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‘Pink isn’t just a color, it’s an attitude!’ Miley Cyrus.

Stories from my Sketchbook  . . .

When I pulled into my driveway a couple of days ago I was greeted by a largeand extremely rowdyflock of pink and gray galahs foraging for their supper on my front lawn.  I am not sure whether they had been rowdy for as long as they had been there, or whether they just became so when I drove in, but they certainly weren’t backwards in coming forwards in venting their feelings about my untimely intrusion  . . .

I think that is one of reasons I like them so much.  I love critters with ‘attitude’ (as if you hadn’t guessed) and galahs really have that.  In spades.

Being mostly pink just kicks things up another notch . . .

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Never have more children than you have car windows.’ Erma Bombeck.

I think Erma Bombeck is being rather optimistic here, implying at least some form of orderly conduct is possible as long as each child has a window of their own.  Then again, I imagine she was probably also talking about children of the two-legged variety, rather than those of the fourlegged persuasion.  Anyone who has ever had more than one dog in a car at any given time will know that, no matter how many available windows there might be, every dog will be absolutely desperate to look out of the exact same one . . .

Adding to the general car-chaos in my household is the fact that none of my girls actually like being in the car in the first place.  Even when I do get a day when it appears they have all decided to be good and are happy, smiling and sitting nicely, I can almost guarantee that before we are even out of the driveway they will have somehow managed to transform themselves into a confused and tangled little mass of collars, leads, legs and grumbly, snappy little faces.

(And if (God help me) one of them also gleans that we might actually be on the way to the v.e.t. instead of the beach, any hope of establishing the slightest modicum of doggy-decorum immediately flies out of the very same window they are all still arguing about . . . )

And the fun doesn’t stop there.  By the time we eventually arrive at our destination all three of them will have wound themselves up into such a frenzied state that I will need all my wits about me to get them out of the car again.

I know that as soon as I open the car door Maudie will make her break for freedomand she is fast!!  I have to make myself as large as possible in the doorway and make sure I have her leash well in hand before I allow her any space to move at all.  (Still being clipped in to her seatbelt has never been an issue when trying to escape the car . . . )

While attempting to wrangle Maudie I will also be watching Molly as she is always an accident waiting to happen.  Molly is somewhat clumsy on her feet these days (and a tad portly to boot) and if she were to jump from the car without my help she would be more than likely break whatever leg she landed on first or even completely forget to put her legs under her at all and bellyflop hard on to the ground.  (She’s knocked all the wind out of herself one more than one occasion!)  She is also a slippery little sucker when she doesn’t want to be caught . . .

And, of course, by the time I have cornered Molly and placed her gently on the ground next to Maudie, I am likely to find that Maudie is, actually, no longer where I thought she was.  Somehow she has managed to get herself back inside the car again (why?  why?) and is now hiding beside her sister Mabel, who has positioned herself (immovable as a rock) as far away from me as she possibly can, having obviously decided that no matter how much she hates the car whatever is outside is much, much worse.  Sigh.

I’ve been considering for a while now what best to do about the situation.  Apart from never (ever ever)  taking the girls in the car again which, unfortunately, isn’t really feasible, I’ve decided that something similar to the option below might be the way to go.

I’m not quite sure about the legal ramifications though . . .

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Perfect is the enemy of good.’ Volatire.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

One of the (many) issues I have when sketching is knowing when to stop.  If I am not entirely happy with where my sketch is going (and, let’s face it, I rarely am) I will inevitably end up tinkering and fussing with it, ad nauseam, in a vain attempt to ‘get it right’.  Of course I never do get it right and, quite often, I make it worse . . .

Last month, in an attempt to get over myself in this regard, I took a short online Sktchy course called ‘Make Your Mark’ run by artist Joan Martin.   The course appealed to me because I was told I would be using materials and techniques I had probably not used before and this would, hopefully, force my work to become looser and more expressive.  It would also, I was promised, teach me to learn to accept the limitations of the materials I was using, and become more creative with my ‘mistakes’.

And, as far as I am concerned, the course delivered on its promises.  Although I did use some materials I had used before (paints, inks, pencils etc ) I also used them in ways I hadn’t tried before.  For instance, I have sketched with biros quite often but I had never sketched with a great big fat marker pen in one hand and a biro in the other—using both hands at the same time!  That was trippy.  It just about did my head in and the results were somewhat bizarre to say the least!  In other exercises I moved paint around with the edges of credit cards or torn up cardboard and I painted with pipettes and feathers and string.  I even used candle wax . . .

The sketch below began as an exercise where we were asked to scrub an ordinary white wax candle randomly across our paper.  This formed a barrier of resistance (in varying degrees) across the page—and consequently did really weird things with the graphite and pens I tried to use over the top of it.  (I nearly wore a hole in the paper trying to get doggo’s nose right!)  However, as promised, it also produced some really cool, unexpected results . . .

Was I entirely happy with all (any?) of the sketches I produced while working my way through this course? Not even close (some of them were just plain awful) but there’s no denying I learned a lot.  And it was fun to try out some new techniques and materials.   I feel I’ve become a tad more adventurous and a little more accepting of my own abilities.

As to that ‘knowing when to stop’ issue—well, I’m still working on that.  Perhaps this old dog and I can teach each other a few new tricks  . . .

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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‘I see procrastination and research as part of my artistic process.’ Lynn Nottage.

I have today gifted myself the title of ‘Supreme Procrastinator Extraordinaire’.  It’s a heady achievement (even if I do say so myself) and one I have been working towards for quite some time.  I think it’s a title I fully deserve.  I’ve earned it.

As you may recall, back (way, way back) in April I decided I was going to take a bit of a break from writing this blog.  I needed a little rest to recharge my batteries.  ‘It’s all good,’ I told myself.  ‘I’ll take a month off and I’ll write a bit and I’ll sketch a bit andwho knows?maybe I’ll even manage to get ahead of myself!  I’ll make a plan and do some research and get some stories written and some sketches sketched and I’ll make my own little treasure trove that I can delve into whenever I am caught short (for want of a better phrase).  That way I won’t be constantly running around at the last minute, glassy-eyed and desperate, babbling to myself that I have nothing to offer when  ‘OMG! It’s time to upload my next post . . . ‘

‘Man plansGod laughs.’  Isn’t that how the saying goes?

April quickly became May . . . and, although I was very well aware I hadn’t actually written anything, I could console myself with the fact that I was still actively mulling over several ideas.  (Can one ‘actively’ mull, I wonder?) 

Anyway, quite unexpectedly (as I’m sure it’s never happened before) May rapidly became June.  I admit I got majorly sidetracked here (Nordic Noir is seriously addictive) and then, all of a sudden it was July and things got really frantic at work and I found I had no headspace for anything else (at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) and then . . . well, here we are . . . it’s August—and late August at that—and I am finally forced to take stock.

So how did my little blog hiatus work for me?  Am I fully rested, restored and my batteries now fully recharged?  Ask me again when I am finally rid of this nasty cough I recently picked up.

Do I have that nice little treasure trove of literary and artistic goodies I so carefully planned for and promised myself?  Not so as you would notice.

Do I at least have a list of ideas for posts and sketches for the coming months ahead?  Well, not a ‘list’ as such—possibly a couple of crumpled and torn post-it notes silently gathering dust in odd places around the house.

Have I written anything at all over the last 4 months.  A draft?  A paragraph?  A line?  Ummmmmm . . .    Sigh.

Okay, that’s it.  I surrender.  I concede.  I admit defeat.  As much as it vexes me to admit it, I obviously need a deadline . . . any deadline . . . in order to get anything (creatively at least) done in my life.

So consider this fair warning!  I am turning over a new leaf—starting today!  You will be pleased to hear (I hope!) that as of right now I am head-down-bum-up-neck-deep in the throes of researching and investigating the very best way to set myself an air-tight, water-tight, every-other-kind-of-tight, no-wiggle-room, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die deadline for my very next post!

 

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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‘I bought some batteries, but they weren’t included.’ Steven Wright.

Hi allJust a quick note to say that I am going to take a bit of a break from writing for a while.

I haven’t quite decided how long I will be gone but I do feel the need to recharge my creative batteries and it feels like now is a good time to take a pause.  I’ve decided to enrol in a couple of online art classes and am looking forward to immersing myself fully in them.  Perhaps shifting my focus will kick start me toward a whole new directionI might even have something interesting to say upon my return!  (One can but hope!)

Thank you all so much for following (and encouraging) my posts thus far over the last couple of years Blogging has opened up a whole new world for me and I’ve met a lot of fabulous people I would not otherwise have come across.   During my hiatus I am going to actively make more time to follow and comment on all your lovely blogs instead of just stressing myself about my own!!

So take care, and see you all again soon . . .  ish . . .

Sally, Mabel, Maude and Molly.  XX

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Orchids were not made by an ideal engineer; they are jury-rigged from a limited set of available components.’ Stephen Jay Gould.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

The girls and I found a little fairy glen when we were out walking this week.  While taking a not-often-used shortcut through a little bush track, amongst the usual undergrowth of scrub, discarded gumtree bark, fallen acacia pods, roo-poo and other general bush detritus, was a clump of little white orchids.  (At least I think they were some kind of orchid. For all I know about plants they could have just as easily been some type of daisy, but for this post let’s just assume they were orchids . . . )

Orchids, I later discovered, are the largest family of plants in the world. There are apparently 25,00030,000 different species of which at least 10,000 can be found in the tropics alone.  They come in extreme variations of size, weight and colour.  Some orchids are only the size of a small coin when in bloom, while others can weigh up to one ton with petals as long as 30 inches, and sprays of flowers 1214 feet long. Orchid blossoms also appear in almost every colour imaginable, except for true black.

I think this sketch originally started off as being that of an orchid (although not the same species I saw in the bush I hasten to add) but as I was also playing around with colour and texture at the time I am not sure the finished product would ever be recognised as such.  My little wannabe-orchid seemed to become ever more triffid-like as the drawing progressed . . .

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don’t have a top for.’ Jerry Seinfeld.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

For the past week my girls and I have been playing host to a lovely wee dog called ‘Cinder’.  I am not sure Cindy is quite two years old yet (she might be just short of that) but I have to say, after living in her exuberant wake for the past week, I reckon Jerry Seinfeld’s blender analogy is spot on . . .

Cindy has stayed with us before but not for a whole week and I was a little concerned about how that would go.  Earlier visits had only been for a weekend or a few days and I had been at home to supervise.  This time I was going to be out working for a good part of her visit, and, as anyone who has fur-children knows full-well, you are never entirely sure what’s going on at home when you’re not around.

I tried to prepare my girls for Cindy’s impending arrival with constant reminders‘Cindy’s coming to stay for a while.  You remember Cindy, don’t you?  She’s a lovely girl.  You liked Cindy . . . ‘ so they had plenty of time to brace themselves but, unfortunately, as little dogs are wont to do, they often hear only what they want to hear.  The look my my Mabel gave me when Cindy actually launched herself through our front door . . .

Now don’t misunderstand me, Cindy is a lovely girl and a very sweet-natured dog.  She’s polite, affectionate and well-mannered and there isn’t a mean bone in her body, but my girls are all grown up now (I still can’t quite believe they are all now classed as ‘senior’ dogs) and they like their little routines and their quiet life . . . and I guess we had all kind of forgotten just how much energy a young dog can have!

Take going for a walk, for instance.  Walking my girls these days consists of a short saunter to the park where I let them off their leads so they can bimble about in the undergrowth and check out (and pee on) all the new smells that have been deposited since our last visit, followed by a slow wander home.  It’s all quite sedate.  Not so this week . . .

I quickly discovered I couldn’t let Cindy off her lead at all.  I did try once, in the early early morning when there was nobody else around and I imagined there would be less to distract her.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Apparently anything can distract you when you are not quite 2.  I spent the next 30 minutes trying to coax her to come back to me.  She would come juuuust within reach and then . . .  whoosh . . .  she was galloping off again, laughing madly as she went.  Cindy thought that was the BEST.GAME.EVER.  

(I, on the other hand, was terrified she would fixate on something really exciting and head off into the swamp . . . or the river . . . or across the road and down the street  . . . and I’d be left having to explain the dire consequences to her mum!)

But, differing energy levels aside, it was a good week.  My initial concerns about leaving Cindy alone in the house with my girls all day proved to be unfounded.  Apart from a couple of thoroughly deconstructed and de-stuffed doggie toys (it’s astonishing to me how much stuffing can come out of one little toy) and, on one occasion, coming home to a rather wild-eyed and ruffled Molly (who Cindy occasionally tried to use as her own personal squeaker toy) there were no major dust-ups or dramas and yesterday Cindy was delivered, happy, excited (and unharmed) back to her mother.

Today we are almost back in routine.  Most of the debris has been cleared away (although I am still finding stuffing in the oddest places), special favourite toys (which I had, thankfully, the foresight to store safely away before our visitor arrived) have been returned and much needed nap-time has been (and, in some cases, is still being) caught up on.

It’s all good.

Cindy—resting after from one of her romps around the park.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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