Category Archives: all things artistic

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The hibernation and a case of busy head syndrome

bathurst sunset

We’ve had the shades pulled down for the last few months.

Winter. The rainiest, greyest one we’ve had for many years. Paddocks awash with water, dams overflowing. Snuggle down weather.

And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. After six years in Sydney – at uni and working weekends – we’ve had our 24 year old daughter home with us for three months, working and saving for her next chapter – two years in New York.

She left last Wednesday.

It’s been a long lead up and we were all a big fragmented last week but she’s fallen into the lap of old friends in NY and moves into an apartment next week.

Ain’t skype grand.

Now I’m just getting used to this new concept of being the mother of an expat.

And time zones.

And recovering from discovering the cost of transporting a bed full of gear across.

And from transferring money to the wrong Bank of America account.  oops.

And that was just Tuesday. The day I forgot the bookkeeper was coming.

It’s all good.

But it has been hectic.

And so has work.

So … with the wattle in full bloom, the bulbs all bursting and the days themselves drawing out a new chapter begins.

Turn the page.

Breathe.

Months ago I’d booked into a weekend workshop with Alison’s Art Workshops at Huskisson, a two day tonal workshop with Aussie artist Maryanne Wick, based on the work of early 20th century Victorian artist Clarice Beckett. All new territory for me – Maryanne, Clarice, tonalism and the Jervis Bay area.  I know the far south coast really well but my god, how beautiful is the Bay area. (No pictures. Sorry. I had the camera with me and good intentions but was too busy to get it out.)

Two glorious, solid days of painting. Looking. Wrestling. Pushing. Learning.

Stayed high on a hill overlooking the sweep of still coastline and white sands.

Flirted briefly with the idea of moving down there. As you do. Stopped in front of a for sale sign at Hyam’s Beach overlooking the water. Looked it up. 1.95 million. Looked away very quickly haha.

So Polly (trusty canine) and I and assorted friends and family are back to walking our river.

And after the weekend painting and a few days for thoughts to settle, I’ve come away with a new sense of place. A new respect for place. I’ve realised how intimately I’ve come to know its nuances, its colours, its smells, its sounds.  And how beautiful it can be even when it’s clothed in its winter drabs.

I had a play with the oils this morning.

It’s all a work in progress but that’s part of the whole deal I think.

Exploring. Constantly exploring.

And therein lies the joy. And the frustration!

In all its different shapes and sizes.

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Breaking down the fear and letting in a little magic.

I’ve realised in recent months that if I go to my grave never having learnt to play the guitar I’ll be ok with that. Same with jumping out of an aeroplane. Bungee jumping. Not a second thought for any of it.

But I’ve also realised in recent months that if I don’t set aside some time to paint, in 10 years time, that will be an enormous regret.

So I’ve been making some room – physically and mentally – to make it happen.

Getting up early. Stepping away late afternoons.

Doing the do.

River Flats II

Detail River Flats II

I’ve been a bit quiet here because work’s been full on but in amongst that I also committed to driving down to Sydney for 10 Saturday painting classes with John Bokor at the National Art School.

Sometimes I think you can come to the right teacher at exactly the right moment and I felt this with John. I went to Sydney not to paint still lifes, but to find confidence with oils, to understand how to set them up, use them and begin establishing my own process and take the first steps towards finding my own visual language.

And somewhere during those 10 weeks John flicked a switch on for me.

Secret Gully 2016

All of a sudden, I’m not frightened anymore.

I’m on my way.

So John, if you find your way here, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for all of it.

Study River Flats 1

The other thing that’s had an enormously liberating impact is reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. If you have dreams of leading a creative life or simply of bringing more creativity into your life, and you find yourself making excuses about why you can’t do the do, I swear it will make you see things in a whole new light.

A lighter, less burdensome light.

A light that says it’s ok to be playful, to find your joy in whatever form works for you.

But you’ve got to turn up. You’ve got to make it happen.

It’s had a ripple effect through us and a ripple effect through friends. So lovely to see.

River Flats 1

Detail River Flats I

As part of all of this, I made a commitment to myself to enter four pieces into Art Unlimited in Dunedoo in May.  These are they.

I read something in recent days and for the life of me I can’t track down the source. I think it might have come from south coast painter Meagan Jacobs, another lovely find in recent times. It went something like this… “Nothing is ever perfect, we just choose to stop in a good place.”

 

No regrets. No excuses.

Get out there and do your do.

xx

……

The River Flats I  95cm x 85cm    $1150.00
The River Flats II 95cm x 85cm    $1150.00
Secret Gully 26.5 cm x 70cm  $520.00
River Flats Study  26.5 x 20cm  $190.00

John Bokor is represented by the King Street Gallery.

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Paddock to plate … literally

Can I take you on a little food journey?

It begins at The Zin House in Mudgee at their annual Farm Forage.

zin house farm forageWith pink peppercorns a plenty.

pink peppercorns at the zin house

Not so lucky though with the yabbies and farm prawns. They’re there, all three of them, heads and tails smashed and sautéed in butter and drizzled over scrambled eggs laid by the girls this morning. Pass some of Kim’s freshly baked bread please. So much yum in one little dish.

scrambled egg with yabbie and egg

Borage and chive flowers. Rocket. Freshly pulled onions pickled in a little vinegar and sugar. Local cheddar foraged from Kim’s fridge.

rocket and borage salad

Autumnal prettiness, Zin style.

scales and quinces

Brown Hound and Chief Raspberry Thief. Yes we’re on to you Louie.

brown hound

Roasted apples, crab apples, feta and hazelnuts washed down with a sangiovese rose – if I remember rightly – but please don’t quote me. The courses kept coming, six in all. And so did the wine. Say no more.

Crabapples, apples, feta and hazelnuts

Good mates and kiwis both. Kim Currie with Guest Chef and Chief Forager, Jared Ingersoll.

Kim Currie and Jared Ingersoll

Fast forward to Friday, to a Food Styling and Photography Workshop with 2013 Australian Blogger of the Year, Sney Roy of Cook Republic fame.

Who says you can’t play with your food?

Sney Roy Food Photography and Styling Workshop first exercise

I love these days. When you work by yourself so much, it’s wonderful to be surrounded by so many talented and inspiring girls, a number of them nutritionists setting out to get people on the right track with their food.

Sney Roy Food Photography and Styling workshop

Lots of playful exercises.

Individual.

a Food Styling and Photography workshop.

And group. (I came home and did a bit of post on the shots I took and added some text just to see how it might play out.)

bok chou with writing

I’ll leave you with a little dash of wabi-sabi from Sneh’s kitchen to finish with. She wanted to fix it and I said no, I like it just as it is.

whatever you are, be a good one

What ever you dooo this week

have a good one.

xox

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    Hi I’m Margaret Hogan, an Australian based designer, writer and artist.
    A sprinkler of creative magic.
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