Thursday, 29 January 2009

photo a day & 12 secrets book club


family collage created by michelle and beau. it lives on my fridge for all to see.
click on image to enlarge

starting with my only daughter, michelle, who is such an inspiration to me. a girl who has never sewn a day in her life yet she started making, from scratch, the most gorgeous rag dolls in the later part of last year. you see, michelle found herself unable to work in the corporate world due to injuries she sustained in a car accident at the very end of 2007, however, she woke up one morning and said she had a dream about making dolls and so she did. how cool is that?! michelle also is a talented artist and i think she's planning on getting back into that too.

next, there is aaron, my youngest, who just started grade five at school. he is my constant companion and is a great help to me. we do a lot of stuff together such as, crafting, painting, photography outings, animal crusades, gardening, shopping, etc.....needless to say he gets spoiled rotten by all of us.

then there is me......well, you know about me already so i won't bore you with any more details.

next is bradley who, in the picture, appears to be wearing a rather large, old-fashioned wig which is, in fact, a set of headphones. lol you see, brad LOVES music hence the little music notes rising above his head. brad has been legally blind and hearing impaired since birth but that doesn't stop him playing the electronic keyboards or being a bit of a computer whizz. he really knows his stuff.

then comes beau who, most times, stands with the foot of one leg firmly anchored against the knee of his other leg. funny thing is that i used to stand that exact same way in my teen years. lol beau is a manager at 'target' but is also a keen photographer and artist who works mostly in coloured pencil, graphite and, most recently, pastels. he creates from his emotions and his work is amazing! beau loves animals and music too. he recently bought himself an electric guitar and has a classical guitar on order. i don't know if my poor ear drums will be quite ready for the onslaught. lol

then there is reece who, as my regular readers will already know, is big into fitness and personal training....hence the weights in his hands and, of course, the big muscles depicted on his arms. lol i forget what the big hat was supposed to symbolise. reece isn't too bad at drawing and he's a natural when it comes to playing guitar. when he first bought his guitar a year ago, i showed him the basic chords and, by the end of that week, he had taught himself, with brad's help, to play notes and songs.

lastly, is alex....michelle's de facto boyfriend. they have been together for four years and are perfectly suited. he has been a tower of strength for michelle since her accident and he fits into our family perfectly. alex likes surfing and, in the pic, is racing to the beach with surfboard in hand. i love how beau depicted alex with his hair blowing in the wind.

so, there you have family. poor cody, my dog, was not included but, rest assured, he is a much loved member of the family too.



i found this chapter a little hard to get into but, after reading some of the other '12 secret' blogger posts, i'm relieved to see that i wasn't the only one.

this secret/chapter speaks of taking risks, following our creative intuition, developing staying power and listening to our hearts.

as i turn 50 in march, i can look back and see that i've taken some life-changing risks along the way and, while those risks may not have worked out at the time (mainly concerning relationships), i feel they helped to bring me to where i am today. i've been happily divorced for 9 years, i have a loving and close relationship with all five of my kids and, because i stay home and care for my oldest son, bradley, i am able to paint and craft when i can. yes, money is tight but we're happy.

as far as following my creative intuition.....well, i'm torn because i feel myself being pulled in different directions. my skills lie in realism animal art which i love and will always love, however, in the past year i have found myself feeling drawn more and more towards the world of mixed media art. this area is very new to me as i'm used to having reference images to work from but i'm loving it. i hear some artists say that we need to each find our own special niche and focus solely on that.....e.g. if you're an animal artist, specialise by only painting animals. i love realism animal art but i am also loving the new experience with mixed media art. starting with a blank canvas and having absolutely no idea where it's going to end up is a freeing experience for me. these are two very different styles of art. do i sacrifice one for the sake of the other or is it possible to enjoy both at the same time? do i harm my fine detail skills if i loosen up too much for the mixed media art? things to think about but why not enjoy both if i can?

yet another decision i'm currently facing is that i have recently been asked to draw up some 'australian aboriginal' portrait samples for an 'aboriginal art dealer' with the possibility that it may well bring me some paid work. while i'm fairly confident that i would be capable of portraiture, i've never felt the desire to be a portrait artist. my heart says no to this offer but my head is thinking...well it's money too.

i guess i'm a little selfish in wanting to follow my own desires. i'm not so sure i see this offer as an opportunity after having made the 'money' mistake once before when i took up teaching art because it conveniently crossed my path one day. teaching was something i never felt drawn to but i figured it crossed my path for a reason and i thought it would help a little on the financial side of things. i ended up resenting the teaching because it kept me away from my own art time and i ended up feeling suffocated. i was designing subject matter solely for what others wanted to paint, all the time yearning to paint the things i wanted to paint. after five years of teaching, i felt immense relief last year when i made the decision to stop teaching altogether.

so, do i choose this 'portraiture' path that i'm not feeling drawn to at all or do i heed my heart and follow my fascinations instead?


  1. First, that's a stunning story about the doll dream and making it a reality! That blew me away.

    You can probably guess that I would say, listen to your heart and not do it. I've done commissioned pieces and they zap something extra I think, sometimes. I think the bigger and more exciting risk is to branch out into the unknown territory of mixed media and expand your artistic genius. But that's me. It's your creative spirit. What's it saying to you?

  2. Heed your heart! Always and forever!

    I adore the family portrait that Beau made. What an exceptionally talented and loving family you are. And did I mention determined? No obstacle will foil any of you!

    And they all got this from mama :)

  3. In my teen years I too use to stand just as Beau does (and you did). I would cook in the kitchen that way, talk on the phone that way, it was funny. A neighbor said I looked like one of those African warriors standing in the fields with his tribesmen. Odd and interesting tidbit.

    Nice getting to know your family in such a creative way. ~ I was not at all inspired by Chapter 3 of the Secrets book so I abandoned this weeks post on it. Chapter 4 is much more appealing to me, though so I will be back at it with that chapters interpretation.

  4. Ahhh be wild and free in your art! Mixed media does not take away other skills, only enhances them. Do I know what I am talking about? Not really, except that I can think of so many famous artists who painted abstracts yet could draw from life perfectly when or if they chose. Go where your heart leads you.

    Could you try just doing up the samples and seeing how it feels to you? It sounds like samples does not imply a contract. Or maybe you know the answer yourself already?

  5. Great post! Can you find a way to do both? That would be ideal :-)

  6. Your decision-making struggles sound so familiar, I can't give you answers, but I'm sure you'll find your own way eventually...there's just no one "right" way. Do what makes you happiest.
    I love your family collage! Or rather, Michelle and Beau's family collage. Very creative.

  7. I really enjoyed this post and reading about each of your kids. And kudos to Michelle, that's great! I would love to see some of your son's coloured pencil work...

    Enjoyed also reading your thoughts on your art and possibly doing portraiture. Will be interested to see what you decide. You're so very good at whatever you do and I hope you continue enjoying the mixed media collages because I love looking at them.

  8. It was very nice to meet you again and your family!

    You can try to take this new offer, may be your will like it after all, if not - follow your heart, piece of mind and your heart - more important.

  9. What an awesome family portrait! Love it!

    Saying no has great power in it. It's not selfish at all. The answer to the portraiture is in your post. You've been down that road and know where it leads. Here's to new adventures filled with love, creative expression and joy. There's a whole world out there for you.

  10. I just discovered you via 12 Secrets and wow I am enthralled with your awesome work. I'm so happy to meet you here! (And thanks for the tutorial on the wet palettes for acrylics- that's really useful!)
    Kim H

  11. Love the family college very artzy and I enjoyed the discriptions of each of them.

  12. Wow- this is a lot to process and comment on (I know later I will think "I should have said this and this, and that")

    First, the family collage is charming, delightful, and joyous! I love it! You have a very special family, Serena.

    As for your art- why not combine your animal work with mixed medium, just adding another diminsion to it. You could also do a few aboriginal portraits, while aslo doing them as mixed medium pieces for yourself? Rather than all or nothing, why not try it all and find what works best for you and brings you the most satisfaction?

  13. Love the graphics in the design -- very cool how you managed to capture each personality with such simple shapes. I love that sort of thing the most I think.

  14. If you can afford it...I vote for fascinations!!!

  15. It's amazing that Michelle has suddenly found her artistic side, just like you did - there must be something in the DNA! Good to hear she is doing well.

    I think other people's opinions can have quite an influence on us even subconsciously and can cause us to constantly doubt ourselves. For some specialising is great but many artists have other things that need equal expression (I fall in the first category but I wouldn't dream of telling anyone that is the best way). I think you are very wise and sensitive and ultimately will know instinctively what is best for you.

    Btw, I forgot to answer your question - I use a compact Canon, the IXUS 860 IS. I have a Canon Rebel too but I nearly always use the little compact as the picture quality is just as good, and it's lighter!

  16. that is a great piece of art :D Nice thing to have. looks like a pimp hat lol

  17. Yes! Do it! :-)

    You can do it for a little while and stop when you want to. I'd be curiouse to and see what new doors might be revealed!

    Have a great hair day! Becci

  18. Serena, I don't think it's necessary to find your 'niche' & stick with it ... an artist needs to be constantly exploring, changing & evolving, that's how I feel anyway :) I'm much the same at this point in time ... feel like I'm being pulled in all directions. I think take your time before making any decisions but ultimately follow your heart, cheers, Maria

  19. Wow, what a post. I love the fun!

    I also never believed in sticking to a niche. There are NO RULES where your own personal art is concerned. Do what you love to do. Only doing one kind of art is like saying only listen to one kind of music. Not happening. Actually I think the more you try and experiment the more you find yourself and expand as an artist. But the most important thing is that you love it and are excited about the creative process.

    Wow I'd LOVE the chance at portraiture! Whatever choice you make, it will be the right one for you.


  20. I enjoyed reading this post, I trust that you will figure things that fit you best :)

    *Some times it is easy to forget that you have 5 children. You look so young and slender! (I'm still carrying my pregnancy weight. Heh! ;)