Category Archives: our little rollercoaster

musings about life and all its ups and downs

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.



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.


When dreams change

I’m letting go of our plan to travel around the Mediterranean this year.

For now at least. And if I’m honest, it hasn’t been that hard to do.

2016 was meant to be the year but so much has changed since January 2013 when the idea was first hatched – not just in North Africa, in Syria, in Europe, but in our own little world. So I’m off to rewrite my About page.


I’d thought that when the kids finished school and uni that we’d be free to strike out.

But dreams can change.

And sometimes you think you want something so badly but discover that actually, some dreams are not as important as you’d first thought.

Or, as in my case, other dreams have stepped in to take their place.

Having survived the HSC year, Darce has been one of those kids who is utterly unsure of what he wants to do. He still is. But after a bit of a break, he’s jumped on a train. And as one of my oldest friends said to us a few months back  “They need to just jump on that first train, a first best option. If they don’t like where it’s heading, they can get off at the first stop and jump on another train. And again. And another one after that … But at least they’re on a train heading somewhere. They’re not just sitting on the platform watching the trains go past.” 

It was such good advice.


We were down at the river together this morning. With cameras in hand. Chasing a sunrise.

Sunrise Macquarie River flats Bathurst

Meanwhile Maddy has won a scholarship to do a Masters in Fashion and Society at Parsons in New York.

I’ve never seen her want anything more.

Nor work so hard for it.


But amidst the excitement, the reality of it all has hit in the last couple of days.

Two years.

There have been lots of happy tears.

happy tears

And for now, for this year at least, all I want to do is get some windows in the back shed and paint. I don’t know whether it will take me anywhere but man it makes me happy.

macquarie river flats

So this is our little train for now.

Algeria might be off the table.

But New York is looking good.

And last time I checked, dreams are still free.


One train stop at a time.



Is it time to rewrite the script?

Winter Study II

So here we are, a month away from 2016, the year I’ve been horizon planning for the last two. The “You’ve got to keep a dream in your pocket year”.

The kids are finished – if they ever really finish – but the big one is done. The school years are over, finished, finito.

She breathes.

Both adults. Whoa!

They are their own people now.

Their decisions are their own.

I was watering the garden during the week and noticed, for the first time in a while, how big one of the conifers has grown. It used to be so small. We have been in this cottage for 20 years. Made a home. Made a garden. Made two young adults. Made a life. A lovely one at that.

But 2016 is looming and Steve and I should be madly planning our long awaited adventure in the Mediterranean yes? Starting in Algeria, heading east around the coastline through Tunisia, taking in the Roman ruins in Libya, crossing into Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria … ah Syria. I’ve been stuck in Syria on my DH&N Facebook journey for the past two years, staunchly reluctant to move on, hoping hopelessly that they’d find a solution. Instead we have a wave of humanity heading in the same direction we were imagining we might blithely step.

What a difference two years can make.

So here is the dilemma.

To go? Or not to go?

There is a part of me, the brave part of me, that says now is the moment you must do it. Approach those publishers. Visit those countries. Now more than ever those bridges need to be built. But then the timid part of me says “Are you frickin’ crazy – it’s a war zone. They are shooting people on the beach for fuck sake.”

But who are they?  I want to meet the theys – like us – who are living quietly in their part of the world, making a home, making a garden, making young adults, making a life.

We have a few months to think this through. Darce is over the line but he’s not quite out of the nest 😉 He has his own travel plans that will take some time to make real.

And all the while, the artist, hidden deep beneath layers of work and cooking and partnering and mothering is quietly saying “Pick me! Pick me!”

Maybe it’s her turn.

Maybe it’s time to rewrite the script.



Photo: Winter Study II. Margaret Hogan

  • Get new posts
    emailed to you

  • About me

    Hi I’m Margaret Hogan, an Australian based designer, writer and artist.
    A sprinkler of creative magic.
    A wanderluster and weaver of gentle tales. read more.
    Or visit our design business...
    red moon creative

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Unless stated all photos on destination
    here&now are my original copyrighted
    photographs. By all means blog
    my photos but please link back
    to this page. Thank you!

    site design (me) red moon creative