Here we are at December 1st already. Where has the year gone? The countdown to Christmas starts with the first day of the advent calendar, the Christmas tree decorations being dusted off, and the Christmas parade in town today to get everyone into the Christmas spirit. Also for us in the southern hemisphere, December 1st heralds the start of summer, with school holidays fast approaching, summer days at the beach and long lazy summer days with friends and family, to look forward too.
As there are 25 days to Christmas, I am going to countdown to Christmas with a Christmas Alphabet – a different letter each day.
Today on December 1st, we start with A, of course.
A is, for me, about having an Attitude of gratitude. I think Christmas is about giving thanks, being truly appreciative for the things we often take for granted, and for acknowledging important people we have in our lives. Its about sharing our gratitude with others. Its about saying “I appreciate you”. So, I start my Christmas Alphabet on December 1st with the letter A and the thought of having an Attitude of gratitude at Christmas time.
In one lifetime it was probably a source of civic pride, valued for its beauty. A fountain in the city centre – how perfect! I imagine children playing, fascinated with the water, splashing and giggling; adults enjoying the sound of flowing water, and the view, too, from the seating that I imagine was located nearby. Birds also, would have come to the fountain to cool down, and maybe even a dog or two may have had a cool drink in these fountain waters. Was it considered too tacky? Was it simply too grand? Too fancy? Not quite the right “image” for a city heading into a brave new future? Or was it just too hard to maintain?
In another lifetime, it now keeps watch over the city from afar, perched on a grassy suburban hill with the sea and trees as a scenic backdrop instead of the hustle and bustle of down town. Just as beautiful, but neglected, seemingly sadder somehow, as the plants grow now where once the water glistened.
I found you. An old piano, in a tiny corner of a tiny outside space tucked in between two modern buildings. A found space that beckons you…stay a while, have a seat and a coffee, discuss your meaningful (and mundane) things here – your secrets will be safe with me, contemplate here, read your book, write, or dare even, to play a tune on these worn old keys.
Perfectly perfect in every way.
This photograph, titled above, is about the landscape of coming home. Home – such an emotion laden word. Coming home means all sorts of things to different people, but I think it is about coming to the place where we feel that we most belong in all the world – wherever that might be. For me, this is the landscape of the way I come home.
Latest progress on my latest unfinished painting.
I was determined it was going to be light and bright, but my paintings seem to take on a life of their own. Something happened along the way, and it became quite clear that it was not right and that it needed to become something else…and so I just responded, trying not too think too much but just go with the feeling.
It seemed to became a much darker painting, heavily textured and noticeably with an age-old symbol of humankind and loss, a simple cross, appearing. When it got to the stage it is now, I felt exhausted, but relieved.
Christmas at the beach will not be quite right without something to set the scene. We have a disused fireplace with a mantle piece at our place at the beach, so that was the obvious site for the “tree” I had planned. I was determined to use what I could find around our place, and sure enough, amongst my random collection of driftwood, stones, and shells, I found enough bits of driftwood collected from the beach, to assemble my version of a driftwood Christmas tree. I did “decorate” it with various shells and found beach items, but, in hindsight, I prefer the simpleness and texture of the bare tree, as photographed. Sometimes understated and simple is best.
This is the mixed media piece I am proposing to use as the main art image for my exhibition promotional materials and as the title of the exhibition. ONE… an exhibition of photography, painting, mixed media art and writing…(or words to that effect).
I think it represents my art and what I am about – it is an original mixed media piece, it is photography, it has a lot of contrast, texture, layers, symbols, text, a sense of drama and, importantly a story.
ONE as in…One word. One image. One wish. One regret. One chance. One voice. One heart. One lesson learned. One moment. One story. One chance encounter. One journey.
One image. One word. Quite a lot riding on it.
Lunchtime on a crystal-clear, cloudless blue-sky day, the park was looking particularly stunning and I was sitting on the very old and well maintained grass terraces, having lunch while overlooking our most lovely and intimate cricket green.
The tree’s were creating dappled mid-day shadows, the brilliant sunlight, the pure green of the grass – both kept grass on the green and the terraces lawns, and the contrasting brilliant white of the sun bleached timber, combined with the strong visual lines of the terraces all seemed to be screaming out “picture”. A perfect day for lunch at the green.
I was driving past the port yesterday. There was a crane high in the sky and behind it just miles and miles of clear, calm blue sea. And containers all piled up like little red stacking boxes. I couldn’t resist the brilliant colours, the shapes and lines, and the brilliant blue sea/sky backdrop.
It was wet and cold on Sunday, so after a visit to our local tertiary institute to check out the recent photography/art/design graduates final exhibition, I filled our dining table with various papers and creative tools. This included old Christmas cards, used wrapping papers, various paper bags, old postcards, ink stamps, pages from old books, stickers, pens, ribbon and string. The children all got busy making their own special things and while they were so busy, I starting making some of my own Christmas decorations using a shape I have had for ages of a dove/angel. I layered lots of assorted found papers, glued them, cut out my angel/dove shape, then finished them off with words I found or made about Christmas.
As I don’t have a tree yet, I strung mine with an old bead necklace that had fallen apart, and attached them to my vintage lamp stand. It turned out rather well, I thought. They move gently with the breeze so you can see both sides, and the light in the evening makes them look especially pretty. They are not perfect. But they are made from the heart and with love, with things from my home. The children’s decorations are equally as charming, although saved for pride of place on the christmas tree!