Sunday, April 25, 2010

Room with a beach view

This is the view from the balcony of our unit. We are at the beach for 10 days. Will post again when I get home. Meanwhile here are some more photos, all taken from either the front or back balcony.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

200th Post Celebrations

The random list generator has done its work, and the three lucky winners are: Dinahmow, Abigail Thomas and Buechertiger.

Congratulations to Diane, Abigail and Hilke! Could you drop me an email and let me have your address so  I can send you your gift? I also want to say a big thank-you to everyone who commented. It's been fascinating  to hear what has interested you most.

Each of the winners will be receiving one of my original prints. I haven't posted them on here yet as I was purposely keeping them a surprise for the winners. Once you have all received your print I will share them online. I will say that these are the prints that I was planning to enter in Impressions 5, the annual Impress Printmakers Show. I eventually decided that my time was a bit pressured, so I gave that show a miss, because I had other priorities at the moment. Hopefully I'll take part in future Impress Shows.

The other good news I have is that all the printing has been completed for my edition of  "Judy and the Jacaranda", my book inspired by Learning Absences. Hurray! I still have to trim the pages and then bind them, but I am so looking forward to this stage. I bound the first copy on Friday, and the strong association with the loss of my mother last year has made this an emotional step for me.

This afternoon I will be photographing the book as I am submitting it for consideration for the Tallis 2010 National Works on Paper Award. It was lucky that the theme this year is portraiture, which the book also suits. I don't know what chance the book has, but I will be very honoured if it is selected to participate.

Although I didn't have work in Impressions 5, I did get along to the show. It was great to see the work of the members, and there were many lovely prints to be seen, but when I walked in the door, I saw one and I knew straight away that I would be taking it home with me! Queensland printmaker Glen Skein, now living in Brisbane, is a member of Impress and he had one of his ""red boat" etchings in the show. I saw his solo show at Redlands Art Gallery late last year, and sat for ages viewing his 3 metre "red boat", trying to work out some way to fit such a magnificent work into my small unit! So when I discovered this smaller member of the series, I didn't need to think twice. I'll say good-bye for now with a snap of the etching on the wall in my studio. Please excuse the magnets holding it in place until I take it to the framers. The photo does the print no justice, but I hope you enjoy this peek anyway.

Glen Skein, red boat (small)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Surprise Give-Away Coming Up for 200th

My next post will be my 200th! Nobody could be more surprised than me that I have made it this long. When I first started blogging in 2006 I wasn't sure what direction this blog would take, and I certainly never dreamed that it could be a source of real meaningful friendships and now partnerships, through Book*Art*Object.

I am so grateful to everyone who has visited my blog, whether that has been a once-only visit, an intermittent drop-by, or the wonderful supportive group who visit me regularly. It is a chance for me to show what I've been up to and to receive valuable feedback on my work. I've been able to share some of the techniques I've learned along the way, and the sense of being able to contribute something, despite my illness has meant so much to me. I am particularly touched by the kindness and support I've felt from some very regular commenters, especially at times of high stress or very low energy.

So to let you know how much I appreciate you all, I've decided to have a Surprise Give-Away to celebrate my 200th Post. There will be three special gifts going out to Three Special People who leave a comment for me on this post between now and midday Sunday 18th April, Australian Eastern Time. At that time I'll use this random list generator to select the three winners. You can compare times here, if you want to know how the times compare in your area.

So go on, give yourself a chance to win, and me a chance to thank you, by leaving a comment now. I'd love to know what drew you to visit me in the first place or why you choose to come back. But most importantly, make sure you leave me an email so I can contact you if you win. Good luck!

Post Script: Sunday 18th
Okay that's it folks - it's 12:07pm and I'm closing the comments for the draw!
I'll be back soon with the results.

Monday, April 12, 2010

More on Happiness

These blog awards may be a gimmick that does the rounds, but this most recent one has set me off on a process of thinking and a journey around a few new blogs. The kindly Cusp bestowed the award on a few of us PWME/CFS (People With ME or CFS for Those-Who-Don't!?!*)

One of the other "winners" was Michael Nobbs. I visited Michael's blog over a year ago and was interested in his drawing and approach to living with CFS, and returned a number of times. Unfortunately Michael was on a bit of a health-related hiatus at the time, and I seemed to lose track of him. So when I returned recently to check out his blog, it was great to see how far he has come. By that, I don't mean that he is cured or even mostly better, but rather that he has worked out a way of living with his CFS that feels very authentic to him. It looks as if he is managing to set meaningful goals and achieve them, by just working away in small chunks and not putting his health or happiness at risk.

There are a few things about Michael's story that run parallel to my own, and I've found many of his posts and mini-podcasts about his thoughts and approach incredibly pertinent. For starters, Michael "came to art", in his case drawing, after he became ill. Secondly, he felt a need to go back to uni and actually study art, to be able to really call himself an artist. The third thing we have in common is that we both recently lost our mothers and we've both written books about how we are working to deal with that fact.

When you visit Michael's website, the front page announces that his fourth issue of  The Beany is available, this being for want of a better term, a zine that Michael publishes. The current edition focuses on the time after the death of his mother, and is titled "Looking for the Joy". You can read excerpts online here, but I want to share the quote that really caught my interest and which prompted me to buy my own copy.

I just really wanted to know what changes Michael had decided to make and how they are working out. While I was waiting for my copy of  "Looking for the Joy" to arrive (which it has now - and it's a lovely read) I explored Michael's blog and mini-podcasts. The first thing I noticed was this:

Could that possibly be right? 20, 000?
But it is, so he's obviously doing something right, offering something that people want, or more likely need.

I have to say I think it's fantastic! Michael has re-worked his life and he's leading it his way, and making it work for him, while giving so much to so many other people. Personally, I love his use of  Audio Boo to make his mini-podcasts.  They are only a few minutes long, and in a sense, not that different from his blog posts, but hearing his voice, which is very friendly and chatty, just cements an instant connection. Did I say I think he's fantastic?!?

As you can tell, I've found the man and his story very inspiring. Obviously, he represents something that I am sorely in need of at the moment.He hasn't been afraid to slow down and to take a good look at his life, his direction and make the changes that felt positive to him. That's all stuff that I feel the need to do too.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Happiness Award gets me thinking...

The lovely Cusp, over on L'Ombre de mon Ombre has kindly given me a Happiness Award.

These awards go around from time to time, with minor variations. I quite like the way they entice the recipient to share some info that probably wouldn't normally be in their blog, but I'd say it's rare that a blog award leads to anything too earth-shattering. In this case, I feel like it has, but I'll get to that shortly. First, according to the rules, I have to:

- Thank the person that awarded you this in the new post.

- Name 10 things that make me happy.

- Pass this award onto other bloggers and inform the winners

So first and foremost, thank-you Cusp. I really appreciate you thinking of me and your support and friendship over the years(!)

Now, 10 Things That Make Me Happy. Well, hm. Actually being a bit of a grumpy old thing who just hides it well, it took me a while to get going on this, but once I was in the flow, I really enjoyed it and had no trouble coming up with at least ten. So here goes:

1. Tropical thunderstorms
2. Walking on the beach
3. Puppies and kittens
4. Anything deep,deep red
5. Floating on my back beyond the breakers, looking at a blue sky
6. The moment when you realize a migraine has passed
7. Watching vision of jellyfish
8. Dachshunds
9. Listening to the type of music that prompts me to dance (albeit briefly) like a maniac
10. Getting to wear my knee high boots (the implication here is that the weather is cool enough to allow this)

When I shared my list with my darling husband, he replied that we should make sure that I get to experience each of these every month. Which made me want to scrub out something on the list and include him instead (perhaps the jellyfish could go...)

Of course, being with Him and with my dearest friends are definitely on the list, as is doing art, but I was just thinking that the list should be more incidental things, those things that you just happen across or find yourself doing in the course of your day. That's just my interpretation though.

So now on to naming some worthy recipients for a Happiness Award. I've purposely avoided nominating anyone who I know already has one (you know who you are). So, as they say, the nominations are: Carol, SCB, ronnie, Ida, dinahmow, Angela and Ampersand Duck. Yes, that's right, I've nominated everyone over at Book*Art*Object because I am so happy to be a part of this group and this project. If you haven't been over there to check out the blog and see how everyone's books are coming along, well there is no time like now. I also recommend taking a peek at the individual blogs of these talented women. Although together at BAO, each has come from somewhere different and their individual creative pursuits are incredibly vibrant and varied.

I have to tell you that the simple exercise of thinking about 10 things that make me happy and my dh's comment about doing them all every month made me realize something. It made me realize that I actually put very little effort into making myself happy. And that's not because I don't want to be happy, I do. It's because it's been a really long time since I thought about what does make me happy. And if you're not aware of those things, then how can you choose to do those things? And if you don't choose to do those things (and others) well, not unreasonably, it's going to be fairly hit-and-miss as to whether you are happy or not.
I guess this is all pretty obvious, but sometimes I think the old Protestant work ethic just kicks in, and you switch on auto-pilot without even realizing. So I've made a decision to start by putting some effort into understanding what does (and would) make me happy. Then I can take some steps to make some of that stuff happen more often. So...we'll see where all this leads. In the mean time, just to make me happy...

Dachshund Parade
Originally uploaded by NY NIK