Friday, November 25, 2005

100 Journal Ideas

Keri Smith has a lovely web site - I'm a regular reader of her Wish Jar Journal. I have just found on her site her 100 Ideas for Journals which is a wonderful place to start if you need some inspiration for your journal.

I love the idea of journalling, unfortunately I'm a very irregular writer! I go through stages of writing almost daily to not picking up my journal for months on end. I'm great while I'm travelling - there is always so much to record and I have more time to do it. I've always thought it's such a great way to download (that's the geek in me talking!) whatever your brain is processing and often by writing down a concern I have I achieve the clarity I need to deal with it. I also love looking at other people's art journals.

Anyway - I think Keri has put together a wonderful list of things to get the create juices flowing!


ArtDaily is an online art newspaper. It has reviews of exhibitions, biographies of artists, lists of fairs, links to resources, image galleries and more.

It has lots of information and is updated daily which I love. Sometimes I think I have the shortest attention span - I'm forever jumping around web sites looking for interesting titbits, I love sites that have something new for me everytime I visit!!

Friday, November 18, 2005


I've been thinking about the routines of artists. While in Paris we went to the Picasso Museum, which was fantastic, and I loved Picasso's sketch books. There are so many of them, so full of interesting scratchings. It was especially interesting to see a sketch book that he used as he prepared for a major work, and then to follow that through to the finished piece. It was also heartening to see that a lot of what he sketched was not earth-shattering, in fact often it was pretty ordinary! I say this with the greatest respect, but I found it heartening as often I will create something and be frustrated as it's not as good as I think it should be. This made me realise that artists that do produce what they want, do so as a result of a lot of work - practice, practice, practice.

This then got me to thinking about the routines and discipline artists use to drive their development. So I searched around for some stories on artists and their routines:
This article in the NY Times (free rego required) is an interesting overview of the routine of a wide variety of artists.

Art:21 has a lesson focused on the routines and rituals artists make a part of their work, and it has links to interviews with a number of artists.

Robert Genn's The Painter's Keys has a list of quotes related to routines and art (this site is chock full of great information and you should consider signing up for the twice weekly newsletter - a lovely source of inspiration).

Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way is all about using routines to release your creativity.

Sites like Illustration Friday are good for inspiring the regular output of work.

Then there are projects like Art Everday Month and National Novel Writing Month that would be great for developing a routine (safety warning - these are a big commitment!).

I know that at the moment I can't expect to create as much as I'd like, or to improve my work until I make creating a more regular part of my life. And even though a lot of the above links talk about huge commitments of time and energy, I'm sure it doesn't take that much of an effort - small steps are the best way to start.

I'd love to hear about the routines you follow...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Keen Look

I've always loved the "Big Eye" paintings of Margaret Keane - and I just found a gallery with a number of her paintings. The children are so sad, yet beautiful...

Margaret Keane Gallery

Monday, November 14, 2005

Relish the moment

Last week in the comments Maria suggested I read a passage by Robert Hastings called The Station. It much more eloquently expresses many of the things I was trying to say in this post. So I have included it below:

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are travelling by train. Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn, and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.

But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the Station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, daming the minutes for loitering - waiting, waiting, waiting for the Station.

"When we reach the Station, that will be it!" we cry. "When I'm eighteen." "When I buy a new 450 SL Mercedes Benz!" "When I put the last kid through college." "When I have paid off the mortgage!" "When I get a promotion!" "When I reach retirement, I shall live happily ever after!"

Sooner or later we must realize there is no Station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The Station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.

"Relish the moment" is a good motto, especially when coupled with psalm 118:24 "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." It isn't the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.

So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The Station will come soon enough.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Shock leads to Inspiration

Every now and then we are given a wake up call - sometimes we listen, sometimes not.

N and I received a huge one on the weekend when a longtime friend of N's died suddenly of a heart attack - he was only 36 years old. Mixed up with the grief comes a feeling of "am I doing what I want to be doing, because well, you never know what tomorrow may bring. Would I look at my life and be satisfied I'd done all the things I wanted, was the best person I could be". And for most of us we wouldn't be happy with the answers to those questions, because it becomes so easy to just "be in" your life, rather than really "live it". I do achieve goals, have enriching experiences and I make sure I regularly tell the people I care about that I love them. But I still have a very long To Do list - and at moments like these I realise that if I don't get a wriggle on, I may run out of time to get them all done. I mean, this year I've travelled all over the world (South Africa, around Australia, New Zealand, France, Scotland and Hong Kong) and had amazing experiences, we got pregnant, I've supported N through big changes in his career and supported family members through health scares, but I still have things I haven't done, risks I haven't taken, things I haven't said.

At the moment I swing between despair and uncontrollable bouts of tears, to feeling like I'm sparking with inspiration to get on with life. Out of a tragic loss it can be very difficult to find anything positive. Once the pain and shock subsides, I hope I can hold onto this renewed desire to live for today. It sounds wrong, but I feel inspired by the tragedy. It isn't disrespectful, actually I kind of feel it shows a lot of respect - this person meant alot to us and I refuse to let his passing not make a difference to me, even if it is just a slight attitude adjustment to be thankful for everyday I have.

Everywhere, everyday someone experiences tragedy - finding the strength and inspiration to move on, to do better, to be better is the challenge. If you haven't had that wake up call recently, maybe it's time to think back to a time when you did and remind yourself, not only of the pain, but of how fortunate you are to still have the chance to do all those things that are important to you.

I've just been looking at this post for ages - should I post it, should I not... I'm not looking for sympathy - I'm just trying to process the chaos of emotions I'm experiencing at the moment. Trying to remind myself that life goes on, the pain eases and the memories remain. Dealing with the shock of losing someone so young, so vibrant. There are so many wonderful things happening in my life at the moment, that something like this just reminds me to really appreciate them, to not take anything for granted and to get off my butt!!!

Friday, November 04, 2005


IAMcore is a very new web site with big plans to support independent artists. From the site:
"IAMcore is being developed solely as a means to promote and connect artists from all mediums and genres in an attempt to give strength to and enhance the growth of the Independent Arts Movement."

At the moment there isn't much on the site - really just an explanation of what the contributors hope it will become and a call for people to get involved. It has caught my attention, I like the idea of it becoming a community to support independent artists. It does sound a little hardcore (excuse the pun!) for my taste (you know - a bit "rage against the machine"), but I'm interested to see what it becomes. Some of the plans sound really positive.

Something for you to check out and decide if it appeals to you, or not!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I have been a regular visitor for a while now to a number of bloggers' sites who participate in Illustration Friday. Anyway today I decided I was going about it all the wrong way - I should go straight to the source. So I visited the Illustration Friday site. Now I'm not so sure that was a good idea. If you have nothing to do for, oh say the next month, go to the site and work your way through the list of contributors. At the moment there are 348 who took part in last week's topic of "Broken"!!

Ah well, I didn't plan to get any work done today anyway. Enjoy!!

The Diva

For my Aussie readers - how good was Makybe Diva's win yesterday in the Melbourne Cup??!!! Gave me goosebumps!

For readers from everywhere else a bit of an explanation - the Melbourne Cup is THE biggest horse race in Australia, and when they say it's the race that stops a nation, well that's no exageration. Even those that don't follow horseracing (like myself) watch the Cup because it's more than a race, it's a tradition, it's fun, there are always fantastic stories of triumph over adversity or unnatural skills associated. And yesterday was no exception - Makybe Diva was the first horse to ever win 3 Cups in it's 144 year history, she's a mare (go girl!), she was only entered on the weekend, she was carrying 58kg (it's a handicap race) and she is the most successful Australian race horse having won AUS$14.4m prize money. This site and this one have some history of the race - how's this for a great story - "The first Cup was run in 1861. There were 17 starters and, paradoxically, the prize - apart from the money (170 pounds) - was not a cup at all, but a hand-beaten gold watch. Archer, the winning horse, had walked to Melbourne from its stable in Nowra, New South Wales, a distance of 500 miles (800km)." Aussies love a battler, they love sport and they love a good time - the Cup always meets all these criteria. So if you are ever in Australia on the first Tuesday in November try to get to Melbourne. But be aware - you must get dressed up (dresses, hats, suits, ties, etc are compulsory!) and you will need to book accommodation in advance as Melbourne will be packed! Being miles away from Melbourne, we celebrated at work by watching the race while enjoying afternoon tea and champagne.