Category Archives: children

Colour of the skate park…

skatepark collage

I took these colourful abstract images at our local skate park. They are all images of a small hand-rail that skateboarders grind down as one of their tricks. When they do, they leave behind a tiny shard of their skateboard paint behind…and overtime the colours have built up…vivid pinks, blues and yellows…

When all seen together they look like abstract paintings – like mine, full of texture and colour. Maybe that is what attracted me to them?

I also like that the skate boarders leave a mark long after they go, not an obvious mark like a tag or unwanted graffiti, but a subtle un-intentional calling card, saying we were here. We brought colour and life here, on our fast moving wheels and with our daredevil tricks.

As the world kept spinning….




As soon as I saw this image I was captivated…I like that it keeps me looking, trying to make sense of it. It looks like an image from a dream.

But…its simply a little girl in her own world, spinning madly around on a swing, after twisting it around and around then letting go. I watch her strangely confused as the world kept spinning wildly around her, well after she stopped spinning on the swing. Then laughing, and starting again….

I took a photo from above, with the camera on a random manual setting…and we both ended up with a slightly unexpected and surreal experience.

When the light shifts

Late July 2013 015

to dusk and then nightfall, what follows is a new day. Sometimes a new day is a metaphor for looking at things in a new light.

I too, have been looking at things in a new light, trying to make sense of where I am, and where I am headed as I try to take all my loosely formed ideas and focus them in a business plan. (How do you turn your hopes and dreams into tangible goals?).

The key question in my mind is what would a “creatively inspired life” really look like for me? The answer is one where I am fully living the life I aspire to live, one focused on photography, writing, inspiring others and being creative. But how????

To continue to focus on writing (blogging) and photographing what inspires me and seemingly what resonates with others is crucial. But, I want to be more personal. More real. Less trees and sunsets…more heartfelt, more of me and I want to hear more of you, too. We are in this community together.

So, here is the real deal…I am still and always will be a mother first, to my four beautiful children. I am also a writer, a photographer, an artist, and am still seeking to carve out a life through my creative outlets. I work a few hours a week in project management, an important link to my former career and I love it for its completely different challenges, an opportunity to really “make a difference” and to be involved in transforming public spaces for people. I love it, almost as much as I love writing and photographing.

I am divorced, yes, and scarily find myself forty(ish) and have over the last few years gone through a completely unexpected, utterly horrendous custody battle over care of our three sons. It has nearly destroyed me in the process. But like a butterfly I am determined to emerge from this experience stronger and a more beautiful person. These things that come along that nearly break us, ultimately make us stronger. The experience doesn’t define me, but it is a big part of my story. Just as moving from career-aspiring woman to “professional artist” is.

Black Box Art Studio still exists – but it has morphed into a different space – photographic studio, writing space, journals and a laptop all jostle for space amongst paint, glue, canvases, a printing press and old suitcases full of assorted papers, stamps and inks…I still don’t know what it all means…but I know that what’s coming is different from what came before.

Black Box Art Studio – it is still about “art, life and the messy bits in between”, but it is now quite apparently more than that…it is the real journey toward my dream of living the life I dream of.. “A creatively inspired life”.

It starts now. Apparently with a business plan.

The element of surprise

wellington july 2013 117

Your feet lead you into the spaces. You eyes follow but you just can’t take it all in…you become curious and strangely child like. When you walk around…you enter another world. You keep walking, exploring, taking it all in, feeling like you are missing something, yet also feeling strangely welcome and accepted. It’s a place that says stay a while, see what you can discover, and know who we are……and the more you look, the more you see….stories carved into stone, strange symbols on poles, fish, eagles, moons, birds, stars, puzzles and prose, silver dancing balls, metal trees, jingle bells beside the sea, a naked diver suspended in time as he is about to leap from the wharf, concrete poetry and crazy miniature worlds in glass boxes, tall poles, metal waves, water and bridges, strange shaped buildings jostling for space in a crowded distant skyline, wharf poles and heritage theatres, green grass and coloured glass, wooden winding paths, pyramids and pillars, gigantic rocks, concrete and water reed, moonbeams and mayhem.

You really just have to love it. Wellington, well done.

An ocean-side perspective…

ocean view

It has been a strange few weeks. I have been burnt out – I guess, from my studies. My camera has been quite untouched, journals gathering dust, my beloved blog ignored, my art room locked up – quite strange it all seems. But I think sometimes you need to just switch off after an intense period and physically put down the camera/journal/art supplies and do something else. So I have done so. Until this week…

School holidays arrived and with my children ready for some action, the seaside park with two new slides beckoned… where else in the world can children slide down a steep slide on a very grassy hill and then stare straight out at the wild ocean? After numerous shots of them playing, I turned and captured a few shots of the grey, overcast winter sky and felt the sun breaking through onto the quiet still sea.

Finally, I felt inspired again.

Happiness is a postcard…

I have been thinking about happiness recently. About what makes me really happy and why? And what I can do to make myself happier. I do believe that my happiness affects others, especially my children, so if I want them to be positive, content, happy little persons, then I need to ensure I am modelling such behaviour as well and taking responsibility for my own happiness.

My children make me very happy. Photography makes me happy. Writing and blogging makes me very happy. Collecting odd things and journalling makes me happy. Running, too, it seems, makes me happy. Flowers on a window sill make me happy. Painting makes me happy (but that is a much more complex relationship). And helping others also makes me happy.

I have made these postcards to help (in a very small way) the fundraising efforts to restore a wonderful facility entirely owned by the Opunake community, called Everybody’s Theatre. The restoration work is being led by a committed group and a supportive community, who are trying to restore and renovate it.

Its a little thing. But little things add up to bigger things and spread. Like happiness.

postcard side a

postcard side 2

Life’s lessons learned in the dance hall.

the ballet lesson 2013

The first and only ballet lesson. I had such high hopes after 3 gorgeous but very boyish boys…finally a little girl to take to ballet. A little girl to dress in a pink tutu and ballet slippers. I could watch her dancing about with the other little girls…That was my plan.

Unfortunately my daughter did not share my enthusiasm, and decided after enjoying dressing for the event and even holding hands for the pre-dance lesson pow-wow, that maybe dancing wasn’t her thing right now. There was no way she was participating! So we sat for two lessons and watched. Then, I finally realised that maybe this was more about my dreams than hers, right now…

I will just have to be very content to watch my ballerina skip about in her fairy dress over her pyjama’s at home, singing “hot cross buns, one a penny, two a penny…” and waving her fairy wand around. She did make a very cute ballerina, if only for a fleeting moment.

A love affair with old suitcases…


There is something about old suitcases…These are three I own. I have recently acquired another – it’s large, very dark brown leather, complete with thick leather straps and buckles, but that is not photographed here.

My suitcases serve no real travel purpose, I use them to store odd bits of paper, letters, notes, postcards, wrapping papers, and scraps of card/tissue/twine. But I love them. The smallest one was actually my first school bag, complete with its early 70’s stickers peeling away on the inside and the holes where my fingers dug in when it was heavy on my long walk home from school. The others have found there way to me over the years. A reminder of travel I have done and places I hope to be one day…

In the meantime, they are damn good storage facilities for miscellaneous papers, and frequently a fairy costume and pirate sword or two, find there way in their too.

Life on the other side of the camera


This was supposed to be a blog about the end of the exhibition, with a photographic showcasing of all the exhibition pieces…but as you can see, it’s not. (technical glitches…) So, it’s just me, caught on camera by my kids.

Its not very often that I am on this end of the camera, much preferring to be the photographer rather than the subject. But, this photo was taken by one of my two younger children and I thought it captured quite well what they see. There’s no make up, no hairstyling, no fancy clothes or house styling…just me, being me. Its refreshingly honest.

So, this is me now. As viewed from a 3 year old or possibly 7 year old.

My ONE exhibition is finished. I have had several international, national and local sales of my images and tons of positive feedback. Who knows what this year holds?? I hope you continue to carry on this journey with me. I love your support, advice, comments and the inspiration I get from your own stories and creative journeys.

Is it a duck?

I could hear a duck quacking. It sounded like it was coming from the potato patch. Was it injured, hidden under the growth? I looked but could see nothing. A while later, my daughter comes running, begging me to come and see the pine cone she has found. It was not a pine cone at all, and it was not a duck. Rather, a somewhat lost hedgehog! I had no idea they sound like a duck, did you?

Thus my day after boxing day I learned something new. Hedgehogs (they were imported from England to control garden pests back in the colonial era, I also found out rather serendipitously) sound exactly like ducks – they quack! No kidding!

Needless to say, his name now is Pine-cone.

I hope you had a great Christmas, free of ducks, pine cones and hedgehogs in your garden!

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