Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Annual Reflection

Despite not officially making any resolutions for the new year - partly through fear of failure - I am reflecting a little on the year that was 2008.

Due to my obsession with things, (and moments/times), being symbolic, the new year is always a transient period for me, or at least it is inside my head. My mind is today, packed with a capacity crowd of thoughts and memories, which, mixed together, lead the way to much contemplative reflection... Hopefully followed by a great leap forward.

Happy new year world.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Full Plate For Summer

The year is nearly over, but for me, the madness of the season has just begun. I have every intention of making this the last Summer I spend caught up in hospitality chaos - where a standard day involves a good 15 hours working, at a fast pace, on one's feet.

It's a catch 22 this Summer as I will possibly be working harder for the silly season than ever before - for anything but a silly reason. C and I have recently made a financial commitment that must be fed by these crazy Summer hours, and, although I am neglecting my art temporarily - and feeling terribly guilty for it, it is all for a good cause, and hopefully one that will allow and encourage me to focus even more attention on my art than ever before, and turn my plate into a palette, once Summer is over.

I've not seen my family or old/close friends for quite some time now and I must say I miss many of them very much. Sometimes I feel like I live in a different country, not just a different suburb or city. I do believe those that know me will understand the reasons for distance and also know that the distance is only physical, not emotional. For the first time in quite some time, I missed the annual catch up with the girls, (from school days - 2 I have known since I was 5), and I must say I was a little upset to not have made it this year. There were a number of reasons for my absence, including work, transport and C's son's 7th birthday. It's just a mad time of year for many I guess.

So mad in fact that last week, whilst coming home from one job to prepare for another, I managed to lock myself, my phone and the dog, out of the house. I'd come home to feed the dog, and myself - time allowing, and a few other little things, only to find the laundry a little worse for wear... so out came the mop and once the floor was clean I threw the dog in the bath, along with his bedding and gave everything a good clean. Whilst wringing and drying everything outside, the back door slammed shut and initially I though nothing of it as I was in 'let's get this all sorted' mode. So it wasn't until I went to get changed that I realised the door was locked, and the keys were inside. I reached for my phone but already knew it was not on me - besides - I had no pockets. I was in a t-shirt and underpants... trying to spare ALL my clothes getting wet. For a brief moment I really was not happy and struggled to think of what to do next. I spotted a solitary towel on our hardly ever used clothes line, wrapped it around my waist and walked out to the front yard to find my neighbour - who I have never spoken to in the 18 months I have lived in this house - working on his front fence. I smiled coyly and asked if he had a mobile phone I could use and proceeded to explain my predicament.

It was after the explanation that I officially introduced myself, thankfully he was aware I was his neighbour and not just some random walking the streets in a towel. So with around 5 weeks before we move into our new place, I now know my neighbour's name is Campbell - and to Campbell I'm now grateful.

Fortunately I was able to reach C at work, who then promptly came home to save the day.

Christmas came and went and felt just like another day for the most part. C and I worked until around 4pm and were reminded that it was a special day when the kids came over to collect their gifts and spend the evening. I must confess, I have become a wee bit fond of the Wii that was given to 'the family' from Mr. Claus himself. Thanks big fella. And even though doing Wii Fit yoga is not as good as the real thing, it's helping to at least make me feel as though I am doing something for myself other than working - I plan to get back to real classes some day... though I will not be making any new years resolutions - I don't need to put that sort of pressure on myself. I will just continue, as I have every year, with my quest to find balance.

So, whilst I am lacking a little of my desire, or the motivation, to write, I continue to make the effort so as not to stop altogether. In some ways, even though I do not have much to speak of on the artistic front, writing helps me feel as though that creative side is still present inside me... just caught up in other things temporarily... and this time, it feels less like an excuse and more like a grand plan - and for that, despite how much I am missing my paints and canvas, I am grateful.

And despite not having many words to say that directly relate to my art - I suppose in some weird way it is all relative... and I must thank L and G and all those involved in the recent sales of my work in Perth, apparently 4 works to one client who has said to be interested in a 5th piece. It's these moments, (and not even for the financial windfall - though it is a bonus), that keep me striving towards my goal and remind me that it is, and will be, all worth it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Passion Fruit

I just got back from the supermarket...with two perfect pomegranates. This little find was rather exciting (for me)... but as I must rush off to work now, I will return to this topic, with an explanation of my excitement, next time I write.

Sometimes it really is just the little things... and those are really good 'times'.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Something Old, Something New; the car my grandfather gave me was blue.

Just before my last post on this here blog, I took an empty garbage bag, and proceeded to fill it with bits and pieces from my car as I prepared it to be towed away the next day.

I knew the day had to come. After months of procrastination the battery had completely given up, which saw the vehicle never move from the one spot in the front yard. The tyres eventually completely hidden by the tall, lush grass that grew around it. The grass the gardeners avoided. All the while drawing more and more attention to itself - that phone call from the real estate agent was inevitable... and then it came, prompting me to finally do something about it.

So, finally I did.
"Hi. Just wondering if you are interested in a 1989 Ford Telstar."
"Sure. OK. We can take it."
"No. Tomorrow"
"What time?"
"4 o'clock."
"How about 9am?"
"OK. 9am tomorrow. See you then."
"OK. Bye."

Of course, in that brief conversation with Mr. I'll tow-you-car-away-24-hours-a-day-for-free, I provided my details and without even discussing it, accepted that I'd be getting nothing for the scrap metal gracing my front yard.

It was no longer worth anything much to me anyway. It's only value was sentimental. Something money has nothing to do with.

I had been involved in an accident late 2007. And whilst the other party was at fault, (his insurance company even agreed on that), the car was declared a write off after I was told to take it to the nominated panel beater to be repaired.

The repairs never happened and after a drawn out ordeal with the other person's insurance company - which included a number of frustrating phone conversations and a lack of assistance, with a dash of 'we're in no hurry to help our non-members' attitude - I got my car back, (in even worse condition than when I'd dropped it off), and eventually received a cheque for what they considered a fair price. I accepted it with a 'that's better than nothing' attitude and the case was closed.

There was not much I could've purchased with the amount they gave me so C and I spent $30 at the wreckers to at least get her back on the road without drawing too much attention to herself.

I let her rego lapse in May, not realising the new laws that prevented you from being able to be a little lazy with paying that bill/renewal for that large amount of money that always seems to come at a bad time. So that was that. It was no longer worth fixing. So she sat and sat.... and sat....

..until Tuesday, at 9am, when she was towed away to the wreckers.

(to be continued)

11:51am, Friday 12 December, 2008.

I was going to create a new post to finish this entry but decided it should remain as one.

I had to rush off to work last night, leaving my entry unfinished. I had not intended for the blog post to consist of as many words but I sort of went off on some tangent. My initial inspiration for writing about this event/experience was the process of cleaning out the car; post tow. Of course, this too was a part of the whole emotional reaction to a material object - so despite preferring to consider myself as someone who has not completely surrendered to the material world, there are certain things and luxuries that I enjoy and, whilst I may sometimes take them for granted, appreciate. Having a car, in itself, regardless of make and model, is still a luxury as far as I am concerned. This is a fact that I am realising even more so now that I am without one.

My grandfathers car was nothing special - on the outside anyway. It was a humble Ford Telstar hatch. It was an automatic. Given a cheque and a choice, it would not have been my pick of vehicles. However - it was reliable, had done very little kilometeres and had been looked after in every way. Best of all, it was free.

When my grandfather, (who is now almost 90), became too old and impaired to drive a motor vehicle he was reluctant to get rid of it and it just so happened that my Toyota had given up around the same time - so when the car was offered to me, I gracefully, and gratefully accepted. It omitted a lot of hassles.

I took every effort to look after that car out of respect for my grandfather. He would always ask me how the car was whenever we spoke and come out to see it when I would go and visit. It was almost sad. The car was kind of symbolic of a child that had left home. My grandfather was always a family man.

I felt awful when I had to tell him of the accident and the eventual outcome. Granted, it could have all been a lot worse - and I am truly grateful no one was hurt - but it was still disappointing to have to explain that the car was 'broken'. (He suffers from dementia so I am expecting he might ask me how the car is again at some point.)

So then it became me who was reluctant to get rid of the vehicle - for different reasons - however, both were ultimately sentimental.

On the topic of sentimental, the experience of cleaning out the car was very much that. As well as filling a garbage bag with genuine rubbish - (my pride in the upkeep of the car began to dwindle after the accident - plus the backseat was full of pop corn and other random bits and pieces from beach trips with the kids) - there were also lots of other things that I discovered. Cleaning one's car, room, cupboard or house - even sometimes just one drawer - can be an exercise that triggers many memories of people, places and things - past and present. Amongst the random findings in my car were photos, and words, of and from old lovers and friends. Piles of invites from various past exhibitions of mine in Melbourne and Sydney. Unidentified objects that were more than likely bits that had fallen or broken off bigger objects no longer in the car. And in the front console, which consisted of a tray and a box, I found a mini solar powered calculator, a mini swiss army knife, a shoe horn and a compass - all had belonged to my grandfather and were obviously travel essentials in his mind. They made me smile - especially the shoe horn. My car had become a time capsule.

I think what made the experience a little more emotional was the fact that 2 days prior, I had a dream that my grandfather passed away. I woke up feeling extremely sad.

I threw a lot out and only kept a few things - including my grandfather braces. I'll probably never have a use for them, but I just couldn't throw them away.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Work in Progress

Life is a work in progress is it not?

Often as unpredictable as the next painting.

It's 7:48pm. I want to paint but know that I won't pick up a brush before tomorrow's sunrise. I have left it too late in the day to begin working in the studio. The moment of peak inspiration and maximum motivation has passed for this 24 hour period. Sad really.

It's already been too long.

The fact that it's 7:51pm should not matter. There are no excuses. Not even long hours working in another job is an excuse.

I am perhaps just all lacklustre.

There is a lot to do before we move in February, and whilst just the thought of that is exhausting, I am very much looking forward to a new space not only in which to paint, but also to live and begin a new chapter in this 'work in progress' known as life.

It will be nice to have an area exclusively for my art/painting. A space that need not be packed up or dismantled. One I can make a mess in and not have to worry about it. I believe that alone will enhance my motivation and feed my desire. It will also be interesting to see how a new space effects the subject matter, style or content of my work, or even the size.

Will I see myself closer to attaining that seemingly unachievable yet always desirable thing called 'balance'?

One can dream can't they? Or at least remain ever hopeful. Regardless of what they wish for.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Working Dog

This is the first Saturday night in quite some time that I have not had to work, (with the exception of the one about 5 weeks ago for my brothers birthday). I feel like I should be doing more than sitting here on the couch contemplating this blog entry, yet at the same time, I have not the energy to do anything but.

I really should be in bed - even though it is only 10:30pm... That's early for a Saturday night. My body wants to sleep but my head is rebelling - perhaps only due to the fact that it IS Saturday night and I am NOT at work.

There is some mindless show on the idiot box as C sleeps on the couch next to me on my right and the dog chews a plastic coat hanger on the floor to my left. I don't even know why I am choosing this moment to blog - when my mind is all a fuzz with tiredness and delirium. Perhaps it is only to introduce the new addition of the household into my blog world - that being the 'dog' I mentioned - who is all of 8 weeks old, therefore, technically a puppy. We discovered and purchased him last Monday. It was inevitable. As soon as we saw him we both just knew he was coming home with us - despite having discussed that we would hold off any new additions until we moved to our new abode in February.

So I suppose, seeing as I have not painted since I last blogged - I will dedicate this blog entry to our four legged friend that we named Obi.

I must say, it is nice to once again be a dog owner. It was awfully sad to have to say goodbye to my last two canine friends several years ago. I am remembering just how much joy they can bring into one's life.

I should sleep. These 6:30am starts, (work), are taking a little getting used to. Hopefully this coming week will see a little more order amongst the chaos and an opportunity to start my next body of work - for which I am now champing at the bit to get started on.

I will say one thing about working such long hours over the past couple of weeks - I have actually slept better than I have in over 12 months. That alone is worth something as I was really starting to feel the negative effects of sleep deprivation.

That said - I am hitting the hay.