Wednesday, 19 June 2019


Just a quick post today as I head off to do a workshop this afternoon.

Every now and again I like to draw faces. Some days I hate everything I draw, but this head I'm really pleased with. I used a reference, and I find that when I do that my faces look more realistic.

Do you use references for drawing?

Monday, 17 June 2019

Not my emergency!

Your lack of preparation does not make it my emergency.

How often do you end up running around because someone dumps something on you at the last minute? It's not your responsibility, but you feel obliged to make it happen. Not wanting to rant, but I get fed up when I send info out to people a couple of weeks in advance to make sure we're all on the same page, only to have them send stuff back the night before things are due to happen (after 9:30pm) with last minute changes they'd like to make.


But my husband reminds me: their lack of preparation does not make it my emergency. There has to be a cut-off time. Sometimes it's just too late to make changes.

It can be easy to take responsibility for things that are not yours to be responsible for. Sometimes that is good - when people adopt children, or become step-parents and treat those children as their own that is an honourable thing. But I'm sure we all know people who go through life not preparing and then expecting others to pick up their mess. There comes a time when we have to let those people stand on their own feet, even if it means they fail.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Anticipation and butterflies

Anticipation and butterflies - that's what I feel at the moment as I finish my prep for an art workshop next week. I love seeing people released into creativity, but I'm also a long way over on the introvert scale so standing up and speaking in front of people makes me feel nauseous. My emotions are in conflict, but I'll push on through because each time I do, I gain confidence. Maybe a minuscule amount, but a move in the right direction.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Sun and rain

A flower needs both sun and rain to bloom.

In these parts we are almost ready to wear snorkels to go outside this week! We're definitely getting the rain, but the sun - not so much.

It can be easy to think that the best life is full of sunshine. Having lived in a drought-ridden country, I know what damage months with no rain can do. The ground becomes parched and plants wilt or die. The whole place looks brown and crispy. But as soon as there is a little rain, the plants perk up, flowers bloom, and the whole place greens up again.

It makes me realise that those occurrences that can feel less than ideal - like days of rain in the middle of summer - actually help us to become fruitful. As my husband has preached on occasion - if people are throwing crap into your life, perhaps it's time to stop trying to throw it out again and dig it in instead. Those trees that are not blown about by the wind don't develop strength. When the hurricane comes, they are easily uprooted.

So embrace the hard stuff, the inconvenient stuff, to truly flourish.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Bridge the gap

Always endeavour to bridge the gap.

We are not all the same. Our differences are what make the world a beautiful place.

They can also be the things that keep us apart.

We can be fearful of those who are different from ourselves. We can be distrustful of them, but this is because of ignorance. It is silly to assume that we have nothing in common with people of different cultures, ethnicities, genders, sexualities. We are all human beings - our commonalities are more substantial and more numerous than our differences.

Endeavour to bridge the gap by reaching out, asking questions - even if they feel awkward - and being genuinely interested in getting to know the other party. When people can feel authenticity and true interest in them, they are usually willing to overlook any awkwardly phrased questions. So get out of your comfort zone and make that gap disappear.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Go direct or meander? Both get you there in the end.

On the right hand side are straight arrows. On the left, a meandering pair of lines. Both go the full length of the page but in different ways.

When we visited Wilpena Pound in South Australia, we meandered our way along the path, stopping to look at plants, interesting rocks, an emu with chicks. We were passed by several sets of people who looked like they were on a route march - striding out, moving fast, seeing nothing. We all ended up  back at the cabins by the end of the day, but some of us had seen a lot more than others.

Sometimes the meandering route is the more interesting one.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Look after your roots

We reflect the dirt we're planted in, so look after your roots.

The plant on this page is rising up out of an area that has lines of the same colour as its leaves. It made me think of how we reflect what we are planted in. If you put white flowers in a vase with dye, they take up the dye and change colour.

Plants in poor soil won't grow as well as those in good soil. It may seem that they do for a while, but without the food they need, eventually they will wither or be stunted. So it's important to make sure your roots are in good soil - dig in plenty of nutrients.

Monday, 3 June 2019


It's always fun to have a go at something new. I rediscovered some Chinese brushes that my parents brought back when they visited China quite a few years ago, and my mother-in-law gave me a book on Suiboku (Japanese ink painting) at Christmas, so I pulled both out and here are some first goes.

Suiboku requires the brush to be held at 90 degrees to the forearm and completely upright over the paper. The elbow should remain raised from the table. I'm sure I didn't stick to this rigidly, but I had fun. Each of these little studies took just a minute or so to do and I added the black lines to the beetles after they had dried.

Friday, 31 May 2019

Say it... and say it again

If you want them to hear it, make sure you say it lots of times in lots of ways.

It is easy to say something to someone and just assume that they heard - and understood - you. Oftentimes they haven't! Don't be afraid to say something more than once and in a variety of ways, because what you say and what people hear is not necessarily the same. When you need a whole team of people to be on the same page with something, you can't say it often enough.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Bloom first

You can't be fruitful until after you've bloomed.

The usual way of things is for seeds to sprout, leaves to grow, and then the plants flower - or bloom - before they produce fruit. To bloom is defined as 'to come into or be in full beauty or health; flourish'. It makes sense that we need to flourish before we become fruitful.

So the question is: what does it take to flourish?

The answer will be different for each of us. The aim, then, is to work out what we need to flourish and then make sure we live a life that allows us to do that. Producing lots of leaves is all very well, but it doesn't lead to fruit.

You may think that flowering is not really you - you're not a showy tropical plant, full of large colourful blooms. But there are flowers that are much more subtle than that. It's not about how showy your flowers are, but that you produce them.