Follow by Email

Sunday, 30 June 2013

MAKING CONNECTIONS WITH CHILDREN

INSPIRATION COMES IN ALL SIZES


"Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up"
(Pablo Picasso)

So yesterday I told of a small boy Luke (aged 7) coming to my door selling raffle tickets. We got into a great discussion about drawing and he set me the challenge of drawing a tarantula and a bushmaster snake. If you haven't read it check it out so that this new post makes a bit more sense chronologically: All Things Creepy and Crawly

After I put the pictures up on the blog I took the originals, put them in an envelope and walked to Luke's house. I wasn't sure exactly of where he lived, but he had given me a house number.  So I rang the bell. Luke's Dad answered the door. And pretty soon I was chatting with Luke and his Mum and Dad and his little brother Liam. 

It's an odd and wonderful thing to find yourself standing in a neighbours house because a small boy changed the course of your day. I think we were all a bit inspired by the power a young boy can have to create inspiration and joy.

They were delighted to hear about the exchange and the challenge that Luke had set me. They also were impressed that I responded to the challenge so quickly! "You have to come and see this..." His Mum said. So I was led into the lounge room to see a coffee table COVERED in drawings that Luke had done since meeting me a couple of hours before hand. Apparently Luke had been talking about me for those hours as he drew and wanted to do his BEST work so that the drawings he put in my letterbox would really showcase what he could do as an artist.

I asked if I had permission to put his pictures up here on my blog. At this point he re-examined them and decided that a few more touches would be needed before they went on the internet.

So....

Today my door bell rang again. And there is Luke and Liam and his Mum. Apparently, to Luke,  I am (in his own words) "My best friend on the whole block!" And in my new buddies hand was a large white envelope with writing on the front.....

Apart from the words themselves (which I immediately treasured), I loved the drawing of the insect in the bottom right hand corner. Almost like a picture mark for the artist himself. Flying bravely forward with delight!

Inside the envelope are the best treasures yet: Luke's own response to the challenge complete with the final touches he promised. They are magnificent (and if I may dare say -  a little terrifying in their accuracy). 

First up, the tarantula. I love the shapes that Luke used to put this picture together. In fact I am AMAZED just how accurate this drawing is. The large back abdomen, the arched legs (complete with perfectly sized and proportioned sections on each leg), the fang (with a drop of venom), and the overall texturing. "You wouldn't want to get one of those needles in your eye!" Luke warned me with a giggle. Indeed not.

Did I mention that Luke is just seven?
The mind boggles.
His enthusiasm and commitment to create this spider (and all of his other pictures) is truly an inspiration. And his drawing skills are second to none.

Be warned... this picture of a tarantula is definitely NOT for the faint of heart!




Next we have the Bushmaster Snake. We see the ferociousness of the snake in it's facial expression and it's dynamic ready-to-move wavy form. It's definitely NOT to be messed with. The leaves and the twigs give this beauty an environment in which to live and to slither about. The red diamonds on the back of the snake scream out "Danger!" 

The whole page is taken up with this scene. Sometimes when I am drawing I tend to stick to a corner of the page or to be quite precious with small and fine strokes. Not Luke. He boldly makes his marks across the whole page. I think I can learn from this...






And here is another picture he gave me to "look up on the internet". This time it's a lizard. An Australian Monitor lizard to be exact. Goanna's fall under the umbrella of monitor lizard. They are beautiful yet fierce reptiles. I think Luke captured both of these qualities exceptionally well.


And finally, Luke's "most special" drawing of all. This last picture is of a completely new creature. Luke has lent me this picture as he would like me to copy it. 

"It's called a Roller Boller" Luke said.
"I'll have to research this creature on the internet" I told him when he showed me. 
"No. You can't do that Lou. Because it came out of my imagination. So there's no stuff about it anywhere. You just have to look at the picture." 
And look at the picture I have. I promised I would take great care with this picture as it's clearly a prototype for something never seen before. 

Between you and me readers, this picture is my favourite.

So without further ado, I give to you the contents of one remarkable seven year old's imagination...

Introducing: THE ROLLER BOLLER.....



I couldn't resist putting some colour in to Luke's amazing drawing:




So there you have it. 
My weekend of inspiration and creative imaginings all thanks to my new best friend on the block.



Luke and me at the front door.



The artist and his work.

Friday, 28 June 2013

ALL THINGS CREEPY AND CRAWLY

FEELING THE FEAR - BUT DOING STUFF ANYWAY

"Knowledge is the antidote to fear"
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

So here is my latest drawing challenge. Again I find that this one isn't an "official" challenge (as listed in my first post). But it is one I couldn't resist as it came in the form of a cute little boy Luke, on my doorstep selling raffle tickets with his sister Ella.

I had met these lovely kids before. They had come to my door before selling raffle tickets to raise money for a scout group. I was tickled pink with the last visit as the little boy said "You could win a car - and other stuff!" I asked him what the other stuff was. ""Um... don't worry about that.... Keep looking at the car!" What a top salesman! Needless to say, I bought two tickets. I didn't win the car, but I think I won the affection of some of the youngest members of my neighbourhood community (and that's even better in my books).

Apparently I also met these two on Halloween as well. I put a sign up on my letterbox saying "Trick or treaters welcome" (I think that this helps parents and kids alike). I am not sure who the kids were though as I had them ringing the bell by the dozens. So many masked and costumed little kids (and big kids!) ringing the bell until all my glow sticks and sweet treats were gone.

So today the doorbell was rung again today by these two little sales people. 

I was sitting at my desk when my partner answered the door. The little boy Luke looked past my partner and his face lit up when he saw me. He waved wildly at me. So to the door I went. Today Ella and Luke were selling tickets to raise money for a netball team. We bought tickets (of course). Then we stood in the door way talking as one does. Troy went back inside. We talked about bikes, holidays (it's the first day of school holidays here in Melbourne) and then of course - drawing. 

"Would you like to see some of my pics?" I asked them. They were both keen. I brought a couple of my journals to the door and showed them some recent pictures.  They were both suitably impressed. I said "A lot of these are from a drawing challenge. I asked people to challenge me to draw things - so I did!" At this point I saw Luke's eyes light up. "A challenge? Could you draw a tarantula?" 

At this point blood drains from my face. I don't mind spiders. As long as they are out of sight. And out of mind. And very small. Very very small.

"And could you draw a bushmaster snake too?"

I grabbed the doorway. Snakes are in the same category as spiders with me. Even behind thick thick glass in the zoo is not to my liking.

"And you could put them in my letterbox and then when I get them I will draw you a picture!"

How could you refuse a bargain like that?
I asked Luke to tell me what they looked like. He explained them both in great detail. I promised I would give it a go...

So I spent the last couple of hours looking up pictures of snakes and tarantulas and trying to bridge the gap of understanding and learn about why a little boy might find them so appealing. Also trying to overcome my fear of even just LOOKING at these creepy crawlies...

I learnt some really cool things about tarantulas such as they are quite docile, they often wont survive a fall and they can regenerate lost legs. Here's a few more cool things: Tarantulas - 10 cool facts!

As for the bushmaster snake. Well, they are one of the most lethal snakes on the planet. BUT, they are rarely seen. So that's a cool fact too!

Drawing them both I decided to make them a little more cartoon like to enhance their "friendliness". 

Here they are....




Monday, 24 June 2013

ADVENTURES IN COLOURING IN

A  JUMP INTO THE WORLD OF WATER COLOUR

Steve Jobs 

So here I go on a tangent. Today's drawing is not part of my initial drawing challenge that I set myself but a nice little segue into a new piece that I created on the weekend. My lovely friend Bekky had an art night in her new home studio with a group of like minded creative friends. Bekky made a large "Welcome" poster with a few creative challenges on it for us all to have a go at. One of the challenges was to "Challenge yourself! Use a medium you are not familiar with". So technically this IS a drawing challenge....

I have had a packet of water colour paints unopened for about two years. I guess I think the mess and the set up and clean up is just too much to be bothered with. Pen's are instant, clean and there's zero pack up. Yep. Lazy! But I took them along with all my art equipment anyway. And I love a challenge. So I got to work. Actually, more accurately, I got to play!

I can't believe I had never used water colours before! The feeling of painting with smooth, silk like strokes was so relaxing that I didn't really stop to think what I was painting. The image sort of just appeared.  And the colours seemed to pop more than any coloured pencil I had used in the past. 

It's a wonderful thing to try new things. I think since I have started this blog my eyes have become a little more open. I am noticing more of the world around me and it's intricacies. This is affecting my work habits and my want to experiment and explore and push myself to see just what I might be capable of achieving. I have gone back to design college in the last week or so (after a much needed term break) so my schedule is quite a jam packed one. I have a mountain of assignments and readings and exercises to get through in the coming months. But with each class and with each assignment I am challenging myself to push my own boundaries and to let this new feeling of experiencing the world influence the creative work I am engaging in.

So here is my first attempt at water colours that I created on a beautiful piece of A3 water colour paper. I call it "Bear/Bare Legs".



Wednesday, 19 June 2013

DOING WHAT YOU WANT

CATS CATS CATS


“What's your name,' Coraline asked the cat. 'Look, I'm Coraline. Okay?'
'Cats don't have names,' it said.
'No?' said Coraline.
'No,' said the cat. 'Now you people have names. That's because you don't know who you are. We know who we are, so we don't need names.” 
― Neil GaimanCoraline


Today's drawing challenge comes from Bridgette B. She asked that I draw her cat: “Hi Lou, please draw my cat Louie looking at me with regret as he sits on the neighbours fence. I can use that in my blog” (Bridgette B) I have a feeling that this might soon become a bit of a theme - drawing for people's blogs.

Bridgette is an actor, director, writer and maker of Baggage Productions - an independent and wonderful Melbourne theatre company. As Bridgette is a writer I wasn't surprised that she gave me not only a cat and herself to draw, but set a whole scene out - including the emotion of her cat! I love the individuality of this request.

I am an avid cat lover. I throw my hand in the air and admit it. I'm smitten with the kitten. I love animals of all kind, but there's just something about the individuality of the feline folk that strikes the right chord with me. It's often said that dogs have masters, cats have staff. Ha! I sometimes think this with my own feline friend. But I must say I appreciate that with cats nothing can be expected and nothing is certain. They do what they like, when they like. And as long as you are not a mouse, grasshopper, lizard (or any other such "sporting game") then you may be lucky to find a cat friend. But it may take time for them to find you. They seem content in their own skin and flaunt their individuality and all it's spectrum for all to see. They stand proudly in there own skins.

I am learning to do the same.



Tuesday, 18 June 2013

WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE

TRAVELLING DOWN THE DREAM STREAM


"Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream..."
(Lennon/McCartney)

Todays challenge comes from a friend I met as a teenager doing singing/dancing/acting classes with - Leanne B. I have based this picture on the many bridges I saw on a trip last year to the UK and Europe. I think this one reminds me of Scotland: lush green, dreamy light and very romanticised.  So in keeping with that feeling I chose to do this challenge in ink with a splash of watery colour. 

Every time I put colour into an image, or put pen or pencil to paper I am learning more and more about what I can do - and also what I am yet to learn. There are times when I feel a bit crude in this craft of illustration. But I remember back to my teenage years doing performing arts with Leanne and I probably was a bit crude of craft back then as a performer. Much water under the bridge later, here I am teaching performing arts to young people and still performing. I'm not saying I am a super star of performing arts, but I have confidence and belief in my work and feel more of the flow in that space and less of the what-am-I-doing-what-do-I-do-next feeling that comes when your head is making decisions without the skill.

It's all practice isn't it? 

What we start today is just a seed for what the future may bring. 

All we have to do is decide to get in that boat and head in the direction of our dreams.  This journey of being a design student this year isn't an easy one, but it is rewarding and satisfying to feel I am at least in the boat to becoming a professional illustrator. All I can do is row and row and hope each stroke I will become more confident, more skilled - and then let the current of opportunity drift me towards the right shores...



Monday, 17 June 2013

AN ALTERNATE VERSION OF MOTORBIKE & SIDECAR (with Lotus)

Here is a simplified version of the motorbike and sidecar (my latest drawing challenge).

My forever creative housemate Mish likes the idea of combining more of a blank background so that your imagination gets to set it where ever the viewer wants to set it. I like this thought pattern! 
So Mish.
This is for you!
:-) x



VROOM VROOM VROOM!!!!

MOTORBIKE & SIDECAR (and Lotus)


Today's challenge comes from one of my long time friends I went to uni with. Meaghan is a yoga teacher and actor - so I guess that's where her creative mix came from! I decided to put the two together. Meaghan is one of those super star souls who always shoots for the stars. She is a constant source of inspiration and motivation in my life. Although we live in different cities I love that we can connect still in the cyber world and share thoughts, images and celebrate our journeys together. 

I must say that I initially found this drawing quite challenging. I am not really sure how a motorbike and side car go together - but I didn't let that stop me! My Grandfather used to drive one of these back in the 50's - but he passed away before I was born and the motorbike and sidecar were long gone by then. I spent the afternoon (after coming home from first day back at design school) doodling. I decided to just be playful and let the process be lighthearted and non serious. I think this shows in the drawing! 

I realised over the weekend that I need more than two weeks to complete this challenge. I am letting myself off the hook time wise on this journey. After all, you can't rush creativity. 

I found this wonderful clip that really illustrates this fact: Creativity requires TIME As a teacher of young people I could not agree more with the idea that we all need time to let flow happen.

Here is todays creative time in colour!






Saturday, 15 June 2013

BEST FUR FRIENDS FOREVER

ANIMAL COMPANIONS 

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened..."
Anatole France

This drawing challenge is one close to my heart. I was asked to draw my beautiful friend Christine's scruffy pup Cesario (he's the black and tan dog on the right). I was also asked to draw Christine's late puppy Eponine (the cheeky fluff ball on the left) who passed away a year ago on the Friday just gone.

If you have ever loved an animal and shared nights cuddling, or playing or talking, or had an animal lay close to you while tears streamed down your face, or while you sung your lungs out pretending to be a pop star or sat patiently at your side while you ate a meal you will know that nothing compares to this special unconditional love.

And If you have ever lost an animal friend my heart empathises. My friend Christine's world was rocked like never before just over a year ago. Her rock and her best friend were gone in an terrible tragedy. I know she is still healing from this. Her healing is helped with a new little earth angel sent to her in furry form. His name is Cesario. I suspect that Eponine helped Christine find him.  And so this drawing challenge I wanted to show that Eponine and Cesario are a spirit team, loving and supporting their mutual spirit friend Christine (who just happens to be experiencing a human life).


A STORY ABOUT MY FRIEND MISHKA

I lost my beautiful friend and cat companion Mishka about five years ago. When I moved to Melbourne she was one of the first friends I found (at the animal shelter). She was with me when my brother lived with me, then with the next two housemates. Such a great friend. She was feisty, independent, couldn’t be told what to do. She was a free soul. But we had an understanding. She was loyal to me alone. At night time she would push open my bedroom door with her wet little nose and sneak up on my bed and curl around my shoulders and purr like a little motor. Through the night she would often get up and walk onto the bedside table and drink from my glass of water (she only drank water out of glass - clearly she was a classy cat!) I loved hearing her lapping happily at the water in the middle of the night. I ended up having a bottle of water with a lid on for me and a glass for her filled every night!
One day my youngest brother invited me to check out his new apartment on the other side of the city. I bought him a box of house plants to make his apartment feel more homely. As I was leaving I didn’t notice that Mishka had slipped out under my feet through the front door. I would occasionally let her out the front with me when gardening, so she loved the “front” and the adventure that was otherwise off limits when unsupervised.
When I came back home later that night (after dark) I parked the car across the road opposite the house. As I got out of the car Mishka ran over the road to meet me and my partner. I went over to pick her up. But as I was about five metres away, suddenly a car came racing down the street. Mishka got unnerved by the sound of the approaching car. She bolted for our house - the safe zone for her. Unfortunately the direct path from me to the house was right in front of the car.
I watched her go under the wheel. Maybe the worst moment of my life.
I ran to her screaming, the driver stopped, and I held her as she coughed up blood and breathed her last breath. Poor driver didn’t know what was happening. I couldn’t stop crying and screaming out in utter grief.
My housemate Kit at the time was an earth angel in disguise. She went and got Mishkas favourite blanket and wrapped her in it and took her in the house. My partner talked to the driver and assured him it wasn’t his fault. We put Mishkas body in the back yard and lit candles around it. My housemate told me that when a soul leaves a body sometimes it may stay around for a few days, disorientated but at peace, trying to figure out the situation. So the candles would give her a chance to see her body and know that we cared for her. We buried her the next day in the back yard with her favourite toys. I made a photo slide show of all my favourite pictures and let myself bawl my eyes out while watching it back. I lit a candle in the back yard every night for a week in her memory.
I woke up during the first night in tears. The second too. I was pretty inconsolable even with my partner giving me support.
The third night I was alone. The third night is when Mishka visited me.
In the middle of the night I was awakened. But I did not know what by. I heard the door being pushed opened. I heard it and felt it. I felt Mishka walking towards the bed (as I had felt so many times before). I was confused. Wasn’t she gone? I lay on the bed straining my eyes in the blackness looking towards the door. Then I heard it. A lapping. Right next to the bed, right where her water glass was still placed. Then the sound became louder and louder and louder until the whole room seemed to encompass this lapping sound. So I sat up. And then my eyes adjusted. I was alone in the room. But I walked to the front door (right next to my bedroom door) and opened it to witness the Melbourne rain falling on the plants in the front garden. And I knew suddenly. Not believed, not hoped, but knew. Mishka had become the rain. The rain, and the soil, and the plants, and the earth. And for that matter, the sky and the stars and the rocks and the trees and ocean and everything in between. And she was fine. Absolutely fine. And she wanted to let me know.
My grieving stopped that night. Because she told me she was fine.
I still missed her, and occasionally would shed a tear but in my heart I knew all was ok. My friend was greater than just her physical form that she left.
This is a true story. I have never had an experience like it before. But it was as real as the sunrise in the morning.
I am now blessed to share my life with a gorgeous cat Ruby who follows me around the house and sleeps curled up in a little ball on my bed at night. She is a constant and true companion and asks not for much except food and cuddles. Ruby reminds me to practice unconditional love daily. I can't thank her enough for that. 









Thursday, 13 June 2013

COCK-A-DOODLE-DO

WAKE UP! WAKE UP!

"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn"
(Jim Morrison)

Yes I am writing this in the wee hours of the morning at the tail end of the last week of my holidays. Next week I go back to early mornings and studying graphic design full time. The drawing challenge I chose today comes from my friend Daniel who asked I draw a cock. So here is your rooster Daniel. I am sure this is EXACTLY what you had in mind! 

I have been thinking about the rooster as a symbol and what it might mean. I researched a little and found a lot of references to religious ceremonies and cock fighting. Yeah. No so cool with me (I don't think I mentioned that I am a vegetarian and I love love love animals?)

So I went back to a different source of information (just as relevant as the wikepedia - actually yarn darn it - probabaly MORE relevant than old wiki - my own ideas.) To me the rooster reminds me to keep aware to keep awake and to be alert. I've always believed the world needs more lerts.

Tonight I spent the night getting some great tips and advice from my dear friend and sista in all things lovely and imaginative - Bekky (do yourself a little favour and check out her hilarious and beautiful blog: Saint Damascus) She said "Lou, you have a great attitude and you seem ready and willing to just learn and ask questions - even the ones that others wouldn't DARE ask!" And then she gave me some hot hot tips on sharing and creating work (yay for the digital age where we can actually DO this!) These words meant the world to me. A little encouragement from the right people really resonates. Yes. I am ready and willing to learn. And wanting to dive into the depths of creativity and see where this journey will take me. The rooster reminds me to keep being aware. It's a constant cockadoodledoo of "Keep seeking keep learning Lou!!"(and keep drawing.....)






Monday, 10 June 2013

CUPPA TIME

SLOWING DOWN


"Slow lorises are a group of several species of strepsirrhine primates which make up the genus Nycticebus. Found in south and southeast Asia, they range from Bangladesh and Northeast India in the west to the Philipines in the east,  and from the Yunnan province in China in the north to the island of Java in the south"
(Wikipedia)


This latest drawing challenge comes from my beautiful partner Troy. He asked me to draw a Slow Loris. Which happen to be the pretty much the cutest animal on the planet as they are a little like a possum and a lot like an Ewok. A winning combination. Though a little two winning as these little guys  are on the endangered list as poachers and pet shops are a threat. See this link for info: 


I drew this little guy drinking tea as after all they are a SLOW loris. And what better way to slow down than with a cuppa. For me, tea is an essential part of the day. And as I drew this little guy I drank a whole pot of chai (my all time favourite tea). This little guy reminds me to come back to myself and give myself time for self care. Not just slamming down a beverage on the run, but taking time to actually relax, breathe and be aware of everything within and around you. I must try and incorporate more of this into my life!



Sunday, 9 June 2013

BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN

HORSING AROUND

“He's of the colour of the nutmeg. And of the heat of the ginger.... he is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him, but only in patient stillness while his rider mounts him; he is indeed a horse, and all other jades you may call beasts.” 
― William ShakespeareHenry V

So this latest drawing challenge comes from my friend Steph. Steph is the owner of two gorgeous greyhounds. I must admit that to me greyhounds are like the horses of the canine worlds. They run like the wind, embody grace and people love them or have an innate fear of them. 

I am trying a different approach to my drawings this week. No pen/ink this time. Just my favourite pencil and a hint of colour added after. Will see how this goes!

Today I rode a bike for the first time in about five years. It was rather fitting as I have been working on an illustration for a friends website all week that has a red bike in it. I ended up drawing the bike three times. So I think I sent it out to the universe that it was time to get back in the saddle again! My best friend called me this morning and said "Let's go ride a bike to get some Vietnamese food for lunch." 

I have been minding another friends bike in my back yard for approximately a year. I have never ridden it before. But my best friend Kim convinced me that as the bike is just sitting there - it should be used and loved (and the original owner I think has pretty much forgotten about it). Kim lent me a helmet and I was off and away. Oh the sweet freedom of the wind in my face! Oh the joy of the down hill speed! Oh the challenge and torture of the uphill slog! (My muscles will let me know tomorrow how they feel about this new taste of freedom).

As a kid I used to pretend that my orange bike was a horse. I distinctly remember talking to it as we rode around the neighbourhood. That sweet freedom was one of the best feelings I ever had as a child.

I am going to get back in the saddle more frequently. No petrol required. Free exercise. Sun and wind on my face and the freedom to horse around again.


Thursday, 6 June 2013

LITTLE BITS OF MAGIC

FAERIES & BUTTERFLIES


"Over Hill, Over Dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere"

Puck, A Middsummer Nights Dream (William Shakespeare).

And so continues my drawing challenge. I am noticing a distinct theme/style coming through after this first week of my challenge. Perhaps because I am using the same process of drawing: pen on paper, scanned in and digitally coloured. There is a definite childlikeness to these images. Which is a nice revelation for me as when I draw from real life (as I have done mostly in the past) my drawings are more photorealistic in a traditional way. When I draw from my imagination the shapes and colours are bold and cartoon like. I am embracing this!

Todays drawing challenge comes from my cousin's beautiful little daughter Alice. She is still just a toddler. But she clearly has GREAT taste as she asked me to draw faeries and butterflies. 

I am a little obsessed with both of these. In fact there was a time when every birthday I seemed to be given presents all related to butterflies (the faeries came later). Like many people I love the symbol of the butterfly for its promise of a new life (even though in reality butterflies have a relatively short existence!) And who can resist the colour of them? Not me, that's for sure!

To me faery magic is simple the wonder of nature herself. And we appease the faeries when we stop and appreciate this - from the littlest new flower bud to the largest cloud in the sky. 

Hope you spot the magic in your day!








Wednesday, 5 June 2013

IT'S ALWAYS DAWNING SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD

A PIXIES PERSPECTIVE OF THE SUNRISE IN A FOREST


"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world."
Oscar Wilde

This drawing challenge was presented by my self proclaimed pixie friend Jay who lives opposite a national park in Qld.  The forest is an important part of her re-energising herself and she knows the importance of living close to nature. 

I like to think of myself as a bit of a pixie lady too. I am happiest when I am around nature. I am lucky to have a little atrium in my house (right next to my desk). It's filled with plants and faery statues and a meditating buddha. My most favourite places on earth that I have visited are natural places. Scotland and Ireland hold a special place in my heart as high energy places in nature. So does Byron Bay in northern NSW and Nightcap National Park and The Dandenong Ranges in Victoria. In fact there are too many beautiful natural spaces in Australia to list. I am blessed to live in a country with such breath taking and diverse scenery.

So dawn..... I am definitely not a morning person. If I don't set an alarm I find I just tend to sleep and sleep and have wild and vivid dreams. Having a sleepy cat on my bed assists in this dreaming process I am sure. Though the times when I do have to arise early (and this year that's pretty much every day), it's alway a magical experience and a soothing balm to actually see the sun rise. It definitely gives one the sense of a new beginning and a promise filled with hope and light.

I love to remind myself that right now at this instant, and at every instant, it is dawn somewhere in the world. And it's also sunset too. And day and night. It makes me feel connected to the turnings of the world and to feel right in the middle of my own existence to be a part of the cycle.

This drawing reminds me to visit the forest and natural spaces more regularly as it always reboots my soul and charms me with it's magic.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

GREETINGS EARTHLINGS!

MY VERY OWN EXTRATERRESTRIAL(S)


“The only thing that scares me more than space aliens is the idea that there aren't any space aliens. We can't be the best that creation has to offer. I pray we're not all there is. If so, we're in big trouble.” 
― Ellen DeGeneres


So here is my latest instalment of drawing from my list. This challenge comes from one of my old drama students from a galaxy long ago. I used to set creative challenges for Zoe E when she was a teen. Now she has set one for me. Looks like the tables have turned like the earth orbiting around the sun...


I got a wee bit excited about this challenge and ended up doing quite a few doodles and given them all names. After all, as no one has ever SEEN an alien (well PROVED it) the rules of drawing are out the window and its just a matter of seeing what the pen and the imagination wants to see. Isn't that like most of us though? We often see what we want to see. And we miss the obvious. I often think the search for existence of life beyond this planet is a bit of a misadventure. We have so much life down here already that we haven't quite figured out how to protect. I secretly hope we never find life beyond the blue planet. As I suspect we might mess it up. Instead let's dream up crazy worlds and try and look after the one we already have.

Which one of these ET's would you want for your very own?

Monday, 3 June 2013

THE UNKNOWN POWER WITHIN

NINJA!

Here is my next drawing from my list of challenges. This one comes from my cousin Patrick who requested Ninjas. I stuck to the singular - as in one ninja. I have subverted the lethal archetype of the ninja a little bit here and have named this piece THE LITTLEST NINJA. I have adopted a cartoon style to suit it. My littlest ninja is holding twin sai (much like Raphael of the Teenage Mutant ninja turtles).  

I like the idea of a ninja being childlike and small yet fierce and proud. In fact I think I will wear a scarf over my head this afternoon and pretend that I AM the littlest ninja. And that my power - although not obvious, is one that I will grow into. I am not to be underestimated. Won't you join me? ;-) HOY-YAH!!!!!

I'D LIKE TO BE UNDER THE SEA

MERMAID

“I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.” 
― T.S. EliotThe Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Here is the first of my drawing challenge: To draw a mermaid. Drawn in pen then scanned in and digitally coloured. This challenge was set by my friend Bekky (who also has a blog - check her out as her work is AMAZING: http://saintdamascus.blogspot.com.au )

Sunday, 2 June 2013

ALL ABOUT ME

MY JOURNEY

I have been acting since I was twelve years old. I performed on stage as a teenager in all kinds of plays and pantomimes. I found acting a wonderful way to escape the world. As a teenager I had quite a low opinion of myself and didn’t feel that I knew how to talk to other people or that my opinions or my voice had the right to be heard. On stage however I loved that I had the words to say and that I could be someone else for a while. 

I studied drama at university and then went on to complete a teaching diploma. When I tell people these days that I used to be so socially paranoid at uni that I would hide in the toilets and go to class late so I wouldn’t have to chit chat outside the classroom they find it hard to believe. Teaching others drama was what pulled me out of this zone of discomfort around groups of people. When I began to place the spotlight on others around me and encourage them to feel that they had the right to be seen and heard and that their own opinion did matter I followed suit.


I clearly remember my first time ever in a classroom as a student drama teacher. I was teaching a year nine class. My palms were sweaty. My breathing ragged. I could see the pulse in the corner of my eye. I walked to the classroom and saw this girl in the corner. She was overweight. She had large glasses. Not so clear skin. And there were boys either side of her clearly given her grief. She was terrified. She looked up at me as I walked in. In that one look as our eyes met I knew I had to be brave for the both of us. I had to fake the confidence. It was the only way to help her.  That class we did an improvisation where I made her queen. The whole class had to serve her. If they displeased her she looked at her “subjects” and said “Die!” There was a lot of laughter and I saw at the end of the class a spark of hope in her eyes.


Since that day I have been on my own creative adventure to find my own power and to find my own joy. I spent some time as a high school drama teacher before moving onto youth theatre and acting coaching. It was during this new role as a youth acting coach that my confidence was no longer a front. In helping young people find their voice and believe in themselves I found myself standing on the dust of what used to be my own shell of low esteem. After several years in this role I felt the urge to return to my own roots as a performer and made the journey southwards away from my hometown of Brisbane to the cultural hub that is Melbourne.


And here I have remained for the last eight years. In this time I have had many different jobs to pay the rent and been involved in many different creative projects. For six years I ran my own drama school. I taught weekly classes and toured workshops out to schools. I also performed in countless independent theatre productions and several short films. I had a small stint on Australia’s longest running soap opera. And several TV advertisements. I got a theatrical corporate agent so I could do roving comic characters and host murder mysteries at high end events. I began to write music and play at open mic nights and even had a summer in a band as a keyboard player. I also joined a neighbourhood house drawing group and spent two years every Thursday drawing with others. This class was my special time to release my inner artist and talk to like minded souls. And to share cake!

I also worked as a home carer, a circus trainer, a retail assistant and as a primary school teacher - though not all at once!

The creative industries generally mean that you have to be resourceful to make a living. Being a creative means that you also will often work outside of your industry to pay your way. This balance to honour the artist within and to live in a house with food in the fridge is not an easy one! Most artists I associate with do most of their art for little money - or for free. It’s a hard road. But one that is paved with the riches of the soul.


Last year I decided to re-evaluate my creative journey as I was finding that I had lost a lot of my passion just trying to pay bills and keep my head above water at the primary school that I was teaching at.  I was anxious and stressed a lot of the time. I felt that my creative juices had run dry just trying to pay bills and “keep it all together”. My drawing group each week was a sanctuary of much needed quiet. But two hours a week were not enough to return to myself.

So I took all of my savings and a quarter of the year to travel with my partner. We went to Europe and the UK. It was a magnificent adventure that gave me new sights, tastes, sounds, smells... And I let myself have the space to see what lay inside my heart. I found that I drew almost everyday. And I kept a journal everyday too. And I took photos and edited them to share my adventures with friends back home. On the last day of traveling I had a revelation. I was lying in a hotel room wide awake dreaming up a casual job to do. I imagined myself in a creative environment putting images together. I searched my brain trying to think of a place that would hire someone who could put imagery together. I ended up trawling through the Lonely Planet web site and found a listing for a job as a lay out artist. I had no idea what that meant so I had to google it. This search led me to looking up graphic design and courses related to it. And it was then and there in that Bangkok hotel room I decided to go back and be a student. A week later I had put in an enrollment form and put in my notice to leave my school teaching job.


So here I am half way through the year and a third of the way through my full time course as a designer. I still teach youth theatre on weekends and one weekday afternoon/evening. This keeps me grounded, helps pay the bills and connects me to young people and the essential laughter that we share together. 

Studying again is a huge challenge. It can be scary at times. Computers and software and programs and deadlines.... Eeek! But it’s also liberating, refreshing, enlivening and I feel I am on the right path. 

And so I have created this blog to remind me to keep creating. To continue to inspire and be inspired. 

THE DRAWING CHALLENGE!! CREATIVE BEGINNINGS - Finding FLOW.


Here I am ready to go on my first ever blog!

As a lover of all things artistic I find that as I get older creativity can either be locked into the notion of something once practiced and forgotten or I can continue to explore it and to develop the imagination. I actively choose the latter. Being creative however isn’t just something you do. It’s part of being human. To acknowledge this and to practice what is innate in us from day one is a sacred and grounding act. I choose to follow this creative path and let my soul be enriched by the language of dreams and wild imaginings.  

I set a challenge for myself recently to let this creative force flow through me more regularly.  For me, this “flow” is what being creative is all about. It’s that feeling you have when time and space seem to stop around you and all you know is the process of creating itself. It’s like a waking dream. Or an active meditation.  You experience this flow when you give awareness to the task at hand and immerse yourself in the process. It could be when you are cooking, or gardening, or even cleaning. It might be when reading a story to a child or writing a poem or letter. You may find this flow patting an animal as it sits trustingly on your lap or by your side.  You may find it when you imagination is locked into a book and you are creating worlds upon worlds just by reading. It may even be apparent when you are out walking and you are taken by the beauty of the horizon and the shifting light and the creation of the light itself lets you lose all else for those moments....

So my challenge is to create for flow.  Just to find flow itself.  To let myself be immersed in that wonderful state. I set up this challenge with the help of some friends. I sent out an online message to my friends:  “I am challenging myself to draw more. Even if quick and doodled or sketchy and not-so-recognisable. Pen to paper is the aim. So.... List me ANYTHING you would like to see me draw.... and... GO!!!” The response was this delightful list:

  • “Pixie perspective of sunrise in the forest.. “(Jay B)
  • “Mermaids. Always mermaids.” (Bekky H)
  • “Your very own extraterrestrial!” (Zoe E)
  • “Ninjas!!!” (Patrick Q)
  • “..oh and Alice would like fairies and butterflies”  (Alice Q)
  • “A slow loris....” (Troy L)
  • “Side car and motorbike, and a lotus flower x” (Meaghan D)
  • “A beach, with a surfer or dolphins, and the the sun setting. Give a paradise that I can dream about please.” (Tim E)
  • “Our cat!” (Jess G)
  • "My cock/rooster".... (Daniel T)
  • “A horse.” (Steph F)
  • “Mr Squiggle ?” (Nick B)
  • “A bridge” (Leanne B)
  • “Draw love. Not two people in love, just love itself. Go!” (Sheena C)
  • “Hi Lou, please draw my cat Louie looking at me with regret as he sits on the neighbours fence. I can use that in my blog” (Bridgette B)
  • “Lou, would you draw (my passed and present dogs) Eponine and Cesario together for me?” (Christine H)
I am setting myself a challenge to complete all of these within the next two weeks.  Will see how I go!!!