One of the things the Society is doing this year, is having a "project of the month". Each month a member of the group presents a concept, process or subject for everyone to try throughout the month and present to the group.
It's been really interesting seeing various interpretations of the themes. For example, the first theme was "apple and cup".
One lady drew two possums, one eating an apple, and one checking out a cup.
One lady painted the view from her kitchen window, incorporating the apple and cup on her bench top.
One lady drew an apple and a cup with her non-dominant hand.
Another filled a page with various references to apples and cups.
The friend who introduced me to the Society did a cartoon-style picture of two Leprechauns brewing apple cider, showing the process all the way from the apple to the cup.
Last month's challenge was "seascape" in any medium. I was initially inclined to do an abstract painting similar to this:
I think something along that line would be within my perception of my abilities. And I like the colours :)
However, the resident artist who set this particular challenge didn't say anything but had an expression that I interpreted as disappointment. So I looked again. And this photo caught my eye:
Something about the light, the colours, and I guess the impact of it visually really caught my attention. But it would most certainly be a challenge to do anything like this!!!
I couldn't let go of the idea though, so I bought a canvas and looked at the colours and shapes, probably for a couple of weeks.
Finally I made a start and blocked out the main shapes and colours.
The only problem was, I didn't like it at all!!! The shapes weren't right, and the colours just weren't encouraging me to keep going.
Luckily, working with acrylics means it's REALLY easy to go over it again!!!
Okay, now the shapes are on the right track.
I decided to start with the sky - a small area that felt less intimidating.
Happy with how it was going, I had the courage to continue, adding colour to the water.
By this point I realised that there was no way this was going to be a photo-realistic painting. And after my initial disappointment, I let it go and let the painting come out whichever way it would.
And then, I felt like I was done! I hung it on the wall to look at over the next few days, just to check if I felt the need to adjust anything.
A friend from the Society private messaged me when I put that last photo on Facebook and suggested that the mountains might need a bit of detail, even though the original photo didn't have it. I've had a few attempts at it, and agree that the detail is needed, but still haven't been able to "finish" it.
I got a parcel in the mail around that time, which I was pretty excited about. A range of palette knives to play with!!! So I tried them out with my variation of a painting I have in the cycle of wallpapers on my work computer.
There are several things I don't like about it, but it was a quick, fun play, and I got to try a few different techniques.
Then I decided to do something that I might like to decorate with. It began like this:
And is now ready for stage two:
As well as painting (and a bit of drawing), the Big Fella has "encouraged" me to walk around town with him five nights a week. We have two main routes which take 30 to 35 minutes, and we talk as the Little Big Fella rides his scooter up and down the paths. It's been good to reconnect!
The Big Fella and I also started working on our little backyard garden. When we first moved in, there was a huge hunk of concrete, a palm tree and several yukkas and spiky plants. Not our idea of a great garden.
And the weeds!!! Oh my Lord!!! The whole area just keeps growing weeds as soon as it's damp!
We have a vision for the patio area, and wanted this garden area to be an extension of it. But although we'd been tossing up various ideas for the last 14 months, we hadn't reached a joined vision.
I bought a magazine (a rarity for me) with house decoration and design ideas and came across a few features that I thought we might like.
We were discussing this garden area on one walk and suddenly joined a bunch of ideas and it all came together in our heads! Join this with the change in weather (thank God for cool nights and not-dripping-with-heat days!!!), and the Big Fella was off!!!
I got home from work one day and the palm tree and spiky plants were all gone!
The next day I come home to half the fence missing, an extra piece of framework on top of it, and cinder blocks laid out in a rough design.
The next day I helped paint the back panels and put them up. I also had the rather fun (and very messy) job of adding the texture coat.
Back to paid work for me, but the Big Fella started construction of "The Gallows".
The next few days didn't appear to get very far, but there was plenty of background and preparation work going on. Including mixing gravel, sand and cement. The Little Big Fella got involved here and helped shovel.
It was SO funny to watch and listen! The Little Big Fella worked SO hard to lift a little bit of gravel on his shovel into the trailer. Meanwhile the Big Fella shoveled around 15 heavily loaded shovel-fulls!
And the incessant chatter that is always involved when the Little Big Fella is around these days was gold!
So now The Gallows are in, the edge of the garden is back in place, the extra panels on the side are up, and the base is ready and waiting for the main piece to arrive later this week. The garden bed itself is ready to go up, once the extra bricks arrive.
The Little Big Fella and his mate from next door desperately wanted to go motorbike riding this weekend, but the Big Fella has been working nights. So this afternoon I helped take them out to an area where locals ride pretty regularly, along with the neighbour's dad.
We have a beautiful sandstone escarpment nearby, and views of it and the green grasslands were SO good for my soul!!!
While the boys rode, I took photos of the interesting textures and shapes around, as well as the escarpment itself.
Then I finished a book I've been reading, and started selecting the colours I'll need for my next Art Society project.
As we packed the bikes up, the sun was starting to set and it was just beautiful! I felt refreshed and lifted.
When I got home I was hit with the discouraging reality that tomorrow is the last of my four day weekend.
There are things that need doing in preparation for the coming chaos. Deadlines are about to hit. Hard.
In that single moment, I crashed from the highs of my renewing afternoon, to the lows of my current reality.
And I saw how much I am a work in progress. And just how far I still have to go!
My life is not difficult in many ways! I have a great husband, my son is an entertaining joy, we have the financial stability that dreams are made of!
And yet, I struggle.
I suffer from doubt, insecurities, loneliness, a sense of purposelessness, and periods of depression.
And just when I feel like I'm getting a handle on myself and making progress toward a goal I can't even define, I am slammed into the ground again.
Like the first stages of my wave painting, I'm not happy with how things are shaped. Like the beginning of our garden, things are messy!
But I spy a little light on the horizon.
A tiny piece of hope.
A sense that all is not lost and I am actually moving toward... something!
So simultaneously alongside a sense of... grief? at the end of my day of "freedom", there lies a sense that good is on the horizon, maybe even great! And that this particular work in progress has some pretty impressive potential.