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.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My growing collection of art journals

I had a tidy up recently and gathered up all my art journals together on a shelf,
 they looked so good together I had to take a photo.

Then I started noticing more stashed all over the place and decided to gather them all together, purchased , hand made, and altered books  and wow they are forming quite a number. I am living in a renovation site at the moment so have so many things packed away and at another house and I know there are journals missing from my collection but wow they look good all together.

All of those juicy pages, hopes and dreams, challenges and events documented in my own personal manner. I love to be able to see the progression of my artistic ability and style as I look through the pages.

 This is my story.
In my voice and my hand documenting my journey. 

I sorted them out by size and restacked them on the shelf, 
but even my kids had associations with journals,
 just seeing the covers laid out and the memories came flooding back to all of us.


I love the look of them all together now, different shapes and sizes, and different bindings.

*Proud mummy moment~
These last 2 pics are from my youngest child,
he made this journal for his beloved Nan for her 70th birthday.

 This is his first hand made journal, maybe he will need a shelf of his own one day.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Asha's art workshop

I have a special little friend,

 I have known her since she was a baby,
 in fact I could of quite happily brought her home and kept her,
 I still could. 

Her name is Asha 

and she wanted to do some art with me,
she wanted to do printmaking and book making,

and she wanted to share it with her friends, 
so she gathered a group 

and we enjoyed a weekend of printmaking and book making 

and they all worked really hard 

and went home with something beautiful  and unique,

something they made with their own hands.

I have youth art classes running at the moment doing printmaking, stamp making and bookmaking. We make art and have fun at the Grafton Art Club on Wednesday afternoons. I still have a couple of places available, contact me at if you would like more information.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Art Journaling when you are sick.

I am usually a pretty healthy and busy woman but have recently been sick for a couple of months, once I watched all the documentaries and art videos and music videos on my lap top in my endless days of being in bed I was bored and I needed to journal.

I was limited in what I could do though and lacking inspiration.
I didn't want to have paints and water jars in my bed 
and I didn't want to have to keep getting out of bed to clean things.

But I did want to exercise my little creativity I still had, 
art heals and it always makes me feel better.

So endless hours of worrying about the bush fires ravaging NSW and  looking at facebook turned up some words and quotes I wanted to play with and my waste paint journal has lots of yummy pages prepped and ready for the next step.

With just some paint pens, gel pens and markers I could write on my pages and I had all of these words so I didn't even have to think too much about things. Just play with freedom and it made me happy and distracted me. 

Some of my pages in this journal have had opening pages added and when I found a theme running through the words inspiring me I grouped them all together under post cards and opening pages.

I have so appreciated being able to just play, appreciated my already prepped pages, my lap top connecting me to the world and  the moments when I was up to sitting.

Art really is a healer.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Nomad- Travelling Artist

I recently joined a group of artists to work collaboratively on a CRAP artist survey  chapbook. we looked at the artist as nomad.

 It was great to see how everyone took the idea and went in so many different directions.

As artists, we need to travel to work, sometimes I sell work online but markets and exhibitions are where more work is sold and commissioned and to supplement my income I teach all over the place. 

I worked in my usual style with plenty of layers to build up a rich background with stencils, inspired by recent play in my journal. Knowing we had limited time I was much more relaxed with a plan in my mind even if it was a vague one.

I then used one of my hand made stamps and added some of my own thoughts

As rural and remote artists we are nomadic, like seeds in the wind we float about until we find some fertile ground to settle and share our gifts of passion, knowledge and skills then we move on and leave more seeds behind to flourish, grow and bloom.

and a very apt quote,
contributed by a much loved fellow traveler.

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the journey. They are Home.”
~ Anna Quindlen.

This shows both sides of my pages, we had to make 60 pages each that ultimately became 60 books, all in 2 days and we all came home with 5 each and the others are to be donated to various libraries. 

Julies gorgeous pages used vintage pages and imagery
 she picked up on overseas travels

Doug made an incredible collage of our town map
 and our mighty river

And I love Hayley's pages with the view from a traveling van
 printed onto map pages.

The whole weekend was a lovely experience working collaboratively with a great group of talented artists.