book, book, book

I’ve been living and breathing this book for the last few days.  Well, the story’s been written for a while now, but following a rather major disaster (anyone here enjoy the ups and downs of group work?! Not I, said the fly!) I’ve had to churn out over 30 drawings since Saturday.  And beg an extension from a lecturer.  And start laying out the book again from scratch.

Nevertheless, it has been strangely – stressfully – enormously – fun!  It’s inspired me to seek out some lessons in pastel drawing and think about transforming some of those stories that have been hiding in the corners of my imagination for ever into print and paper.  Truly, it’s a lovely creative process, this mixing together of story and picture.

We’ll see :-)  For now, I thought you might like to take a gander at my attempt at a storybook with farm safety for children as it’s theme.  It’s for a Child and Family Health class I’m taking.  Themes compiled from the most pertinent safety issues for children on farms in Australia.  Influenced by the stories of those dear country girls I taught and looked after at boarding school.

~ occupying Abby’s crafting table ~

~ introducing Sally and Olivia ~

~ Abby the master scanner,
patiently turning my pictures into lovely, neat jpegs ~

~ poor light, excruciatingly stiff neck, time for bed ~

~ a new day, lots of white ~
( matchbox, covered and needlefelted
– marvellous idea for christmas stockings!)

~ all flat surfaces are filling up ~

~ day 3 – home from classes, extension granted
colour, Lily, colour! ~

~ more flat surfaces and still the daughter’s scanning ~

~ almost done ~

~ I don’t think I shall ever find work as a wild pig portraitist ~

~ the cover ~
Julian and Abby hate extraordinaire – yeah, they’re right
they want “a cautionary tale” ??

Here I sit, my aching neck firmly swathed in one of Julian’s long knitted scarves.  I’ve taken more panadol for this bloody neck in the last two days than I’ve taken all year!  And I was thinking, with Friday’s last shift at the hospital finished, that I’d be able to take a nice long breath.  Settle back into our usual routine.  Potter about.  Ha!

But I do rather like my page numbering – minus the blue lines – they’re just there from the grab.


the joy of finding the long lost

One of the lovely things about tidying and organising our games and art supplies for our “new” games cupboard was the finding of things we’d “lost”.  Oh the hours of fun and laughter we’ve had with Trouble since putting everything in its place.

Another discovery that sent me up to the local art store for some fresh paper, was my bundle of soft pastels.  I cannot even remember the last time I had these out.  I am a complete amateur (my only study of them comes from admiring those that are found in the children’s picture books!) but I do so love the smooshiness that I can create with these.  Smudging them into the paper, into each other … my fingers.  They are my favourite medium – and oh so forgiving :-)

So this morning, after packing Abby off to school and clearing the kitchen table, I settled down with that fresh art block … oh there truly is a shiver of anticipation when I open a new blank book of paper – such possibilities! … and my pastels.  This morning, we had been reading Mary Oliver before school (I am tragically earnest and love reading poetry to Abby before she leaves for a hectic day – I live in hope that it will create beautiful and sturdy images in her mind – reminding her of the loveliness that surrounds her – it certainly works for me) and one of my favourite is her celebration of that life giving orb (I just had to use that word – always makes me think of that early on scene in Cold Comfort Farm when Flora is on the train, trying to write her masterpiece!) I have found myself constantly writing about of late … “The Sun”.

As someone who loves to meddle with words, my favourite part is Oliver’s questioning of whether any words can possibly capture the magic that is the sun …. so I composed a simple picture to accompany these hope-filling words.  A pastel of one of my favourite sunsets … looking towards the southern tips of the Great Dividing Range as it heads west from the beach at Merimbula, with one of the local dairy farms, nestled into the bush.

An hour or so passed – it was so good.  There’s something very nourishing about sitting quietly and making a picture.  I highly recommend it :-)  And now, it is pinned up on the window in the kitchen nook.  Next to a wee declaration of the trials of winter – a reminder perhaps that whilst we are indeed having our noses nipped by the cold and struggle to climb out of bed on these dark mornings, the year will surely continue to turn and the radiant sun outside this window will grow stronger and warmer.