Every phase of the moon is magical. Each has a beauty all of it’s own. Like the moon, each and every phase of your life is glorious. Embrace change. Love every phase you enter. You are a miracle of the universe. Allow yourself to glow……..Livonne
I’m not crazy. My reality is just different from yours……..Chesire Cat
I just had another memory pop up on Facebook that tells me it is 2 years since I turned my friend Trish into the Mad Hatter. While I’ve featured one of these images before, why not re-share for an anniversary.
I’m so busy at the moment with lots of different projects so all is a little quiet on here as the images I’m doing for an exhibition won’t be seen until they are hanging on the wall. Even the models won’t see the ones I choose to exhibit until they’re in place.
Today though, I’m delving back into my fantasy bag of tricks and have a mermaid coming to visit this afternoon to have a photo taken. I’m quite excited about this. After all, Ariel, The Little Mermaid is my favourite Disney princess along with Cinderella. Stay tuned for these images over the next week but for now, I hope you enjoy revisiting West of Wonderland.
Opportunity dances with those already on the dancefloor…….Unknown
A few weeks ago, I was having a glass of wine while I sat at my computer browsing Facebook. It was late at night and I should have gone to bed but I wasn’t sleepy. I was quite bored as there wasn’t much happening anywhere online and I didn’t feel like working on any photos.
An artist network that I had joined previously but never really looked at suddenly sprang to mind. I always try to listen to those sorts of messages, so I went to the network to see what was there. In the opportunities section, I found a call for artists to join a series of workshops which would be partly held at the Art Gallery of NSW. Without thinking, I applied as applications closed the next day.
I’d forgotten about it by morning if I’m honest, so when my phone rang and I was asked to submit some images and a bio, I didn’t even remember what I had applied for. I looked it up online, sent my images through and was unbelievably blessed to be accepted.
So on Wednesday this week, I made the over two hour journey into the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney and nervously waited to meet the other participants. Wow! What an amazing group of people. We spent two days in the gallery, discussing art which probably isn’t generally my cup of tea but the more we looked at it, the more I understood it.
Often at galleries or exhibitions, we simply walk past the images that don’t grab us immediately so we miss the chance to embrace a different style of art. The Art Gallery of NSW is an amazing place to visit and the Archibald Prize is currently on display so it’s a great time to visit. We have another day next week at the gallery before we start to create in workshops at a studio in Western Sydney.
I am so excited at the thought of stepping outside my art comfort zone. I’ve worked really hard to hone my skills over the last few years and am finally feeling confident in what I produce. So to suddenly be presented with an opportunity to work collaboratively with other artists who work in totally different mediums and styles is incredibly exciting. Nerve wracking but exciting.
Who knows where this will lead? It could lead to great places or to nowhere. But wherever it leads, I’m going to embrace the journey and have some fun with fantastic and inspirational people along the way. It can only be a good experience.
In between this I’m also getting ready to shoot an exciting new series of images for an exhibition here in the Blue Mountains. I’m busily sourcing costumes, locations and people for this and having a ball doing so. I’ll talk more about this once the shooting starts. There are also just everyday shoots I have planned to do and next week will have a mermaid swimming at my place. Life is good!
For now, here are just a few shots I took on my iPhone at the gallery. I was too busy soaking it all in to remember to take many photos and only had the phone on me anyway.. The shiny, imposing sculpture of Capt Cook is the work of Michael Parekowhai, a New Zealand artist and the painting is by American artist Jamian Juliano-Villani. The gallery is certainly worth a visit if you’re in Sydney and lunch in the beautiful Domain is always a treat.
If these walls could speak, the screams would echo through the ages….Livonne
I am so far behind the eightball with this website this year and I just realised I hadn’t posted about an exhibition I was involved with earlier this year. I was chosen as one of the artists to present an exhibition at the historic Woodford Academy in the Blue Mountains.
It was aptly named If These Walls Could Speak, and if you’ve ever been to the Woodford Academy you’d know why. It is one of the oldest buildings in the mountains and has a long, varied and sometimes tragic past. Very important in Aboriginal history, the land became the site of a hotel and later in it’s life, a school.
This building is said to be haunted and I have to tell you, when I went there to scope out what I wanted to create for the exhibition, I felt the energy of past inhabitants. There is an eerie feel about the place. I ended up creating five images, all based on the spirits that I felt while I was there. It wasn’t my imagination playing tricks on me, this place has some lingering spirits and they make their presence felt.
I walked upstairs to one of the bedrooms which is said to have been inhabited by Jessica McManamey who was the daughter of the original school master. I went to the window and had an overwhelming feeling of wanting to jump. I could then feel a frenetic energy swirling around in the room, from one place to another and to another. There was a feeling of being trapped. It was then I knew I had to create what I felt and Longing to Escape was the result.
Walking back down the stairs, I walked into what was the original bar room and on one wall is a beautiful Cartouche painted around the door frame. I felt an overwhelming sadness surround me and our wonderful guide told us that it was probably painted by an itinerant artist in exchange for board and lodgings. He inspired me to make Creating the Cartouche.
Walking out into the courtyard, we walked into the kitchen. It felt like a happy place. Jennie, my friend who was with me started to smile and told me that there was a lovely lady in there with a huge wide smile and her name was Mabel. While I didn’t see or feel her, I felt the contentment, so decided to create Mabel’s Morning.
Walking right out back into the garden felt a bit creepy to be honest but I put that down to having heard the story of Mary James who is said to haunt the place and is known as the Lady in White. She was said to have killed herself though her husband was charged with her murder but eventually acquitted. As she is the most well known of the lingering spirits, I knew she wanted her story to be told and so created Searching for the Truth.
At the front of the building is a plaque which commemorates the Transit of Venus in 1874 when early star gazers came to the property to get the best view of this event. Out in the courtyard, I imagined their excitement when they saw the planets up close through the telescopes, in a time when they couldn’t look at the surface of a planet by Googling it as we have the privilege of doing so tried to convey this with the Transit of Venus.
I was pleased with what I created in these 5 images though they were very different to the kind of work I usually do. I also created the Online Catalogue which is worth a look. There were 9 artists and 4 poets in this exhibition, wonderfully curated by Susan Cochrane with the assistance of Saskia Everingham. You can have a look at all the work that was included as well as read a few bits of history by clicking here. If you are ever here in the mountains, try to go for a tour of the Academy or perhaps join one of the ghost tours presented there.
When the world says “give up”, hope whispers “try one more time”…… Author Unknown
I had a memory pop up on Facebook this morning.. I hardly ever look at or share these pop up memories as I figure I’ve lived that day…..onward and upward, don’t look back. You know the drill. However this morning, I was a bit taken aback to see this particular one. You see, it was two years ago that I posted an image that I’d just made of a mermaid.
It wasn’t a new photo that I’d worked on. I had taken this photo of the lovely Hannah much earlier while I was still at TAFE. I had already edited it and loved the slightly cartoon effect I had put on it. I had already stepped out of my comfort zone when I edited it first time and it was one of my favourites from my time at TAFE. Obviously two years ago, I wanted to try something a bit different again.
I had known for a long time that I wanted to make art from photography but really didn’t have the nerve to step out of my comfort zone and try it. Then late one night, I gave it a go and Hannah turned into Hope, my mermaid. I have to be honest, when I’d finished it, I was quite overwhelmed. I felt like I had finally proved to myself that I could create what my mind imagined.
In all honesty, it was a fairly simple fantasy image but it will always be one of my favourites as it was a turning point for me and my belief in myself. I named her Hope to match the quote which suited me so well. Hope has become my muse. She whispers words of encouragement in my ear when I doubt myself and tells me to keep going when I sometimes want to give up. She is more than an image. I could probably rework the image with all I’ve since learned but I won’t, as to me she’s perfect as she is.
It amazes me that it’s really only been two years since I started to create what I was imagining, but then it was only in 2013 when I started studying photography, having never picked up an SLR or DSLR in my life. All of my photos up until that point had been taken with point and shoot cameras. It certainly has been an eventful 4.5 years but they are years that have brought me much joy.
So now, it’s onward and upward again. I am already working on a new mermaid shoot which I’d planned before I realised this was two years ago. Now it’s time to create lots more art as my mind imagines new worlds and scenarios. Time to take my work up a notch again as the learning process never really ends. But right now, I’m having a glass of wine and drinking a toast to my muse, Hope….
Youth is a gift of nature… Age a work of art….Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
A few months back, my wonderful friend Pennie had a big birthday. It’s not up to me to tell you what the number was as it’s a woman’s prerogative to be ageless. But I have to tell you, for this lady, age is completely irrelevant anyway. She is a bundle of energy and radiates incredible grace.
Pennie is an artist who creates amazing work. Her passion inspires me to continue trying to be the best creative I can be. Both Pennie and her husband Brian are soon to expand their gallery space but until they do, you can view their work by clicking here. Trust me, it’s worth having a look.
One of the most important things I concentrate on when making images of people is to make sure there is a connection with the image and that it represents who they truly are. So with this talented lady, I wanted to make the artist into the art so asked her if she’d pose for me. She said yes and we had a lovely morning getting the shots I needed to create the images I was thinking of. My plan was to take a photo of her and make it into a painterly style image to represent her artisan soul. I got the shot I wanted and then as luck would have it, the plant on the side of the brick wall was covered in the most amazing, vibrant red autumn leaves, meaning I got more than I bargained for.
We also got a few laughs when we went for a burger for lunch afterwards and realised halfway through that we’d left the tiara in her hair. Ah well. Every queen deserves to wear a crown don’t they? And make no mistake, this lady is a queen who I am privileged to call my friend.
Mere colour can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways……Oscar Wilde
I love colours. I love vibrant colours. I love pastel colours. I love neon colours. I love dark, moody colours. I just love all colours. While you won’t find a lot of blue or grey in my house as they aren’t my favourites, I can’t deny the beauty of a spring sky or the soft strands of a grandma’s hair.
Pink is my signature colour while emerald green is my favourite. When my kids were very young, they all chose a colour from a very early time and they stuck with it. Aimee’s was blue, Lachlan’s was red and Stuart’s was yellow. They really never veered away from those colours.
A lot of photography these days has returned to black and white which is stunning but I still prefer to shoot and edit in colour. While I can admire the contemporary decor of today with it’s beige and grey palettes, I couldn’t live with it. I need colour around me. It feeds my soul.
So with that in mind, I asked a good friend of mine if I could paint her for a photo shoot. Trish is always up for a challenge (how lucky am I to have friends who allow me to do this sort of stuff?) so I set to work with a paintbrush and her naked torso. Now, to be fair, I’m not a painter but I was happy with it. And here is the result. My very colourful friend with her very colourful aura, soul and skin.