Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Illustration Friday - Explore

I should explain that when I started to draw this I incorrectly remembered the saying "Keep one's eyes peeled" as "Keep one eye peeled"!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Illustration Friday - Stretching the topic of Stretch

So it is now Monday and I have well and truly missed last Friday's Illustration Friday deadline for "Stretch". First time in eight months. 

So what is my excuse??!!

For the first part of the week I was in a panic. My day job is managing an indigenous art centre in... as you all know by now....the middle of nowhere!! (see map for exact location of nowhere!)

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But this wasn't the panic. We have been only open six months, but on the day I found out my mother was critically ill I had just left a meeting in Alice Springs with a gallery who had offered us our first exhibition on Friday 7th December (last Friday, "Stretch" deadline!)

So this was exciting, very exciting. But the closer it came to the deadline the more I worried about leaving my mum, especially as the days leading up to leaving she was becoming day by day physically less able. But she insisted I go. So on Thursday morning I flew with my family back to Alice Springs to meet my ladies who had been bused up from "nowhere" for their big day. When they drove in at 8pm that night they burst out of the bus, brimming with excitement. 

Twenty-four hours later, as the clock struck on the Illustration Friday deadline we were all going to sleep after the opening night of their exhibition. And, for a little trivia... the twelve beautiful canvases had been "stretched" twice before they appeared on the gallery wall. Once, to prepare the linen for painting on ...and twice, once completed to frame them for the exhibition. 

So... no illustration from me this week (or last week...if we are sticking to schedule), but here is a slightly amusing "How to stretch the perfect canvas" instruction video for you!!

And if you want to check out the ladies paintings come look at their blog:

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Illustration Friday - Tree

My mother is dying. And so I have return to the family tree. She has lymphoma on her brain and after years of chemo treatment her body is tired and frail and can't take any more. It is strange and surreal because she is just the same as when I last saw her a few months ago. We joke because she doesn't seem like she's dying. We shock her siblings with our frivolity. We like to laugh but perhaps it is mild hysteria. She is the eldest of her six siblings and they all love her dearly. The youngest rides his bike here every morning on the way to work and sits on the end of her bed in his fluro biker shorts looking forlorn.Then late in the afternoon her oldest brother and his wife come for cocktail hour with laughter and idle chatter. They bring wine and cheese and home-made hummus. Our days are filled with a constant flow of visitors, more family and friends and nurses with comfort and care. My sister and I have found our place in the kitchen where we cook and bake treats for my mum. Curries and ice-cream and homemade bread. We go to the shops and buy her liquorice all-sorts, her favourite indulgence. When she's feeling calm she cuddles in bed with my dad watching tv or reading stories with my little boys. But then she gets flustered and jumps out of bed to make sure the house is in order, the garden has been watered, the washing is off the line. She is frank and honest and brave and readier than any of us for what is to come. It feels safe in the family tree - my mum, my dad, my husband and two little boys and my very best-est friend, my sister. It is a little squashed but we are close and needing closeness.We are waiting for the unknown and praying that it never comes.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Illustration Friday - Shy

Ok, so up until this point I have always done a new illustration each week for the IF topic but this week I'm on the road back to Adelaide again. I did this illustration a few years ago as an idea for an animation. I always liked the characters but this was as far as it got. Maybe one day I"ll get back to it!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Illustration Friday - Haunt

So it's been a while, but the theme of "Haunt" seemed perfect to bring back Cat and her two silly dog friends. They're so silly they make me laugh!

In other news ... you've all heard about the excitement of Tuesday. Tuesday being the one day a week the mail plane comes. Well, last Tuesday was extra extra exciting because a special parcel arrived from my IF friend Roberto at Oat. Now I have my very own Roberto original!! Love it!! If you haven't see his work, go check it out now!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Illustration Friday - Water

 I'm late!! But with the crazy week I've had I thought I should end it with a bit of fun! 

I left The Husband, still hospital bound in Adelaide on Monday to return home to the desert with the two little boys. Travelling with a friend, two flights later we landed at Ayres Rock and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon by the pool drinking cocktails.

Tuesday morning we woke up, did the big shop and headed for long 4WD ride home through the desert. An hour down the road just as I was closing my eyes for a snooze (no I wasn't driving!), they popped back open to the hard breaking of the car and black smoke coming out of the bonnet. Children and bottles of water were thrown out of the car. Within minutes we had the fire out but now we were stuck 3 hours from home with no mobile access and no satellite phone. We had a long wait!

We always have to call in when we start off on the journey but with small kids who get car sick and like to stop for a run around, I knew they would give us extra time before they started worrying about us. I estimated we had at least a six hour wait. 

Eight hours later, just as it was getting dark, fire lit, eating cornflakes for dinner and discussing sleeping in the car with the kids came! I thought I would cry, it wasn't till that moment I realised how scared I had been!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Spanish Indian Jungle

Going out to lunch with your mum and her friends isn't always the funnest thing in the world, especially when you order pizza and it comes with funny green leaves all over it. But when pen and paper come out and you discover that Mum's friend likes to draw just like you and your mum, a game of picture tag saves the day! 

By Jonah (age 5), his mum (me!) and her great friend Robyn Finlay.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Illustration Friday - Mirror

Synonyms: affect, caricature, copy, counterfeit, ditto, do like, do, echo, emulate, go
like, imitate, impersonate, make like, mirror, mock, parody, parrot, take off, travesty
Okay so this is a bit of a stretch for this weeks theme of "mirror" but it was a lovely moment in my week in the big city travelling between the mother-in-laws and the hospital bound husband. When you don't live in the city there are several things that are particularly exciting when you do go to town and for a five year old one of those is Hungry Jacks. And so in this fun little moment huddled around a table in Hungry Jacks with three pens and a circular pad of paper out of the kids meal pack, Jonah and I did this silly drawing of "The Penguin Superheroes" or as Jonah says it should say, "The Super Penguins"!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Illustration Friday - Book

I've been a bit distracted this week but for me the theme of "book" worked hand in hand with the theme a couple of weeks ago "imagination". This one though I'm not as happy with...but being 11.30 pm on Thursday night...I have to post! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Illustration Friday - Crooked

So The Husband broke his leg this week ...huge drama! Somehow this weaved it's way into this weeks "crooked" illustration.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Illustration - Burst

A mother isn't supposed to ever loose their cool but inside sometimes it feels like I'm going to BURST! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award!

Well Wowweeee!!  I have just recieved my very first Blog Award from the lovely blogger Cindy D at - home to her magical beasts and magical maidens. Check her out! 

So, being a first timer I had to do some research on the award. The idea is I tell you 7 things about me and then I pass the award onto 7 of my favourite blogs. So, let begin...

1. I bake bread every morning because our nearest bakery is a 9 hour drive.

2. I was president of The Tree House Club (but really my younger sister should have been!)

3. Most of my bestest friends (including my sister) are now spread far across the globe but time never matters we always just catch up from where we left off.

4. I did Year 6 by correspondence while travelling around Australia in a motorhome with my family and as part of a theatre troupe.

5. My 5 favourite books are Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Little Prince, Where the Wild Things Are, The BFG and The Caliph's House.

6. When I was a kid I was afraid of the dark but now I like to walk through the house in the middle of the dark night and listen to the quiet.

7. When I was born my mum had to be flown by the flying doctor service to Darwin hospital

So now you know me you, you should meet some of my friends, some in real life and some in blog life but all seriously talented.

1. Amy Homes @ Turquoise and Teal  - She showed me that blogs could be about more than just words.

2. Shelly Knoll-Miller @ Shelly Cartoons - A super mum, super cartoonist and super home builder (

3. Sunshine GB March @ Ceramirama - Beautiful ceramics for eating out of, drinking from and wearing.

4. Gay McKinnon @ Silvergum Studio - Illustrator, glassmaker and excellent conference pal when you feel like everyone seems to know everyone except you! (@ CYA 2010)

5. Rod MacGregor @ The Pen Mover - Ok so his Gerard is quite possibly the opposite of lovely but he's offbeat and slightly mad and makes he laugh my head off every week.

6. Roberto M @ Oat - A beautiful and surreal illustrator that's takes you to places you think you might have been or maybe dream to go.

7. Rita Barton @ Rita Barton  - A mum and artist with a slice of life blog that is warm and welcoming taking you inside her kitchen, studio and home.

Thanks again to super blog-ette Cindy D!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Illustration Friday - Imagination

So after being distracted for three days by all the words and silly phrases you could make out of the word "imagination" ...I had to go back to the drawing board. 

What I kept thinking about was that imagination is like little bees buzzing around in your head. So I started with that and then my pen did what imagination does when the bees start a'buzzing.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Illustration Friday - Identical

So... I was thinking about this theme and decided the opposite of "identical" was "individual". And then, I thought of those silly columns they have in magazines - "Who wore it best?!"  We have a saying in our house - "It's not what you wear, it's the way that you wear it." Clothes are just clothes. You may be wearing "identical" outfits but it's your personality that makes you an "individual". This was my inspiration for this silly illustration!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Illustration Friday - Tall

Despite being afraid of heights my whole life, somehow at the age of 14 I learnt to stilt-walk. And as I've mentioned before, being slightly paranoid about being labelled "shortest in my class" throughout my entire school days it was fun to be really TALL for a while. But the day I fell from stilts that doubled my height ended by career as as stilt-walker. I'd scared myself enough to never get up on them again!

Me (left) and my sister (age 14 approx.)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Illustration Friday - Freeze

Ok, so I'm cutting it really fine this week! This is a bit of a stretch too in terms of the theme but the first thing I thought of when I saw the theme "FREEZE" was my favourite party game we used to play as kids called "Musical Statues". I looked it up and apparently it's only really played in Australia and Finland, so for those who haven't ever played it's time to drag out your old 80's tape deck! The play button was pressed and you'd go crazy dancing and then when the music stopped you had to freeze. If you moved, you were out and the last one standing was the winner. Smart kids soon realised that if you didn't really move much it was easy to freeze.But then those who found crazy dancing too tempting soon found themselves wobbling around, standing on one leg and trying to stay frozen. I think the illustration probably doesn't protray this properly but it still brought back fun memories.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Illustration Friday - Bounce

Ok, so no one's going to believe me but I haven't seen any of the Olympics. Obviously though it's floating around in my subconcious somewhere!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Illustration Friday - Lonely

I live in an indigenous community in remote Australia in the middle of the desert. Yesterday morning we left this place we call home on a three week holiday. Our closest airport is a four hour drive on a dirt track. To pass the time, it's five year old Jonah's job to look out for camels. They have a tendency to creep up on you and in a panic they often run in front of the car trying to get out of the way! I'm not sure if this is the case with all camels but these ones travel in packs, big family groups but when you do see one on it's own, the camel's naturally sad looking face looks even sadder than usual and very very LONELY. After making the long drive yesterday and with camels and loneliness on my mind and also two year old Hugo sleeping with his head heavy my lap, I sketched this on the aeroplane tray table, flying out of the desert and in the direction of friends and family in the big city.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Illustration Friday - Lost

After thinking a bit more about last weeks illustration "SUSPEND", I decided that Dog must of done something real bad to make Cat SUSPEND him up in a tree with her SUSPENDer belt (This is my story anyway...I love how people read different things into the same piece of work). So this week the game is back on and Dog is looking for payback!

The other thing is that the dog character I draw often is based on Mimi, the Jack Russell my sister had when we were kids. Mimi was a girl and somehow without realising it, along the way this character has become male (don't ask me how that happened...I swear it was an accident). Now I face the conundrum of renaming the character, as "Mimi" is possibly an inappropriate name for a boy dog. So for now they are "Cat" and "Dog".

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Illustration Friday - Suspend

After a weekend catching up with old friends and doing the Ayers Rock walk I thought a snap of the weekend could be included in this weeks Illustration Friday theme "Suspend".

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Illustration Friday - Refresh

I have to note that the background for this image is taken from a photograph of a mosaic I worked on in Redfern last year with kids from the local school - slightly manic but lots of fun..refreshing!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Illustration Friday - Secret

So with this week's theme being 'secret' several things were floating around my brain - top secret, The Secret Seven, 007, sharing a secret and chinese whisphers.  I had some fun looking through my photos along the theme of 'sharing a secret'.....

But... as you can see above, that digressed into a phrase my mum uses that I always  presumed was poetic but I found in this old Brenda Lee song, "Sweet Nothings".

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Illustration Friday - Shiny


adjective, shin·i·er, shin·i·est.
1. bright or glossy in appearance.
2. filled with light, as by sunshine.
3. rubbed or worn to a glossy smoothness, as clothes.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Illustration Friday - Faded


In the process of doing this, I did the usual google research. 
Almost tempted to try "sandpaper-ing" my jeans!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Illustration Friday - Hitched

The road home from Alice Springs through the desert. Not many cars pass this way so they may be waiting for awhile!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Illustration Friday - Heights

Throughout my school life I was always know as the shortest in the class. Even when I got older and wasn't any longer the tag stuck. In my family growing up I was the shortest but eldest child. Despite this I was constantly told to stop "elephant-ing around". Now as an adult at 5ft 2 I have a husband who is 6ft 6. My 4 year old is just above average and my 2 year old who was 56cm at birth has been off the height charts ever since. I figure I have till he's about 10 till they're all taller than me. Strangely, I always imagine I have very very long legs.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Illustration Friday - Puzzled

puz·zle [puhz-uhl] puz·zled, puz·zling. 

 1. a toy, problem, or other contrivance designed to amuse by presenting difficulties to be solved by ingenuity or patient effort. 
 2. something puzzling; a puzzling question, matter, or person. 
 3. a puzzled or perplexed condition; bewilderment.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Desert Music

Band nights in the desert are even bigger than discos and being the first one of the year we needed a poster to get everyone extra excited.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Illustration Friday - Vocal

“All people that on earth do dwell, Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.”

Being Easter and with the Illustration Friday theme of “Vocal”, I felt something slightly religious was in order. When we came out to the desert one of the big things I missed was our church community. We first moved to Sydney when I was heavily pregnant with Jonah (son No.1). Finding church a Church that would feel like home was always going to be difficult as “The Sydney Anglican” was a very different cup of tea from “The Canberra/Goulburn Anglican” I had grown up as. But, walking into St Mark’s on that particular Good Friday, I knew we had found our place. One of the things they had which reminded me of being a child in Church was a crazy choir. All choirs I have encountered share similar quirks. They all take themselves a little too seriously. They are all filled with colourful characters. And…faith doesn’t seem to be a prerequisite for joining rather a love of singing. My mum and dad love to tell of the choir at a church in Cardiff (UK) where I went as a four year old. When the choir weren’t performing (!!) the Hello mags, Dick Francis novels and knitting would come out of their matching white handbags…until their next choral number!

At St Marks in Sydney they have there own colourful choir characters. There’s the tall fierce alto with the Cleopatra hair and the permanent air of disapproval on her face. She frequently likes to angle her body so she’s not facing the choirmaster conducting, but the congregation - her audience!  Further along the aisle, there’s the short round soprano with the “Mrs Who” glasses who likes to tell the organist how to do her job but in her absence plink-plonks through the hymns while holding her breath, afraid of missing the wrong note.  Finally, I can’t forget the self-proclaimed atheist who sings baritone with more passion and gusto than the lot of them.

And so, after 34 years of Church going I have discovered that the colourful characters of the church choir are not only “vocal” in their hymn singing but vocal in character. They are not people who are backward in offering their opinions on faith, religion, music, art, politics and people. They are outspoken, outrageous and … well definitely vocal!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Illustration Friday - Return

Inspired by Elvis Presley's "Return to Sender" - here's my answer to Illustration Friday's theme of "Return". It's also a bit of a trip down memory lane. When we were kids we were big letter writers. Letters to friends, family and school girl crushes were big productions. Being a girl I've had to reverse the sexes from the original song lyrics for the artwork but I've HAD to include the vintage Elvis clip for your enjoyment!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Desert Disco


I live in the middle of the desert, four and a half hours south west of Ayres Rock on the tri-state border of WA, SA and NT. It's a small indigenous community, home to about 150 people. We have a school, general store, media centre and community office. So, when the police come to town to run their disco a couple of times a year, it's cause for HUGE excitment. "THREE MORE SLEEPS!!" was the buzz about school this morning. Come Saturday, the cars will be rolling into town for music and dancing under the desert sky. Who needs a nightclub, with a buzz like this!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Illustration Friday - Shades

Illustration Friday has done it for me! I have been wanting to get a blog going for ages and now I have my kick start. 

My son Jonah who's 4, draws everyday with complete inhibition. As far as he's concerned, he can draw anything. He's a total inspiration. I should draw everyday, but it doesn't always happen. Both my violin teacher at 16 and my life drawing teacher at 19 talked about practise and insisted it was everyday. It's my new challenge for myself and Illustration Friday is a good place to start.

What is Illustration Friday? It's one theme every Friday. With limitless creative possibilities it's got to be a bit of fun. This weeks theme was "Shades"... and yes...I did have fun!