International Day of People with a Disability

December 3rd is the International Day of People with a Disability. How wonderful that my favourite song of 2016 is from the Paralympic Games. I posted this clip on my blog  a couple of months ago, but have to repost it to celebrate all the fabulous people who do not let their disabilities describe who they are.

 

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Some blatant advertising…..

On the blog I do mention my Etsy shop. However, I try to show you behind the scenes of my creative process ~ how I go about making the things that end up there (as well as a lot of other blathering of course!) But today I want to be more blatant.

If you are planning to buy any of my paintings and drawings for Christmas presents, and they do make unique gifts for people, then you will need to do so before the middle of next week. If you are not in Australia that is. I don’t want you anxiously waiting at the letter box for the parcel, so I am giving you a more comfortable buffer.

Let me explain. Usually I allow 10 days to reach somewhere overseas. If I set a deadline of 7th December, given a good run it should reach you by 17th December. But we know that postage will not run smoothly during December, so it may take a few more days. That will take it to the week before Christmas. Of course I make no guarantees even if I post it then, but if I post it later I can almost guarantee that you won’t get it in time.

And just so I don’t feel that this is totally blatant advertising, let me say that it will be same for most online deliveries!

Now to show you a small selection of possible gifts from the shop. All shown here are originals; there are a few prints in the shop.

Click on the photo to be taken to the listing.

(The paper they are painted and drawn on is actually creamy white, not the blue grey that seems to show up in these photos.)

Enjoy!

Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016

Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016

Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015

Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2015

Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014

Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2014

Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013

Art work and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013

Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014

Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014

Posted in AnneLawsonArt, My art work | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

I went to three exhibitions in three days last week.

The first was the Archibald  Prize Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

The Archibald Prize, first awarded in 1921, is Australia’s favourite art award, and one of its most prestigious. Awarded to the best portrait painting, it’s a who’s who of Australian culture – from politicians to fashion designers, sporting heroes to artists.

This is my photo of Michael Mc Williams’ stunning painting ‘The usurper (self portrait)’, which is an amalgam of feral animals that are such a problem in many parts of Australia. However, there are other portraits on the Art Gallery of Ballarat’s website.

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Michael McWilliams ‘The usurper (self portrait’ (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson,2016)

The next day I headed off to the Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre to look at the works in ‘From the studio: Bayside Artists in Residence’, which is

a biannual exhibition which celebrates the artistic yield of writers, artists and composers, who have completed a yearlong residency as part of the Bayside Artist in Residence program…….The program places participants within the stately environs of Billilla Mansion ~ a heritage listed property incorporating a public garden and magnificent historic house.

For more about the residency look at the website.  There was a range of genre too, from my nephew, Evan Lawson, who is a composer, through novelists like Gillian Barnett, to Kate Just, a fibre artist. The following are my photos, showing a smattering of the high quality work that has been produced.

The third exhibition was Verdant Garden at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre. It is a gracious old house, a perfect exhibition space.

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Again a range of high quality works, created by artists who drew

inspiration from the role of the garden on contemporary life, this exhibition celebrates the long, intimate and symbolic relationship between artist and garden. Featuring contemporary artists using a variety of mediums, this exhibition explores ideas of germination and the ways urbanisation has impacted on Australia’s love affair with the garden.

So, I have seen thought-provoking art, of a high quality. Then it struck me that each of these exhibitions were in spaces that relied heavily on the public purse. I don’t know their funding models, but they are galleries that are part of arts programmes of local and other forms of  governments. Without this funding these galleries, and these exhibitions and, therefore, these artists would have no support. *

The Arts are about exploration of our culture, environment, values and philosophies. Artists, in which ever creative form they work, explore and interpret, encouraging us to look at the world in a different way. Of course they also delight and entertain. Art can also be very inclusive. Anyone can pick up a paint brush or a pen, they can dance or compose music. In fact the more voices we hear the more we are challenged and engaged, we are more likely to begin to see the world from someone else’s point of view. In our battered world the more ways we have to show diversity and inclusion the better.

If we take away funding from any level of artistic work we are making our place a poorer and more bland, less inclusive place. In fact our level of Arts funding should be increased.

It is glorious to see these galleries in our midst, and there are many around our towns and cities. They need our support, if only by visiting  the exhibitions they show. That shows the governing funding bodies that we value them and want the funding to continue.

[*I understand that the Archibald Prize Exhibition is different. It is such a formidable part of the Australian art scene that, like Mt Everest, has its own micro-climate. That said, I only paid $15 entrance. Most of the exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ballarat are free.]

And while I am on the Public Funding Bandwagon, let me do a shout out for local libraries. Mine turned 40 this week. It is a little branch in an old bank building. About 20 years ago the council wanted to shut it down. It was saved by locals protesting and a court challenge. It’s an important hub in our community, as it really does include everyone, from my Fella and me to the Somali mums who bring their toddlers to story time. Yay for libraries!

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In My Studio November 2016

I started this series a year ago, almost to the day. But ‘series’ quickly became too grand a word ~ two posts don’t really make a series! So, I am starting it up again. I began with this intention:

So….I am inviting you to let us have a peek into your creative space. You will notice that I am not saying “studio” except in the title. I like the sound of it there! Creative space is much wider ~ I’m thinking studio, kitchen table, sketchbook, computer, note book, anywhere you create. And I am not limiting it to painters. Writers and quilters, printers and poets, everyone is welcome.

And it doesn’t have to be a final, well rounded piece. It can be, but it might also be a look at what you are working on, a tip, a technique, a new piece of equipment. It might be a photo of your work space or your inspiration board. Or even an inspirational quote!

How will it work? Many of you join in with Celia’s In My Kitchen feature and you will know that I have taken that idea and given it my own slant. Each month I will put up an In My Studio post. I would encourage you to post one on your blog and then link to it in the comments of my my blog. Clear? As mud! Maybe this will help:

  1. Each month you write about something happening in your creative space. It doesn’t have to be a special “In My Studio” post. I know lots of you do monthly roundups of your creativity.

  2. Come to my blog and find my In My Studio post.

  3. Leave a link to your post in my comments section. Then others can follow the link to have a peek into your space. [Sorry, I am not as clever as Celia, and it may take me some time to get the blog roll down the side.]

  4. You don’t have a blog? Put something on Facebook or Twitter or wherever and give us a link to that.

Hopefully the monthly routine will stand up this time! If not, well, it will happen when it can.🙂

So, In My Studio this last month……

….has been a timid effort at cleaning up my work space. When I came back from the trip it looked like this

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Now it looks like this…..

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My work table

Not a lot of difference, but I know that most many things still around me are things I need.

My clean up also included my palette. Again, it might not seem clean to you…..

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Paint palette

While pottering around in Spotlight (one of those super craft/art/material/homewares type of store) I found this LED lamp. It was marked down to $15 but at the till I only paid $10! It is battery which means I don’t have to link up leads and power points. The head tilts too.

In My Studio is an inspirational book, on loan from my friend Liz. Every page makes my finger itch to sew and experiment. It is where the idea for my samplers came from.

Stitch magic: ideas and interpretation by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn

Here are a couple of my latest samplers, done in the caravan. The first was inspired by the colours and textures of the arid area around Menindee. The second was in response to all the water we saw on the trip.

In My Studio are two works in progress….

The first is Cullen cinereum that I have been working on for quite a while!

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Cullen cinereum (Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)

It is close to completion, but quite a few more hours yet. There is a lot of fine detail to go, and I am working with a brush so small it is ranked as 000.

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The other work is my embroidery. This is an evening project, and I love the problem solving that it requires. More on it at a later date.

So, what’s been happening in your creative space? Remember to put a link into the comments.

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Habits

Interesting things, habits. I like what James Clear has to say about them, and I thought you might like to read it too.

Habits guide: how to build good habits and break bad ones

I like it because his work is not your typical rah!rah! speech. He bases his work, which includes a range of behavioural issues, such as sleeping better or creativity,  on research and science; his documents are clear and logical. He talks about different strategies to try, that are again, based on research.

One way to help build habits is to Habit Stack.

You probably have very strong habits and connections that you take for granted each day. For example, your brain is probably very efficient at remembering to take a shower each morning or to brew your morning cup of coffee or to open the blinds when the sun rises … or thousands of other daily habits. You can take advantage of these strong connections to build new habits. 

How? 

The quickest way to build a new habit into your life is to stack it on top of a current habit.

This is a concept called “habit stacking” because you stack your new habit on top of a current habit. Because the current habit is strongly wired into your brain already, you can add a new habit into this fast and efficient network of neurons more quickly than if you tried to build a new path from scratch. (Note: I’m not the first person to figure this out. )

Danny Gregory says a similar thing about developing a daily art practice. He says to put your sketchbook next to your kettle, and while it is boiling,  draw your tea cup.

And a little example from my life….

I am terrible about drinking enough water over the day. I know I should, I know the health benefits, I know how my body reacts when I don’t, but I could never seem to get into the habit. Just Do It never seemed to work for me.

I always admire friends who carry water bottles with them. I tried this, but found I forgot to take it, forgot to drink from it, left it somewhere, or most ridiculously, didn’t take it because it was too heavy. Ridiculous because if I drank the water it would be lighter!

So then I thought about habit stacking ~ I’ll drink a glass of water every time I wash my hands. But there was the barrier that I usually wash my hands in the bathroom but the glass was in the kitchen. By the time I had walked into the kitchen I had lost the momentum or been distracted by the myriad other things that distract me. I bet you worked out the solution quicker than I did ~ move a glass into the bathroom!

I have been doing it for about a week now, and the number of glasses I drink has shot up. Go Me! Now to break some of those bad habits….

What strategies work for you to build or break habits?

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Trump

 

That title is deliberate. If you are sick of the whole election you can skim over this post. However, I am, like the rest of the world, and especially Donald Trump himself, trying to work out what happened this week and what the ramifications are. Not living in the States I can only understand the broad brush stokes of the election, not the fine details that are seen close up. But I can see that his victory has given heart to the Right Wing around the world. We saw Pauline Hanson and her cronies cracking open the champagne to celebrate on the steps of our Parliament; Marie LePen was jubilant, knowing that her Fascist movement has just been given an almighty boost.

Because of the time difference in Australia we watched the whole train wreck of an election in real time. Every time the maps and graphs were shown I was hoping that what I was seeing would change. There is always a happy ending….right? The princess gets saved, the murderer gets caught, the cavalry rides to the rescue. Not this time.

Now people are anxious and afraid, people whose lives are already affected by hatred, poverty and discrimination ~ people in the LGBTQ community, Muslims, people of colour, Latinos, women who need an abortion, women in general, migrants, those on food stamps and so the list goes on. To state the obvious, being President of the United States means that Trump’s decisions will affect the whole world. There are real concerns about climate change and humanitarian programmes.

The distrust with mainstream political parties and structures and feelings of hopelessness and alienation are common features around the world. Racism, homophobia, sexism, intolerance are pouring out through the cracks and being encouraged by the political right, both ‘respectable’ and extreme. But at the same time there are those who refuse to be cowed by intolerance, like the thousands have protested against Trump’s victory

While dismayed and concerned for the world, I have been heartened by the blogs I have read. Below are a few that have encouraged me to believe that humanity and inclusiveness are still strong values that are held dearly. If you have a post to share, add the link in the comments below.

In her pre-election post Alys showed me that Americans have an enthusiasm for democracy, and she has an official polling booth in her garage! Her post Dashed hopes sums up her despair. I love that her son wore black to school the day after. The comments are worth reading too.

Celia, who created the Fellowship of the Farmy over at The Kitchens Garden, is a New Zealander by birth but now lives in the US. In her very heartfelt post she writes about how her idea of Home and being Other has been brought into focus by the election. The comments on her post I am an immigrant need to be read as well.

Marina from Letters From Athens, puts the Trump victory in the wider global context in her post A general malaise  Follow the discussion in the comments too.

Francesca rightly points out that it is not the time to sit around anxiously navel gazing; it is a time to protest and speak out. Her post is A Saturday perspective.

Ailsa from Where’s my backpack? has challenged us to do something great. In her post, Great she has written the most amazing poem in response to Trump’s victory. It is worth reading just for that, but she goes on to say:

Do something great. What that involves is entirely up to you. Create something beautiful and share it with the world. Write something true from the depths of your humanity and share it with the world. Do something kind for someone in need. Embrace a different culture. Volunteer. Plant a tree. Tell someone how much they mean to you. Reach out to someone in your community you’ve never even noticed before. Try to understand someone else’s point of view. Learn something new. Teach your kids something new. Stand up to bullies. Protect those being victimized. Be brave. Be gentle. Be vulnerable. Nurture. Encourage. Forgive. Love. Shine.
❤

Many of us see that we are in a period of transition, of flux. However, the outcome of that transition is not predetermined. If we want this period of transition to be a transition back to humanity and inclusion then we need to act, to make our voices heard, to stand up for what we believe. How, where and when then become the questions to be answered, and I am still working through those.

But in the short term I am planting my veggie garden. It may seem an unusual thing to do in response but gardening is always soothing. When you plant a seed you are investing the future, and building hope.

As well, our vegetable garden is in the front yard and in full sun and full view of passerbys. It gives the Fella and me a chance to chat with others and strengthen community bonds. I know that others have been inspired to try their hand at some veggies too. So our garden is growing trust and hope as well as potatoes and tomatoes ~ well I hope so!

[Below are some photos of the work in progress. The plants by the fence are from the Last Chance section of our local nursery; slightly battered, but at half the price. The wooden planks are to make edging for the beds and came from our neighbour’s hard rubbish pile. The potatoes are very wizened because they have been sitting around for a couple of months. Even the worms benefitted, as they got the cardboard nursery tray!]

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Paintings for the Exhibition

The organisation for our Beckler’s Botanical Bounty Exhibition is underway. There are diverse tasks we have to do, but, as you can imagine, one of the most important is selecting the paintings to hang in the Exhibition. To find out more about the Project on my blog click here, or go to the website for more detailed information.

[A reminder that our exhibition will be held at Ballarat Art Gallery in February 2018.]

It was always understood that that each artist would have at least one painting selected. From there on it is up to the team and the curatorial staff at the Gallery to decide which paintings best tell the story of our Project. I am offering up five for selection. I will add a link if I have blogged about the creating the painting.

Four paintings are all in the same genus, Cullen. There are more plants in the genus, but these four are common to the area, depending on the season, and were collected by Beckler. I have written about the genus here. My ability to paint Cullens developed as I went along. So, if I had time I would repaint the first, Cullen discolor. However, it belongs in the set. You might like to have a closer look at the painting in this post.

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Cullen discolor (Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)

The next year I found Cullen pallidum, the bushiest of the four, and with a soft grey leaf. It is probably the most attractive of the genus, but I have a very soft spot for the humble C. discolor. It seems that I only have a post about the finished work, and not about the progress.

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Cullen pallidum (Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)

The next to be found was Cullen australasicum, which turned out to be flourishing right on the edge of the Broken Hill Menindee Road. This one’s a real show off! I am sorry, but I have no posts about this painting.

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Cullen australasicum (Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

The last, Cullen cinereum, is still a work in progress, but I hope to finish it in the next week. The spot where I found it last year is under water this year, so how lucky was that? This link will take you to the back story of my painting.

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Cullen cinereum (Image and photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2016)

Lastly there is Senna artemisioides subspecies filifolia that I collected this year. [Read the post about it here.] It is definitely a work in progress. I included it for selection because another artist has painted the other Senna that was on Beckler’s list, and I thought the selection panel might like to have a pair of Sennas in the exhibition.

 

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Senna artemisioides subspecies filifolia (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2016)

So, whether these are selected or not is now in the hands of the selection team. I don’t envy them the job, because all the paintings that have been painted have a connection to the Project, and all of them deserve to be in the Exhibition. Many artists have created superb works, often with beautiful, detailed microscopic drawings alongside the plant portraits.

I will leave you with a few closeups of my Cullens.

Posted in AnneLawsonArt, Beckler's Botanical Bounty, Botanic Art, My art work | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments