It’s Easter Monday here in Australia, and after a lovely day yesterday driving along Victoria’s beautiful Great Ocean Road, we’re having a quiet day at home. I spent some time this morning enjoying a coffee (long black, made in a plunger – whenever my friends visit and try my coffee they politely refuse any refills and never manage to finish a whole cup, which suggests to me that my preference for dark and slightly bitter drinks isn’t universal – but it but it works for me!), and reading more of Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation (1961). I’m reading a 2007 edition by New Directions Books, New York, with an introduction by Sue Monk Kidd.
27 March 2016. iPhone 5C snapshot taken out of the car window (from the passenger side, of course!) on the Great Ocean Road near Separation Creek and Wye River. The trees bear the marks of a bushfire that tore through the Otway Ranges in late December 2015 and early January 2016. The eucalyptus trees are terribly burnt and yet sprouting green leaves on their trunks (a survival mechanism they have in response to the fact they do tend to catch on fire). Behind the twisted and tortured looking trees here is the vast greenish-blue expanse of Bass Strait, and if you drew a line directly southwards from here you’d cross one island then end up in Antarctica.
Merton is one of those writers I simply cannot read in one sitting. A single paragraph from him can be so laden with rich meaning and depth that more often than not, I might make it through about three pages before I have to set it down and journal my thoughts as I read. I have a notebook set aside for taking notes and quotes from books – that’s a useful habit that I picked up in my university days. I know everyone learns differently, but for me I find that handwriting quotes and my own personal responses to a text enables me to delve more deeply and memorise pithy sayings. By writing it down I tend to remember it and be able to plug it into the neural networking system… I vaguely expect that at some point in my life I will have amassed enough information to categorise everything, ever. I can’t even talk to people these days without running a mental sub-routine that is trying to analyse the content of their speech and apply to them an ontological category: “Hmmm, this person is talking about coffee, but I suspect that they are a member of the … subculture, their religious self-label is … but I think they’re also heavily influenced by … philosophy…” Yeah, I don’t know. The things that amuse different people, I guess. (more…)
I’ve been going through the fairly labour-intensive process of updating my RedBubble portfolio to accommodate their newer ranges of products. When I first joined, it was just art prints and t-shirts. I love their new product ranges, though I have to actively edit each of my artworks to suit the various new products. In many cases I’m really happy with the results. New products like spiral-bound notebooks and scarves have given my drawings a new lease of life.
Technically my art is “just” a hobby. It by no means produces a liveable income – as helpful as that would be (Australia’s complex tax laws aside!). My day job is a stay-at-home-parent, but I am looking to take on my visual arts and writing as more serious pursuits. In particular, my writing is something that I want to develop to a much higher standard. It’s a good way to keep the brain going before the kids are self-sufficiently old enough for me to head back to university. But I am profoundly grateful that so many people seem to enjoy my art, and do so enough to buy items from my RedBubble portfolio. It’s very encouraging and it keeps me motivated to continually work on improving my illustration and painting skills.
Here is a list of some of my newly-updated artworks*:
“Snowstorm Beardstorm” – a Viking-themed ink illustration from 2013. (Shown in the above screenshot.)
“City Skyline” – a sepia-toned ink illustration of skyscrapers and cloudy skies. 2015.
“Tentacle Monster and Woolly Quadruped” – fantasy creatures inspired by, of all things, the water running down the shower screen and the abstract forms of the rivulets of water. Yeah, the shower is my meditative thinking space. Ink on paper. 2011.
*Far distant future readers may find that some of these links are no longer active. To see currently available products, please go to flokot.redbubble.com!
**I’ve noticed that RedBubble currently has customer reviews listed against each work. Please note, these reviews are in response to RedBubble.Com’s product range in general and do not necessarily refer to the satisfaction levels of my own works’ customers.
A quick colour pencil sketch inspired by Jesus walking on the water. I bought some new paints and canvas recently and am sketching ideas before putting the new supplies to work.
I pretty much accidentally gave Jesus what I recognise as my own hairstyle (wavy, boofy, with a sideswept and uncooperative fringe).
I’ll blame it on the fact that while I tried to draw it, my cat Riker was purring and rubbing his cheeks on my other hand. He’s not normally that affectionate so he took priority. (As shown here, with an awesome cat pencil case my sister gave me.)
Lots of quick sketches on a rainy Friday night. Stained glass-inspired angels. Recent Museum-trip inspired dinosaurs.
Sketchbook – July 2015
Sketchbook – July 2015
In July we paid a quick visit to Melbourne Museum to wander through the dinosaur exhibit. I think my 12-year-old self came to life. I find dinosaurs incredibly intriguing animals and great drawing subjects. But sometimes life works out in such a way that the country bumpkin born-and-raised geek girl doesn’t get to experience city luxuries – like museums. So finally getting to spend some deliberate time in the dinosaur exhibit was long overdue. One thing I hadn’t quite appreciated is just how large the hadrosaurs were. I know that there are usually helpful silhouetted man next to reconstructed fossil diagrams in dinosaur books, but nothing compares to really beholding in real life the sheer size of what must have been amazing animals. Sorry, that was a long sentence.
This is a really, really rough sketch, inspired by an illustration of Edmontosaurus.
I have a lot of drawing ideas on the go at any given moment, but I often don’t finish them. Mostly they exist as quick sketches that I then forget, or simply lay aside only to remember them months later.
Here is one unfinished piece that I hope to eventually complete – but if I don’t, it’s okay. I still think that so far it’s looking pretty good (if I say so myself). The inspiration comes from a collection of stained glass angel artworks I found on Google Images.
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. God Himself is not secure, having given man dominion over His works! Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Faith alone defends. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable." -Helen Keller