It’s high-time I lighten the mood a bit around here.
A genuine thanks to those of you who have been reading my RedBubble decluttering posts. And a thank you to those of you who support me through likes, comments, buying my art, and being all-round awesome human beings.
What have I been up to, lately?
I came into 2016 worried that by leaving my church I would find myself bored, lonely and friendless. On the contrary I have found that I have a huge number of wonderful people from across different spheres of my life: old church friends who haven’t let a mere difference of denominational perspective get between us; new Christian acquaintances I’ve met both online and in real life as I explore alternate understandings of the Gospel; people I’ve met in the course of day-to-day life; and so on. I have had no shortage of opportunities to socialise, to the extent that I’m having to block out time in my diary to get enough introvert space.
On top of that, The Husband and I have been enjoying updating some of the house furnishings. For some people that’s no big deal, I’m sure, but for me it feels like such a luxury to be able to go to the homemaker centre and buy some new linen with patterns and designs that far better reflect my own sense of taste and aesthetic.
I’m trying to learn digital drawing at the moment, using a Wacom Bamboo tablet and MediBang Paint Pro app on my Windows computer. It’s easier said than done. I find it hard to engage with drawing at desk level while the image appears on the screen at eye level. It’s not natural for me. Still, I’m enjoying the effects and hoping that with practice I might actually get somewhere. This year is the year I stopped defining myself as “unemployed” or “stay at home parent” or whatever and am making a concerted effort to take my art seriously. When people ask what I do for a living now, I’m still getting my head around trying to unapologetically answer that with “visual artist.” I may not be able to pay the bills yet, but I am – slowly but surely – noticing that things are picking up as I deliberately work on developing my art techniques and promoting myself better.
One thing I love about digital art, in comparison to my normal ink-on-paper style, is that if I make a mistake I can fix it. I have ruined many of my drawings through silly mistakes – a smudge here, an overly thick line there – and digital enables me to repair that. So that is something.We went to the Eluveitie concert at Max Watt’s (formerly the Hi-Fi) in Melbourne on May 22. That’s the second time I’ve seen that band – though I’ve lost count of how many individual bands I’ve seen at that venue (including one time where I got to be the rather incompetent guitar tech working backstage for my cousin’s band who were performing there). We got to the Eluveitie show fairly early and to my surprise found myself standing at the bar just near lead vocalist Chrigel Glanzmann who smiled in our direction and turned back to watch the first band Stormtide begin their set. As I internally debated whether to say hi, a number of other fans spotted Chrigel and lined up to ask for a photo, and he very quickly headed out backstage after that. Oh well. I was, like, only a couple of metres away so that was my brush with folk metal greatness for the year. Later this year I’m going to hopefully see The Beards and Lacuna Coil at their concerts. 2016 is shaping up to be a good one for live music for me.
Lastly, I had the privilege of getting up close to some wild lyrebirds. For people unfamiliar with them, lyrebirds are Australian native birds, very elusive, incredibly good at mimicking noises, and a little bit like the Aussie answer to the peacock. So to encounter six wild lyrebird individuals (and one swamp wallaby for good measure) at the National Rhododendron Gardens in Olinda was pretty special. I grew up in the South Gippsland region of Australia which is known for having lyrebirds, and we often heard them in the bushland. Their chainsaw impressions are very impressive. However, I don’t recall ever seeing them in the wild before moving to the vicinity of the Dandenong Ranges, on the south-east edge of Melbourne. We chose a rainy, cold day to head to the Gardens and I think the lack of visitors meant that the wild animals were happy to feed in the open spaces. Since then I have been attempting to draw lyrebirds, as followers of my Instagram accounts will have noticed.
I’m hoping to eventually get some of my lyrebird designs onto RedBubble stickers. (Note, on my RedBubble portfolio I go by my married name – Aussie taxation laws and all that – on my Instagram account I go by my family of origin’s name because it far better represents who I am… I go by “Fiona Kat” in most of my art. Just in case people wondered why there was a difference.)
We counted six individual lyrebirds (Menura novaehollandiae) today. One of the birds treated us to their tail display and incredible mimickry of other birds’ songs. The bird shown in this picture was digging for food before we disturbed her. Watching their movements they really seemed dinosaurian in the way they behaved – at least how I imagine a group of small coelurosaurs might have looked scrabbling around in the dirt under ginkgo trees and wollemi pines. We were very lucky to get up so close to so many of them. #lyrebird #menuranovaehollandiae #olinda #mtdandenong #victoria #australia #lumia950xl #nationalrhododendrongardens #may2016 #autumn