My first flowers

still life in pastel

Okay Okay, I have tried to avoid drawing flowers for many reasons. Firstly, those who know me know my mum paints flowers in her still life arrangements and as if I’m going to enter that world. It would be like cooking for your very first time duck confit to a french chef. So as if. I mean, really, as if, but … I was watching a DVD that you lent me mum and I loved it. It made me think maybe I could give it at least one try.

The other reason I have avoided flowers is because of the greenery. Green happens to be my favourite colour but I’m not a big fan of pastel greens. So of course I can’t stand my greenery. I knew I would struggle there and I did. Fact.

Another fact, I need to buy more pastels, particularly greens and blues. Dark ones. And … I need to learn how to arrange flowers.

Last reason why I have avoided flowers …. it takes too long. Too much detail, too many darks and lights, too many, too many, and not to mention too time consuming. I enjoy drawing, don’t get me wrong but it’s not like I’m an artist, nor a chef. Just a mum who gets sick and tired of saying ‘stop kicking my legs’ every singe time, and I mean every single time, with no exaggeration, none whatsoever, I sit down to eat with my boys.

Well ironically, well not ironically, or perhaps ironic is suitable here, who knows, I now have to think about what to cook for dinner – without greens, and lets hope, enjoyed without kicking legs.

 

 

New Work

Pastel and charcoal still life drawing

I am trying to draw every day. It’s the only way I’m going to ‘see’ if any improvement has miraculously appeared.

Yesterday, I was so involved in a drawing that I was 30 minutes late to pick up Loxley from nido. This was one of those occasions where not being able to speak spanish very well comes in handy. They’ll avoid me like the plague – ‘Oh know, she’s going to try and speak spanish again, let’s look busy’.

What would I say anyway? ‘Sorry, I was drawing a nude?’ Or even better, ‘I completely lost track of time studying the light on a jug’. If they don’t already, they would think I am some crazy Australian women who likes nude bodies.

Then I remembered, in this country, being late is just ‘normal’. I have never received an offered explanation from a local who has been late here in Lima. I have had to ask for an explanation every time. So when I wasn’t even given the opportunity to explain my tardiness I felt relieved because I’m hopeless at making up plausible excuses and besides, I didn’t know how to say ‘nude’ in spanish.

 

I know it won’t be hard to pick the faults but this is from memory. I mean, who on earth am I going to get to pose for me in the nude? Now I really would be the crazy expat women… and, I don’t want to travel into the middle of Lima central for art classes so I’m on my own here… and I don’t want to copy from a book anymore because I need to interpret the form myself rather than using somebody else’s interpretation.

nude drawing in charcoal

 

So be gentle mum.

Then again, you always are. Also, ignore her lower legs, they look like death warmed up. Poor thing.

 

Hi Mum,

still life pastel drawing

I get it now. I totally understand. Why you would let your paint and brushes allure you into a different world. One that didn’t require politics, bills, stoplights, talking or even listening for that matter. Nope. Instead, a peaceful world governed by decisions such as choosing this colour or that one, this size canvas or smaller, light from the left or the right?

As a result, I have been drawing everyday for the past week and I have some new drawings.

still life pastel jug and apples

 

still life pastel drawing

As for the other world, the real one with negotiations with children, to-do lists and almost being run over on the pedestrian crossing every day. Well we continue our wait for the sun to make an entrance for longer than 1 hour in a day. The boys love their new school. I am too because I can read and understand their homework and school newsletters. I have found the best French delicatessen so I am making my way through their cheeses and tarts. Simon is getting a suit made for a charity ball later this month. Me? No I don’t have anything to wear but unfortunately my indecisiveness has made one decision and that is to torture me, no doubt until the very last moment. I need you here to make me a skirt like you did for my year 10 formal.

This next one I don’t like very much AT ALL hence why it is more unfinished than the others…. but Simon insists.

still life pastel drawing jug and bowls

Pastels

Exported 2

I thought I would add the recent attempts at pastel drawing including my first landscape. None are finished simply because I don’t have the foggiest idea how to ‘finish’ them. This is why I need you to move to Peru Mum. I’m sure sedatives are available for the plane trip, yes I think as many as it would take would be available . So what do you say? Come and tell me what to do. Wow, I never thought I would say that …

 

Here is my first landscape. Which do you think? Including the left yellow building or excluding it altogether?

Exported 3-2

 

Here is the excluded version ..

Exported 3

 

No I haven’t tried oils yet. I’m procrastinating and it is taking up a lot of my time.

Chile

 

IMG_2244

After a mighty long absence my blog decided to sing to me ….’Say something I’m giving up on you’.

So here goes… Hi Mum, I know you are not able to open your emails and you don’t use Facebook so I will continue to update this blog with photos from South America and some of my artwork. Or I might put my artwork on a different one. I’m not sure.

As you may have heard, we went to Chile for a week where the boys skied for two days in the emptiest ski resort on the planet. It was great, virtually no-one around. Only problem was I did some of my best skiing there with no-one to wonder in awe at my skills. Skill at not falling over that is, much anyway. Loxley even had his first ski lessons with his ‘private instructor’. This child needs to run bare foot in an Aussie backyard, eat a dinner of baked beans on toast and scrape his toes on the bitumen while scootering down the street to set him straight. He’s turning into a little spoilt so and so here. When in Rome I suppose.

I have been doing some drawing which I will include in a separate post.

 

What you just do.

Being an expat in a country very different to your homeland creates a battle between the heart and mind so equal in artillery and strategy you think you’re going crazy at the indecisiveness of it all.

The opportunities while abroad argue ‘for’ being in a foreign land. Then, the unprovoked memories of the familiar and comfortable act as cues connected to an identity that makes you you. Logic says stay, you’re lucky. The heart says go home, you’re lucky there too.

Who am I without driving my children to swimming lessons, play dates, the shops, the Dentist, the Doctor or anything at all? Who am I without kissing my children at the school gate and waving them off as they make their way across the quadrangle then returning 6 hours later to take them home? Who am I when I don’t see the dirt marks on their laundry, fold their clothes or curse over missing socks? Hear their praises or see their scrunched up faces over a meal I prepared in the hopes it both nourished their bodies and pleased their little taste buds. Who am I when I can’t shop online, visit a fully stocked art supply store, find an art teacher, buy clothes that are my style, order a soy decaf cappuccino or even read a magazine? Relying on others to do the things I would ‘just do’ at home is an adjustment I seem to be resisting to say the least.

The things I used to do at home are either done by somebody else or just not easy to do here. Since a large part of what we do accumulates into the whole of who we are, it seems an obvious thing to say that I don’t just miss being home, I miss being me.

On the flip side, the opportunities to do things I would never do at home either due to lack of time or availability are endless here. I already find myself in situations I never thought I would ever see myself, doing things I never thought I would do. I have private tennis lessons, I’m learning a new language, experiencing a different culture and forming friendships unlike any before.

Although still unfamiliar here and despite feeling a little (or a lot) lost at times, I’ve found the answer. It is a simple matter of mediating between the heart and the mind and letting each have their turn to rule.  This creates a medium between the old you that has always been and the new you that will meet you in the future.

And how does one manage that?

You ‘just do’.

One more thing I am doing is taking advantage of the wonderful local craftsmanship at a much more affordable price to frame drawings I would normally store in a draw somewhere. Here is my first of many yet to come.

Mum, you will recognise this drawing from my first 8 minute life drawing exercise that you liked the most.

Framed nude drawing in charcoal

Lunahuana, where I expected to meet Zorro

Lunahuana Peru

 

Luscious clumps of grapes dripping from vines with leaves twice the size of my outstretched hand. Rocky roads, dirt roads and pot-holes too numerous to ignore. The distinctive sound of a full and fast river, the feel of fresh air in our lungs and the sight of mountains layered with glorious shades of blues and greys.

Seventy cents for six mangoes, the smell of charcoaling chicken and colourful soda’s displayed at every turn and other nook and cranny. Jewellery stalls, restaurants galore and rows of rafting boats, quad bikes, life jackets, oars and helmets.

A mixture of ancient and current with the occasional sprinkle of the new.

At the centre of town, an elevated crucifix dwarfed by the surrounding monstrosities called montanas.

Such montanas are softened from the plush clouds in the evening, and in the morning so noticeable is the top layer cracked from intense heat, however from a far enough distance appears to be covered with a blanket of soft fur.

This is Lunahuana.

Located approximately 140km south of Lima, yet takes 3 hours to travel from Peru’s capital.

Our destination, La Confianza, was well worth the extra-unexpected bumpy travel time. I managed to take advantage of the pinky dusk light highlighting the softness of this quiet and remote location.

Seriously though, I honestly thought at any possible moment I was going to personally meet Antonia Banderas as ‘Zorro’.

Alas, we met Pedro and his dog Pisco who both became our hero’s. Pedro opened up his home and made it ours, fed us with many dishes of scrumptious Peruvian food, organised our every need from taxi to rafting and at the end of our 3 night stay, waved us off like much loved friends. And Pisco? Well he entertained our boys, escorted us on our walks and greeted us in the mornings with the exaggerated wag of a tail only a Labrador can master.