Welcoming in 2016

Saying goodbye to 2015 and welcoming in the New Year

Early morning walk on the beach... I just never know who or what I'll meet on my walks...

A bright new 1st totem creation

1.1.2016 Beach stone and shell mandala

Welcome to 2016 a bright New Year.

May you be Well, May you be Happy.

If you'd like to bring more happiness into your life this year, I invite you to explore Mindfulness. Mindfulness has the potential to be life changing.

Mindfulness... the art of paying attention to the present moment in a particular way, and non judgementally. Want to try a mindfulness practice? Focus on your breath, as your focus drifts away bring your attention back to your breath.

Artist Date: Visiting Grayson Perry at The Rocks

"I think that this is the best showing of my work thus far, it's certainly the biggest, and it has pretty much all the major pieces I've made over the last decade or so. And, it covers all the themes that I work on - it's an awful lot of work. I think that anybody that comes to this show, the one thing that they'll say is, 'God this must have taken a long time'." Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry is on at The Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney from the 10 December 2015 - 1 May 2016

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia is pleased to present the first major survey exhibition in the Southern hemisphere by internationally renowned artist and Turner Prize recipient, Grayson Perry, as part of the Sydney International Art Series.

Grayson Perry is one of the best known British artists of his generation, acclaimed for his ceramics, sculptures, drawings, prints and tapestries. With a keen eye for detail and a love of the popular and vernacular, Perry infuses his artworks with a sly humour and reflection on society past and present.

A talk by Grayson Perry at MCA from 2005

Artist Date: The Art Gallery of NSW - The Greats from Scotland

The Greats: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland

On at The Art Gallery of NSW till February 2016

Botticelli ● Leonardo ● C├ęzanne ● El Greco ● Gauguin ● Monet ● Poussin ● Raphael ● Rubens ● Titian ● Turner ● Vermeer

The Greats: masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland is an extraordinary and richly presented showcase of some the world’s most revered old master paintings and drawings by many of the greatest names in European art.

Comprising over 70 outstanding works, all but two will be seen in Australia for the first time, including Botticelli’s exceptional The Virgin adoring the sleeping Christ child. Drawn from the prestigious collection of the National Galleries of Scotland, the exhibition spans a period of more than 400 years from the Renaissance to Impressionism.

Presented exclusively in Australia by the Art Gallery of NSW as part of the Sydney International Art Series, this is a rare opportunity to experience, contemplate and appreciate the grandeur of The Greats.

Anatomy of an oil painting

Artist Michelle Hiscock recreated Camille Corot’s painting 'Ville-d’Avray: entrance to the wood’ c1825 over the course of a week at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The original Corot painting is from the exhibition The Greats: masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland.

December 20 Santa's Secrets

I Hope Christmas is a wonderful one for you and yours.

Creating this week: the lead up to Christmas - Santa Claus. This week I'm sharing some of the wonders from Santa's hometown.

It starts with BELIEVE.

December 19

Creating each day: thinking of family in Washington State.

I don't know why, too many movies maybe, but when I visited the US, I expected to see lots of built up areas and cities. I wasn't prepared for the majesty of the country, or to see moose standing on the sides of the road as I drove through Washington. In this video, come along on a drive through Washington State Olympic park.

I was so drawn to the indigenous art when I visited. The shapes and vibrant colours, the totems - wonderful, stunning, story tellers.

December 18 O Christmas Tree

Creativity practice each day: take time to do something small. This month's theme - baubles.

December 17 Carrier Pigeon

I've been watching the birds at the back of my home of late... The baby magpies are learning how to fend for themselves, and they look as though they are having a lovely time digging for worms. The pluvers have taken seige over one of the corners in my neighbourhood, and are terrifying all the walkers who normally wander past.

There is one bird song that is such a delight to listen to. I can't tell you what that is, as I have no idea. The pee wees are getting bolder each day, as they wander around our outdoor area, as though they own it. It seems as though on my walk each day there is a different type of bird taking rest on the totem at the beach, one day a sea eagle, yesterday a crow.

Reading about these everyday matters, are what I miss most now that I no longer receive letters from a writer friend. My grandmother was a great one for sending letters and a fond memory of mine from childhood, was to walk with her to the corner postbox, to send one of her letters away. I loved popping that mail into the box. It seems as though these days we are all in such a rush, so much to do, that letters aren't something we send any more.

Image above & right - my grandmother's writing folder.

I miss the days of catching up on a year's happenings from overseas in a Christmas card - I miss Christmas cards - full stop. I know, call me old fashioned.

A few years ago, I found a series of letters written in the late 1800's to the early 1900's from my husband's family in England to their family in Seaforth.

The letters spanned a generation. I can't even begin to tell you the heartwarming insights into that family, that these letters have given me. Well I could, but I won't right now.

Let's not let the art of letter writing be extinguished by our current social media ways of connecting.

So I encourage you to write a letter, and do a little doodle, pop it in an envelope, stick a stamp on it, and send it with your love, to someone, you love. Who knows, maybe in a hundred years it will give another family a connection with the past.

PS... if you know of Marine Cottage in Essex, I'd sure love to know if it is still there and to have a picture to go with the letters.

December 16 - Cornwall

Theme today for a little creating - Cornwall.

I've had people say, they don't know what to sketch or create. So a journal prompt today: start where you are, and sketch whatever is in front of you. I've been watching a few videos of Cornwall so that was my focus for this little sketch.

The art colony of St Ives in Cornwall became as important as Paris or London in the history of modernism during a golden creative period between the 1920s and 1960s. The dramatic lives and works of eight artists, who most made this miracle possible, from Kit Wood and Alfred Wallis to Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson, are featured in a documentary which offers an alternative history of the 20th century avant-garde as well as a vivid portrayal of the history and landscapes of Cornwall itself.

A little armchair travel and creating time... these videos by Paul Dinning are rather lovely - a tour without the stress of leaving home.

December 15 Joy

I've always admired people who can bring Joy into our world. I think that's what I love so much about this time of the year - the joy on kids faces as they see Santa in shopping centres, people seem a little nicer to one another.

I was standing in a long Christmas queue at Target last week, when I watched a little boy and Santa connect. Santa walked up to him and asked what he wanted for Christmas. Apparently the little guy had lost his two front teeth, as when Santa bent over to him, he said, 'I know what you want for Christmas - your front teeth!'

'Noooo!!' The little boy exclaimed. He reached out his little hands, and tenderly held Santa's beard, and said, 'I want a skate board'. It was so sweet to watch him and Santa together. As a mum I thought it was one of those interactions, where it would have been a wonderful memory for him later on in life, to have had on video.

In case you're ready for a bit of joy... here's a very funny lady one who always gives me a lift...

"Jeanne Robertson is like the aunt you can’t wait to talk to at the family reunion, who always has a new story to tell that keeps the whole family in stitches." - Thom O'Neil, The Carlisle Theater

December 14 - Add A Bird

Create each day...

Journal prompt: add a bird to what you are creating today.

Two blackbirds call out
as I weed my front garden.
I can tell, they have their
sharp eyes on the tree decorations.

We play games with each other
the crows and I.
They love sparkly things.
I buy them marbles,
and leave them in the garden
to find.

Now they have their sights set
on the Christmas Tree.
I wonder, which ornament,
they want for their nest.

One of the things Julia Cameron teaches in The Artist's Way, book is to take small amounts of time and simply create. In The Creative License, Danny Gregory suggests we sketch something each day in order to develop our drawing skills.

If you want to write a book for example - if you start each day and write 3 pages, and you will discover that in a very short time, you have a book. If you have participated in writing morning pages as Julia Cameron suggest, or journalling each day I'm sure you will be aware of how quickly those pages add up.

"I think of finding your creative center, as being a phrase that we use for being in alignment, we learn to respond to inner queues and outer queues". Julia Cameron

December 13 - It starts with Believe

"Every day, do something you love for one hour". Jack Canfield - in 'The Secret Formula For Success' talk on youtube.

Every day I do my beach walk. That is one thing that I love to do. And, since doing The Artist's Way, each day, I have added some small form of creating to my morning pages exercise. Whether it is a little sketch or mandala to practice my drawing or a poem of what I have noticed through out the day.

Yesterday on my beach walk I didn't take my camera, so I've used words instead to tell the tale to remember. Everyday, notice the little wonders that appear, keep note in your journal, make a picture, poem - do something creative.

Jack Canfield's talk The Secret Formula For Success, where I heard the quote above. I've been listening each day - some really helpful information here...

December 12 - Heart Bauble

Christmas is a time when my hearts desire, is to be near those I love. Our family is spread out across the world, this bauble... sending love to all.

A lovely heart centered meditation with Christie Marie Sheldon - on love.

A little time out from a busy time of year, breathe and watch the ocean for a while.

December 11 - Tree of Life Bauble

Create something small each day...

"Everyone of us is creative" - Pam Grout

"The creativity test: how do you know if you are creative? Answer this question: Are you breathing?" - Pam Grout.

How a spiral notebook and three ideas can change your life.

Pam Grout is the author of 16 books, two screenplays, a live soap opera, a TV series and enough magazine articles that she hasn't starved in 20 years without a 9-5 job.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at Ted.com

December 10 - Creating a Vision Bauble

What creativity will do for you:

"You can draw and write and sing, and live more richly, and find and be the real you. This has nothing to do with how much money you have or how much time. It has nothing to do with what you've done in the past or what people tell you that you can do or with how you make a living or where you live or any of that." Danny Gregory in Creative License

Ten minutes of art was like meditation, without the boring bits. Danny Gregory

Beachy Christmas - The Thong Tree 2015

The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature. ~ Andy Rooney

I decided to brave the elements late today and go for my walk. I'd sort of hoped that the Christmas Thong Tree might have appeared on the beach today, as I'd seen a sign asking for a 4WD'er to help move it during the week.

Hubby and I tried to work out if we could put it in the back of the CRV but we are clueless about sand driving. Made 2 calls to others - no go, equally clueless. Anyway, the tree wasn't anywhere to be seen, when I arrived at second totem so I decided to keep walking...

And made it to 3rd totem (well truth be known I kept walking as I thought that maybe the mirage that I saw in the distance was the tree, but it was only the totem in the seamist).

It's a bit over an hours walk to 3rd totem and back. It was so gorgeous being at the beach after a muggy, hot old day, walking in the cool sea water, and feeling the occasional drop of rain on my skin. The late afternoon light soft, and welcoming to walk towards.

So I turned and headed back and as I got close to the end of my walk, I saw Santa's Little Helpers driving away in a 4WD... Awww... it made my day.

And behind them, there it stood in all it's Christmassy glory - the Christmas Thong Tree 2015 had just finished being put up.

I'm looking forward to seeing the smiles of delight, as people discover the tree again this year. Thank you so much to Mary who creates the tree (and Santa's Little Helpers who assisted).

What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. ~ Agnes M. Pahro

December 9 - thinking thinking thinking....

Busy, busy, busy - thoughts go racing around in our heads, what to buy those relatives who have everything... what do I need to do before Christmas day? Have I remembered everyone? Those pesky thoughts keep on keeping on.

Let's take some time this year to bring mindfulness into our Christmas... these videos are on the STOP technique - the one above gives you an explanation as well as the STOP technique, the one below a shorter version.

December 8 - Flower Bauble

Take time out this Christmas to do a little creating... a doodle, a sketch - it really doesn't matter what it is you choose to do. Simply take time out to create. Something small is easy to complete and achieve, something Christmas themed to get into the holiday spirit.

How Art Changes Your Brain: Differential Effects of Visual Art Production and Cognitive Art Evaluation on Functional Brain Connectivity

View the full article: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0101035

Above is a photo only... to view this video go to the link: How engaging with art affects the human brain

Article Link: Making Art Boosts Seniors Psychological Resilience

Bauble template: here

December 7 Tropical Christmas

Dreaming of a Tropical Christmas

Bauble template here

Time out for some relaxation in the midst of a busy time - visiting Fiji Islands Paradise Tropical Healing Relaxation

December 6 Greek Island Town

Have you succumbed to the last colouring craze? If so you're welcome to print out and colour any of the baubles I'm sharing this month. You would like to share them, just add a link back to my site.

I invite you to take an armchair relaxation journey to Santorini, one of the islands I visited while I was in Greece. I stayed in a villa perched on a cliff overlooking the bay...

"Slowly awaken your senses as the morning sun rises over the sea, and watch as day slowly passes into dusk." Video by David Hunting

December 5 - Remembering little Greek Island churches

A trip to the Greek Islands, a few years ago and we minded the most gorgeous little villa perched high above the town of Mykonos. It was one of those memories that will stay in my heart forever. Of an evening we could look down at the sun setting over the harbour. It was a bit of a hike into town, but we didn't care it was marvellous. We used to use the goat tracks to wind our way up the hill of a night back to the villa.

Greek Christmas Carols from Crete and Peloponnesus

One night there was no moon to guide us, and with only a cigarette lighter to guide our way (you'd have thought we'd have bought a torch instead) we wove our way back home. Hubby in the lead, I followed close behind, when there was a sudden stop and scream at the feeling of hot breath in the front.

Turned out that hubby had come face to face with a donkey on the path. He'd been bent over trying to see the way over rocky terrain, and in that position came face to face with the local. Ah fun times to remember. Since visiting them, the islands have never been far from my heart, I could have put down roots and stayed there. It was one holiday I never wanted to return from. I have yet to see any images that truly capture the light and beauty of the place.

One of my favourite Christmas recipes - Kourabiedes. Kourabiedes are a traditional Greek cookie made for special occasions like Christmas. They are butter cookies covered with icing sugar. Yummy.

December 4 Christmas Angel

'Every child is an artist... the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.' Pablo Picasso.

Journal challenge: let your inner child create today... Here's a bauble template for you... print it out and create...

December 3 Star Light Star Bright

Each day up to Christmas I am taking little time out moments to create, this month's theme - mini mandalas, in the shape of Christmas baubles. I think mini mandalas are going to be part of my daily process now along with morning pages. I never realised that they could be so much fun.

My mum made Christmas so special for our family each year. It was the highlight of our year, something to look forward to, and a beautiful family time. I have so many wonderful memories from Christmas. I delight in recreating some of those memories at Christmas in our home. What are your fondest memories of Christmas?

December 2 - Xmas Bauble Bear Doodle

"Look for small windows of time just for you, and use them in small creative acts". Julia Cameron The Artist's Way (Week 2 Task 4)

December 2 Christmas Bauble Doodle... Bear Theme. Looking for small windows of time to use in small creative acts, has been just one of the teachings I have taken onboard from participating in The Artist's Way. At present with the end of year Christmas busyness, I am taking little snippets of time to create a little bauble each day... a mini mandala.

This little bear evolved from a creativity challenge. Click here to visit - A Mused Community's December Creativity Challenge ~ Earth Magic ~ Bear.