Share the Dream

Artwork today... Share the dream you had for this one precious life.

I've finally returned to my art, it seems like forever that I've been away. Renovating my house has taken my focus for the last year and a half and we are now looking forward to another new dream. I'd almost forgotten just how pleasurable it is to simply put paint on paper.

Have you ever woken from your sleep in the dawning hours of the day? It's so quiet and peaceful at that time usually. I've been waking early for the last few days, out of a dream, that disappears as quickly as it came. How real some dreams seem. In my dreams I'm often looking for a house or going on a journey. What about you, do you have a recurring dream?

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don't go back to sleep

People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don't go back to sleep.


Have you struck gold yet?

"All of us are far richer than we imagine. None of us possesses a life devoid of magic, barren of grace, divorced from power. Our inner resources, often unmined and even unknown and unacknowledged, are the treasures we we carry, what I call our spiritual DNA.

Just as our physical potentials are encoded at conception, it is my belief that we also carry the imprint, or blueprint of our gifts and their unfolding. Often we have far more gifts than we imagine. For example, a love of music may indicate a gift for it as well - a gift we may not have developed due to the circumstances of our birth.

Similarly, many voracious readers are closet writers, afraid to step into the arena of their dreams. This arena is our spiritual DNA, the treasure chest we bring into the world are are charged with developing. The tricky part is recognising it." Julia Cameron In Vein of Gold.

As you read these words by Julia, do they bring up anything for you? Maybe you love to watch dancing - do you dance? What dreams lie hidden within you?

Tao Porchon Lynch had a dream to do ballroom dance, so at 85 or thereabouts, she set off for lessons, because as she says, 'there is nothing you cannot do'. The beloved Tao passed away earlier this year aged 101. She is one of my role models.

Do you have role models? If not I invite you to create a gathering folder where you add images and stories of people who inspire you. Regularly open it, and add info. How could you integrate some of their inspiration, into your life.

Tao Porchon Lynch - this was taken after she had had 3 hip replacements! No more excuses. Dearest Tao, thank you for your grace and inspiration.

How to make a mixed media collage sketchbook with Cas Holmes

Enjoy... something to play with while in lockdown or social distancing.

Keep Calm and Stay At Home

Well it's been a while again in between posts. We've had a lot of work to do in our new home that has been unexpected, the move didn't go as smoothly as we'd thought, and we're both missing Port Macquarie. We'd been thinking about putting this house on the market, and now we are all in social distancing mode, so I'm not sure what the market will even be, or when we'll be able to do that.

So given that we all have so much going on, how do we artfully express ourselves during this time? Art Journalling can be helpful, to calm and collect our thoughts express emotions and longings.

While we are staying at home, it can be a good time to 'hatch ideas'. What would you like to do once this retreat time is at an end? I'd thought we'd go to the Greek Islands again this year, but tour on a slow pace around less visited islands. I'd still like to, one idea to hatch.

When I watch a TV series or movie now it seems strange to see big groups of people so close together. I'm astounded how quickly I've become used to space and distance. I don't like it, but I've become accustomed.

And what about social distancing? How is that for you? What are you noticing about how you feel, what are you noticing about how others respect new social rules? I've noticed that some people are respecting the new boundaries and some aren't. What do boundaries represent to you? Are they a safety for you? Or do they feel constricting?

Could you explore the theme of boundaries in your art journal? Perhaps you could try some slow stitching and then paste it in your journal.

What are you missing at present? I'm missing simple things, visiting an art gallery, coffee with a friend, yoga with my group, dancing a couple of times a week, listening to live bands.

It's a time to notice the little things that bring joy, and focus more on those, not to ignore what we are feeling, but to give ourselves space to change the track of our thoughts, like a train being given another track to go down, pull the train of thought into a station, get off and get onto another train of thought. Where would you like that train to take you today?

The Art of Christoph Neimann

I've been having fun creating art doodles on my Oppo phone photos recently. This morning my yoga teacher shared an image of our class and had edited the heads of the group with lotus flowers for those who didn't want to appear on facebook. I loved how she did that. Then later was delighted to discover the Art of Christoph Neimann. Christoph takes the art of doodling to a whole new level.

National Geographic and Tourism New Zealand sent artist and author Christoph Niemann to New Zealand, to bring his experiences and impressions of the country alive through art.

Visit Christoph on facebook... click here

Where joy hides and how to find it

Find out where joy resides and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy, is to miss all. Robert Louis Stevenson

What creates joy for you?

Cherry blossoms and rainbows, bubbles and googly eyes: Why do some things seem to create such universal joy? In this captivating talk, Ingrid Fetell Lee reveals the surprisingly tangible roots of joy and shows how we all can find -- and create -- more of it in the world around us.

I discovered Ingrid's work today online, and did a search on her work after watching the TED talk above. I really enjoyed reading through some of her writing and listening to another podcast. Here is another snippet from Ingrid's writing...

Emotional tenor affects a lot of the things we do. If these aesthetics really bring more joy, we become more affectionate, more open, more collaborative, creative, willing. So, how can we use our environments to help us get the best out of ourselves? Or the best out of people who are coming to work each day, or going to school each day, or happen to be in the hospital, or moving through a crowded city? How can we actually shape the environment and insert things that are going to bring out our best selves, because our best selves are essentially context dependent?

I know when I visited the colour filled town of Burano in Venice, it was a joy to wander around seeing all the amazing homes. I wonder, what started the residents painting the houses, and how they all got involved?

So I googled it, as you do... And apparently.... "If someone wishes to paint their home, one must send a request to the government, who will respond by making notice of the certain colours permitted for that lot." Wikipedia / Burano

I've only just moved into a lovely area in Queensland, and heard the story of how one of the residents painted her home pink. Sadly the neighbours complained and it is now beige like many in the area. Mind you the chunk of rose quartz in the garden is a rather wonderful remainder, from her initial vision.

Colour is one of the things that gives me joy. Would I be game to paint my house a bright colour? Hmmm, maybe not, but I sure do admire those who do. What about you?

Stop looking so you can SEE

Stop looking so you can SEE what's around you. It sounds a bit silly really doesn't it?

It was a dark and stormy night... no, actually it was a light and sparkly wintry morning and I was having my coffee and reading Danny Gregory's, Everyday Matters.

One chapter stood out to me, he had written about really 'seeing'...

When you look at something you are filing it into a category, "I'm in the park", "Here's Soho", "Light's green." It's easy it's fast it's the way to cope with NY. But when you just let yourself SEE, it's like opening a window on the first day of spring. Things flow in, sharp, differentiated. Instead of whipping past, you study things you didn't really know existed."

Danny Gregory started drawing after his wife was involved in an accident, and with many hours in the hospital, sitting and waiting, started to draw.

"I spent most of my life not believing I had the right to consider myself an artist in any way.

But then I started drawing about fifteen years ago and it changed my life.

It led me to travel, to meet people, to get books published,

but most of all it transformed the way I see the world around me and how I experience every day."

Danny's art journal books (and videos - hope you enjoy these) are very inspiring, and I've revisited them many times. Over the years of studying, teaching and practicing mindfulness, I've found that it is fascinating, if you start to slow down... and take your time when looking, what you do see.

I'd never seen rainbow surf till a couple of years ago, but now if the light is right, just on dusk, when the sun is low in the sky, you will see rainbows on wave crests.

It still amazes me that it's taken me till my late 50's to see that, given that the beach is my happy place, my walking place and general go to place.

Split Rock at Crowdy Head National Park pictured above.

I've been hosting a creative cluster for Walking In This World the second book in The Artist's Way series, and part of our weekly exercises is to go for a walk for about 20 minutes. Not a hard task given all the natural beauty around this area.

I'd been wanting to head down to Diamond Head for a bush walk, and today seemed like a good day to do that.

So we packed up a picnic and headed off, and with Danny Gregory's words in my mind, I slowed down, and attempted to move past looking and into seeing.

The stones in this area are so interesting, there seems to be a range of basalt, granite and I don't know what else... of all sizes and shapes. They are ideal for stacking, and it was a delight to see all the stone stacks that people had left behind.

We both joined in and created one as well.

Dannys' words stayed with me this morning as I balanced on stones, steadying myself against the wind that was buffeting me, in order to take photos.

On the way back I kept looking up at this stone formation, and as I slowed down stopped and looked, my eyes focused in on a giant stone heart.

What a delight to discover, and a reminder what can happen when you stop and how much more you can see.

If you're ever in the vicinity, and like camping, there are spots for your van or tent, with lots of kangaroos and wallabies grazing, it would be a lovely place to spend a night or two. Maybe take the sketchbook and do some drawing, or just have some time out to do nothing (another task from Walking In This World).

We did the shorter of the walks, from Diamond Head Campground to Mermaid Lookout, as the afternoon was closing in and the temperatures dropping. Next visit we will allow more time, and do the longer walk that takes in Natural Arch.

Who knows we may even spot a mermaid on Mermaid Reef.

On Vulnerability and the Inner Artist. Honouring our Baby Steps as Creatives.

By Kareen Fellows

Inside many of us is a place where the inner artist has been left feeling vulnerable. That vulnerability may have happened when we received negative comments about our creativity, or where people laughed at our creativity, or even from where we felt left out. It may have been from where we felt compared to someone else, and not good enough.

One of my vulnerable places happened when I first started to paint years ago. I was in a back to work program and we were very fortunate, as we had a wonderful range of inspiring teachers who offered us courses in computing, art, and design just to name a few. Teachers who truly encouraged our creativity. Anyways... one teacher gave us silk paint, and silk material and we got to do anything we wanted.

At that time, what I wanted more than anything, was to own my own house. It looked as though I would never get one. I had heard of creating vision boards and symbols so I decided in this artwork that I would focus on home.

So I painted away merrily and was having a lovely time. UNTIL… a woman from the class walked around and looked at my art, and laughed at it and mocked me. I cringed inside, and the old critical voice took hold. I thought, ‘oh it is stupid’, ‘it is too childlike’, ‘why did I even bother’, ‘oh throw it away’, “I can’t do this” … etcetera and so on…

HOWEVER… something happened when I looked at my simple art… I looked at the colour first, and thought, ‘oh but I like the colour’… and then I remembered my focus in creating it, was the focus of owning my own home, and what that artwork represented to me… and suddenly, it didn’t matter what that woman thought.

I was happy with my creation… and do you know what happened once I reached that place inside? Other women started coming over and saying lovely things about it… which also was nice, but most of all, what was important to me, was my realisation. It is one piece of art I kept to remind me of that moment.

As you read this, are you aware of a time when you felt vulnerable over something you created?

Brene Brown gives an insightful talk about vulnerability - if you would like to listen in...

And as a footnote, yes the vision boards worked.

The Door

I discovered a poem today called The Door, by Miroslav Holub. It's the type of poem I like... an invitation.

Doorway at art gallery Port Macquarie with a dear little visitor.

The Door

Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there’s
a tree, or a wood,
a garden,
or a magic city.

Go and open the door.
Maybe a dog’s rummaging.
Maybe you’ll see a face,
or an eye,
or the picture
of a picture.

Go and open the door.
If there’s a fog
it will clear.

Go and open the door.
Even if there’s only
the darkness ticking,
even if there’s only
the hollow wind,
even if
is there,
go and open the door.

At least
there’ll be
a draught.
Miroslav Holub

Photo taken on Sydney's Northern Beaches
(I want one just like it)

I invite you to open the door today, and create a poem of your own, about what you see, will you join me? Here's mine...

I Opened The Door.

I opened the door
today and I saw,
soft rain falling,
and my mother's dog Emma,
as always,
eager to have her breakfast.

I opened the door
today and I saw,
tiny frangipani flowers on the lawn,
the last of the blooms.
Orange bush orchids bright
contrasting this dull day.

I opened the door
today and I saw,
the ocean in all it's glory,
and a swimming pool of deepest blue.
A horse and a kitchen counter,
shaped like a cue.

I opened the door today. Did you?


Blog... another word for diary.

Today my mother's home went on the market to sell. I was there early helping to create a loveliness for the open house, just as she would have done for people to come through and see her home. She passed away at the end of last year just prior to Christmas, and now it's time to sell her lovely home.

I'll miss the many morning teas and chats together.

Seeing how neat and tidy all her photos were, inspired me to do a similar thing at home. And what I've loved finding as I clear and sort, are the little memories that are surfacing along the way.

And in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. Kahlil Gibran.

It's very comforting to find a message here or there that I've kept from her. Anyhow all the clearing and decluttering led to digital decluttering which in turn led me to my original blog.

I've been blogging since about 2007 on my original Frangipani House blog, and thought I'd use it for the blog hop challenge on facebook. But somehow when I decided to fiddle with the html of the front page, I've managed to lose access to the front page of the blog. Long story short, after 'trying' to sort out the problems, I found another memory of her...

November 6, 2009...

So hubby, mum and I had gone to the club last night for a bit of dinner and a glass of wine, to watch the sunset, the yachts and the light on the water.

And as we sat watching some pelicans in the river, my mum asked, "Why don't you ever see baby pelicans? You see ducks with their babies, and all sorts of animals with their babies, but I've never seen a baby pelican."

Well that made us all stop and think, but not for too long, can't tax the old brain too much. And we realised that none of us had ever seen a baby pelican either. Have you?

Sunset Port Macquarie

Anyway for a short moment, I was back there at the club sitting with her in my mind. It was what the Irish call a 'soft' moment, and I was so glad that I'd added the story to my blog.

When someone you love becomes a Memory, the Memory becomes a treasure.

Memo to self; write more of those little snippets of everyday moments, they are very heart warming.

From my favourite place to you today, may you have many soft moments.

(BTW. Strong suggestion to those who would with play with blogger main page html layout on Google - BEWARE - and in case you know how to remedy the situation, would love to hear from you. )

About the art in this blog post. I'm occasionally turn to my journal in fits and starts to learn how to draw, and use inspiration from books that I have at home here. The drawing was inspired by Cate Edwards and the quote by Kahlil Gibran from the book Philosophy by Suzanne Maher - love her books so much.

The little stitched mandala was made by me, I used material from the wrapping from flowers that I received.

The Art of Memory

I've been taking a few time travel trips the last few days. Yes, I have finally made it around to clearing the clutter of my family photos. Some years ago I took photos out of old albums, the ones that were going sticky with age, and had been meaning to sort them out.

Anyhow... the last few days I've finally faced my nemesis, and have successfully managed to get them into some semblance of order. In the process, I've been contemplating memory and creativity, and how to get my memories into some type of artful arrangement. Which in turn led to googling, as you do, on memory. I invite you to contemplate The Art of Memory with me.

The relationship between memory and creativity is even enshrined in the mythology of the ancient Greeks. ~ Daniel Kilov.

Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory
~ by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

In his TED talk you'll hear Daniel mention, The Goddess Mnemosyne. I'd never heard of her before so I went in search of an image, and discovered this beautiful one by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Oh to be able to paint like the old masters. In Greek mythology, Mnemosyne was the daughter of the Titans, Uranus and Gaia and mother of the muses, the Greek Goddesses of creativity.

Sorting Through My Memories

The memory keepers of old only had their stories to pass down the generations, to keep the his-tory the her-story alive. I wonder today if our memories aren't getting a little less workouts because of our digital age. I don't know about you, but my phone stores my memories in the form of images, stores my phone numbers, and so many other things. I no longer work my brain to remember my phone numbers as my phone does it all for me, and I wonder sometimes, if it is really good for my brain.

And then, I appreciate the moments that I have been able to keep alive through my camera. Moments that I can walk down memory lane again, and time travel to another moment, away from now.

It's interesting how a photo can bring back a flood of memories. This quirky whale lived at a house just around the corner from my inlaws. I always wanted to see it's mouth empty for a photo shoot, but it was always full of junk mail.

Just beyond that whale, lies a pathway that winds through braken fern, that leads you down to Middle Harbour. Once there was an old swimming pool, but sadly after it fell into dissaray, was dismantled. The photos here, are ones just prior to it being lost forever.

Many delightful swims were had in that old pool. Mind you, you had to be careful of the oyster shells, all at once tempting you to eat them, while being to scared to.

Then there's the time that my brother in law took a delight-filled dive in from that wall there, only to remember midway through the dive, that he'd left his car keys in his board shorts.

The car keys were the electronic type. The ones that won't work once wet. Well I'd never seen someone pause mid air before, but when he realised what he'd done. He did. He paused, he grabbed at his shorts, yelled, 'Oh _ _ _ _, no' and then fell in. It was fascinating. I had that interesting combination of alternating concern and raucous amusement.

Photos can bring back so many memories, funny, sad, tender. As my husband and I looked at old family dvd's we realised how they'd also captured moments of local history. Clontarf in the early 1960's before the hills were covered in what are now multi million dollar homes. I have to say that we did spend a few wishful moments willing ourselves back in the time to purchase some of those blocks of land.

Did it work, that wishful thinking? Perhaps if I see you at Clonnie pool one day, I'll let you know, but more likely I'd best keep that to myself. Where would you go if you could travel with your memories? Would you buy blocks of land, or go and talk to someone? I'd love to hear where your muses take you.

The true art of memory
is the art of attention.

~ Samuel Johnson.