achieving your my form

I stopped on the way to work this wintry morning and photographed these recently trimmed trees – all their branches were on the ground, no doubt to be removed some time soon.Trimmed treesI know these trees, planted for a purpose and trimmed to meet a need, will grow again in the spring but I feel sorry for them.  They have a predestined shape, a true form, their own and not one imposed for some external purpose.

On the way home I stopped on the roadside again.  The trees below have had perhaps a season or two to recover however one day they’ll get the chop again, when the height they have reached is more than the farmer wants – when the tree has reached up and out again to achieve its true form.RegrowthPerhaps the sympathy I feel for these trees is in part due to my recently having to reshape my life to fit back into being a ‘working woman’ once more.  I can no longer spend my days as my mood takes me, doing what I feel inspired to do, rather I’m doing what I need to do, what I am expected to do.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I appreciate having a well-paid, interesting job with wonderful colleagues, however I’d love the luxury of having the day to myself to spend as the mood or the muse moves me.

Where’s that anonymous benefactor – I’m feeling a little misshapen this week.

friday and EDM #8 & #10

I love Friday morning.  It’s when I get to pack up a few bits and pieces and head home after work to the beach where I’ll stay until Monday morning – bliss.

Settling back into another term’s of work has been . . . what?  Difficult? Not really. Discomforting? Perhaps. The trains run by the house about 100 metres away and after 2 weeks with just the sound of the surf to lull me to sleep, I haven’t slept at all well – a horrible headache was the result.  I forgot to bring paints in any form with me so it’s been a bit of a colourless week.  I forgot to bring the lead for my camera as well and sometimes the iPhone just doesn’t do a great enough job.   I feel a little like a nomad packing up and moving from a place I love to a place that is lovely – and would be wonderful without the trains!  How many people can look over their back fence and see sheep and deer grazing?

PLEASE IMAGINE A PHOTO HERE OF SHEEP GRAZING JUST OVER THE BACK FENCE AND DEER IN THE BACKGROUND – I’LL POST THE PHOTO TONIGHT – PROMISE!

But hang on, none of those petty complaints have anything to do with work!  Yes work is a little like pushing water uphill with a rake sometimes but I really enjoy it – and the people I work with are wonderful.

Get a grip Wendy!  Stop complaining!  I have choices.  Life is fantastic – I’m privileged to be where I am and to have the opportunities I do!  Discomforting – out of my usual state of being comfortable.  I’m just temporarily disgruntled – not unhappy, not on a downer, just in need of a little peace and perspective, and sadly, because I love this little abode, maybe a new place to stay during the week.

And now,  back to Danny Gregory’s challenge Every Day Matters!   EDM #8: Draw your watch. And #10: Draw your hand.  I’m really enjoying drawing from life – it’s not something that I’ve ever taken seriously.   And no, I’m not doing them in order but if you knew me you wouldn’t have that expectation!

EDM #8 & #10.

The birds are singing and it’s Friday – look out beach -  (after work) here I come!

altered books?

When my grand-daughters came to stay recently one of the first things we did was to go to the library.  In the bin of books that are worn and up for sale, there were a number of board books at 20 cents apiece so . . . . I bought 4 and got out the gesso.And now . . . gesso-ed booksI’ve left them standing on the dining table to dry completely while I go off to my day-job and next weekend, I’ll give one of the white ones a second coat.  They’ll need to have some sort of clasp or closure as already they don’t want to close completely, maybe I could remove a page or two?

I have no idea what I will do with them and no idea when – but they’re ready for when inspiration strikes.  How would you use them?

 

kokesi dolls

I was fortunate enough to spend some time living in Tokyo and collected some kokesi dolls, as you do.  After visiting Diana Trout’s blog this morning I thought I’d post the a picture!Of course they don’t look like real Kokeshi dolls – I’ll post some photos of them tomorrow perhaps.  And if it looks like I was heavily influenced by some artist or other I probably was – I just wish I could remember who so I could give them the credit!

It’s nearing the end of the school holidays here and I’m off to pick up my wonderful wise grand-daughters for a couple of days – lucky me!

something new . . . for me

I don’t usually attempt to draw from life – I’m more of a doodler.  When I saw the EDM Challenge on Tammy Gracia’s blog Daisy Yellow I thought I’d give it a go . . . after all, there’s nothing to lose and everything to be gained.  So here I am starting late but not trying to catch up.

EDM Challenge #1 Draw a Shoe.  This shoe is more of an apricot colour but the scanner seemed to want it to be yellow and I got fed up trying to alter the colour.   You can see how tentative I was with the pencil however I’m pleased with this first attempt.

These shoes are my favourites and have travelled many miles and are beginning to show the first signs of their ultimate demise with a small hole by the little toe and a worn down heel – I’ll need to have a funeral service for them when they go.

EDM Challenge #2 Draw a Lamp.  I love my bedside lamps – I brought the shades back from Bali years ago and wired them up myself.  They’re tall, 60 cm or 27 inches, and wrapped in a bleached fabric that has been cut into strips with pinking shears.

And EDM?  Every Day Matters – yes indeed it does.  For the full list of the challenges go to Danny Gregory’s website and click the link.

a small problem

When I read a post by Violette Clark this morning, she had written that every summer the sun bleaches the fluorescent pink from letters on her Creative Juice sign.  I’ve suggested using test posts of exterior/interior house paint.

I use test posts on the terracotta pots I use outside and thought that maybe, it would work on her sign – what do you think?

Now that I look at my pots I can see I could do with bigger sized pots!

As for piles of stones. I rather like them.  Building and drawing – these with water-colour pencils and a zebra double ended pen.  I can’t give more detail about the pen as I bought it when I was living in Tokyo and cannot read the label.  It was a shame I used such thin paper – it was about to disintegrate when I attempted to apply more colour  and it buckled something shocking!Stones

evaluate where you are

I’m feeling a somewhat pensive today . . . it’s my friend Kathy’s birthday.    She lives in Cincinnati and I live in New Zealand and this time last year I was able to celebrate with her.  I missed a whole month of winter and spent the time in the company of some of the best friends I have ever had.   Another of my friends turned 60 earlier in the year so some of us met up in Chicago to celebrate.

We all met working at the same international school in Bangkok, all of a similar age, all on our own, all looking for adventure.   We travelled together in small groups thither and yon, soaking up the sights and cultures of the world, delighting in the food and doing our best to support village economies by buying local art and craft.

Several of us lived in the same building – it was a 12-story hotel of serviced apartments.  We had a lounge and restaurant downstairs, room service, and small shop, pool, gym and best of all, a housemaid who came in once a week and did the cleaning, changed our bed linen and made sure everything was in order.  Imagine that, no housework for almost 6 years!

There was a mall 10 minutes walk away where there was a variety of restaurants, 4 floors of shops, picture theatres, a supermarket – every material thing we could possibly want.  Best of all was a team of well-trained masseuse who for a ridiculously small fee would give the most bliss-inducing foot-massage you can possibly imagine.

All of that and joys international travel and of living in Bangkok!   Did we know how fortunate we were?  Did we truly appreciate our relative wealth?  Absolutely!   There is not one of us who doesn’t appreciate that our privileged position is merely an accident of birth, a blessing so enormous . . . and yet often undervalued by so many.

If you are reading this, you too have a position of privilege – you have a computer, electricity, running water, a flushing toilet, you can read!   If it’s winter you’ll be warm tonight and go to bed with a full stomach.  You probably have access to health services, a car, and think little of it – you may think of it as your right.

Maybe you complain about maintaining what you have, a lack of money, how expensive everything is becoming, and have a whole raft of minor complaints about your weight or whatever.  Just remember, if you have friends, you are privileged and you have choices – most of what you have and do is by choice.

Evaluate your life according to the criteria in this short 6-minute YouTube clip by Zig Ziglar – Evaluate Your Life.  I’m extremely content . . . are you?  I hope so.

My little corner of paradise on a winter’s day.

taking lessons from the wise – 1

I’ve had grand-daughters here for 4 days – so what did I learn?the boucey logExpensive play equipment is not needed when the river and the tides leave it for free.

Dust is something else to draw in and so are salty windows.

If you need to see outside and the windows are opaque with salt spray, go outside.  Easy!  And don’t waste time washing them before a storm!

Walking on the beach, running up and down sand dunes is more fun than hanging washing, although it has to be done.

The day has begun so don’t waste it wondering what to do – just go and do it.

4-year-olds wake up happy unless they are unwell.

Apparently I have more lines from smiling than frowning.  4-year-old logic says that means I’m happy a lot.

Occupied shells smell bad – don’t take them home.

Always take a bag to the beach for the treasures you’ll find . . . pockets are not big enough although it does make you edit what you’ll keep.

Winter weather doesn’t matter if you can keep warm. bare feet again!

Cold feet are okay and to be expected if you paddle in the winter, and of course you should!

It makes no difference to a child if no housework is done . . . as long as it doesn’t lead to food poisoning.

If it has to be done, vacuuming, or anything else, is more fun if you have some music playing while you do it.

Disappearing into a good book is learned young and its to be recommended at any time of the day . . . or night.

If you’re 7 and find a piece of wood shaped like a pterodactyl’s head, you don’t think twice about bringing it back from the beach and making it into one.decorating the wings

A little sister can help, especially if you let her know what to do.  “Draw anything you like between the blue line and the green line, okay?”

Flying PteradactylMy house seemed very quiet and empty this morning.

And no, I am not going to do the dusting, wash windows or vacuum . . . I’m going for a walk along the beach while the sun is shining.

I think I am finally learning how to prioritise.