With thanks…

Last week I was feeling a little sorry for myself about my exhibition and and wrote a blog post and a bit of a rant, to kick myself in the butt and just get over myself.It was honest and open about the issues many artist have to deal with, it was also upbeat and positive and perhaps even a little uplifting and a relieve to write it.  I posted it here and posted a copy in my Awake Group…….both groups I felt ‘safe’. I know I am supported and I know people enjoy my art and I know I am not alone with the feelings that I had. But I must admit I was still overwhelmed by the response I got.

The feedback I got was awesome, so many people thanked me to being so raw and honest, and they could relate to everything I said and it inspired THEM. So many people said such lovely things about me and my art………which was a little self love I needed (I know it sounds egotistical, but then again I am an artist) and I truly thank everyone for that. My Awake Group were amazing and I still finding it surprising that so many people think they are alone (I know I did once too), and are shocked when someone they look up to or follow or whatever admits to self doubt and having off days. I know that some of the people I admired when I first joined the group and thought of a mini legends are just normal people, the more I meet and talk to them the more I realise they are just like me and the people coming through the ranks now are just like I was.

I used to see someone else’s great piece of art and get a little jealous (Silly and stupid) and think Man I wish I could create like that, then there are other pieces which, while I can appreciate the work that went into it, I just don’t really like. I have learned that I can be happy for other people, I can love their art, as THEIR art and still create my own. And there are people out there who can appreciate the work and skill in my images, but not like the images. I can honestly stop comparing myself to other artists, I can look at their art and be inspired by it, or simply just enjoy looking at it, sometimes I am triggered to create something that I would not of thought of without seeing theirs, this does not mean I am copying, just means my Muse was inspired. My art is MY ART, I can be nobody other than myself. I can explore and learn new things, but above all else I must remain true to myself.

If I find myself complaining (and lets face it, sometimes it’s hard not too), I think back on some amazing people and videos I have watched…..this life does not owe me anything, no one ever promised things were going to easy, nobody ever promised me success. I don’t need more gear to make great art ( sure I want toys, toys are fun, I just don’t need them to make great art), what I have is sufficient. I don’t need to travel to exotic places for amazing photography (and again, sure I love to travel, but I don’t need too), there is amazing things in my own suburb and local towns & countryside.

Most of all, learn to take chances and not be scared of the unknown, fear can keep us safe, but it can also hold us back….but the unknown future holds so many exciting adventures and wonderful possibilities if we just take the chance.

So again I would like to tank everyone who commented and said how brave I was………possibly, but I was just being honest with myself – and yes sometimes that takes bravery.

Thank You xox

~ Julz

Contemplation – Week 19

We’re back again for another Contemplation – where I share with you a prompt from my Kikki.K A Sentence a Day journal, and invite you to share you response along with me.

Desley from musing of a frequently flying scientistoffers this gem for this week’s contemplation…….

The prompt for today is a fun one, not too deep: What’s your favourite cliche?

When Pigs Fly….

Elephants do Fly

Well OK, so in this pic it is an elephant flying, but just as unlikely. It has to be one of my favourite sayings or cliches………when something seems highly unlikely or unbelievable. Much nicer in polite society then yelling Bullshit!!

~ Julz

Contemplation – Week 17

Each week, Desley gives us a Prompt from her KikkiK Journal, she herself has just come full circle and re read a response from the same post 12 months ago. She has pretty much fulfilled her wish for now………well done and my hearty congrats for going out and fulfilling your heart desires.

The prompt: What does your dream home look like?

So are my heart’s desires? I love my house: it has everything (almost) I could desire. I love my gardens, my new back deck, I love my studio, I love my study and kitchen.If I won a million dollar tomorrow would I move? Wow………that is actually a really tough question, as you may have noticed I stated above my house has almost everything I want………I have to admit my bedrooms are quite small, big enough for a queen sized bed, but no more. I wish I could fit a king sized bed (enough room for me and hubby and all the animals), plus perhaps a small sitting area for coffee in the morning, I would love a private little garden I could access via sweet french doors and perhaps even a swim spa in a court yard all to myself.

I would also love a purpose built studio, with more room and easy direct access, not through the house. I would love a light racking system, so there was no wires on the floor, and a high ceiling to hang it from. Not to mention better strobes lights!

But alas, do I NEED any of that? Of course not, material things are not the object of my life, I don’t play who has the most toys wins. I am perfectly content where I live, in the house I live. Melbourne is one of the greatest cities in the world, OK I may not LIVE in the city, but I am close enough I can go whenever I want.

So what does my dream home look like? Basically My Current address, my home IS where my heart is!

~ Julz

Contemplation – Week 16

This week Desley asks us from her KikkiK Journal prompt……..

Today’s prompt: What motivated you today?

These days I find I am motivated a lot more than I used to be, well about most things. OK I’ll admit I’m not overly motivated about my day job, but it does give me plenty of free time to work on my own stuff 🙂 (Cheeky aren’t I?). Not necessarily motivated to exercise (or housework) either. But apart from those little stumbling blocks I have plenty to keep me motivated.

Desley mentioned her fear, or lack of it when it comes to public speaking, I totally get it, but I must say it really does depend on the circumstances doesn’t it? I nearly pass out if I had to stand up at say a wedding and give a toast, even my daughter’s 21st scared the hell out of me and I knew everyone in the room! But if I am teaching a workshop, on something I know very well, then I am fine. I used to teach Folk Art workshops to groups from 5 – 50 people…….and I was always nervous, but once I got started I was fine and very comfortable.

Same with the current Product/ Still Life workshops I am running, they are only small groups, but they are in my studio, with my equipment and I know my stuff. I am very happy and confident once I get started, but so nervous beforehand; silly isn’t it?

So back to what motivates me, my art – SIMPLE! Whether it’s photography, still life, editing, digital art, creating concepts, arranging costumers, HMUA, models, props, looking for inspiration……it’s all the same. It’s a process and I love all of it, it gets me out of bed and fuels my days. I look forward to each shoot with new enthusiasm and each piece of art as a new babe. I try and direct all my attention to the next piece, while still trying to flesh out the next one. I always have something on the go.

People ask me where I get my inspiration from……..ask any artist and often they really don’t know, it is just there, in a song, a photo, a painting, a piece of fabric, a sound, it’s all around. But there are steadfast ways to get ideas as well, themes, colours, stories, characters, emotions………these can all help as well.

Today I have a shoot, which I have been trying to schedule for months, it has been planned in my journal for such a long time and tonight……barring misfortune – I get to shoot……..ssssh it’s a surprise, I’ll tell you next time.

~ Julz

 

 

Contemplation – Week 15

I’m running a little behind this week, I almost forgot to write this post, clearly my age is showing (forgetting things), which is funny considering the prompt for this week’s post from the effervescent Desley at Musing of a Frequently flying Scientist  

this week’s prompt: Do you feel younger or older than your actual age?

Can I say it depends on the time of day? Honestly I feel different at different times of the day; let me explain…..when I first get up I feel like I am over 100, stiff and sore, and can barely move (Damn arthritis).  Once I start to move around and loosen up, I feel OK, I guess I feel my physical age (eek nearly 50 oh my), mentally I ‘feel’ younger than I ever have, silly isn’t. I enjoy life and worry less about the little stuff (mostly). In some ways I feel the same as I did when I was 20…….just the body doesn’t seem to agree :-). I used to worry about people treating me like a child (I got married and had kids young), I still like doing similar things, I still like the same music, I still like the same kind of foods……if anything I am more of a daredevil now than back then.

These days my motto is like Nike……Just Do It, seriously I don’t worry what others will think, if it’s something I really want to try, then I do it. Even when I know I will hurt like hell tomorrow, I will still do it. Don’t get me wrong I don’t do really dangerous silly things, but I don’t worry about looking like an idiot, and if I am doing ‘it’ with friends, then we can all look silly together and have a great laugh. Even if ‘it’ is standing around a carpark at 11pm a night in 2c doing light painting on the top of a mountain. Romping around a forest at 7am with my camera while my husband is dressed like a giant rabbit……….sure we get some weird looks; but these days I just laugh.

Until about 9 – 10pm………then I’m usually starting to feel like an old chook again hahahaha. The one thing I don’t do anymore is stay out all night at night clubs, getting home in the wee hours, only to get up and go to work. Nope, if I am up late, I try and sleep in or have a cat nap in the afternoons. My body does not recover as well or as quickly as it used to.

But getting older does suck…..I wish I had the attitude I do now, when I was young and fit and could really enjoy it. Honestly until I move or something twinges, I feel the same as I did 30 years ago, I don’t feel older, I am maybe more mature (although sometimes I think it might be less mature?), it’s just when I look in the mirror and see this fat, old lady looking back at me……I don’t recognise her, honestly I don’t. Maybe that’s why I hate having my picture taken? I am trying to get over this, I really am.

Then as you said Desley, watching family get older too, no fun. I have lost my Grandparents, years ago. Moth has lost both his parents too, but watching mine get old and frail……I really don’t like it. Even my Aunt, I lost my Uncle a few years ago, but my Aunt, like my Dad she is timeless and larger than life, we are so similar in so many ways, but both are now getting old. I guess my Mum has been frail for years in many ways, but still travelling and writing and stuff. But now……they are old and frail. Makes you think about your own mortality; it’s sad.

~ Julz

Contemplation – Week 14

Each week Desley shares with us a new prompt from her KikkiK Journal, she felt perhaps she really had not got over any challenges herself, but did mention about working hard on getting past the small annoying stuff, so she could focus on the good ‘stuff’……personally I think that is quite a challenge to overcome.

This week’s prompt: What challenge did you overcome today?

But me? What did I overcome today? Well honestly after the last few days, just getting out of bed was challenging enough.I had a huge weekend and I am still getting over it. Exhaustion, stage right! This is a partial team photo from our mammoth Vintage Circus shoot on the weekend, taken by the wonderful Puppet Master, Peter B. Featuring Peter, Myself, the other photographer Beck and just two of our models Teena and Rachelle (Our broken clown dolls).

Circus

But in my aches and pains and tiredness it does bring the small annoying stuff to the forefront, have ever you noticed that? I too have worked on not sweating the little stuff and trying to just let them go. I’m (usually) in less of a hurry to get nowhere, and little annoying things that people do, I just shrug off. Ignore the idiots and hope they just leave me alone. Turn a negative into a positive, like Desley mentioned. She did have one thing, which is a difficult one, when a friend takes over the top of you………mmmm that’s a biggy. I am possibly guilty of it as well, but hey when you’re really good friends, does it matter? I mean I know my BFFs and I do it to each other, especially when we’re excited about something; but isn’t that what BFF are for? Sure there is the listening and being there for each other, but it’s not all doom and gloom. I would rather be laughing than crying.

But it does bring us back to the case in point; when you are so totally exhausted, good judgement tends to take a holiday, doesn’t it. Ever noticed that the little things get bigger and more annoying? I felt so impatient with everyone and I am trying to reign myself in. I felt more anxious, less forgiving, why is everyone taking so long with simple tasks……….don’t be so noisy while I’m trying to work, turn the heater up…it’s too cold (Why is it when I’m tired I always feel the cold, or is that just me?). The other thing I tend to do when I’m tired is ramble on……….I’m doing it now.

So my greatest challenge at the moment is getting over the weekend and trying not to stab someone with a ball point pen in the process! (Just kidding)

Here’s hoping you all have a great week!

~ Julz

Contemplation – Week 13

Winter Leaves

Every week Desley brings us a new thought to ponder and contemplate from her KikkiK Journal;

The prompt I’ve chosen for this week is: What was the mood of the day?

My mood for today, is tired……….is that even a mood or just a state of being? I am happy and relaxed (for the most part – I’ll explain in a bit), I just spent a very enjoyable weekend with some friends in Warburton, Victoria. We have lots of fun and LOTS of laughs; laughter really is good for the soul isn’t it? I had just received some bad news I was in no way ready to accept and take on board and I just wanted to spend the weekend NOT thinking about it; selfish? Yes probably, but sometimes you just have to be.

We have just found out my Dad has MND, it’s a horrible debilitating disease with no cure and no real treatment. Dad lost his Mum to MND, nearly 30 years ago, they are no exactly sure if it’s hereditary, in fact they don’t really know all that much about it. My Grandmother wasn’t even diagnosed until after she died, at the time they just thought it was simply dementia (I think part of it was). So with Mum’s failing health, I now have Dad’s as well. My Brother (who I never see or speak to) is pretty much useless, and my health is not brilliant either, I certainly can’t do their housework (can barely do my own), I can’t help gardening and I certainly can’t help with bathing and such down the line, so we need to make some serious decisions and quite frankly I wasn’t ready to take it all on board.

So I guess my mood now is anxious and worried. When it gets a little much and I find myself tearing up, I think back on a funny moment from the weekend just past, and it certainly improves my mood. There is nothing like romping through a forest in the dark with torches whooping and yelling and laughing like a bunch of teens to make a pretty funny weekend. Some of it was ‘you had to be there moments’ and I don’t think I could explain if I tried, others were exhilarating and some just mere companionship. 4WD through Alpine Forest was fun and wandering through rain forests with cameras in hand, walking, looking, finding mushrooms, toadstools, waterfalls and moss frozen on trees was wonderful. Hunting for bargains in antique and junk stores, so much fun (I got a few bargains too). Dinners and late night story swapping with copious amounts of alcohol……was loads of fun too. Just being in each others company, walking forest trails and pointing out photographic delights. And then there was the light painting, pure thrill and joy.We don’t do a lot of light painting, we don’t have the tools or skill for some of it, but when you go away with two experts, it can be fantastic fun!

DSC_7403

So I guess to some it up I am tired, happy, relaxed, anxious and sad…………..it’s funny how you can be so many things at once.

~ Julz

 

 

 

Contemplation – Week 12

Desley brings us another thought provoking prompt for this week’s Contemplation,

I thought this was a good prompt for this week: Right now, I feel…..

Considering it’s currently 2:30 am while I write this, pretty damn tired! Insomnia, I’ve been struggling with this of late, not stress, just thoughts running through my head, excited about upcoming events, I think I am over stimulated, lol. I have so many ideas and I just lay awake at night with my brain in overdrive. I’ve tried meditating, but even that’s not working. So here I am on WP checking out everyone’s blog.

I am behind a little in my studies; not much, but a little, I am finding it difficult to concentrate on tutorials and assignments while I am in this state. I have been practising and I still have those light bulb moments; this image was something I have been wanting to try for a little while…….”Awakening”.

Awakening

Well now that I have read a lot, written a little, maybe I can get some sleep……

-Julz

Contemplation – Week 11

LavenderAfter a short Break Desley is back for Week 11 of Contemplation

So on to this week’s prompt: What’s the next book you’re going to read?

Honestly, some days it’s like she is pulling thoughts out of my brain! Read? Oh my yes, boy did I read, we had a whole room as a library, with so, so many books. Even my kids and hubby were readers…………what happened? That’s a damn good question. We all used to read, then I guess my kids were going through Secondary School and University and spent all their time studying and reading for study, and never really read just for fun.

We went 21st Century a few years back and got E-Books, which we could load our entire library digitally…..we sold, gave away most of our physical books and converted the library into a PC room. E-Books certainly made things easier in many ways. My first E-Reader/Book died from overuse (I am sure) and I purchased a new Kobo Reader about 2 years ago……….it is so small, convenient and easy to use, I can make the font size as big as I like and it is even back lit for reading in bed; but I don’t.

I read manuals for work, I read (or is that skim?) 100’s of email weekly (Sometimes daily), also for work. I read zillions of blog posts, I devour online tutorials, but I never just read anymore. I guess I spend all day on a computer, then I get home and am often on a computer creating art or playing with photos. On weekends we are out shooting, attending workshops (or running them), I guess when I do get some down time, it is easier to just plonk down in front of the TV. It’s pathetic I know, but as Desley said sometimes it’s just easier to get it spoon fed to your brain via the Tube. I’m guilty of Netflix, online and various ‘other’ ways of getting TV too. Some days all I want to do is nothing…….which inevitably means watching TV. Even when I had a cold last week, I could have curled up with a book, but NO, I watched movie after movie on TV.

But back to the question at hand, I have no idea what to read next. I have read everything I own, I have no ‘to read’ pile. Perhaps this is my problem? I have several favourite authors, none of which have released anything new. There is nothing which has caught my fancy, no new authors. I read fantasy stuff, that is ALL I read. No Biographies, no non-fiction, just fantasy as an escape. I guess maybe that is another reason…..I don’t WANT to escape my life at the moment. I am having the time of my life and my art and my photography is my escape. I create my own worlds with my digital art. I am making up my own stories. Perhaps someday, I will sit in my Zen corner with a new book, but for today I am actually much happier to sit in my Zen corner with a cup of coffee and absorb life, watching the fall of light, the birds and bugs and lizards and frogs and fish in my garden………enjoy the company of friends, family and animals….and make pretty pictures.

-Julz

Contemplation – Week 10

Desley’s post this week is a tale (or is that tail) or woe. Poor Little Gidget (her beloved companion and fur baby) was injured in an incident last week. I personally spoke to Desley several times checking in and making sure she and Gidget were both doing OK. You see Gidget got away, ran into traffic and ended up with a broken foot………things could have been so much worse. Desley spoke of that small part inside dying as she grappled with the possibility of losing her precious one.

I’ve been there, I am sure we are not alone, the 1000’s of pets lost each year, in fact possibly each day is horrifying. So this week’s theme is simple;

This week: how has a pet impacted your life?

I have a whole raft of animals, my fish meh? I lose one –  I replace it (I realise there are people shaking their fist at me right now, I’m sorry but I have no real attachment to my fish), let’s scale up from there to the two turtles……Sheldon and Crush are amazing and fun, and I have only had them for a year, add you cannot really cuddle a turtle. If anything happened I would be sad and upset, but not devastated.Life would go on.Perhaps in time this may change?

Next in line are the cats…………..don’t get me wrong I love the cats, Zorro (aka Black cat) he belongs to my youngest daughter and as much as he does give me cuddles and annoys ME for food, he is at best aloof. Teddy is Moth’s cat, same again I love him dearly, but he really is aloof. I am more of a dog person……..dog people will get it. Sure when they go, it will be sad and quite difficult; although possible more for Moth and my Daughter.

Then we come to the dogs; Buddy belongs to my eldest daughter and is her Fur baby…..I am not looking forward to the day we lose him. He is sweet and funny, and dopey, and clumsy and such a wonderful companion, Buddy and my Daughter dote on each other. He always wags his tail when I come home and gives me kisses (great kisser…not the slobbery kind with lots of tongue either!). He entertains me, and protects me (well all of us really), I am his Grandma and we have a special relationship, he is a one of a kind and such a good dog, even if stupidly clumsy with those big paws of his!

That brings me to MY Miss Chloe………it brings a lump to my throat just thinking about her leaving my side. She was bought for me 10 years ago, after losing my other once in a lifetime dog Tisha; but Chloe has become so much more. I have always had big dogs, she is small (less 5kgs), she is quick and agile, she is super ridiculously smart, she is funny and playful and loves me and Moth to distraction; as we do her. She really is our fur baby. She broke all the rules, our other dogs slept outside, were never allowed on the furniture, did not sit at the table and rarely went in the car. Chloe sleeps not only inside but on our bed. She always sits on our lap and occasionally eats from the table (I’m sure some of you are horrified). She is pushy, bossy, occasionally nasty (all just like me lol), but has a heart of gold, bigger than her whole body and the cuddles I get when I get home, make my day. And if I am home late I usually pay for it with a slap across the face (gently usually).

As she hits her 10th Birthday, she is getting a little slower, a little less agile, and some days grumpier, she aches and needs to stretch a little more in the mornings. She still races around like a puppy most days, but I see her aging and worry.

She did a similar thing to Gidget many, many years ago and thinking about it still upsets me. I did not have the best hold on her lead and she suddenly pulled away from me to chase a damn cat! She ran across peak hour traffic on a very busy road and managed to get to the other side without getting hit (A true miracle), cars honking and slamming their breaks on as she raced across, all with me screaming her to stop, she eventually did on the other side, turned back and must have realised how close she came to getting hit and literally dropped to the ground whimpering. With my heart in my throat (as I couldn’t really see her) I thought she had been hit and was laying dying on the side of the road, I made my way to her side and she launched into my arms shaking uncontrollably and crying, as was I.I collapsed to the ground in relief, bawling my eyes out, I just sat there holding her til we both calmed down.

People all got out of their cars to see if we were OK, eventually I had to stop making such a spectacle and made out way home……….holding her leash very, very tightly.We were so very, very lucky all got Chloe received was a big fright, no injuries at all (unlike poor little Gidget and her broken foot).

Some people (like Desley) will understand the complexity of a Fur baby relationship, to others she is just a dog, to me she will always be my baby. The day will come, as they always do, but hopefully not for many, many years. But for now I will hold her and love her and simple ‘BE’. I am lucky I have had 2 once in a life dogs, both very very different, but Chloe I fear will hurt so much more.

-Julz