Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Quite the break between drinks....

 So its been quite the break here on the blog...
 a six month break which I certainly never planned
 but somehow the time just ran away and before I knew it, it felt like the blog was just one  thing too many in a sea of too much on my plate.
 But I missed it, and then I felt like it had been too long since I posted so I should abandon it or I couldn't really just start again could I, but then I just thought bugger it the blog is something I love and miss so I am going back in baby

 In many ways the website, business and my professional life in general has taken precedence for six months. Its been fun and quite the ride
 but now it is time to reclaim a bit of a personal space back, and for me that is blogging.
 Sharing my life in long form again
 not just in an Instagram photo or story, a Facebook post or a Pin
 but sharing the words as well as the pictures
so I've done a bit of a spruce up with the look of things here, though like all things it's a work in progress...but I am back in the swing...


so whats been happening you may wonder... well lots actually...

The house renovations were epic
and it looks fabulous if I do say so myself.
Is it finished? ... not quite... in fact lots of little things still to go, but all the construction is done, and it is all fun stuff really and we are taking our time and enjoying the finishing touches and even though it's not quite finished the house is transformed
 I will share some pics over coming posts because I do love it
It feels like the house really reflects us as a family now and it is light and fresh and open
not that we were all dark and gloomy before, but it just feels better
Gone are the dark floors, scary downstairs bathroom and dated kitchen, and the rarely used dining room has become a space we practically live in
So overall it is a joy to come home too.

Was it stressful?... at times
Did the tradies drive me nuts? ... sometimes
Did it feel like we would never live free of dust and debris? ... often
Was it fun?... mostly
Was it worth the time and money and sheer exhaustion it led to? ... totally
We love it...


In the interim lots of other changes have been happening as well
Barry has completely won our hearts and has proved to be gloriously odd
and surprisingly snugly for a cat that lived as a stray for so many years
he is certainly a healthy sod now, some may even say a tad portly
but he is also magnificent

Sinus Man is still snoring like a trucker
teasing all and sundry and asking us to pull his finger regularly
and Barry has learned to tolerate being woken up and cuddled at odd times and also being patted with enthusiasm and vigor by Sinus
they are forming quite the friendship it would appear

Phants, that sweet and slightly odd little girl 
that so many of you have gotten to know over the years turned 21
scary right?
she is still the same weirdo... just an old weirdo now
and her and Barry make quite the pair as she has somehow trained him to be the most dog like cat I have ever come across


There have been lots of work changes too
I have a solo exhibition locked in for next year
the online store has been booming
commissions and illustration work kept me very busy
and even Etsy has managed some sales
people continue to trickle into the online classes
and I now have an agent who looks after wholesale sales 
which has been a steep learning curve and it has certainly kept me busy
and in general I paint and create lino prints at every opportunity
in short my creative life is full and happy

But the biggest change is personally
Cancer returned a few months ago and now we are deep into chemo again to shrink the bastard tumours that spread from a single cell that escaped treatment of a few years ago when lefty went rogue and now breast cancer has appeared in my liver
which sucks... I'm not going to lie and say it is all ok... cause some days it really isn't
and I get very pissed at the unfairness of it, and sad to be in this position again 
hearing words like incurable are shattering, and life altering and scary in the extreme
but then there is such advances in treatments and what used to be a quick-ish slide now is treatable for many many years, and especially when caught insanely early as it was with me
and while it sucks being bald again
and chemo is not any prettier, there are gifts as well
there is hope and advances in treatment every day
I can expect years between invasive treatments thanks to clever clogs researchers
trials also offer hope of even more time, and the changes in just a few short years are mind boggling, so the plan is to embrace all the advances and hang around for a good long time.
The confidence of the doctors and treatment staff is inspiring and keeps me positive
plus I have an incredible team and such support around me

And you know what it does focus you and gets you thinking about what is important
granted it is quite the extreme way to reassess your priorities
but its always a good thing to stop and look at what you are doing and decide what's important right...
and one of the things I kept coming back to was missing blogging
so here I am... 
happily back in blog land


 So you are all caught up... kind of
and it feels good to be back
actually it feels fricking great...

happy painting all... xx

Friday, 6 January 2017

Balls...

Welcome to 2017...
 and happy christmas, have a safe new year, stay warm/ cool and hope you survived all the  celebrations and all the other things that I didn't blog about in the last few weeks while  being very absent from the blogosphere
 It turns out that having about 50 balls in the air at one time 
 doesn't just lead to you dropping all of them
 you then stand on them, do the windmilling arm thing and end up flat on your back seeing  stars and wondering what on earth just happened

The renovation has progressed, the stopped, then progressed again
Christmas was survived
jigsaws were done, books read, tea drunk and mangoes consumed
resolutions have not been made
I only know the day of the week by checking my phone
I have no clue where the right shoe of my favourite slides is
plus I have decreed that meal prep beyond opening a bag of crisps is too hard
but I have painted so all is well with the world really...


 renovation hell has entered a new phase here
in fact as I type I am surrounded by all manner of things
that don't belong in the study 
including a wooden model catapult, a ceramic phrenology head, a packet of crisps, which may or may not be dinner tonight,  a cheese making kit and two feather dusters!!

These and other paraphernalia have been stashed here while the rest of the house is a complete blanketed and taped bomb zone for internal painting
which would be mildly tolerable if said painters were in the house
but in true tradie style they phoned at lunch time to say they wouldn't be showing their faces again until Monday
so after a brief half hour of muttering 
and googling how to inflict a boil type curse on their slack arses
I realised it actually meant that I in fact had the house to myself
well Barry is here snoring his little cat head off but he is in such a deep sleep he is barely here!
Sinus is at work and Phants is staying with friends I am in the rare position of actually being able to hear myself think
hence the first blog post in over a month!!!


And I am sharing balls
ceramic blue and white balls
that have been a bit of an obsession in recent weeks

My desk is actually groaning with half finished and almost complete work
and my brain is brimming with ideas so despite the chaos of my immediate surrounds
my creative life is going ahead like a whirligig on steroids
so I am thinking that perhaps chaos is my preferable mode for creative output
who knew!!


so the brain is brimming, the to do list is beyond epic, ours lives are in a permanent state of madness but that is kind of just how I like it... or at least my creative brain does

I hope you all are having a magical New Year
and that you have all chosen your words for the year, 
have made resolutions you have already broken, and that life is in general,  fabulous
I am off to revel in the quiet
happy painting all...xx


Friday, 9 December 2016

A Blue and White Break in Transmission...

It has been too long since I blogged
 renovating and running a business from home just don't mix it turns out
  so nerves have been frayed, and tempers getting a touch shorter 
 well not short so much as it hasn't been out usual laugh fest and we find ourselves lying  around a bit shaking our heads and trying to decide who is more exhausted

Happily the endless renovation of the house is at the stage of pretty much being done
well except for the painting ... inside and out
and the garden which needs a huge amount of work
but construction wise we are done and dusted
 all walls and doors are where they are going to stay... no more jackhammering will be needed... floors are sorted, furniture has been arriving in an ever increasing flurry of deliveries and the fun of decorating is finally starting

Of course due to delays and the inevitable hold ups along the way the painter now won't be able to start until the new year
but when it is all painted in January I will share and give you a tour
At the moment its loveliness is still at the potential stage
as we have a patchwork of walls and raw plaster and endless bloody dust 
but I can visualise it and it is going to be fabulous
totally worth the exhaustion, dust and madness of the last 10 weeks
in fact I am a little stunned at how much we have done in that time...

my way of coping has involved locking myself in the studio as it is the only room in the house not being touched,
 and doing the sort of controlled and realism based work I abandoned years ago
and it has been the perfect antidote and sanity saver
as the dust has plumed alarmingly
and the language turned bluer and bluer
it has seemed an appropriate colour palette to stick with the blue and white

well except for the pineapple  which has no discernable blue to speak of...but it got me through a particularly thorny week
which involved four tradesmen, laundry room demolition, a new floor, doors coming off and going back on, floor wastes causing all sorts of nightmares, wrong appliances being delivered, then one right one, and one wrong one, Barry the cat freaking out at the front loading washer, still waiting on the right dryer and endless rain and storms, wonky shelves, then perfectly righted shelves... etc etc...well you get the idea
it was your typical laundry room renovation... but all through it I just retreated to the studio and tried to calm my brain and prevent myself from slowly banging my forehead into the work table.


but the end is in sight and it is going to be wonderful when it is all done
and sanity is enough intact to survive the madness that is Christmas
so I am off to haul the Christmas tree from the garden shed... well direct Sinus to do it
I don't go anywhere near the back shed... that thing is scary spider zone!!!

happy painting all...xx


Friday, 11 November 2016

Furniture Jenga...


The renovations continue... endlessly
 but it is certainly getting to a stage where I can kind of see the end in sight
 The continued chaos is fuelling my need to exert control somewhere 
  so my paintings are continuing to lean towards realism to soothe my poor frazzled brain
 and I am loving the progress on this one... I might even get to finish it later

There may be more realism to come though
as we aren't going to be done for a few more weeks yet
demolition and reconstruction continues at breakneck speed
 but soon we will at least have the right things in the right room again
at the moment it requires us to move things from one to another as walls are demolished, doors moved and different rooms are worked on
it is sort of like a giant furniture and homewares game of Jenga


I have always been a fan of Jenga
not that I have skills in this arena...I am actually pretty rubbish if truth be told.
My Dad however, is scarily good at it
he blitzed us all one Christmas night a few years ago.
Now on one hand as a retired builder you would hope he would be good at it
but his nicknames, courtesy of Sinus, are either Thumbs, or Knuckles 
and the man has never met a tablecloth that he didn't feel the need to spread crumbs over
or a floor he didn't like to drop something on, and he does have a noticeable, albeit slight, hand tremble so you would think he could have been picked off like low hanging fruit
but no... he was a bloody genius at it


I however excel at dishwasher Jenga... and fridge Jenga
I can stack things in those suckers like no one else.
it is a weird savant type ability as I have no spatial awareness to speak of
and don't even mention depth perception
but somehow fridge and dishwasher Jenga are my thing
perhaps I got more from Dad than just my hair
which showed up as it grew in post chemo and led to him walking in one day and me realising we were sporting matching hair cuts... like exactly! 
same colour, sticking up in the same places... the whole hair shebang...

I had hoped my fridge Jenga prowess would transfer to furniture jenga 
to make the furniture moving for the renovations a bit easier
but I totally suck at it... turns out a large chair on a small pouf doesn't work
well it works if you like a cascade of chair and objects with the first gust of wind
but even I didn't believe myself when I said that was my objective
So I will continue to leave furniture jenga to the experts and will retreat to the studio to attempt to finish this painting

happy painting all...xx


Friday, 28 October 2016

When Renovations Give You Lemons...


Next time I calmly announce we are living in the house while undertaking a major renovation then I want you to take a dirty great back swing and slap me silly because I will obviously be in a delusional state and will need a good flogging to set my head straight!

We have renovated before, though it was a while ago now, and I seriously thought it would be a bit of noise, a bit of dust, and as we hardly live in a quiet, pristine organised environment how different could it be... well I was so far off track it is insane. 

The noise has been epic, the dust has moved through the house in drifts, and the mess and living out of boxes thing has been quite the challenge. Not that I don't mind the obstacle course nature of it, I think that is quite fun. The opportunity to do a commando roll to get to the broom is a joy everyone should experience. But five weeks in and I am kind of over it.

It isn't just the noise and dust, it is also the need to be up at sparrow's fart to greet tradesmen who are either crazy early, or epic-ally late depending on which opposite you require... if you have to get somewhere then you can guarantee the will be at least an hour late, and if you have been a tad tardy getting yourself together, then you can guarantee they will all be very early!... I swear the patron saint of all tradies must be bloody Murphy and most of these guys spent their whole lives worshiping him I tell you. They have all been amazing when they are here and we have been blessed with the nicest bunch of tradesmen ever and are doing amazing work, they just have no sense of time... seriously... their watches must all be synced up to a weird alternate sun because they turn up according to tradie time zone.. 


Tradesmen and their rather flexible schedules aside we are making progress... one bathroom was completely demolished in a two day jack hammering marathon... another was half demolished... those two have been rebuilt, a third has had a light reno, so outside of some painting they are sorted...
Floors have been ripped up and changed over to a gleaming loveliness. The kitchen was demolished and after more than a week of camping with no sink, oven, cook top or bench-tops we are finally approaching a usable area again... almost

As I type the pergola is being upgraded, doors and windows are being prepped for moving, and built in banquette seating is being designed and fabrics chosen, which is the fun bit of course...
which means in a few short weeks or so we will be done except for the painting and decorating of course
and the new front fence, garage door, jungle garden cull and painting the outside of the house... dear god it is never going to end

so I am doing what all creatives do when life is out of control, I am channeling that need for control into my art and doing some quite realistic styled watercolors. I just try to zen out on the need for observation and detail.
happy painting all...xx