A Sense of Belonging

I am on a journey of discovery. Encountering new experiences is the substance of life, but this journey is a seven week trip that includes looking back in time to the lands of my ancestors as part of the first leg of a long awaited art project Re:LOCATION.

On Thursday 14th May 2015, after eight days at sea with a mostly non-English speaking companions, and stops only on the African and European continents, we landed for a day at the Port of Dover in the Kent Region of England. This was my first encounter with the ancestral lands I had dreamed of visiting since a child.

My father was a seaman, and his people before him, and his grandfather left this region of England in the 1800’s to cross the seas to Australia. As for many of my ancestors from England, Scotland and Ireland the sea passage before them would have been harrowing. These were stoic people, heading into the unknown with very little in infrastructure waiting their arrival.

I felt at home in Dover. We walked towards the town center stopping to place my very first ART POD in a hedge behind a small stone wall in a local park. The geocache GPS co-ordinates for this art pod can be found on the dedicated Re:LOCATION page.

Close by we located the historic Cowgate Cemetery at the bottom of a steep walk to the old forts that had protected the inhabitants for centuries. What a find. I was wandering amongst the headstones thinking I could have been related to some of these long departed souls. They had only very short lives compared to our modern standards.

We didn’t stay long in Dover after visiting the town and the unforgettable Dover Castle. I had achieved my goal and we aimed to be back in Kent in three to four weeks during the rest of our trip. There was something about getting drenched in the rain with the sea winds in your face and a temperature of 10C that made the ship suddenly very inviting. Images of our Dover experience are below.

Cowgate cemetary headstones

Cowgate historical cemetary in Dover, Kent Region of England

 

 

 

The Dover Castle experience

The Dover Castle experience

Looking to the port and our ship from Dover Castle

Down town in the Port of Dover, Kent England

Down town in the Port of Dover, Kent England

Learning from the Masters

It is a joy to watch another artist going through the processes of bringing an artwork to life that confirms your own practice and inspires you to continue. When this groundbreaking painter is recognised as a world master you feel privileged to be an observer.

Recently I watched two fascinating movies on innovative painters; David Hockney in ‘A Bigger Picture’ and Gerhard Richter Painting. Both artists were very giving and Richter in particular seemed approachable and humble. He found being observed while painting a difficult situation and something he had been reluctant to do.

Painting is a solitary exercise and when the planning is in the action it is not predictable or desirable to have an audience. Richter said ‘painting is another form of thinking’ and that paintings were ‘mortal enemies’ and while the second is a strong statement, I tend to agree.

He goes on to say that ‘Paintings have a quality of their own and the painter, viewer, and consumer all must have a high standard and recognise when something is good’. According to his own standard, as he paints each work becomes less and less free and when there is nothing left he feels is wrong, he stops.

Richter’s paintings undergo further scrutiny for sometime before he considers them finished. He can, weeks later, add another layer to a working painting that can either enhance or destroy it in his eyes. His movie gives considerable encouragement and inspiration to this much less qualified artist who works in similar ways, destroying fledgling artworks until that creative door fly’s open, and the quality work begins to pour out.

My exhibition Journey through the Wilderness continues until the 30th April at Regional Arts House Gallery at 1/ 24 Macquarie St,  Teneriffe. Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.  All welcome

Journey through the Wilderness

Pathways to Success

Slowing down isn’t something creative people contemplate. Sometimes the controls are taken out of your hands, and if only for a short time, you compensate. The concept of the child within us being constrained by our dominating adult self is, I feel, very real. I am however constantly reminded that we can overcome old habits if we believe in the neuroplasticity of our brains, and the ability to teach an old dog new tricks, so to speak.

More and more highly skilled medical personal are coming to believe in the ability we have to take control of our brains and build new pathways that overcome obstacles. The recent article in the Weekend Australian magazine by Norman Doidge titled Brain Heal My Pain is just one example of this phenomenon.

Artists, writers and all creative people can often face barriers that can seem insurmountable and so around 2010 I began study that would fast forward my knowledge of brain plasticity and change the way I viewed the world. Like most things I embark on I did this for my own growth, and later found it was something I could begin to share with others.

In my new workshop Pathways to Success some of the best concepts that helped me to change will be offered in a two day workshop. I may be helpful if you have first completed the Inner Artist: Finding Creative Direction workshop but not essential.

On another note: My exhibition Journey through the Wilderness will open at 6pm on the 5th March at Arts House Gallery 1/24 Macquarie Street, Teneriffe, Brisbane, Qld . All welcome but please RSVP HERE for catering purposes. It will run until 30th April.

Your Invitation

The Makings of an E-BOOK

One day, about 30 years ago, I was driving to work through busy Brisbane traffic and I happened to look up. I saw two things that have stuck in my mind until this very day. One was the most beautiful cathedral sitting very high up that I had missed due to concentrating on the traffic. The other was a graffiti sentence that I could never miss again, after that day. It simply read ‘ Further we travel into the nightmare’. I felt someone understood my plight of being a then divorced single mother and completing training in my chosen field in the hope of easing my financial situation.

Ok, I hear you thinking ‘how does this relate to the making of an e-book’? I guess it was the learning curve I was on to complete this task of converting my out of print book into an e-book. I was at the same time updating my original InDesign files to tidy them up for Print on Demand. I might add that I am an artist and writer, not a graphic designer, so this type of work is always challenging.

I am older and wiser since those early days in Brisbane and when I heard myself say, as I worked on the files on the computer, ‘This is a nightmare’ I pulled myself up quick smart. I must have been running my hands through my hair as I worked because on glancing in the bathroom mirror I was quite amused by my Andy Warhol hair-do.

I had only just read a short chapter on the Renaissance physician known as Paracelsus who walked outside the establishment in his beliefs regarding healing of the body and mind. He believed that we must have FAITH to be STRONG and PURE and not weakened by DOUBT. If a very small child did not believe it could walk, and did not want the same walking success as its family, then it probably would not keep trying.

So yes I finished the task, and my e-book is launched. I found a great inexpensive software program called Jutoh, by a very helpful Dr Julian Smart, with an English rather than an American dictionary, and it built an interesting range of e-book formats. I also found that there are many options for my e-book, from Kindle to those offered by Ingram Spark, who could also produce my Print on Demand book.

I was disappointed initially that Amazon’s Create Space wasn’t an option, as it will only pay royalties to Australian authors by international cheques. That is out of the question due to the high bank fees. Meanwhile if you would like to view my efforts take a trip to amazon.com. If you have my original version of this book Gleaner or Gladiator: The Struggle to Create  or buy the new e-book, I would be ecstatic if you could please write a kindly review.

You will find the Kindle version of my ebook below on Amazon.com. You don’t even need a Kindle as you can download a Kindle Reader for your computer or IPAD for free

New beginnings for a new year

The days currently are balmy. There is electricity in the air and a sense of expectation. Perhaps it’s due to the heat and the sudden light showers of rain mixed with late afternoon storms. For me it is the best time of year in Australia. Christmas is past for another year and now I am painting in my studio, mostly discarding the results, but at some stage the tide will turn.

Have you written your list of things to achieve this year? The new year can bring new beginnings. My list as always is a little daunting…so much to do yet so little time. It begins with the steps needed to produce my first book, Gleaner or Gladiator, nearly out of print, as an e-book and goes on to include designing new brochures and pulling together my new workshop.

Lastly I want to brain storm ideas for an art project, which includes visiting the lands of my ancestors, for later in the year. I won’t include producing artworks in my to do list as it is a given event for most days. It takes a few rehearsals to get the good work out after travel but I need it flowing to have some new works to include in two scheduled exhibitions, before I get distracted with the marketing side of things.

This part of being creative can’t be neglected but how do we manage it all without employing an assistant? My budget doesn’t run to that option unfortunately. A solid foundation built over time is the best possibility for adding new rooms to your house of cards. Fortunately for me I am researching these building blocks and making notes for my new workshop ‘Preparing for Creative Success’ to be held in my studio at Tallegalla in S. E Queensland in April.

The most exciting part of having an open mind is to never know what ultimately lies ahead. Staying positive includes being ready for success so you are able to take up what life throws at you. I wish you a  prosperous and happy New Year my creative friend.

Gleaner or Gladiator: The struggle to create

Available soon as an e-book -Gleaner or Gladiator: The Struggle to Create