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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Our heritage

We stopped in at the Xatsull Heritage Village near Soda Creek, BC, Canada. My heart broke to hear how they were denied their language and culture. It took only a generation or two for their heritage to be lost.

You may know that I am from New Zealand, and fortunate to have a dual heritage - both Maori and European. As a Maori I feel fortunate that we have the Treaty of Waitangi.

Indigenous people have many challenges that they face. Knowing and understanding your heritage is important. It gives you that sense of yourself, that building block from which to grow. I am thankful for what I have and wish the same for everyone.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Hey there,
In Whistler, this will be our second night. It is fine, although the mountains are all clagged in, plus plenty of wind, so no use doing the peak to peak. Maybe it will be fine on the way home.

Hired an extra bike and did a 3 hour ride instead. It was beautiful. Had lunch at Rainbow Park on Alto Lake. I'm pooped. For our next adventure we will be heading in to Whistler Village to explore the Candy Store at the request of my two companions of course!

River of Golden Dreams, Whistler. What a romantic name!
I am resting in the car writing this email the children are playing, yes they have endless energy when it comes to fun and games. So far we have had a lot of fun and seen quite a bit of countryside. Lucky us!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Looking forward to Alaska

I am planning a trip to Alaska, so won't be wired for a bit. However I am excited to be collecting new material, new ideas, new perspectives as we go. I have a travel kit that a friend organised for me and am all set! Alaska here I come!

Will let you know what I find when we get back, or when I have internet access. Have fun and see you soon!

Friday, July 15, 2011

When in Rome

So the saying goes, "when in Rome do as the Romans do."

Here I am, sitting in the gorgeous state of Oregon. Wouldn't it make sense to paint what is around me? Of course, although sometimes it takes a moment or even two to three years for that particular message to set in. What an opportunity I am presented with.

My family and I live in the country, we have squirrels and chipmunks, crows, hummingbirds, turkey vultures, coyote, frogs and harmless garter snakes and probably many other animals that I have not set eyes on yet. Why not make the most of this opportunity and paint them? What a wonderful idea!

So I do, although I must say it is somewhat difficult to paint something that doesn't stay still, so a photograph to paint from is the next best thing. Then of course I need to make it mine! Add a bit of me into the process.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Don't Give Up!

Resilience, when one has to dig deep and keep going. Sometimes life is tough and gets in the way of your goals.

Right now I have a bad back, it has been this way for months now and to the point where I need to go find a specialist to check it out. I have tried all the non evasive treatments like massage, physical therapy, chiropractor and acupuncture. Although they don't fix it, they make me feel good for a short period.

I have been avoiding MRI's and xrays. It is time to bite the bullet so to speak and so I am sent for an MRI. You know what? I think that has to be the scariest thing I have ever done. All those times when I felt scared or worried about putting myself out there with my artwork, pale in comparison.

An MRI is where you are place inside a rather snug fitting tube and they take images, in this case, images of my spine. Since I am unable to stand or lie straight without feeling excruciating pain, the procedure is physically challenging for me. Having to hold a position for an extended period also becomes emotionally challenging when I just want to say stop, I've had enough.

On the form I ticked that I was not claustrophobic, once I am restricted in movement and inside that tube, I kind of want to go back and change my answer. I manage to get through it all, barely.

Standing to paint, hurts. Sitting to paint, hurts when I go to move. I am feeling a little sorry for myself. It is only momentary. I look around and see people who are using walkers or wheelchairs and I give thanks for having legs that can ache, a back that can hurt, that I am still able to paint, that I have a wonderful family who are helpful and kind. Lucky me, life is pretty good. There is nothing to do but get on with it. Just do it!

So there you go, don't give up! Go and make your own luck! That makes you see things in a different light, it also opens up a world of possibilities. Smile and the whole world smiles with you! Have you noticed that? Your reaction to everything changes the tone and the reaction of others. Interesting, I'll work on that one...

Friday, July 8, 2011

re evaluating

So here I am now, re evaluating things.

In order to decide which style I will paint in I embark on a mission to complete several in each style, firstly stylised using Maori patterns, the other large, bright, bold figuratives. These are some of the stylised paintings I get done.

Hummingbird, still on the easel

             Family heartbeat first edition

                                                  Finished - Eagle
As a guide, my artist friend who makes many sales each year - in the hundreds - I use as my model.
I branch out with prints and notecards.

Realising, after paying for several prints, that the quality of the photograph has a lot to do with how good the print looks. A slightly costly lesson. Learning is sometimes a little painful. I am going to have to retake some of the photos. They looked good on screen, however are too dark on the print.

The notecards are something I take care of on my own for now. I make up packs of 4 blank notecards using paintings from "Seashore", "Eagle", "Stairway to Heaven" and "Hummingbird".  Listing notecards on Etsy comes with a certain excitement and expectation. I list and wait.....and wait.....and wait.... . I am hopeful and can't help checking my email every 5 minutes (a slight exaggeration, close though). Got to stop that habit!

In the meantime I have a total of 16 paintings listed on This is a time and a place when the quality of the shot is really important. After my printing error, I go back and redo my photos where necessary.

The learning curve doesn't stop.  

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