Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year

To all my family and friends
Happy New Year

May 2014 unfold as a beautiful gift
May all your dreams come true in the new year.

May you be blessed with good health and happiness

May the entire universe be filled with
Peace and Joy
Love and Light.

May all beings everywhere be happy and free
Loka samasta sukino bhavantu

Friday, December 27, 2013

Australian Journal Swap

Have you ever done a journal swap?
Have you ever wanted to?

I have a couple out there at the moment and I have really enjoyed working in other peoples journals- for one thing you get to see and touch other artists work and that is so much better than seeing it online.

All of the works above are in my Nature Study journal, it was a nice little swap with just 3 artists.

We set up our own little blog  The Sisterhood of the Travelling Art Journals 
and we all had fun and stretched ourselves working on others journals.
It is a bit scary stepping out and taking that step but it will develop you as an artist
 and it will develop your confidence.

One journal I have out travelling the world is my Totem Animals Journal 

This swap has had plenty of challenges but we have a core group of wonderful artists and we also have a blog called 15 Artists, 15 Journals, 15 Months  this swap has been going for much longer than 15 months but it is winding up now with a few journals home already.If you pop over to that blog you will see lots of different styles and interpretations. I cant wait to get mine back :)

In 2010 I sent out my first much loved journal

The Sacred Feminine

You can follow the link above to have a look into my journal,
I was so excited and made individual ATCs for all of my fellow artists and you can see some other the beautiful pages done here  Sadly this journal is lost somewhere in England I think, so if you happen to see it please send it home.

It is a big risk putting your beautiful hand made creation out there into the world, and putting your art work out there as well, but I have developed personally and seen other artists really bloom doing this. Most of the artists who sign up are a bit unsure if their work is good enough- but everyone is really supportive and appreciative and you will out do your self, maybe not on every page but as long as you are creating for that other artist who sent that little journal out into the world with intention and care I am sure your work will be beautiful and so very appreciated.

To try and limit journals going missing and also to save the large expense of overseas postage I am limiting this art journal swap  for Australian Artists only.
I will set up a blog and ask you all to join and contribute as you do your work
 and I will set up a facebook page for ease of communication.
It makes connecting so much easier.

Before you sign up you need to be certain you can dedicate some time every month or so to do your page and to get it posted. If we keep the communication channels open and the journals flowing we will all have a lot of fun. Of course life happens and sometimes things get too much , but timely and honest communication will smooth things out considerably and keep us all motivated and on track. In the 15 15 15 swap we have accommodated a new baby, over seas travel, people moving and many other things- if we are all in the look people are very understanding and sometimes it might mean missing someone for a few months but then sending back to that artist when they are back on board again. There is never any reason to disappear and stop contact to this end I will need everyone's home and mobile numbers and email addresses.

To sign up either leave a comment here
or go and join Milliandes Art Journal  Facebook Group and join up here 

As we are all out of our usual routines I will leave the sign up open until mid Feb and then we will see how many fellow artists we have and form into groups. I think 10 - 12 people will be the maximum and if we have over 12 I will split the groups into 2.

So if you want to start making your journal maybe create 12 double page openings no bigger than A4 so it will fit in a standard sized envelope, and start thinking about your theme. A light weight cover is a good idea and you can do your title page and maybe a welcome and an artist sign in space.  I have some links on my blog for book making tutorials and inspiration You don't need to make a journal if you would rather not, you can send a bundle and bind later or you can buy a journal to use. I like to use stonehenge printmaking paper as it takes anything I do to it but many people like watercolour papers or mixed media papers, what ever you use try to use something that will stand up to anything- I have pages that are sewn have spack filler texture, have so very many layers  and have holes cut into them - these will be used creatively by various artists who do all different types of work

I encourage you to join in - be brave - be committed and have fun.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Summer Solstice

Brightest Blessings 

On this longest day of the year in the southern hemisphere.
May you and your families be truly blessed 
with love and laughter
with health and happiness
with compassion and respect.

My family don't celebrate Christmas, 
I have raised my children with a much broader view of the world, they are aware and accepting of many different views and beliefs and they are free to make their own choices.

 We celebrate the old festivals of the year,
it makes much more sense to me in the hot summer month of December in Australia to be celebrating the summer solstice, the longest day and the shortest night has long held cultural significance in many cultures right back in time. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lyrics travelling journal

Liz made a beautiful journal to travel the world,
 collecting lyrics and art from countries near and far.
This is the page I made for Liz
 it is based on the song 'Great Spirit' by Medicine for the People.

I played with bright silk dyes and inks and textures and tried to make a beautiful page and also to capture a little of the beautiful energy of the song. Adding in an Owl Spirit as I have such a connection with owls.

Liz signed up to an art journal round robin with 16 other artists all dedicated to a smooth and regular exchange but sadly that is not how it worked out. From the start we had troubles with the lady who started the swap pulling out, the others rallied around and we got ourselves organised to continue and then we had quite a few journals go missing over the course of our swap so four lovely ladies including Liz will not be getting their beautiful handmade with so much love and energy art journals back. We have all done lose pages for them though and even replaced pages already done in the lost journals. 

It is a sad thing to lose your journal and I really do hope that where ever they are someone sends them home one day. I have also lost on of my journals in another swap the International Art Journal Swap  begun in 2010 and there are many lovely women still waiting on their journals from that swap besides me as well. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness

I love making things

especially for friends and family 

and giving them to them for no reason at all.

There are groups who come together for the purpose of random acts of kindness or RAK's as they are known and I recently put this package together for my lovely friend Jeanette House.

Giving is so much fun though so I made a few extra ATC's recently for a swap I was in and I have been gifting them as well. I am going to make it a regular part of my art practice to keep making extra's to share. 

Have you ever given a RAK or received one ? please share your RAK stories with me and pop over to Jeanette's blog from link above and say hello :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Little Kingfisher

Playing with one of my home made stamps in my waste paint journal.
I had no idea how handy this journal would be when I first started using it to clean off my brayer and stencils and printing things just to save and use the paint. It has been so good to have a page prepped and ready when ever I want to play. I can add to it with anything and make it as simple or elaborate as I feel and I have done so many pages now resting in bed.

I can grab it and jot down that quote or lyric or anything that grabs my attention. 

This one says 
(n) the gleam of last light on a rivers surface at dusk,
 the glow of a river in the darkness.

Perfect word for this river loving girl to remember and an experience I think many little kingfishers would experience regularly.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Inspiration- what inspires you ?
I am so thankful and so inspired by the beauty that surrounds me, I am a total tree perv and could fill this post with beautiful trees like the gorgeous jacaranda's up above that are celebrated every spring in Grafton with the annual Jacaranda festival.

Or this much loved red gum sheltering some kangaroo's in the paddock I look out on from my desk. This is the lightening tree so named because we all remember vividly the day it was struck in a storm a few years back, it is still a gorgeous tree and frames an inspiring view. 

This is the awesome space I live in, there are two other very special tree's I will save for a different post and just looking out at that ever changing sky also inspires me. 

I am inspired by many things though 
lyrics - songs
other artists
colour combinations
So many things can touch me and trigger a reaction that I want to get down, I want to express some way, but there are also other inspirations that I just cant catch, they are fleeting but beautiful moments that add to the richness of life.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Altered Card Swap

My wonderful mum is also an avid art swapper and she has been enthusiastically encouraging me (lol ) to join in with some of the swaps she loves so I decided to join the altered card swap with her.

Once I got into the swing of things I had lots of fun and I ended up making 18 cards instead of the required 12.

Now I have some for RAKs
Random Acts of Kindness

I know exactly who some of these are going to and I love giving.

As an added bonus after all that fun, I will be getting a dozen cards back -

Monday, December 2, 2013

Golden Moments Giveaway

I am having a Give Away on my facebook page.

You could win this journal.

I am giving away Golden Moments to celebrate Summer Solstice and my eldest sons birthday, (How do they grow so fast!)

Golden Moments is a hand made journal, it is made with highly decorated hand printed and hand torn pages and a lovely recycled cover. Each page is individually bound with hand dyed cotton twine.

Pop over to River Girl Art on Facebook to enter.

Friday, November 29, 2013

She dances to her own Rhythm

Another page in my waste paint journal.
Playing with stencils and colour and one of my favorite art supplies of the moment - jelly roll pens. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Where do you do it?

Art- where do you do it? I have been doing art all my life, it is my passion and it feeds my soul, it is vital to my well being and I have done it all over the place. As a girl I remember being sprawled all over my bedroom floor surrounded by rolls of tape and the contents of the recycling box creating all manner of things, lost in the act of creation often making something for my mum or a gift for someone else. It is a really happy memory that transports me back to a time of innocent fun.

I have had dedicated studio's where all of my supplies were laid out and organised, I had the freedom to leave my easels up and work on multiple works at the same time leaving them in place until I got them finished. Having a studio helped me be much more productive and have exhibitions and sell at stalls and markets and one day I will have my own studio space here but I have a house that needs finishing and kids that need homeschooling and students to teach right now.

I have used the dining table for years and possibly created more art there than anywhere else. My kids have grown up at that table as we are a homeschool family and the end of the table is always neatly stacked with art materials and home school supplies, partially cleared for every meal with a full clear when we have extra's eating here or a big project on.

I have journaled in many places, at the park watching my boys grow up, these days we do it at the skate park or the BMX track,in the library, at the pool, at the beach down the river. At tennis, soccer, little athletics and rowing, at scouts, at friends places. When we are travelling
 the bed in my van or the drivers seat serve as my mobile studio.

 Journaling in the back of my van.

We have been renovating for years and at one stage I had a huge studio in this house but that space has been renovated back into living space and now houses my new bedroom and the kitchen we are still working on and I have started to set up a little studio space in my new bedroom.

 It is in a light filled corner with 2 glass walls overlooking the back deck and one of the parrot cages. We share our home with 6 free flighted lorikeets and I love the colourful visitors I have. Beyond the deck is our back yard, and that is really another art work I am playing with as I slowly make over that area into garden and beyond that a 700 acre paddock with hazy blue hills in the distance. The paddock is a changing stage with big mobs of  kangaroos out there often, cows use it regularly and so many birds. Many parrots besides our lorikeets and their wild friends there are black and the occasional white cocatoos, galahs and corellas. king parrots and rosella's. Magpies, butcher birds, currawongs and pigeons and doves. Willie wagtails and owls, whistling kites and wedge tail eagles. Pelicans and jabiru like the dam and the ibis and heron and cranes come much closer browsing in our garden. Now I have my bedroom and back deck overlooking that area I will be able to enjoy it so much more.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Soul Painting

This is a page I have done for Rhelda.
For her travelling art journal - Soul Painting.
Sadly Rhelda's journal has gone missing so the wonderful girls in the 15 Artists, 15 Journals, 15 Months  travelling art journal round robin have continued on and made lose pages for her to receive and then she can either bind them or do anything she likes with them really.

It has been a long journey with this particular swap, but I think that is how these things turn out, its a huge undertaking to start an international swap and send a precious hand made journal off into the world . It takes a lot of trust and there is a huge element of risk.  Life happens to the participants who in the beginning are determined and eager and sure they will be able to fulfill their personal commitment to the swap. Journals are lost in transit and never seen again and it is a real shame because a collaboration like this is a really beautiful thing and to lose your journal, that you have put so much time and energy into creating is heart breaking.

(Back of page)

Unfortunately Rhelda is not the only artist in this swap to have her journal lost somewhere out in the world. We are nearing the end of this swap and I am hoping to get my Totem Animal Journal home soon and I hoping all of my fellow artists also get their journals or their pages home. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Art- with kids in or not in your homeschool

We are a homeschooling family and this post appeared on my sadly neglected homeschool blog The Fig Tree. These days my kids don't appreciate mum blogging about everything they do but this post has some good information for doing art with all kids. It also reflects my philosophy in the way I teach art to anyone- kids and grown up kids are all welcome to play and experiment in my art space. All of the works on this post were done by my own children at home.

Art can be easily overlooked in the homeschool, some parents have shared with me how they find it difficult to fit it in, it is very valuable to your child's education though so I thought I would share some thoughts and resources here.
I am passionate about art in our homeschool.
Most of the things we do in life have well defined procedures to follow, rules and regulations leaving little room for creativity or mistakes.
Art is wonderful to open a child's mind to freedom and play; to allow them to experiment and to use their own imaginations without any fear of getting it wrong-


Why learn Art?
Learning art provides a foundation for visual perception, the ability to recognise and understand images, these may be found in many places- art works, plans/ blueprints, symbols, words.......

Art education helps a child to develop abstract thinking skills-
the visual arts combine abstract thinking with real concrete materials
to create the idea in their imagination,
using convergent, divergent, evaluative and visual thinking skills.

Art education provides a window
a connection into people in another place and time.

Art education encourages creativity using art skills and knowledge-
in order to create children utilise other Key Learning Areas
Maths- patterns.
Science- colours- mixing, tones, opposites.
Language Arts- communication- expressing ideas, discussing art works
reading or listening to directions.
- history- people have made art in most cultures and most times, studying art from different times is like a window into that time and kids notice details they wouldn't pick up from a book or lesson. Recreating art from times past is also a wonderful way to add depth to a study of that time and place.

Physical ed- motor skills, some art materials are heavy and use a lot of muscle- clay in pottery and sculpting a heavy base.

How to Incorporate art into your homeschool.

Children need to see art to appreciate its beauty and power-
Look at pictures together, and talk about what you see, there are many lovely books with wonderful reproductions of great artworks and libraries have great collections.
Calenders often feature an artists well known works and can be easily collected and stored till you need them.
Visit art galleries and art shows.
Study different artists and different styles of art.

Making art is fun.
How often in your school time do you really get to do something spontaneous and hands on?

Art can easily be included in your homeschool days-
it fits really well with unit studies or into set subjects,
especially science- nature journalling
Geography- salt dough maps or mountains or volcanoes, sketched or painted landscapes and History.

My personal goals for my kids are to teach them to be comfortable and familiar with how to use various art materials so they are willing to use them to express themselves freely.

The materials we use, we play with, but they learn as much from the art materials themselves as they do from me.

I am aiming for my boys to find success and pleasure in our art time.

We use a lot of student grade art materials in our home, I find they have a good range, the are good value and quite good quality for our uses. I tend to pick up things as I plan them and I include art planning in my general homeschool planning.

I also give the more precious art materials to my boys at birthdays and solstices as gifts, they enjoy having their own supplies and use them in their own time.

We also use lots of recycled materials, there are always clean recyclable things around- paper, cardboard, tubes, bottles, lids containers etc, many can be used in assemblages or art works and others can be used to store art materials.

A couple of my favorite books for teaching art
Discovering Great Artists
MaryAnn F Kohl and Kim Solga


The Art Teachers Book of Lists
Helen D. Hume

The Internet is a wonderful source of inspiration and ideas
here are some of our favourites.

A selection of inspirational arty blogs-

Kathy Barbaro's Art Projects for Kids this is a fabulous blog, a real favorite in our homeschool, make sure you search through the older posts.

Jessica CamisArt Smarts for Kids

Deep Space Sparkle, Patty's art lessons for kids.

Charva LeBarton's Art Teacher

Art with Mrs Smith

Teach Kids Art

Artist of the Week This one has not been updated for a while but still has some great resources.

Bringing out this post was a walk down memory lane and my boys were so little cute then - :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Medicine For The People

One of the many wonderful things on the internet is being able to connect and share and discover lots of new things. A few years ago I discovered Medicine for the People and I was blown away. I love their passion and their music and their philosophy.

Our Mission is to be the motivation and inspiration for all that has come to be Medicine for the People. Within our community we have everything we need to spread awareness and take action to make the Changes we know are healthy for all Earthlings and Mother Gaia herself. We are honored and humbled to be a force of attraction for positive and creative minds in these times.
I recently had the opportunity to go and see them with some of my closest friends, they were on tour with Xavier Rudd and Donovan Frankenreiter We saw them in Byron Bay and it was an absolutely fantastic afternoon, so relaxed and so fun it took us days to come back down to earth.


What a wonderful group of people Medicine are, they put on such a fantastic show and then they came out to spend time with the crowd. My friend Karina is hand raising a baby Pretty Face Wallaby joey called Mars and Mars met the band as well. It was a treat for us and for Hope and Nahko, Chase and Dustin, and our kids who spent the afternoon hanging out with such inspirational, talented and just gorgeous people will never forget it.


The Concert was fantastic and so inspiring, my 10 year old is starting guitar lessons, my friends son who is a wonderful guitarist came home and taught himself how to sing and play Medicine songs and we are all listening to our CD's often.

I have found myself adding some of those powerful words in my journal  and I did a page to commemorate the gig as well. 

If you haven't yet checked out Medicine for the People make sure you do.