I’m painting a tree on my wall

Over the past few years, life has changed dramatically. You know, life happens. One of the things has been to get rid of lots of stuff, including furniture. With spare rooms it has been shifted around and with daughters, it has been shifted out. I’ve always leaned towards large pieces of wooden furniture and it has been a substantial effort to move said items.

The result has been a spareness that is pleasing to me. My house looks a little bare. I seem to need to create the space for my mental health and wellbeing and to move on from very painful experiences. It has taken a long time to clear the wall in my kitchen/ living area. Longer to talk myself into painting the wall then believing that I can design and paint the tree.

I drew many trees over the past year before deciding on a curlicue version, much like my doodling. The challenge was then to believe I could transfer it onto my wall. I won’t describe here the many methods and techniques I considered. Eventually, I painted the wall and took chalk to it and began drawing. I erased the first two efforts and the third I am happy with. When finished, I’ll move the family photos to that wall. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Who knew? An Introspective

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This is Jeremy Giraffe. I painted him after drawing him over and over. I didn’t know I could draw or paint, until this year.

It is interesting the things we convince ourselves of. I did art at leaving level for high school but had to ditch it before my Year 12 exams (that’s another story). I was firmly convinced that I did not have any style or ability.

This year, I began working therapeutically on my ‘ishews’ and started collaging, drawing and painting as part of the process. I am trained as an holistic counsellor, using art and craft as means to process work (I also use stories) so it was a logical follow on for me. I also discovered a Facebook page called 52 Week Illustration Challenge where artists of differing abilities contributed their take on the word of the week. I joined as admirer. When ‘giraffe’ rolled around, I thought to myself, “Self”, I said, “I’d like to draw a giraffe.” So I gave it a go. I looked at lots of images and no, my painting could never be described as photo-realistic but I really like him.

Emboldened I began drawing other animals. I haven’t got much past their necks yet and did you know that ducks can look very sad if you give them a big beak? I like quackers. I like animals. My drawings and paintings are cartoonish and not at all complicated when compared to my zen tangled doodles (that sounds rude, doesn’t it?) but I enjoy the simplicity. I now have ducks, emus, wombats, echidnas and trees. Yes, I really like trees too. None of them are spectacular but all of them have personality and feeling and isn’t that what art is about after all?

Jeremy has a rhyme, so do the others although some are being a little coy about revealing theirs. That is the storyteller in me, can’t be helped. I’ll pop them into a book for my grandson. I’ve already done him one book, something about fart-bubbles, he likes it, and now he’ll have another. What else would I do with them?

I am currently painting and drawing a peacock. His name is Pomjoy Pobcock, who knows why. I’ve learnt about stretching paper when it’s painted so have prepared the background and having perfected how I want the feathers to look am ready to paint and draw. I need more art supplies. More! More! I have a studio. It’s not full yet. I spend hours in there with little to show but smears of paint and a happy disposition. Think that’s all worth it then. Haven’t cleaned the floors for a few days but they’re not going anywhere.

Next year I am taking on the 52 Week Illustration Challenge and seeing what I can do. Might have to paddle fast to keep up, some of the artists are extraordinary and some ordinary. I think I’ll fit right in.

I wonder now about my decision so long ago that I was not an artist. I do not aspire to an exhibition or have any delusions about my abilities but I am having fun and I am able to share a feeling with my work. It has made me wonder about what other things I decided I could not do that might be worth trying again.

In the meantime, enjoy Jeremy, watch out for Pomjoy Pobcock and when next you come looking for me, check my studio first.

Memory Gems – A Musing.

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In stolen moments, all alone or with one dog at my side, I sip my coffee and finally relax and tumble my memory gems through my mind.

Passerbys stop to pat my dog which he welcomes. Me too. It is almost as nice to receive compliments about your pooch as your child. My dogs are floozies willing everyone to stop and pat.

My work day week takes a lot out of me. I think, I ponder, I write, I broker relationships between organisations and people, I collate news and share it, supervise staff and monitor programs, read, write and allow the many conversations and information I have gathered during the week to percolate through my brain, allowing new ideas to bubble to the surface. See? Everything is related to coffee.

I gain my energy from time alone, spent writing, reading, drawing, painting, sculpting, pasting, tearing, creating. I wander about my garden and I ponder and plan, plant and pull. There’s a lot of alliteration in my life. I draw energy from the earth, trees, plants, flowers, animals and the sky. I notice those moments of the sunlight through trees, a cobweb stretched across my path, a moment’s fragrance and much like my dogs, ponder it all later. I think about the trees I noticed driving to work and my dog’s faces as I gave them a last pat (and the random cat that joins the throng) and I savour them.

From childhood I learnt to gather those moments, the little treasure troves of gems, to share when life dulls or becomes overwhelming. Dealing with large groups of people is overwhelming, or groups that oppose one another (or think that they do). Worrying about one’s children and other people’s can be exhausting. Other people’s anxiety grinds against my own and I seek solace in my gems. Those shining moments when the world offered a glimpse of beauty. The more you find, the more you see.

Sometimes there are surprises. One evening this week, after completing an intricate drawing, I went into my bedroom, flipping the light on and stopped still with surprise. On my bed, looking equally surprised, was a beautiful chocolate Burmese. “Hello!” I assumed he came in through my open window and made himself at home. The effort it would have taken to get up to my window, balance and jump down probably required a nap. I walked slowly around the bed and offered my hand for a sniff. I quickly worked out that he preferred a stoke to a neck scratch and we were friends. I got ready for bed, wondering aloud to him who he was and who was missing him. A personable gentleman, he made himself at home and tried to settle on my pillow. I had other ideas and scooped him off. He liked the cuddle so settled down to sleep alongside me for the night. When we put him out in the morning, he was unwilling to leave and seemed disconcerted that he had to go before being offered breakfast.

We have wondered about him since. My bedroom window stays open and I watch for him. Handsome and obviously well cared for, we hope he is safe at home.

Another gem for my treasure trove of memories.