August 2009

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and I didn’t know it!

But today I was in another scrapbooking store (souffle pens!) while Hill$ong crappy charismatic creepiness blasted from the store stereo.  That was ok, I could block it out by humming my favourite Lily Allen track (“Fuck you.. fuck you very very muu-uu-uuu-uch…”).

But what intrigued and frightened me was the group of women sitting around a table all with identical pieces of various papers while the teacher drill sergeant said things like “And now we are going to take our 8 cm square of green paper and stick it exactly one inch from the bottom left corner” and the women responding with worried tones: “Have I got this right? Is this ok?”

I would have told her exactly where she could stick her square of paper, I would.  This class was obviously for beginners, ok, but it was doing NOTHING towards raising these women’s confidence or belief in their own right to make decisions!  ARRRRGH!

Please note – I’m not (totally) anti-scrapbooking.  I love the toys in those shops, love the huge variety of coloured papers and printed papers and rub ons and stamps, and the PENS, OMG the pens, I loves me a good pen, who doesn’t? I am THRILLED that scrapbooking stores are around not least because there are such limited options for buying other art supplies locally.

But – WHERE’S THE CREATIVITY? WHERE’S the EMPOWERMENT that making something YOUR OWN brings?


In the last few posts I have shown you my visual journal – and you can see that I have been learning from other people’s styles.  I am so excited at the prospect of learning more, of getting the INPUT I crave.  But I don’t ever want to just make something exactly the same as anyone else (let alone as the other 6 women at the table  (“Now post your cropped photo of your schoolchild 5 inches from the right of the page…”)

Look, I know you’ve seen (heard?!) this rant before, and I’m sorry, you’ll probably hear it again… but if we are not here to be INDIVIDUALS and find meaning in our own lives – then why are we here at all?

(To see where the thoughtless copying mindset leads, have a squiz at “you thought we wouldn’t notice”, a blog highlighting laziness amongst “creatives” … and see also this post from the (hugely talented and inspiring) Marsha at Tumblefish Studio. )

up early

(apologies for the somewhat blurry text – getting to the end of this book and I really should have propped up the low side on the scanner!)


At least it’s different

coherent scrawl

a boring page….


Mexican turquoise pic from a back issue of the Smithsonian (another wonderful subscription I had to let go…)


[you know how to see it bigger.]

One of my favourites from the old portfolio:

biology and manual training for blog

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We are about to have our internet access throttled (aaccck!) because SOMEONE was a bit naughty and looked at lots and lots of bandwidth munching art sites this month, didn’t they CAITY?!

(At least they just reduce the speed, they don’t let us keep going and then send a bill for excess use like some (coughb1gp0ndcough) providers.)

I am getting STUCK in my visual journal – too much same same, you know?  I really need to get into some online classes and LEARN STUFF!! (cheaper than books and you get feedback straight away – I ? technology!)


[bigger if you click]

Got the new printer hooked up today (yay!) but sadly, it has no drivers to make it run on Linux OSs.  Bummer!  Luckily we keep a Windows box around for just such things – my embroidery machine software and Electric Quilt programme also need the infernal Windows. (Don’t tell me to get a Mac, please – they are NOT for povs! $$$$!! And Linux is open source and FREE.)

Also dug out the little photo printer but discovered that leaving the ink cartridge in it for (la la la!) years doesn’t do it much good.  Still, when life hands you lemons, make margaritas:


Only half the nozzles on the inkjets worked – but I am going to pretend I MEANT that to happen so I could alter/add to these postcard size prints anyway.  Yep!  (I’m hoping that when the new cartridge goes in things will right themselves – if not, I’ll have to do some opening and tinkering – good thing it’s well out of warranty, eh?)

The weather has turned cooler this evening – supposed to only be 8 C (brrr!) overnight.  Yes, I know when I ived in Canberra, it was a good winter day when it got UP to 8 sometimes! But I’m spoilt living here.  The weekend is supposed to bring more heat again.

OK, that’s it for now… things might be slow with only limited access here til midnight on the 2nd!

Mid afternoon, Mr Beloved returned to The Room Of Migrainous Hell (aka the bedroom)  looking pale and shaky.

“What’s wrong”? I asked, ever perceptive, even in my tortured state.

He held his hands apart about 1.5 metres.

“Brown.  Back of shed. I dropped some wood and saw it slither past….”

We’re not sure if it was an Eastern Brown, King Brown, or some other (venomous) snake – but as Mr Beloved says, they’re all part of the genus ahgettawayfromme.

Yep – no more winter in Toowoomba, this year Mother Nature has jumped right past Spring to Summer! There are already bushfires and today was around the 30C mark again (that’s 86 F for you furriners) and it’s supposed to only drop to 17C / 63 F overnight.


[click for big]

Done at the same time as “Scared of Numbers” , watercolour, ink, and pearlescent ink on old history textbook page.

I didn’t get to watch the V8 races after all – I had a migraine that saw me cowering in the dark bedroom for most of the day.  Bugger! Off to take more aspro to try and keep it down to a dull roar (I can’t take other anti- migraine medicine becuase of other drugs I have to take.  Sucks, eh?)

So I was reading Michelle Ward’s blog earlier and she had an image of these AWESOME stamps from Stampotique, by an artist new to me.  Daniel Torrente’s style really spoke to me – possibly because of the sunken eyes and scratchy lines being exactly how I’m feeling right now. (grrrrrr.)

So as I was listening to the race (vroooooooom….) I started making little scratchy sketches.


[usual deal  – click images to see bigger]

And then some more characters came out of the pen.  (I drew a self portrait of myself as an anorexic, too, but that was just so disturbing on so many levels I shouldn’t have even mentioned it….)


Now that I look at those stamps again I’m pleased that they AREN’T really copies of his style.  (For a start, mine are nowhere near as detailed or as good!) but they have definitely come from the Danny Elfman/Tim Burton/Tracy Moore zettiology/ Scott Radke’s awesome puppets/ freaky goth kinda headspace… I really want to work on more of these.

(Technical details, as if anyone is interested: Lamy fountain pen with EF nib; Noodler’s walnut ink, on al cheapo A5 visual diary paper.)

(also – note to self – get the green paint splodge off the scanner screen, sheesh!)

What do you think?

Another stressful Friday night as the DICKHEAD across the creek thinks he can play music as loud as he wants any time he wants because he’s in “an industrial unit”.

Um, no, he can’t.

Unfortunately, no one in authority want to take responsibility – is it a council/police/EPA/? problem? They’re all buck passing and meanwhile we hear “The Best of the ’80s” DOOMPHING through our bedroom….

Much more to the story but suffice to say: we are both incredibly tired and stressed and grumpy.

I am probably not even going to watch the V8 supercars race and it’s the Queensland Raceway meet… so you KNOW I’m feeling unhappy!

Saint Robota Icon

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This is “The Icon of Saint Robota”.

Ink, watercolours, acrylic inks on an old spelling list page.

(I inherited a LOT of school textbooks from my grandfather.  I like painting on pages that are not blank. I think my artist’s statement at the time I had to present this in a portfolio was more eloquent, but that’s what it boiled down to.)

We have wooden floorboards in our house, and our house needs restumping (bloody termites!) so the floors tend to MOVE when we walk around.  Normally that’s not an issue – but over time, things perched precariously on top of other things (ahem!) tend to get closer and closer to the edge until….



Poor Mr Beloved was ATTACKED by a falling clump of THINGS this afternoon. NOT a good thing for my poor PTSD sweetie…

Anyway, the fallen objects included an A3 cardboard portfolio, which turned out to contain some art works I had made in… ummm… 2005 or 2006, I don’t have a date on any of them.

And I was pleasantly surprised!  OMG, I LIKE THESE! I drew these AND I REALLY REALLY LIKE THEM!! I’m not as hopeless at this as I thought! And I had completely forgotten they even existed.

So, if you’d like to see them, I’ll post a few.  Here’s the first one out of the envelope:

Scared of numbers

[click to see image larger]

Watercolour, ink, on old text book page.

ARRGH!  I have LOST an issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and I MUST FIND IT!! It’s soooooooooo frustrating – I have every .single. other. issue and there is stuff I HAVE to re-read RIGHT NOW in issue #15 and I have been looking for it for days. ALL WEEK, in fact.

CPS 15

I have looked through all my nests.  (This is what Mr Beloved calls the accumulations of STUFF that appear around me when I get interested in something… my armchair and my bedside table are permanent nests.)

I have shaken out every magazine on the bookshelves in case this issue somehow got tangled inside another one. I have pushed and pulled at books in case the magazine had slipped behind a larger volume.

I have looked in the sewing room, under the kitchen table, under the sofa, behind the tv.

I have found MANY MANY places where this magazine ISN’T.

I have found the instruction sheet for the washing machine (the powder is meant to go WHERE?), many old envelopes (pre-paid – I wonder if Australia post will still honour them?) and where the missing reams of printer paper have been hiding.

I have found several older journals with only a few pages used up.  (It’s hereditary – my grandfather was just the same, he’d use up three or four pages of a writing pad and then start a new one.  10 years after his death, my parents and I are still using up his writing pads. I particularly like the ones which have aged to  a yellow or brown, it’s a very nice patina to them.)



nike 800

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I had just cut the word  “clone” out of an old (2003 – can I hoard or WHAT?!) magazine, and as a result of my (ahem!) Studio Practice, A Serendipitous Event Occurred. (Or in non art-wank terms – I work messy, and stuff falls on other stuff.) When it landed on the stamped image it just had to stay – I mean, a stamp is a CLONE, yes? Even when it’s a very cool stamp.

And then while I was thinking about stamps, I noticed that a damaged old stamp would fit really well on this page. (A stamp for a stamp, geddit? Oh, the subtlety!!)

Did I mention that I wandered into a local scrapbooking shop yesterday? Well, not quite wandered, since I had to stop the car and park, but it was a spontaneous decision. The first 10 minutes or so were overwhelming  – so many shiny pretty things! But then once I’d got over my initial shock, it made me very sad.

Because there was all this “pre-made” stuff.  This “copy this exactly and you’ll have ART” stuff.  Now, before any keen scrappers jump down my throat, I’m sure there are LOTS of people who buy “scrapbooking” marketed stuff and make original art with it.  I’ve bought scrapbooking papers to use too (mostly plain ones, I have to admit – the colour ranges are so HUGE!) BUT – that’s not what I’m talking ranting about here.

It’s like the quilters who want to make a quilt out of a magazine or pattern using EXACTLY THE SAME FABRICS in exactly the same positions as the picture.

I JUST DON’T GET IT! I mean, yes, I know all about lack of confidence in one’s own artistic judgement.  I know all about feeling like I shouldn’t be using The Good Stuff when it’s “just” something I’m making. I have art heroes, people I am HUGELY inspired by, whose style I might even try to imitate…


why use someone else’s art?  I just don’t get that.

It may be weird but at least it’s mine….

Caity the Muddle-Headed: Darling, I’m looking for a book I’m pretty sure I own – The Creative License by Danny Gregory? About [this] big by [this] big? Paperback?

TeaBot5000™: (after brief rant in which he expresses frustration at being required to be The All Knowing Librarian, WHO ALWAYS has to shift books around, etc, all of which is true) Of course you can’t find it, you’re LOOKING for it.  You’ll have to wait ’til it sneaks up on you.

CTMH: I know, I’ll go look on amazon and see if… AHA!  I do own it, I ordered it in 2006!

TB: It may not have made it out of the bedroom yet sweetie.

CTMH: I must have cleaned the bedroom since 2006! SURELY!

TB: “Cleaned” is different from “Left the bedroom”, sweetie.

CTMH: Humph.

Creative License

It turns our it HAD left the bedroom (ha!) And was having a lovely confab with ANOTHER book I’ve been trying to find:

when dreams

They were huddled at the far corner of the bottom shelf of the bookcase behind the TV.  You can’t tell me THAT wasn’t deliberate hiding, you bad books!

Oh, and I’m also re-reading Sabrina Ward Harrison‘s Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself.

spilling open

And noticing, yet again, that I have TOO MUCH STUFF.  I wrapped one treasure last night in hand stamped brown paper, addressed it, and will take it to the post office on Monday morning with a bunch of partly used up booklets of stamps. (Apparently I thought about sending a lot of Christmas cards in 2005.  Bought stamps and put them in a safe place…)

I’m thinking a lot more “deaccessioning” (isn’t that a great word for “getting out of the collection”?) is going to HAVE to happen. I’m still recovering from the LAST move – things are still in boxes, suitcases, unsorted piles of STUFF…after 5 years.  ARRRGH!


[clicky biggy, yada yada]

Why yes, I have been looking at a lot of Teesha Moore’s work, she is awesome! (of course, this is just my very basic version inspired by her style – she is really one of the Goddesses of Art Journals…)

I’m also playing around with just making stuff that makes me HAPPY.  Orange always makes me happy, it always has – I went through a phase in my early teen years where I wore the most amazing ORANGE tunic style shirt  ALL THE TIME, it had a cowl neckline, a twisted cotton rope sash, and was hip length.  I loved that top!

Yesterday I dragged out a box of other paper art/journal art stuff – found stamps (including a little date stamp  – yay!) and all sorts of painted paper that I’d forgotten I’d made. And paper napkins and sequin waste and stencils I’d cut and one very sad stamp pad – the surface just DELAMINATED when I tried to use it – another timely reminder to USE YOUR STUFF!!

new hair

No makeup and bright sunlight… I’m good at ugly photos!!

VERY short (because 8 months of being white blonde, even with SHORT blonde hair, doesn’t leave you with much to work with) and I expect the colour to fade.  Very easy to manage, though!  (Ever noticed that the majority of post-menopausal women – ok “women of a certain age”, if you prefer – have short hair?  It’s because they realise life is too damn short to worry about hairdryers!)

Meanwhile I’m making LOTS OF MESS up on the kitchen table.  MESSMESSMESS!  Lots of background-y, collage-y papers. I’m just playing with paints and having fun.

But now it’s nap time again – maaaaan this swine flu thing is a COW to kick!

Reluctantly, I am leaving the Happy Land of the Blonde.

I have enjoyed being blonde.  It suits my skin tone.  I like super white blonde hair.

BUT it costs too many $$ too often. *sigh*

Stay tuned – new hair tomorrow!



Peach Tree worm tree, useless for most of the year – but oh, the spring blossom!!

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