes round to me at social gatherings. I can now do it without laughing and actually happily engage with people about how it all works from my point of view. So I guess I’ve started on the first steps of this journey by recognising myself as an artist. It’s now up to me to put that out further into my world and beyond.

Just to be to cover my bases I have my affirmations –
“ Even though I have a need for recognition and feel unrecognized and unnoticed, and I am crying for love, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
I love and approve of myself. I recognize my own true worth. I am wonderful. I recognize my own intuitive ability.” 
(thanks Louise Hay)

And always carry a pack of tissues.

Opportunity doesn’t exactly knock…

Opportunity doesn’t knock exactly but it can completely depend upon saying yes instead of automatically saying no. Sometimes I’m too tired to say yes; sometimes it’s simply easier to say no; sometimes it’s like I’m on automatic pilot and haven’t actually thought about the proposition.

If you’re someone I said no to when I haven’t actually thought about then I apologise but of course, I may have actually said no because I mean no. In fact, I know that it is vital that everybody learns to say no without feeling bad or guilty. It’s really important that we can put our boundaries in place. This is an important lesson that we need to allow our children to learn as well and we can help this by respecting them when they do express it.

That said – I mean something else with this post. I mean that sometimes saying yes can lead to new and exciting possibilities. Having a coffee with someone can lead to offers of new places to explore whether it’s work, travel or whatever.

I’ve recently signed on to the #100 happy days challenge which essentially is a project that encourages the individual to mindful of their daily  lives and express the happy moments they find in each day, It’s not anything more complicated than that. Now, I already consider myself to be quite aware of this but I’ve signed on to reinforce this and also hopefully create awareness of this in others.

Feel free to follow me on Instagram (amandakennedy4) to see this project.

Mandypalooza

Currently I’m being forced to rest up whilst recovering from being a tad unwell. Now this does give me a great chance to plan “Mandypalooza” – my birthday festival. I can’t take credit for the fabulous title – my delightful partner was the brains behind that one. In fact, he’s already done some excellent scheming bringing plans together and I’m very chuffed about that.

I’m thinking coffee out with friends, manicure, pedicure, lunch out, take away in front of movies, pre-dinner cocktails, lavish romantic dinner….and more.

Someone even suggested that one’s birthday festival should last as many days as one is old. Whilst I’m not going to that extreme, I am having at least 16 days of Mandypalooza.

The first step was to take two weeks off work, having already worked extra shifts over Christmas/New Year period the finances would be okay. That way I will have plenty of time to fit all my Mandypalooza activities in. Planning is integral so as not to double book – making sure I allow plenty of time for sleeping in and naps of course.

So anyways… Mandypalooza starts… NOW!

Life is very very good.

So I know that I haven’t posted in a while but I’ve been taking it really easy just eating and drinking and sleeping in and a spot of shopping the sales with my daughters – so yeah, all the good stuff in life.

My partner and I have a list of all the places we want to visit to eat or drink or other. He’s new to Melbourne so we are enjoying our time exploring the city – him for the first time and me anew. I’m sure you all recall the “personalised tour” post….. I am actually a big fan of our special Melbourne weather. It also helps that I’m a jacket aficionado…(in joke there about our famous four seasons in one day Melbourne weather).

I generally have worked in hospitality and sales all my life so I’m not really used to having time off at this time of year. However, I could get used to it. When the biggest decision in your day is whether or not to have a nap, you know that life is good. As I sit here on a gorgeous sunny afternoon, having walked this morning and achieved enough housework to alleviate any guilt I can sip my chilled white wine knowing that I can either pick up my book or nod off for a while. 

Life is not only good. Life is very very good.