"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home" (Twyla Tharp)

Unplugged ...


Often it takes outside forces to influence how you manage your life.  I'm sure many of you can relate to how much we rely on the internet these days to work and socialise - it's not a luxury any more, it's a necessity.   As life goes through transitions in the technical world we really have to keep up or risk not being involved in a society that relies heavily on instant communication.  

When it fails it can do so on a grand scale - affecting everything we do from keeping up with family members to paying staff, all essential.  We've always had issues with connectivity where we live - we chose an area more connected to the hilly, forested environment and therefore we have less mobile towers and constant interruption to our internet service.  Lately it has been getting a lot worse and frustration starts to set in ... until you find patience and accept that's the way it is for now - find something else to do while it sorts itself out.  I use the time to sort out all the 'stuff' surrounding us.   Discardia (passing on or getting rid of material objects no longer needed) is a fantastic way to bring new energy into the house.    With all the breaks in transmission it's given me a chance to do those long awaited jobs there never seems to be enough time (or inclination) for.  I already feel lighter!


We have also had a few power blackouts which make things more challenging - but often end up sitting by candlelight and enjoying the silence.    It's quite a shock to see how heavily we rely on power in the way we live our lives ... but truth be told I love candlelight and peace and quiet and maybe it's a timely interruption to all the noise. 

 I am beginning to find these unplugged interruptions somewhat amusing - like the universe is trying to tell us something.  I know Bailey doesn't care at all - she's got the right idea - more naps!

Nature has  a way of persisting no matter the obstacles - finding a way to bloom and grow even where least expected.    When things don't work out as planned - often the grander plan is far better than the one we pave for ourselves.  I will try and see each interrruption to our manic schedule as a sign to stop the busyness and smell the roses - get out amongst nature, see how resilient it can be despite its obstacles - and how we too can deviate from the road map we set ourselves each day. 

A friend shared this, very timely

Perhaps it applies to every aspect of our life - being unplugged is similar to the sudden intrusions to our daily life that trauma and crisis may bring.  The opportunity to stop, think about the path we've chosen and if the route we have mapped out is the best way to find what is meant for us.   I know a few friends who are battling their own personal crisis and I am always buoyed by the way the human spirit can see the positive in what seems like insurmountable odds.   

We aren't so different to nature in that way, taking the path less travelled to find our true north.

©  Vicki Lee Johnston

This is my very first drawing which set me on a new path of learning - done in a moment of unplanned quiet with one of my children's school pencils - how much that choice to pick up a pencil has changed me and allowed a view of the world more intently focussed on the most beautiful subjects.  In a moment my focus shifted to a new possibility.  It has enriched my life beyond expectation - nature and art make a wonderful healing balm to life's challenges.

That's enough blogging for now ....  not sure how long the internet connection will last!
Time to go outside and smell the frangipani which is in full bloom, a feast for the senses. 

Time is always changing ...

..... and particularly in the online world.   This post has been prompted by Blogger - apparently due to the lack of posts and updates my blog will soon be relegated as belonging to the dark ages!   Either keep up or let go - so for me, an enforced return to blogging is probably a good thing, rather than allow it to disappear due to inactivity.  Apparently according to the tech geeks there are some old issues which can be resolved by newer posts and flushing out gremlins.
One particular problem showing up now is if you have composed any blog posts on a Word document and then copied them into your blog.  If you are a fellow blogger having similar issues it's good to know or it can cause big problems down the track.

Play time ... quick paintings

One of my 'Paint Anything' days ...

Sketching and design work filling the book

I have been working in solitude for a long time so I am looking forward to sharing and engaging with art and creative design enthusiasts - if you're still out there??  
I still read all the beautiful blogs which I have in my Feedly reader now, blogging is a great way to have your own tailored reading library with your favourite subjects, writers and artists.  There are so many great botanical art blogs now - when I started mine back in 2011 there were only a couple, now we are really fortunate to be able to view beautiful botanical paintings and great advice from many outstanding artists.   This blog is a personal visual art diary which I initially started to explain my passion and change in direction at a later age towards the world of botanical art.  My family and friends like to see what I'm up to but over time I've met so many like minded creative types from around the world who love to interact via the blogosphere.

 Quite a lot has changed over the last year or so - I have a chronic spinal condition which makes sitting for long periods very difficult and painful ... I have now moved into a small studio and have a standing architect's desk with lovely big plan drawers for my watercolour papers.  The tall drafting  chair is there for a brief rest when needed  but I am now enjoying always standing to paint and wish I had done it a long time ago.    It's a great move forward and allows me to paint and draw for much longer periods of time, so I am better able to continue with my art,  given the change of working conditions.  Worth checking out if you have neck and back issues, which so many artists have.


Since our wonderful exhibition I have been very fortunate to have interest in my art progress to further work.  I completed a couple of small commissions for clients and more recently was lucky enough to be invited to complete a series of paintings for a national entity.  They are purchasing the paintings and will own copyright to the artworks so I am not able to share the progress of the works or the subject matter ... in time perhaps, but I felt honoured to be invited and while it has been a huge amount of work it has taught me a great deal.  It's not easy to work within confined parameters and I am really looking forward to returning to painting subjects of choice and having some fun with them in a more relaxed timeline.

 In the meantime I will just share some older pics to bring some colour to this overdue post and then try and get my act together with some updates.  Personally I think blogging is a great way to bring order into your creative world, it is a wonderful visual diary and a nice legacy to leave documenting the creative itinerary over the years.  At the end of the day it doesn't matter if one person or one hundred like the words and pictures - it's just a way of saying "I'm still here".

Natural Diversity ...

There  are few really original ideas left these days and particularly when referring to nature, the arts and creative concepts.  'Natural Diversity' was to be the name of the exhibition we held as it is a collaboration between four very diverse artists working in different styles and mediums.  However apparently it was too similar to the name of another exhibition held at the gallery so we had to create a name in a very short period of time which reflected our ambitions.

The result is 'Framing Nature' - the culmination of years of work for the artists involved.
We are all passionate about our subject matter, the natural world - and the title was quite appropriate as it relates so well to how we each see the subject in front of us, how we want to portray it and ultimately, how we present it to the viewing public.  We all frame our subject in our own unique way and our mutual celebration of the natural world is reflected in the works being exhibited.

Presentation being so important, prior to framing artworks behind glass it was important for me to have a very good digital copy for printing purposes and online promotion.
 I've spent a lot of time researching the best way to get good reproductions of watercolour botanical artworks and after many test runs, ultimately photography gave the most accurate results.
I have taken some photos for my own files but also had a select few professionally photographed. 

Then comes framing!  So much choice - but I went quite uniform for all my artworks.
 I decided this so that in a group exhibition my artwork has its own trademark style and was easily recognised.  My framing is a little more expensive than hoped but in the end it's like dressing up for the occasion ... time to bet the best foot forward.   That was almost more difficult than choosing the subject for the original artworks!

 Who knew so much goes into an exhibition - from framing, labelling, pricing, bios, artist statements, media releases, photography, catering, sponsors, speakers, delivery, wait staff, etc.  Oh and not to forget the artworks themselves - seems a distant memory since sitting in a quiet studio painting to our heart's content.

It has been a great pleasure working on this exhibition - and as we head towards the finish line with all the hard work behind us, I couldn't be prouder!   Joining together to celebrate our interpretations of the fascinating world of nature  has been a great learning experience.