Saturday, September 25, 2010

Guest Post - Maken Art

Thank you to Annabel for the opportunity to share my Sketchbook Project journey with you, on her wonderful blog.

This is my first time participating in the Sketchbook Project. In fact, this is the first year since highschool that I’ve done any kind of art. But one of my New Year’s resolutions was to take an art class and start creating. Unlike all my previous resolutions of ‘lose weight’ or ‘save more money’ I’ve managed to stick to this one. Actually, I think it’s safe to say I’ve blown this resolution out of the water!

  1. At the start of the year I began an art blog to journal my progress.
  2. I signed up to an online art class called Suzi’s Les Petit Academy (, where I learned to use mixed media and really get messy and wild. Suzi Blu quickly became my muse.
  3. I then took a creative drawing class at the Australian National University three hours a week, where we did everything from still life to life drawing, painting with spoons and ink, to collage, and watercolour. Also made some great, arty friends along the way.
  4. After my art class I began working with watercolours for the first time ever, and let me tell you I fell in love! Somewhere between the start of the year and now I went from loving monochromatic pencil and ink sketches, to wanting colour everywhere. In my art, my house, my wardrobe, my life. The more colour the better!
  5. When the drawing class came to an end I found myself lacking the discipline to keep creating regularly. So my drawing class friends and I started hosting regular Crafternoons as a way of continuing our creating and ensuring we made time for a bit of a catch up. (And an excuse to eat cake and drink tea).
  6. I also started participating in Illustration Friday ( to make sure I did a little something each week.
  7. On the Illustration Friday website I found a link to the Art House Co-op Sketchbook Project. Well, I’ve never been so excited. I’d never heard of such an amazing, collaborative art project. I was hooked, and began ordering books for everyone I knew! I started a Facebook page, a Twitter list, a Flickr group and I think I told everyone I met about it.
  8. Through the Sketchbook Project I think I’ve really found my style. I call it four-year-old art. I’m the first to admit that I’m probably not very good, but boy do I enjoy putting pencil/pen/brush/crayon/fingers to paper! You can see all of my entries so far and track my progress on my blog (
  9. I  couldn’t bear the thought of my Sketchbook Project book coming to an end, so I’ve signed up to a few other projects to start once I’m done. Including the Australian version of the project, the ‘Artist Notebook Project’ (, the Moly_X Sketchbook Project (, and the 1001 Journals project (

Next on the agenda I’m determined to find myself a summer watercolour class to take, and learn some new techniques with my new favourite medium. I’m also looking forward to next year when I won’t be trying to finish my Masters full time (while working full time) and will have a lot more free time to devote to art projects!

I’d love to hear how others got into their chosen art mediums, projects, style. Feel free to drop me a line on my blog ( or you can usually find me on Twitter ( Happy creating!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Moment

In my late twenties, older friends told me that you feel so much better in your thirties - more comfortable with who you are, where you're at. Now, as I approach the dreaded mid-to-late thirties, or "turning 18 for the second time" as a friend of mine put it, I've been musing on this broken promise of my early thirties.

Along with so many other things I hoped for (the joy of new motherhood, for example), feeling comfortable with myself got sucked into the vortex of post-natal depression. I've been feeling like I skipped the fun part of the thirties (do not pass go, do not collect $200) and landed in the insecure, unsettling part in which sometimes I smile at myself in the mirror, not because I'm having a great day, but because I'm testing to see how noticeable my wrinkles are. 

Sometimes these thoughts make me feel sorry for myself. (For those who are unfamiliar with the lie of this particular land, sorry for myself is the slippery, gravelly terrain just a little way up the slope from kind of blue. It's risky to venture there). 

Musing again on my sketchbook theme, I realise that by dwelling on what might have been, I am forgetting to appreciate what is, to just live each moment. So, I made a collage to remind myself.

These thoughts sent me back to a book I haven't opened in a long time, Jeanette Winterson's incendiary The Passion, which blew my tiny mind when I read it for the first time, aged 21. I remember underlining this quote and writing it in the front of my diary: It's hard to remember that this day will never come again. That the time is now and the place is here and there are no second chances at a single moment.

The soundtrack for today's post is Lorene Scafaria's 28, because it captures perfectly that sense of imagining that being a different age will somehow make you more of the person you want to be.