sunrise over swamps

sunset over melancholy seas

Rewild, Day 7

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Photo of my art journal today, 7 April 2014

The Rewild Challenge is proving to be a fun, rewarding process. Admittedly, I’m not getting outdoors as much as I ought, but the exercises for personal reflection are good.

Today’s challenge asked the question, “What is your dream home?” but with a bias towards the environmental impact of the materials and energy usage of the house. Part of the task was to actually go to the site of your dream home.

Now, for me that would involve an almost 3 to 4 hour trip. If I have to narrow down my dream location to a specific point in the time/space continuum, where it intersects material reality (sorry, I think all the Star Trek: The Next Generation that I’ve watched lately is affecting me), my dream home would be somewhere out on the coast on the Western side of my home state. It’s a part of the world I never saw before a few years ago, but I find myself compelled to return there frequently. The rugged coast, the old growth cool-temperate rainforests, the large pockets of isolated land. The surprises like the gourmet restaurant we found perched atop a mountain, where they happily took on the challenge of creating vegan food for us on the spot; the rock formations carved by wild seas, the waterfalls, the history of this untameable stretch of Australian land… It draws me back so that I’m there several times a year, if only to stand on the beach in the rain and look out to the southern horizon, beyond which lies the Antarctic.

I won’t throw the rest of my dreams out to be dissected by the blogiverse, but it would have to be as environmentally conscious as I could manage. Locally indigenous native plants, heritage vegetables, and the greatest cat run known to man. I’m quite keen on developing a rehabilitated local ecosystem that sustains native animal species (particularly at the insect, amphibian and bird level).

Funnily enough (maybe) but my dream home is not big. All I want is adequate space. The bigger the house, the more cleaning it requires and the more energy it takes to manage its indoor climate. As far as possible, I’d love to be off the grid.

But in the end, a dream home has to be more than just a monument to self. Ideally, I picture my dream home being a space that includes others. A space for spirituality. A place for hospitality. And a space to create community.

And it needs a view of the ocean –
the wilder, the better.

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I will draw unicorns if I feel like it

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Last night I very randomly got thinking about one of those times when I was drawing in my sketchbook and an older person there took it upon themselves to tell me, in genuinely angry and derisive tones: “Why do you always draw unicorns? That must be the only thing you can draw. You should get something new to draw.”

The fact is, I should have long forgotten this incident, but I haven’t. It was intended to hurt, and it hurt, because of who said it and why they said it and the unprovoked nature of the verbal attack.

But as the incident re-entered my consciousness last night, I did have to remind myself that in the grand scheme of the complexities of mortal existence, it’s such a small issue. A non-issue, really. I draw what I draw because it makes me happy. Sometimes it even seems to make other people happy, too. I know I’m not a master artist – I sit in the realm of self-taught outsider. I draw because I love it. It’s an interest and joy, but it’s not my profession by a long-shot.

Do I have to justify drawing unicorns? No. I like them. Simple. Add to that the rich history, symbolism, myth and folklore attached to unicorns and what it means to me personally, and it’s suddenly not just a unicorn.

Can I draw other things? Yes. But if unicorns were actually the only thing I could draw, why that should bother anyone else is beyond me.

After all that, though, in the end, this isn’t about unicorns. This is about the freedom to be creative, even in little ways. To choose creative pursuits over passive forms of entertainment. To love and enter into different art forms, even in a small way.

It’s a fundamental aspect of my worldview that all humans are born with some sort of drive and ability towards creativity. To give life, to make and shape and form and build and grow and to encourage that creative spark in others, no matter how seemingly small or inconsequential it might appear to be. Every individual has something they can contribute to the world. I think we should try to find and encourage the creativity in others – that is, who they are meant to be, not what we would force them to be.

Surely that is a far greater thing than to spend a lifetime complaining that this young woman drew a unicorn one day because she didn’t want to waste a whole evening staring at the tv.

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December Stuff

While I sit here staring at the computer screen, waiting for the iTunes playlist to synch with my phone (at this moment it is currently copying number 54 of 444 songs), I thought I’d drop into the swamp and give a quick update on my insanely hectic existence of late. Mid-November until well into the new year is such a crazy time. It can be very exhausting but, let’s face it, if I didn’t get these months of high speed living out of my system on an annual basis, I would be a very, very bored individual.

There are fundamental assumptions that will undergird any discussion I make of this time of year (being November and December 2011). Firstly, this is meant to be a hot time of year. Admittedly, the spring weather has been wet, and summer so far, too. Add to that the fact that in this part of Australia the weather can fluctuate multiple times a day, and really, assuming that summer here is hot is based on weather stereotyping and labelling. Secondly, we celebrate Christmas in December. Christmas. Not “holidays”, not “politically neutral non-religious events”. People can celebrate what they want. Or not celebrate. Whatever. I celebrate Christmas.

On that note, here’s a little pictorial representation of existence, as highlighted through mediated and selected images that cannot encompass the full entirety of one’s existence.

I drew some pictures. Here are some before and after images of the drawings.

Unicorn, 2011

Unicorn, 2011

This one is notable for not being a unicorn. I’m not sure what, exactly, she is, but she isn’t a unicorn.

2011

2011

2011 - the finished drawing

A half-hearted and somewhat cynical attempt at watercolour painting.

2011

…but look, I turned it into a redbubble sticker!

RedBubble.Com sticker, 2011

I persisted in doing weird things to my hair colour. And, for anyone who thought it was natural, sorry. I use a lot of hair dye to keep it looking its pink best. Two different shades of pink and a pinky purple, to be precise.

I amused myself by making a tower of tea and taking this photo on my mobile phone.

I was very excited to discover that the local health food store stocks a wide range of vegan-friendly food colourings. 

November 2011

 I put on a skull t-shirt and held a lamp at midnight.

I keep returning to a local alternative clothing store and trying on the wigs there. In real life I have long hair… I had to tie it up and stuff it into the wig.

December 2011

I went to an event where we were treated to some great food and beverages. This glass of wine was, I was told, from a AUD$360 bottle. Oh wow. Now that’s probably something I won’t ever get to try again. It certainly tasted amazing. I apologise for my lack of wine-connoisseur linguistic perspicuity, thus rendering me incapable of describing in detail the qualities of this wine that was made when I was a mere teenager.

(As it was a milestone birthday for yours truly rather recently, my teen years seem even further away… sigh!)

December 2011

I sometimes manage to pick up the bass guitar and play. Well, I try to play. I am grateful for the genius who invented guitar tabs. Yes, I can actually read the standard notation of the music, but I am so rusty after so many years not playing that the tabs are a huge help.

Jimi Hendrix's bassist's brilliance reduced to symbols on a page

I took the mini-mes toy shopping and turned around to see one of them looking like this. As a woman with something of a Star Wars addiction, I am very happy to see my kiddies following the same geeky path. This is a General Grievous mask. In case you didn’t know; but, if you don’t know, then you probably aren’t that into Star Wars to begin with. I can forgive you.

General Grievous mask, December 2011

I sat in the public library and read books. By “sat”, I mean, I sprawled across the couch and made it awkward for anyone who might have wanted to sit there.

This book is:

Nichols, David (2011). The Bogan Delusion. Mulgrave: Affirm Press

The Bogan Delusion

I am halfway through the book so far and really enjoying it on the sociological, Melbournian, Australian and country bumpkin levels. As a former resident of one of the regions described so far, I have to this point found it a sympathetic, open-minded and intelligent response to the liberal application of the “bogan” label to, in short, people that Australians think they don’t like. I highly recommend it. If you don’t know what a “bogan” is, either read the book, or question whether you are really Australian. Unless of course you’re not Australian and you know it; in which case, don’t expect to just know what a bogan is. Or isn’t.

Well, my phone finished synching as I wrote this; it’s time to brace myself for the Christmas and New Years madness.

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