Saturday, December 31, 2011

Annual Reflection...

Not much to say really. The end of another year has come, tomorrow sees the first day of 2012.

On a personal note, I achieved more than I did in 2010. That's a positive.

I have a few resolutions for 2012, but rather than say them, I might actually just do them.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Where has the year gone?

It's so cliché, I know... but every year really does seem to go by more rapidly than the last.

I just noticed that I have not blogged since July... It's now October! It does not feel like that long ago I was burning the candle at both ends trying to get work finished for my exhibition at 19 Karen, (that has now been and gone).

I even thought I had already posted a few images from the opening and some installation shots... I was wrong. Therefore, I shall do so now.

Thanks again to Terri, Katy and all at 19 Karen for their support and hard work.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Palettes in Progress...

Friday, July 29, 2011


28 July. It was on this day 2 years ago that I watched my dear grandfather depart this earth. It’s hard to believe it has been 2 years already. It does not feel like that long ago I was repeating myself to him several times because his hearing was bad… or that I was laughing with him because he was such a funny and dear old man who kept his sense of humour despite experiencing the onset of dementia… All my memories of him are still vividly clear… and, for the most part, joyful.

My mother recently visited my nan, (her mum), and spoke in great detail to me about the concerns she had for her. My grandmother, as expected, has just not been the same since losing her partner of 62 years. Despite being very mentally alert, her physical health and quality of life has been on a steady decline since even before my grandfathers passing. She will turn 88 next month… a fair innings… but she has confessed that she feels her time to go is fast approaching and she is not afraid of death claiming her, only perhaps of how it may do so – and when and where. Ultimately she would like to go peacefully in her sleep – in a perfect world we’d all live a long and fruitful life, and somewhere between 85 and 95 drift off into an eternal slumber without any complications… However, life can be cruel… and growing old can be even more so.

Until two years ago, my grandmother was a fighter. We came close to losing her a couple of times with various bowel operations and the complications that followed. She has had more knee replacements and operations than an entire football team and arthritis has crippled parts of her aging body for years… but she refused to give up – perhaps because she was concerned that my grandfather would not cope without her… subsequently, it is now her who cannot cope without him… or quite simply, just does not want to.

How does one ‘cope’ or find a ‘new lease on life’ after all they have known for the past 6 decades suddenly vanishes? If she was half her weight and effortlessly mobile, things may be different – she could tend to her garden, (which was always a passion of hers), but all she manages to do in her quaint little garden now is fall over in it. She has had 4 falls in the last few months which has slowly demolished any ounce of physical confidence that may have remained and left her with a fear of even contemplating doing one of the only things left that she loves. She now rarely even sets foot outside if she is alone – so unless my uncle or another family member is over, she is confined to a room full of heartbreaking memories and a deafening silence that penetrates her existence.

She does not deny that she has been lucky. She spoke of her younger brother who died in his forties, her sister who died as an infant and all the loved ones she has outlived and grieved for. She has watched people she loved suffer and in turn suffer with them – she has seen a lot of life and death. She is not after sympathy. She doesn’t even complain the way she used to about her failing body. I believe she just wants out. She has done everything she wanted to do and is grateful for the life she has had, but now has no real desire for anything anymore.

She left her home and her family in Germany when she was so young, and came to Australia with one man by her side… and he was by her side for 62 years. Most of us will never know what that would or could be like.

In recent weeks… months… I have been busy preparing for an exhibition at 19 Karen on the Gold Coast and have not had time for much else other than my two ‘jobs’… work and art… I see very little of my partner, despite living together and even less of my family as we are spread out across the state.

I had to deliver some paintings to a depot in Melbourne yesterday and was chasing my tail for time a little and although in my mind I had planned to go and visit my nan after delivering the work, I suddenly had a thought yesterday morning that perhaps I’d wait until I had a full day off with no other commitments to visit her…. Just as I had that thought a photo of my grandfather fell off the bookcase and onto the floor in front of me… I picked it up… it was the card from his funeral – Boris Bolotin, 3 March 1922 ~ 28 July 2009. I looked at my phone. It was the 28 July. I then looked at the photograph of him and into his eyes and said “ok Opa, I’ll go and visit her today”.

I’m glad I did.

It was a rather surreal day at times yesterday as my travels even saw me drive past the Austin hospital, where my grandfather drew his last breath two years ago… then on to my nan’s place as I also did that day… it brought back a tonne of sorrowful memories but after leaving nan’s I shook them up with just as many happy ones. By the time I was close to home I felt emotionally exhausted!

The day he died, I travelled that same road… it felt like the longest drive ever despite being only just over 1.5 hours. I remember feeling numb and not knowing how I should act in front of my partner when I got home as he lost both his parents to cancer within 6 months of each other when he was in his early twenties. My grandfather lived to 87.

I remember stopping off at my work on the way home. I had been rostered on to work that day but got a phone call regarding my grandfather early that morning and knew I had to go and be with him. When I stopped in on the way home they all knew what had happened. Without too many words, I was comforted by a line of people at the bar. The song from Cheers kept playing in my head… and for that moment, it was nice to be in a ‘place where everybody knew my name’. A group of friends and acquaintances joined me in a vodka shot salute to Boris. Something did change in me that day.

The following year, 2010, found me working elsewhere, however, again on that day – 28 July, I stopped in to the bar where everybody still knew my name and shared an annual vodka shot salute to Boris.

After experiencing a roller coaster of emotions on the drive home yesterday, I was almost home and despite feeling somewhat drained I was in a fairly good place, when a song came on and triggered something as tears began to uncontrollably stream down my face. I’d already decided that I was going to stop in for my vodka shot on the way home but had not intended to enter with red eyes. Coincidentally a number of people who were there that night 2 years ago were there again and I only had to hint at why I was there before the vodka shots flowed freely and everyone raised their glass “to Boris!”


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Re-Acquainting with an old love...

I have recently rediscovered, or should I say re-ignited, my passion for the pen!

When I first started exhibiting my art, many moons ago, I started with only pen and ink works and pieces done with pencil/graphite. I did not graduate to acrylics until I was in the second half of my twenties - and since then (for over ten years!), acrylic has been the dominant medium in my work.

I have experimented with different styles, but having such a grounding in graphic design and illustration, and being a control freak with my brush, my work has always come back to fine lines and intricate detail. The pen allows one to master these things with ease... all that is then needed is patience... and (free) time! If only I had more of the latter!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Coast and Canines...

I arrived back home from the Gold Coast yesterday afternoon. It was a short trip - a brief two night stay in Mermaid Beach, a part of the world I had never seen - to attend the opening of Homage to Frida at 19 Karen, where three of my works are hanging as part of this large group exhibition.

I traveled alone - I often do when it's art related - and managed to fly without the assistance of xanax... although I did have two gin and tonics in a very short space of time on both the flight up and the flight back. It may be famous for being quite a depressant but it sure as hell eases my in flight anxiety... even if it is only a 1.5 - 2 hour journey!

The opening at 19 Karen was enjoyable but for the most part I felt like I was not really present. It felt somewhat surreal - but not in a bad way. I was not in the most sociable of moods so I spoke to only a select few people... the majority of my time there was spent silently wandering and perusing the modern warehouse-style space that is 19 Karen... tequila sunrise in hand.

I really love the space, and considering I am due to have a solo there in August, it was nice to finally see the layout of the place.

I did happen to meet, in person, (after knowing each other online through our artwork and social and artistic connections), Queensland artist Nic Plowman, whose work I have admired since first seeing it a few years ago.

One of my three works sold on the night. It was my personal favourite of the works I had created for the exhibition. It was a pen and ink piece titled "Elementos de Frida", (pictured above). I'm not embarrassed to say that I still get a kick out of seeing a red sticker going up on one of my works. What I also enjoy is observing people as they view my work... be it briefly or more contemplative, it always fascinates me. I only wished that my works had somehow been wired to an earpiece so I could hear any dialogue in reference to any or all of my works. There was a Mexican style band playing on the night, and despite them being very good and creating a great atmosphere, it made it impossible for me to eavesdrop whilst standing near my own work. Short of standing on the toes of anyone who viewed my work, there was no way of hearing what was being said as they pointed and or took closer and longer looks at my work. I did notice though that the detail in the pen and ink work seemed to capture people's attention enough for them to take a closer look and to find that it was not digital but hand generated artwork, which I think definitely worked in it's favour.

The thing about creating the works for a heavily themed exhibition is that whatever doesn't sell during "Homage to Frida" will have very little relevance once the show concludes as they were specifically created for this theme alone. I did, however, really enjoy creating these Frida inspired works and using diverse styles and techniques for each work.

I must also confess that I actually enjoyed my brief visit to the Gold Coast a lot more than I thought I would. I had no expectations of the place before traveling there and was pleasantly surprised by how much I 'liked' the area. At one point I even found myself daydreaming about owning a beachside mansion in Broadbeach... but then again - who wouldn't want to daydream about that! Some of the properties along Hedges Avenue and surrounds were just amazing and in some ways insane. It really is another world.

The weather, although I am not a real Summery or sun person, was just perfect. Given it is the start of Winter, 23 degree days are my ideal... and the nights were perfectly mild and fit for el fresco dining. I could have easily stayed another 4 or 5 nights... or longer. I some ways, parts of the Gold Coast reminded me of my time in Singapore... and even certain parts of Japan. One thing is for certain, as a general rule, the lifestyle up there does seem far more relaxed than down south.

In other news, since my last entry, my dog Teak had puppies. It was a somewhat traumatic experience as her labour was quite complicated and she did not take to the whole series of events very well or very naturally so after a sleepless night for both her and myself I took her to the vet. She's been pregnant with six puppies, three of which were born dead and the three that survived were, so I was told, quite massive. Two boys and a girl. The mother Teak (top photo) is a brown and white border collie and the father, Kip (bottom photo), who is also ours, is a brown kelpie with a tiny bit of white on his collar... the 3 puppies all have his colouring and markings and are incredibly cute. They are now almost 4 weeks old and full of beans! As we also have three adult dogs, it is fair to say that our house, at present, is rather chaotic!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fumbling and Freestyling with Frida...

Still in Frida mode...

I need to manage my time better.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Friends, Foes and Fetishes

I usually shy away from the sun, or become slightly angered by it when it hits my skin whilst driving – however today I sat in it purposefully for a good hour… it was the morning sun, not at all harsh. There was an energy there that felt good

Whilst I don’t necessarily succumb to any sort of character labelling, I’ve often been told if a hippy merged with a goth you’d get me. However, and I laugh - I am not sure where my recent shoe fetish fits in…

Perhaps I could say – tongue in cheek- that I was more in touch with the hippy than the goth today as I even found myself stepping outside, once home, several times to mindlessly throw the ball for the dogs and soak up some vitamin D. Maybe it was due to the conversation I’d overheard earlier whilst out in the sun sipping on my – wait for it – soy chai.

It was impossible to not hear the conversation of a plutonic man and woman who sat across from me. We were the only three people at the table.

They discussed mostly her intimate relationship troubles and triumphs, and the questions and concerns relating to them, also new beginnings and spiritual journeys, self-discovery and growth, ashrams and, of course, the recent Super moon.

She was younger and more frenetic, attractive, and obviously in need of a coffee date with her older, calmer and perhaps wiser friend. He had a bit of a ‘been there, done that and now I am in a better place’ thing going on. He listened far more than he spoke, and when he did speak he spoke with clarity and compassion.

The conversation seemed to flow freely with me sitting in earshot but at times I felt somewhat awkward, the sun, however, felt comfortable, warm and non intrusive.

I grew quite fond of both of them whilst sitting there and when I did leave, with them still chatting away, I could see that she already felt more at ease than she did when they first sat down.

It stressed, in my mind, the importance of good friends and good listeners, and also that the only person that can really solve one’s own problems – is oneself. Although it does often help hearing yourself say things out loud to another person - to watch their reaction and listen to their response and thoughts on a particular matter.

Perhaps if I really did possess strong hippy-esque qualities I might link the recent natural disasters to something like the Super moon… then again, I might also be of the opinion that Mother Nature is just extremely pissed off with the way we humans are treating planet Earth… But, alas! I am neither a hippy nor a goth…. I am simply a girl in the world.

I like tags on my character as much as I like tags on my art, which is really not very much at all…. I like to think that just like my artwork, my character is open to interpretation…. I do not expect everyone to like it, or even to give it a chance or second thought but for those who do, I appreciate the fact that they look beyond the surface and find something they can engage in or relate to… in some cases things that also allow them to look inside themselves and ask their own questions…

Everything I write and or paint is in a sense a self-portrait… for it is always a form of self-expression.

Studio Day

Some random images from the studio today...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thinking about my home away from home...

I don't really pray, but I am wishing and hoping incredibly hard that Japan 's crisis does not worsen and... without sounding insensitive towards the thousands upon thousands of lives that have been lost and deeply affected, that the people of Japan, in particular those in it's most devastated areas, can recover from this awful tragedy without having to fear things like simply drinking water!

In regards to radiation, I truly hope that a lot of what we are hearing through the media has been sensationalized.

A short post, yes... Simple, perhaps... but possibly one of the most heartfelt.