I spent a weekend recently framing up a few of my favourite paintings that I have created over the past few years - yes, partially because I can’t bear to part with them and also because they have been hugely important in my road to progress and self discovery.
Milestones rarely surface to treasure - they are often fleeting moments in history that are for all purposes intangible thereafter. When one is lucky enough to savor ones progress, take the opportunity.
It will help one to remember the struggles; how far and from where one has come; it can be a marker to regather ones energies, to relay the stepping stones to something even greater.
Life really is, what you make.
Get out there - be brave, live new experiences, find undiscovered places, enjoy being with new friends and find you.
It is sometimes easier said than done. For some of us, the task will be a real challenge because we all have begun to lose that natural knack of just saying ‘hi’; lost that inquisitive nature that once sparked our dreams and desires.
Life, responsibilities and what the world expects from their trustworthy, reliable citizens always seems to come first. The model citizen does have its draw backs. One tends to stay in the same job, respond in the same way the population would expect and you find yourself caught up in a dull, uneventful world of being proper.
So I declare, starting today - an entire week of new discoveries; where reporting back is obligatory - telling the world just how, what and with whom you spent this new period of discovery! :)
Type - ‘I’m in!’ and we can keep each other accountable. :)
Can wait to hear your tales!
This month, I thought it would be nice to take a photographic journey around some of the most interesting parks in Toowoomba. And, believe it or not, Toowoomba has quite a few parks that our trustworthy, talented gardeners tend to every day, so they look just right for our visitors and so they are ready for the opening of the September - Carnival of Flowers.
Now because our gardeners look after over a 100 gardens across the Downs, it is far too big an assignment for me to cover in one foul sweep. So I might do a series. Anyhow, here are some really interesting statues I found hidden in the Scented Gardens.
I have to say, I was totally blown away by the number of statues available at the Scented Garden. I counted over 30 statues, but these were my favourites. The attention to detail is just superb and proportionally, each statue stands about three quarters the actual size of a female figure. Centrally place among the falling autumn leaves, these little ladies are very much worth viewing, on a crisp winter morning. The lighting is just great, then!
Among the ladies however, this one really captured my attention as the statue sort of grows out of the dead of leaves.
I don't know how old or how long these statues have existed at the gardens, but I do know they have been here for many years. I remember as a kid, dad would bring me to the parks on various photo shoots and I'd be in my element tossing the leaves about the winter fog. Those were the days when the rains came in the winter months - not much of that happening lately.
This young fellow stands beneath a huge growth of trees, as you enter the Gardens - not far from the tiered iron sculptures that house beds of hanging flowers in the summer months. Yes, they are pretty empty at the moment, but come summer, he'll be in his element among the blossoms. For the time being, this fellow is rugged up for the winter and I don't see him going anywhere fast. :)
Everyone sets aside a collection of tools they prefer to use for watercolour. I am no different, although I do believe making time to experiment with new mediums and tools that you haven't yet given the time of day, is really necessary. In the creation of art works, one is often inclined to stick with things that work, but without taking a look at what is really out there, your true talent can't be recognised, because you are scared to push the boundaries. It is sort of like scaling a hill. Of course you can go around it, but if you run up it, you become so much stronger and your technique improves.
When I first got back into watercolour, I was inclined to tentatively use my old palette and fine brush, as I did as a kid. I would plod away, working in far too much detail and the quality of painting suffered, as it would always look over worked. So, I literally had to put my old faithful brush and paint palette in a box, so I could learn to use new watercolour mediums such as gouache and watercolour pencils. Yes, I do realise these mediums have been around for quite some years, however if you are a creature of habit because you're scared to make a mistake with your watercolour, you will often stick to what you know.
So, on my last trip to Seoul, I took nothing but my wallet and visited Kyobo underground Bookstore, which has more than just books. It is full of great art supplies and is a creators' paradise for both the creation of art and author works - that is, if you really love snooping through pen, ink and writing sets, too. I have to say, I was very much spoilt for choice as the local ink, watercolour paper as well as the watercolour pencils are of exceptional quality. Shinhan art products and tools have been around for years and I am very much partial to using them. They flow easily across 300 gsm paper and produce that wonderful natural, trademark wash.
So although my task was to use only Derwent pencils to lay down my sketches, I did cheat a bit, using the Pro Artist watercolour paint to complete my tests. Either way, the Derwent pencils are smooth to use, but tend to leave a gritty finish on the paper if you are not careful. They definitely need a good deal of experimenting to master but are great, if you like to be in control of where you place your lines. So, if you love your colour pencils and enjoy the overlay process, watercolour pencils will allow you that freedom.
When it comes to pen an ink, my initial tools are a good Unipin fine liner or micron Pigma, to whizz about the page. However, I do use dip pens into Winsor and Newton Ink for continuity of natural tones across the page. Black is quite harsh and doesn't always deliver a natural feel. However, I do like to use the black micron to quickly sketch my overall scene as it makes me focus in on the subject and I tend not to worry about making mistakes. I don't get stuck on the details and my hand naturally places the marks across the paper.
As a species we are minuscule in the great scheme of things, but our effect on the planet since our existence, has been catastrophic.
We tell ourselves, not to worry - all will be okay and that the planet survived long before we arrived on the scene.
Although, Mother Nature has never created - in the history of evolution, such a complex, selfish, self concerning species. She has outdone herself in her abilities of organic design; we have been her best and worst creation to date.
The more evolved we become, the greater heights we strive to achieve - the less we see what is happening around us; the more out of touch with the balance of nature we become.
We tell ourselves, there should be work-life balance - what about Mother Nature balance? Where there is imbalance, there is will be a trade off. Something else, someone else, some other species or organism must suffer as a result of the imbalance.
Due care for nature; to work with and beside her must be our first and last consideration before we create, invent, borrow, pillage or destroy.
We tell our kids, ‘you are not the only one on the planet’, but as adults we consider only ourselves. We behave like spoilt brats expecting the earth; expecting to receive all, to have all in the name of progress and success.
Time is now. What we walk past, we accept.
We are failing Mother Nature as her greatest creation; we need to make her proud.
In order to help our kids, to help ourselves, to help us get ahead in our own lives. We must first consider doing something for Mother Nature - we must give back - be that plant a tree, clean up the earth’s surface - biosphere/atmosphere that we have polluted. We must learn to think of healthy disposals before we create anything, buy anything, use anything.
We were given paradise - all given to us without recoil, but we are creating and living in a rubbish dump. Where everything is disposable.
Charity starts at home - with nature.
I was doing research for an article I was writing a few months ago and found this particularly interesting academic paper - on contractable bacteria and diseases easily acquired from pets, specifically dogs. It talks not only about being diligent in cleaning up after them but also, in washing your hands, cleaning surfaces, etc.
I was unlucky enough to pick up such a bacteria that now lives permanently in the base of my lungs. I have always been a healthy, fit person and particularly obsessed with cleanliness.
.This took me by surprise and when I asked the doctor how I might have contracted such bacteria, he said you would be surprised as to how many people we see each week with such related illnesses.
I am not saying people should give up the idea of owning a dog or a cat. However, I don't think one should ever become complacent about cleanliness. It might seem trivial, but if one is not careful or one does not teach young children about appropriate hygiene while caring for or handling animals, they could pay a very big price of being permanently at risk for not only these diseases, but a whole host of others - like leading to limb amputations
You can learn more at: One Health Fact Sheet
Resource and Research papers