Sunday, 20 March 2016

March Cyber Cleanse ... like to join me?

It's the Equinox already, I haven't blogged since January. What's going on?! 

I can't say, but as I change, the way I create changes. This year, as I create more in collective settings, my ability to connect online is changing. All of us probably spend more time online than we'd like to, but I love it because of all the people it has enabled me to meet.

My blogging days are still with me, what's changing is my need to tell stories, to join the dots. My Instagram, Twitter, Facebook accounts all allow me to be seen, to post regularly in an instant what I do, but nowhere lets me share "my way" quite like my blog. 

If this was Instagram, there'd be a little notice saying "your post is too long". If it were Twitter, it would have freaked out long ago. If it were Facebook it would hardly be shown. What's going on? Are you still writing blogs, posting? How are you being seen? 

Each March I have done a Cyber Cleanse. I take a moment to switch off, unsubscribe, unfollow. It's a big move I know and not the easiest thing to do, but it's a really good way to grow. It's like standing back, walking away from a painting that's not working. What happens next is the best bit!

First up I gain the lightness of loosing the weight of unwanted baggage. Then I gain the time and space to go out and discover. Not long after that, I start to miss my favourite things, those things that pull at my heart strings. I can see the gems in the chaos.

It's like rearranging my cyber wardrobe or tidying up my studio. Having emptied my in-drawers, I fill them up with new clothes, new colours. Not new as in completely new, but new as in what fits me now, what season it is in my life, where I'm at creatively, what I'm interested in, which of course includes some of my favourite old things. So it is, that before long, with the clarity of space, I've signed back up to follow, subscribe, reconnected with the best, the most appropriate, the snuggest fit that helps me look good and feel great, Liking things all over again! 

There's no such thing as an internet Op Shop but if there was, I'd happily give my old disguarded links to others as they might be just what they need.

What concerns me though is upsetting the creatives behind these creations. I shouldn't really worry because it helps them to have active followers not dormant ones like I've been, but I'm mindful of how they might feel when I sign off, the message it might send and I don't want them to give up.

So instead of simply disappearing without a trace, this year, my Year of Tranquility, I've decided to give the algorithms a run for their money and come up with a few simple words to post in the reason why I've left box.   

I'm doing a March Equinox Cyber Cleanse, an annual ritual as the seasons change. It's been lovely to spend time with you, but for the next little while I need the space to create.  
If your work still resonates with what I do, directions I feel drawn to pursue, I may resubscribe in due course, in the meantime, please continue your beautiful work inspiring others to pursue their dreams.   
Many thanks and creative blessings. 💛

Maybe the creators will read, maybe they won't, maybe the will understand and like it, maybe they won't, but I feel better for letting them know. Too much of what we do online is done silently at a distance and can be hard to understand. 

If you are still reading, maybe reading this will have you signing off from my blog, I don't know, I hope not! What I do know though, is none of us needs to sign up for any more than we can take on, what makes us happy. Having the courage to say "Thanks, but No Thanks" knowing what's not for us is a huge step. Doing it annually, has made it easier. I hope by sharing this, it makes it easier for you to simplify, streamline, block out, settle in and embrace your own creative ways sooner.

If you are still here, THANK YOU! it means a lot. I've been so busy with my ceramics, wood turning, painting and sketching, I haven't had a chance to blog, to tell the stories behind my work, but I will as soon as they and I are ready. 

Until then Happy March Equinox! Hope you are happy, well and busy creating.


Monday, 4 January 2016

My WOTY for 2016 is ...

Starting out gently a few years ago with Dance before moving on to Enough, last year I toyed with Play but settled on Enchantment as I joined many other creative people I know who choose a Word Of The Year, otherwise know as a WOTY.

I'd happily have Enchantment again, as you can see here, it's been a wonderful word to encourage me to explore new fields of creativity as my world opened up. Whilst I still need to venture into a few unexplored fields of creativity, I also want to play along and find a new WOTY for 2016. 

So, as the year ended, I began wondering, seeking, listening quietly to my intuition for what my WOTY might be.

Initially the colour Turquoise appeared. I'm not sure if anyone has ever had a colour as a WOTY so please let me know if you have. It still remains a lovely idea and a sensuous link back to Enchantment so if I end up using this colour in every artwork, it's sure to be a delightful year! 

Soon after came Abundance which is a great word for receiving, complimenting and consolidating my WOTY of Enough and would inspire me to get more of my art out into the marketplace.

The other word that kept appearing was Freedom, to travel, to try, to continue to explore the depths and width of my creativity. But Freedom suggests a holding back, a constraint, a limitation and if I hold that thought it doesn't serve me. You see, I am already as free as I let myself be.

Then, sitting quietly, the word

T  R  A   Q  U  I  L   T  Y 

came and sat with me. 

Happy, calm, kind, peaceful, gentle, playful, curious, connected, contented, joyful, delightful, poetic, imagined, inspired, insightful and whimsical are all words that have resonated this year as I've tried to find out what it is that I do, what I want to create, but as a WOTY Tranquility has a grace to it that I like.

It's not so much an action as a state of being

If I use my WOTY like a compass, with Tranquility as true North, maybe it will not only show me when and how far I am off course, but also what I need to do to get back there. As David Wythe says:

"defining how far away we are from what we want is half way home ...

... defining what we haven't got shows us what we want"

source: David Whyte

Like many other people, I find it hard to follow my heart and simply do what I love. 

Maybe if I can be in a state of flow, of grace and gratitude, peace and Tranquility expressing the way I am, happily simply being, then the rest will come naturally. 

It will be interesting to see, but as I venture further on, I sense it will be a very useful word for defining success in the next leg of my journey. 

What do you think? Would you like to join me? If so, I'm setting up a quiet little facebook group for us to share

 A Year of Tranquility all you have to do to join is click here.

Wishing you a wonderful year.


Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 My Year of Enchantment

For the past few years I've joined in with other creative people I know who choose a Word Of The Year, otherwise referred to as a WOTY. Starting out in 2013 with Dance, in 2014 I chose Enough and in 2015 after toying with Play, I settled on Enchantment. It was a wonderful word and encouraged me to explore new fields of creativity as my world opened up. 

Beginning with a World Blog Hop, I finished the sixth year of my 1000 words for Summer project with a Summer Sketchbook and Sketching in Thread. Over the summer I also and took a short Acting Essentials course at NIDA before starting my 100 Artworks and signing up for the Conscious Booksmith and Doings of a Doodle ecourses.

As well as celebrating a Year of Coffeeosophy, I found a little Kindness in my coffee. I went People Sketching with the Sydney Urban Sketchers and participated in The Custodian Project with Alfalky and a dozen other artists from across the globe. I spent the winter doodling and sketching boats, dreaming up a Wishing Tree, completing the fourth year of my Winter Series of blog posts and beginning my Adventures into Printmaking.

Throughout the year, I participated in a second Postcard Project with an online group of artist I met in an art ecourse, initiated a secret Travelling Project with another group and had 12 Creative Lunches online with two other art buddies. By mid-year I was Sliding into Slip Cast Ceramics spending two days a week making hearts, bowls and later boats out of clay. Towards the end of the year I collated my Moon and By the Sea body of works and took part in Making Art a Practice ecourse with Cat Bennett.



Finally, I reworked my Blog as I prepared for three end of year Exhibitions, including Keeping Company: Saltwater at Manly Gallery, Warringah Printmakers Annual Show as well the Ceramics Student Exhibition at NSI Brookvale which resulted in a few exciting sales. After they were over, I went Travelling Sketching up the coast and finally got around to reading War of Art and Big Magic. Wow what a year!

As well as consolidating, exploring, learning and connecting, I let go of a place and a people, a time and a season as frames for my work and connected more conceptually with why I make art, what makes it enchanting and began creating art which is more universal.


Probably the only thing I wish never happened was Saying GoodBye Slowly to our gorgeous dog Toby. Apart from that, it's truly been a Year of Enchantment and whilst I have a sense I need to explore a few more fields of creativity I've never had a chance to wander in, I also want to play along and find a new WOTY for 2016. So, as the years roll from this one to the next, I've been wondering, seeking, listening to my intuition.

Thank you for being here, joining in and supporting me on my journey this year, I am so appreciative. Please continue on to read the next post about my WOTY for 2016 and a special way you can join in.


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Sliding into Slip Cast ceramics

In the middle of this year, after saying goodbye slowly, life and time seemed to opened and through a series of chance encounters, I found myself at the Ceramics Triennale meeting Agneiszka Berger seeing her whimsical works. One evening, the ANU ceramics students put on a fun public art installation inviting us to paint in slip.

painting in slip at the Ceramics Triennale

I have played in paper clay creating small installations like my "Wish Bowl" and have used it at the Day Retreats and even to visualize paintings, but it's been a long time since I took classes and put clay through a kiln. So on my return, I contacted the Ceramics Department at NSI still affectionally known by it's previous name Brookvale Tafe.

I’d been to an end of year student exhibition some years ago to see Diane Oliver’s poetic works and I thought there might be a short course I could take. The college offers several courses that extend over a number of years, but it’s also possible to take classes by the term on different techniques. Within days I dived in and was fully submerged in plaster learning a method of making ceramics out of molds, also known as Slip Cast.

Seeing how this technique creates multiples of similar forms, I sensed my Hearts might be an ideal project to explore. Being small and many, hearts would also allow me to learn a lot in a short time about ceramics. So, with assistance from the very helpful staff, I made three moulds of different shapes and sizes.

creating two part plaster molds 


filling the plaster molds with liquid clay known as "slip"

As some of you may know, Hearts have become an ongoing symbol in my work, not intentionally, but intuitively. I find them an easy metaphor for illustrating both the inner and outer worlds and each year from Valentines Day to Mother’s Day I focus on my “Heart to Home” season of art.

Through this approach, I have created a series of illustrations in a variety of mediums which I loosely call "The Journey of Little Big Heart". Hearts are also an integral part of my "Coffeeosophy" series of sketches which I am currently working on in printmaking. There’s something about hearts that traverses dimensions and I’ve really enjoyed exploring in clay and allowing iterations to take me in different directions.



modelling the cast hearts, carving and hand-building 

Joining and then not joining the two halves of the molds, closing the holes, painting and carving, I began to play and created a variety of stories in clay. It was fun to see what worked, learning the steps of putting them through the kilns, adding colours and glaze as I went along. I am sure there are faster ways to create, but sitting each night pottering away has been a complete delight. It's also been a huge learning curve!

hearts waiting to be fired in the kiln

So far I have made over 100 hearts. Initially I dreamt of making 1000, like Sadako and the 1000 paper cranes, creating a Wishing/Love Tree or leaving a trail of hearts for others to find like I did for Free Art Friday. Like Hailey Batholomew's Finding Love, I find things like that quite enchanting.



allowing hearts to gather loosely into series clockwise from top left: 
"sweet hearts", "heart village", "hobby hearts" and "open hearts"

Then again, maybe it's nice to simply embrace the moment. Seize the opportunity life has given me to make, to learn new techniques and to meet and work for two days in-person with some amazingly creative people. The classes are arranged so that students of different levels are often working alongside each other. It's been a wonderful opportunity and I want to thank many of the more experienced students for opening my eyes to what's possible.

mixing up a batch of slip to take home!

I've also made a slip cast copy of my mother's Gripstand mixing bowl and in the next term of Slab Forming, I created a vase and some boats from my Dreaming series. I also played with ideas from my paper art, but I’ll save those for other posts. Ceramics certainly is a slow art, which is why I haven’t shared much until now, but it’s an art that easily slips into your heart ... and into your shoes!!!

If you would like to see my hearts for yourself, come along to the Student Exhibition open 10-4pm Wednesday 25th November until Friday 4th December, it's always a great show. If you'd like to see more of what students create, you can visit the college's website, facebook page or the student's facebook page.

Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed reading.


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Keeping Company: Saltwater

It's been a wonderful opportunity to participate in Keeping Company: Saltwater at Manly Art Gallery and Museum. Saltwater is a theme closely aligned to a large part of my work and I have certainly grown through the experience from the initial submission, briefing meeting, final concepts, selection, preparation of catalogue details and hanging to the Artist in Conversation event. 

As a way to help other artists, here is a behind the scenes view of the process and what it's been like to participate, I do hope it inspires some of you to dream big and venture beyond the shores of where you are and what you are used to.  

The initial call out for expressions of interest from the gallery came in January: 
"artists working in all media, including digital media, painting, drawing, printmaking, textiles, sculpture, glass and ceramics" ... 
... "are encouraged to explore their own interests in the exhibition concept: saltwater as an idea, a metaphor, a place, a possibility and as a grand cultrual presence within this region and beyond. Through art we can explore old meanings and create new ones, using various forms of imagination to delve further into the depths of saltwater"

I immediately identified with the theme and even though it's been some years since I exhibited and this was a public gallery, I dived in and in May I sent off my initial submission: 
Each Summer for the past six years I have undertaken a personal art project 1000 words for Summer as a way of observing and connecting with the landscape and culture that surrounds my studio at Avalon on the northern beaches. Over the years, I have incorporated many mediums from drawing to painting, photography to film as well as textiles and community art both online and in the community.   
For the past two years I have concentrated on working alone, sketching en plein air, primarily at the beach using a variety of media and frames of view.  
In the Summer of 2014/15 having recently taken online studies in Urban Sketching and Storytelling with Melanie Reim and Veronica Lawlor in the USA as well as previous studies in Children’s Book Illustration and seeing Fiona Verity's sketchbooks at the Artspot Exhibition in January, I filled a Summer Sketchbook with over 84 pages of coloured pencil and gouache sketches, moving away from pen and ink towards a limited palette.  
The effects of both a single sketchbook, a limited palette and media as well as positioning myself right at the waterline, in amongst the beach goers, surrounded by the frenzy of activity had an amazing impact both on me and on my art. 
The more I tried to sketch children at play, the more I saw the interactions between people and place and instead of doing static studies what eventuated were free moving reportage accounts of the day. Overlapping figures, movement of flags, people, the sea, seagulls, the heat and the breeze.  
As David Hockney says:  

“If you look at things with a pencil and paper in your hand, 

you are going to see far more.”   
You can read more about the experience of creating this sketchbook in the post I wrote on my blog 1000 words for Summer Year 6 - summer sketchbook. 
At the start of 2015, on the recommendation of local printmaker Lisa Marshall, I commenced a class at Warringah Printmakers with Susan Baran to learn how to make solar plates as a way to experiment with some of the sketches from my Summer Sketchbook.  
The combination of the textural effect of the coloured pencil and gouache originals as well as limiting the colour palette further to monochromatic blue, is transforming the images. The further I go with this project, the more I have let go. It is no longer a personal observation or reflection, a record of time and events or of place. As I let go of trying to capture a particular beach, reference to the northern beaches, to Sydney or Australia, it has become a universal story of a Summer spent at the beach. A life lived by saltwater.  
Being included in the Saltwater Exhibition would allow my sketches to be viewed in a way that a hinged sketchbook restricts. It would also allow them to evolve into a completely new medium of printmaking. I am interested in creating solar plates of other sketchbook pages and exploring the possibilities of creating a series of prints to exhibit or possibly creating a book.  
I am also interested in combining photography and artworks from other parts of this project into a short film depending on space and facilities available in the exhibition.
I included two images with my initial submission: 

photo of on location sketching

initial experiments with "solar plate" printmaking

After a Briefing Meeting at the gallery in May with many of the interested applicants, I submitted my Concept, Images and Ideas in early June:
My concept is to create a series of six solar plate prints of sketches from my Summer Sketchbook. They are an exploration of people at play by the edge of saltwater. Everyday scenes of life by the sea, holiday makers, children at play, lifeguards, couples, families, surfboards, images that capture the vitality and atmospheric quality of a day at the beach. 
I have not yet decided on a title for the works, whether they would be individually titled or numbered as part of a series, but Playing on the edge of Saltwater, Where people play, or simply Beach Play or Prints from a Summer Sketchbook, are possibilities.  
I am a participant in the international Urban Sketching movement, a contemporary revival of en plein air movement of the impressionist era. Their manifesto is to - draw on location, capturing from direct observation, telling a story of a time and a place and being truthful to the scene. The sketches are about capturing life as it happens, reportage as it is also know. Having originally taken lessons from Liz Steel at Erin Hill studio’s in Manly, I have gone on to learn techniques from many others overseas including Melaine Reim and Veronika Lawlor whilst also adding to my own experience as an artist and Landscape Architect with a postgraduate in Tourism and the six years I have undertaken my 1000 words for Summer project. 
Now as a printmaker at Warringah Printmakers I am learning how to use the energy from the sun to transform these images into a series of artworks in monochrome. In doing so I am taking something that is a part of everyday life on the northern beaches of Sydney and turning them into a universal story of life lived by saltwater. It is this additional step, transforming them from my sketchbook into a print, that invites the viewer to inhabit the scene, evoking their own relationship and memory of playing by the sea.
Exhibition Layout - see also 2 attached elevations  
I proposed to submit 6 mounted solar plate prints. Each 210x150mm print would be mounted onto A3 (420 x 300mm) The six prints would be hung in two rows of three to create a landscape feel but could easily be displayed vertically depending on space in the gallery. The images invite a close inspection rather than needing to be seen from a distance.  
An optional addition to exhibiting the prints would be to display the sketchbook which was the original inspiration for the prints. If so, I would propose placing it on a shelf or plinth with a protective perspex case. Exhibition Sales I would like to offer each unframed mounted print for sale for $285 each. Should the gallery required them to be mounted I would need to charge an additional cost.  
Exhibition Program:
I would be willing to conduct a sketching event as part of the exhibition program for adults and or children as required outside the gallery or looking through the gallery windows.  
I have attached some photos of the solar plate prints as they would appear on mount board and the sketchbook as it might be displayed. I am quite flexible on the number of prints and layout for the exhibition. 

In mid June, I received the news that I was one of 45 selected artists from 96 applicants.

Then, for some months I simply played, photocopying pages from my sketchbook, laying them out, selecting them for their graphic quality, honing and selecting the sketches to print. Learning the "solar" or photopolymer printmaking process, exploring ways to capture the sketches and various ways to ink up the plates. 

In August, I wrote a blog post "Adventures into Printmaking" about the printmaking process I was engaged in and shared the exciting news of being selected into the upcoming exhibition.

By early October, the 84 pages in the sketchbook had turned into 12 transparencies, then nine plates and finally after creating numerous prints in a variety of blues, the nine prints turned into six. Sitting, looking at the images, it was the children who stood out in the scenes as a linking theme and the final six prints seemed to call out "pick me"! Two of the other three had seagulls as central characters, so I am wondering if they might become another series. 

The process of culling, preparing and creating the plates and selection of colour over the cooler winter months was interesting. This was a project that up until now, I had only worked on in summer. By then I was working on my Winter Sketchbook, absorbed in the darker blues, but I knew that come November the weather would warm up, the seas would get lighter, so I went in search of a Summer Blue. Chance would lead me to be accepted into Studio Access and after initially selecting Ultramarine Blue, I finally settled on Ocean Blue aqua wash ink.

In October, with six prints in hand, I sent off my Catalogue Details and ideas for the Artist in Conversation:

Artist Name: Suzi Poland 
Title of Work: Prints of a Summer Sketchbook  
Medium, Dimensions h x w x d cm:  
Prints: 6 prints 25cm x 35cm each total height: 60-70cm approx with 4-5cm space between total length: 1.2-1.3m approx with 4-5cm space between fixing: the six prints are loose sheets to be attached to wall at the top (of the back) with removable 3m tape (supplied) layout plan:  
Sketchbook: Total length: 50cm Total depth: 20cm Display layout: sketchbook open on this page (marked by yellow post-it)  
Price: $1200 suite of six or $250 each  
Artist Statement (100 words)
Each Summer, for the past six years, I have undertaken a personal project "1000 words for Summer" as a way of capturing the essence of summer where I live.  
Last summer, sitting at the beach, in amongst the swimmers, surrounded by the frenzy of activity, the sea, the heat and the breeze, what emerged were free moving reportage accounts of the day.  
In creating solar plate prints of the sketches, the tonal effects of coloured pencil and gouache has been transformed by the ocean blue ink. No longer my personal observations of a specific time or place, they have become a universal story of childhood lived by saltwater.  
Images - see 6 jpeg attached files plus image of sketchbook  
Artists in Conversation:
I would be happy to be involved in this part of the exhibition. Not only will it be of benefit to me to participate and hear back from the audience, but it will allow me to share what I have enjoyed about creating this artwork for the exhibition: 

  • the benefits of a personal project as a way of creating art 
  • the benefits of getting closer and closer to a subject 
  • the benefits of working seasonally, revisiting a subject over several year 
  • the benefits of mixing mediums as a way to explore a subject the process of solar printmaking and selection of images to print 
  • the transformation of taking them through the printmaking process 
  • how this exhibition has helped focus the themes in my art 
  • how this exhibition will influence my art making next summer 

the six "Prints from a Summer Sketchbook"

Throughout the process I kept in contact with Lisa Marshall, one of the other selected artists and people I'd met at the printmaking studio. I also kept in touch with art friends online who are always a huge support and well as pursuing my other art making projects, in the weeks before the opening, I attended a series of grounding classes and joined an online art course.

I find it invaluable, especially at times like these, to balance the role of art in my life and my role as an artist in the world. It helps reduce the pressures, especially when working alone. This was after all, my first exhibition outside my local community and my first ever in printmaking.  

A few weeks before the show, I came across an article from the Textile Artist blog "Before you can find an audience you have to know what it is your selling" or "Finding an audience for your art" and took time out to write down some thoughts on what I wanted from the experience.

I would like the viewer to feel the freedom and looseness of Summer, the playful nature of time spent by the sea, the fresh air and fun of the waves breaking at the edge, the heat and haze and craziness of a busy day at the beach. If not now whilst viewing, then later when sitting on the beach in Summer.  
I would love them to feel the feel of an Australian summer, a summer spent between the flags blowing in the breeze, the cool crisp north easterly wind blowing each afternoon, the salt crust on their skin, the squinting of eyes and the scent of freshly applied sunscreen. The squeals of children as they play carrying buckets of water to pour over the sand, the freedom and fruitlessness of building sandcastles, elaborate structures only to see them fall down, wash away, then to do it all again tomorrow, the next day and the day after.

I want them to feel the feeling of never-ending that lasts for those few days over summer holidays, when we completely relaxed and days join like sand in the hourglass and pass without us noticing. That time in the year when we seek repetition because it’s a repetition of all the things we love, it’s a settling into our core, who we are, how little we need and how much we can achieve by doing nothing at all. How pleasurable it is to uncomplicate our lives and simply connect with those we love.  
Yes, yes, this is how I want the audience to feel for a few moments whilst they look at my art, that is why I’ve shared the sketchbook and kept the prints as loose as I can. Here in this exhibition, where formalities of mounts and frames are not necessary, I want these six images to sit like placemats on an outdoor table, white, crisp and light in the bright sunlight or at a bbq on dusk. I want it to be like a diary of the six days in-between Christmas and New Year, the one time of year when it’s ok to switch of and completely chillax.  
Yes, if I can, for a moment create that in just one viewer, I will be happy. It’s not about me, the sketching or the printmaking really, it’s about seizing the opportunity to be aware of our surroundings, what makes us happy and what we wish could go on forever. Like memories of our happiest moments in childhood, I want these to be snapshots into who we were, who we are and who we can be.  
Professionally I’d like to find other creatives who are interested in creating the same playful feelings in the viewer. Not simply trying to tell their story or create an image of what’s out there, impressions of the sea, but creatives who are interested in having an effect on the viewer. Magicians, not tricksters, with the kindest of intentions, gently lifting the viewer and carrying them towards their dreams. A kind of Disney effect, DreamWorks, a mixture of art and tourism where the places and people you discover are wonderful worlds to inhabit. Where painful emotions are acknowledged and traversed but rather than dwelt on, there is hope and rather than fear, there is calm, captured in the simplicity of the work.  
Like the child wrapped in a towel, with parents looking out to sea, or the girl asleep on the bench, I want to create a sense of belonging, a sense of connection as much to the land and the place as to it's people and their own inner daydreams. A way to get back to the centre, a way to be content and calm. Alone in the crowd and together in art.

Yes that’s what I want!

Opening Night was more than anyone expected. Combined with the opening of the Advance Diploma of Ceramics exhibition, the crowds were huge and the hot evening air made it overwhelmingly busy.

The prints hung just as I envisaged but my sketchbook was positioned close to the wine bar and it was clear people were turning the pages. I had intended for it to be left open on a particular page which related to the prints and with delicate gouache that might fall off, I was happy to accept the curators offer of an easel and a "no hand" sign on the pedestal.

It's been an interesting experience to leave a treasured possession in a public place, an intimate book that captures a personal journey through time and space and in some ways sharing sketchbooks online is actually easier! 

participating in the Artist in Conversation event

In the middle of the exhibition, I was part of an Artist in Conversation event and it was interesting to meet, see and hear some of the other artists talk about their artworks they created for the exhibition. It was a great opportunity to share my ideas, processes and the joy of creating the works and I arranged for my talk to be filmed.


I am very grateful for being selected to this exhibition. The opportunity of seeing how artists get their work out there, shared, seen and hopefully sold. It's been a huge learning curve and with a week still left of the exhibition, I am sure I will gain more from the experience. In the hours in-between, I have begun playing with a few of the spare prints that didn't make the cull, painting them in colour and so, as this next summer approaches, I await to see what reflections and new energy this exhibition will bring. 

Did I panic throughout? I can honestly say, there were no last minute rushes, although cracking my tooth in a fall on the way to the Artists in Conversation wasn't fun. I firmly believe in doing what you love, following your heart in making your art, committing to the work and inviting serendipity and synchronicity in. When that happens things seem to hum their tune, inner guidance shows up and the right opportunities and people come along. It becomes a magical mystery tour and things flow smoothly, at least that's how it's been for me. 

From the first time I heard about this exhibition, it's been joy to be part of. I have much to be thankful for and many to thank and I hope sharing this here inspires others and that one day an opportunity like this happens for you too. 

Many thanks for stopping by, I hope you've enjoyed reading. 

Keeping Company: Saltwater is on at Manly Art Gallery and Museum, Sydney until Sunday 29th November 2015.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Like a little Kindness with your coffee?

I've heard of them, but never seen one. I've also heard about people paying it forward in cafes overseas. I've even participated in Free Art Friday, but never been on the receiving end. So it was special, yesterday when I went out to the cafe and was welcomed by the barista who said "Hi, No need to pay for your coffee today!"

Apparently the person before me left a Kindness Card so of course I had to sketch it, with my coffee. What a lot of love there is going around this little town. Not mine, but the suburb next door. Wow! I decided to stay for a while at the Flying Pig Cafe, Newport and take in the ambience, experimenting with some new techniques of sketching I'm learning in Cat Bennett's - Make Art a Practice eclass with Carla Sonheim.

As those of you familiar with my Coffeeosophy coffee sketches will know, I've been sketching in cafes for a while. I even did an earlier sketch of this cafe when it was Flamingoes and Dingoes. What some of you may not know is, I worked on the streetscape design as well!

Yes, in 1997 as a Landscape Architect with Pittwater Council, I worked on the streetscape improvements of Robertson Road. Back then, the cafe was The Sewing Basket and I worked with engineers and another landscape architect turned ceramicist Amanda Kelso to create mini murals on the seat walls that surround the seating terraces. I also learnt to paint ceramic plates in Jane Stitt's studio that was in the arcade. Now she creates beautiful hand painted cushions.

Over the years many of the shops have changed, but this little street still retains it's charm.

There was certainly no guessing then that this would happen to me now. I guess there never is. I am really grateful to whoever paid for my coffee. Thanks also to whoever came up with the idea of Kindness Cards because I am going to enjoy paying it forward as well!

Has anything like this happened to you? Love you to share in the comments below.