Watercolour Places

Travelling is good for the soul. I’ve had the best time in my travels and tried to be ‘in the moment’ while also capturing the vibe of each place before I left it.

Here are some of the places I managed to paint:

-London telephone booth

-Golden Fleece Pub York (This skeleton was sitting all by himself)

-Bath

Liverpool (Lambananas, The Cavern Club, so many museums, the Beatles hometown, nicest people i’ve ever met, and the best accent)

-Stonehenge

--Edinburgh Writers Museum

-Amsterdam- it snowed briefly!

-My relatives in Holland took me to a cheese shop

-East Berlin traffic man

-Belfast Peace Wall (SUPER interesting to learn the history of the troubles, and I got to sign the wall)

-Glasgow, Duke of Wellington Statue

-Edinburgh Castle

-Oxford

-Cliffs of Moher

Being away from Australia made me realise these main things: 1. Our fruit is the BEST. I missed it. 2. I can live without the QLD heat. For sure. 3. We have so much wide open SPACE. Even in our cities we have trees everywhere and wide roads and big houses. I’ve always taken that for granted.

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2019 Art Calendar

Hey Friends,

First off, Happy New Year!

I hope you got to spend time with people you love and reflect in a non-cliché way on things you’d like to continue or do differently going into 2019.

A friend of mine the other day mentioned they had gifted one of their friends my 2019 art calendar but couldn’t remember the meanings of the artworks when their friend asked about them.

SO with the admission of complete oversight on my part that I forgot to include any kind of longer meanings, I thought a quick post here with a list of the months and some vague explanations might be useful for those with the calendar hanging on their wall, and those of you who find the context interesting.

Bureacrats.jpg

Here goes:

January

‘Buildings To Live In’

Dr-Seuss inspired; this was an artwork created for an interactive art workshop used with primary school children- they made buildings that vaguely looked like the letters of their names.

February

‘Obscurity’

Inspired by my studies in art therapy. In the field of art therapy there’s an idea that “dialoguing” with an image (with an art therapist) can be a therapeutic process of learning and uncovering deeper meanings… to apply the principle to this drawing I’ve done I would ask the girl: who are you? Are you me? Why are you hiding? What are you holding? Where are you standing? What are you thinking? Giving the image a voice can reveal so much about yourself that you hadn’t even considered. I wonder if I was feeling a bit uncertain or clouded when I made this. I’m not sure yet.

March

‘Girl’s Search For Meaning’

The title was borrowed from a brilliant book I re-read in 2018 called ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’ which deals with the horrors of the second world war and concentration camps, and Viktor Frankl’s conclusions and observations about suffering, the nature of humankind, and meaning making. It’s a short book, told as experiences. The other part of this drawing is general appreciation for reading and storytelling. And our universal quest for meaning in our lives.

April

‘The Mysterious Quest For New’

I was totally hitting a creative wall when I drew this. Always using the same art medium, always dealing with roughly similar subject matter. I was pretty ready for some sort of new, and fyi I did find it- I got into watercolours after this.

May

‘Cut Me Loose, Set Me Free’

The abstract concept behind this image is that getting overly attached to ideas of others or future plans, or romanticising things you’d like to happen doesn’t generally end well. In this particular instance having my heart strings ‘cut free’ was a really hard and also really necessary experience. I hated it, and I’m glad it happened.

June

‘A Pocket Full of Passionfruits’

The story behind this is my favourite. This writing was inspired when I invited myself to my grandparents place for dinner and at the end of the night, my grandad (who by the way is the most generous person I know) loaded up my jacket pockets with passionfruits he'd been given. It set off a spark in me thinking about all the ways we communicate that we love someone (and how we receive it back).

July

‘Illumination’

This was born from a research project I was completing for uni. It was a heuristic study (which means my body of artwork was at the centre of the study) and part of this style of research is called ‘illumination’ where ideas kind of spark off and it gets exciting.

August

‘Bureaucrats’

All I am going to say is I am not particularly appreciative of bureaucratic red tape that seems to make things much harder than they need to be.

September

‘The Window Family’

This was the subject of an art workshop with children where they created quite abstract characters that were based off my characters. What I found cool is that children were most interested in projecting their own ideas about roles and relationships onto my window family; I loved observing this. I thought I had left them fairly vague, I mean after all they have windows for heads, but apparently children knew straight away exactly who was who and what was going on in the drawing.

October

‘Marine Stadium’

The short description is I was trying to sketch designs suitable for printing onto fabric, and I was drawing this while I was on a boat trip with my family at Marine Stadium. It was super nice.

November

‘New Zealand’

I got to explore NZ on a road trip with some friends in 2018 and I really liked how quick and fun watercolours were. Something different. These were: Arthur’s Point, Queenstown, and a loft we stayed in at Burke’s Pass.

December

‘Recurring Archetypes’

This image is based on a research project for uni, similar to the theme of the July artwork. This image contains important characters from my body of artwork from the last 6 years- many of these little characters popped up heaps in my artworks for years before I even thought to ask who or what they were. These are dear to me, and represent things most important, including: the lightbulb being Jesus (light, and illuminating truth in my life) the little stick man being the Holy Spirit (I call him the maintenance man; he is always working in the background of my drawings/life), and the Heart and Brain characters who are always at odds and learning to get along. I cried while I was drawing this because I felt conflicted about examining them in my research project; like maybe they wanted to stay more hidden. But I love sharing them. The art making process reveals so much about us, and I love that.

So there you have it! 12 artworks and 12 rambling explanations for you! I hope if you have the calendar, you very much enjoy it this year, and if you don’t yet, you’re in luck! Seeing as it is already January and I happen to have a couple leftover, they are now on sale! Here :)

I am leaving Aus for awhile on January 10, so get your orders in before then. My online store will closed after that for a short time.

Peace.

Tiny Rooms

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I stumbled upon a great therapeutic art activity while I was working at my job in an art shop. We often get orders delivered and one of the products we get are timber boards to paint on. All of these timber boards come packaged with little cardboard bits to protect the corners from damage in transit. And as I was throwing these little cardboard corners in the bin I was chatting to colleagues about recycling. It was sort of an idea that dawned on me/ my colleagues while chatting: why not keep and use cardboard and other objects that so often just get thrown away

 I started collecting (thanks to my totally lovely colleagues who unpacked orders and kept these aside for me) these little cardboard corners.

I began introducing a new activity in my art therapy practice:

‘Tiny Rooms”

Materials:

-little folded cardboard corners (see above)

-posca pens (acrylic paint pens- any other brands would be great too. These are fairly affordable, and while they’re paint, they are much less messy to manage than tubes of paint)

-sticky tape

-optional: crepe paper, pom poms, mini paddle pop sticks etc. If interested in making tiny furniture (or just stick to decorating the walls, floor, etc).

Here are some of my demo tiny rooms (the corners just need to be opened out to make it easier to paint while laid flat; then sticky taped back up once finished)

There are several reasons I initially loved this idea:

1.     the themes of belonging, or safety, or home, are such important ideas to explore. So many different experiences of ‘home’ mean this is a great, and non-confrontational, conversation starter around this topic.

2.     The size was great, I thought, because the novelty of ‘miniature’ things works well with children, and also because the small size means any of the big feelings and ideas that get discussed could be ‘contained’ and held in a very safe little item. This, I thought, could prevent feelings of overwhelm when discussing such big, and sometimes painful, ideas (I never assume ‘home’ is a positive thing to discuss, some experience the opposite of safety or positivity in their home or living environments).

3.     This activity promotes choice, and  I think sometimes giving some children back a sense of control is important. In this activity children can decide- what would I want in an ideal room? What wouldn’t I want? What colours would make me feel happy? E.g. some children discuss needing a ‘chill out zone’ and put a little bookshelf or other items they might need to ‘chill out’ in their tiny room. This then acts as an activity to promote self-regulation of emotions as well.

4. It can help strengthen fine motor skills. The size of this activity means it can be challenging for some children to master tiny detail and working on a small scale. This is a fun way to help build some of those skills.

5.     It is eco-friendly! Using materials like cardboard instead of going for things like glitter or plastic, is such a lovely way to approach art therapy. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for those other less eco-friendly materials. But this one is a winner.

6.     It’s so affordable (read: free)! Guys honestly, little things that would have otherwise ended up in the bin are so great! If you ever buy a canvas again- keep those protective corners. If you buy an appliance, keep the packaging it comes in. Make the most of where creativity can go with items that are just a side-note, just packaging. It’s like that weird thing that happens where you buy a little kid a great toy and actually they most enjoy the box it comes in. Let’s pay attention, spend less, and see opportunity in unexpected places. It teaches the principle of wasting less (a little bit at odds with the lie that we need to consume, consume consume..) and also the fact that fun and creativity can be found anywhere.

7. This activity could also work for adults. E.g. I made one myself, and thought about my needs: a break! I made a little library room I could escape to, with a bookshelf and a rug. I imagined myself taking a pause and sitting to read for a while. So adults can also use this activity to project their own meaning and a space they want or need as well. It could go in a thousand different directions.

What do you think? Do you have any ideas you would add to this activity? I’d love to hear from you and discuss any other ideas!