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Pawsley (cat paisley)

July 18, 2017

I really didn’t intend to do any artwork today. But this happened.

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Inspired by mid-century French design, particularly La Vache Qui Ri labels, textile patterns and cats.

If you like it, it is available on various products via RedBubble.

How to be productive

June 27, 2017

Today I’ve spent much of my precious child-free day making a toy oven out of cardboard for my son. It was an unexpectedly messy and time-consuming project, and the end result is mediocre. I’m battling to not feel guilty because I’ve been so unproductive.

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A cardboard toy oven, made with love from recycled cardboard boxes. Improving it will be a project my son and I can enjoy together.

I feel the pressure of a lifetime of implicit messages about the need to achieve. Make money. Be successful. Do things. Make things. Produce. Perhaps all amplified by my need as an “artist” to prove myself somehow. And because I have lots of ideas but not a lot of energy, I can’t possibly do all the things I can imagine doing successfully. Which makes me feel like a failure.

But when I think about what I really care about, and what I really think the world needs, this urge to be productive seems unhelpful. Our world is plagued with too much stuff already.

In a world with a massive over-consumption problem the focus on productivity seems counter-productive.

What to do?

What I want to do, what I think might maybe help, is to slow down a little and change my focus. I want to look at how I can contribute. What do I have to give to the world? What can I share? What is actually needed and useful? I want to jump off the productivity treadmill, stop worrying about pointless measures of “success”. I want to break away from needing to prove myself. Enough about me already! I want to focus on family, friends, society, the world.

I want to get on with being a helpful and creative human-being. I want to contribute in whatever ways I can to building a better society. This might be through art, or through working at a library, or being a good Mum or friend. I’m really not too sure. I am sure that breaking away from the culture of over-producing and over-consuming is a productive step.

Vicariously living Danishly

June 25, 2017

What the world needs now is love, sweet love. We’re in a dark’an’orrible place right now. And personally my solution is books, sweet books.

Like this one: Helen Russell’s The Year of Living Danishly. 

Like the finest Danish pastry, this book is light, enjoyable and morish. But it isn’t empty fluff. This is quality stuff. 

Reflective, philosophical, socially and politically relevant. Entertaining, engaging and inspiring. This book hits the rare sweet spot: fun and funny while being relevant and insightful. This is  the kind of gently uplifting nourishment a lot of us need at the moment.

And as an added bonus for us AFOLs, the book also features the odd insight into what it is like to work for Lego. It sounds pretty wonderful. So Lego, if you’re ever looking for someone to help develop a new line of gender-neutral town and train based sets, I’ve got a lifetime of Lego building experience, an eye for design and Lego-bucketloads of creativity, and I think my little family could build a very happy life in Denmark.

Painting without a plan

May 4, 2017

Today I decided to paint.Not with a plan or a goal, but just for the love of painting. I wanted to do something fast, loose and spontaneous. I wanted to embrace the idea that there are no mistakes in art, just infinite possibilities.

I call the result “Essence of a Tabby Cat”.


I rather like it upside-down.

Sudden illness, slow gestating art…

May 2, 2017

I have no voice at the moment. Also, not much energy. It is very annoying.

On Friday morning I had a voice, and I felt fine. On Friday arvo I still felt fine but my voice started to disappear. By Friday night it was gone. And then I started to feel a bit more bleurgh.

Laryngitis apparently.

So I can’t go to work, don’t have the energy to go out or do much housework, and of course I can’t talk. So, what to do?

  1.  Read ridiculous amounts of books.
  2. Restock my My Etsy shop. Which I opened about 7 years ago (eek!) but have neglected for most of that time. But according to my stats people have suddenly started visiting my shop in the past few months, even though there has been nothing there. So, ever the optimist, I’ve restocked.

Actually it has been kind of fun going through my drawers of artworks and prints and imagining them going to forever homes. I really hope they do.

Plus I found an old unfinished painting from several years ago (four or five at a guess) and I really like it. Got to get back into the gouache and finish it sometime soon.

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Another item for my to do list!

Seven years to get around to doing Etsy properly. Five years to paint one picture. I really don’t rush things, do I?

Never mind. Years ago I discovered the line-work for an artwork of a couple of cats lounging on shelves in my drawers. It had been languishing in the drawer for years, but I dusted it off, painted it up, and it is possibly my favourite artwork ever, despite the long gestation.

Literary Felines

Literary Felines by Julia Marshall (and yes, you can buy prints of this from my Etsy shop now).

I have so many different creative outlets and hobbies and projects and dreams. I’m not very efficient as an artist. But hopefully as these things bubble along slowly at least some will brew into wonderful creations that were worth waiting for.

Philosophical ponderings while my toddler sleeps

March 8, 2017

Happy anyway

February 21, 2017

I wanted to post about how great and helpful the book Happy by Derren Brown is. I wanted to share a photo of the book. But WordPress is not co-operating today.

Well, clearly WP decided to co-operate in the end!


Oh well. Not a big deal. I choose to not let this bother me. Not because I’m “thinking positive” but because this trivial little matter is not worth it. And because I really am lucky, and life and all the precious things I value really are limited.

Thank you Derren Brown for providing an inspiring, thoughtful read for those of us who enjoy reading about how to live well.