Sweet Sea Creatures

I woke up this morning full of beans and with a huge urge to create.

Things have been a little quiet for me in the last couple of weeks as I wrapped up uni for the year. Most of the time has been spent recovering with lots of sleep, yoga, and nourishing food.

I came across these lovely works by a super talented designer called minpin, who provided the inspiration for my sea creatures. I always loved the ocean – as a child I used to pretend the ocean was my real home and would play mermaids by myself when my family and I would take vacations by the sea. It was a magical time, the fish were my friends, and the seaweed underwater forest which concealed the secrets of the deep. Sharks and jellyfish were the villains to be conquered, and seahorses the unicorns, mysterious and silent.

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Starting with a blank slate with minpin’s inspiration as a sweet wallpaper hanging. And the delish gluten-free pancakes I had for breakfast. I wanted to start straight onto watercolour paper, but then decided to switch to my sketchbook instead.

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I’m starting out with two types of watercolours – my Reeve’s watercolours that come in 24 different shades, and the Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth colour wheel with the lovely jewel tones.

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The angry sea urchin is my favourite. I’ve always liked sea urchins, waving their spiky little arms when pulled from the rock pools. I’ve always felt sorry for them too – despite their spiky arms they pretty much can’t defend themselves very well or swim away.

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The hammerhead and his sting-ray friend. I like the way these two turned out, the hammerhead looking a little hungry with his happy sting-ray friend just floating by.

I’m going to keep adding to these – a seahorse, a sea turtle, and more sea urchin are missing, Maybe once it’s finished, I will run it through photoshop and make a pattern. I was obsessed with patterns in design school, creating a few of plants.

I’m looking forward to creating some more in the next few days!

xx

 

 

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#AlwaysBeLearning

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Having had been a student for the past two and half years completing a Diploma of Graphic Design and thinking I was done with study for a while, I decided to go back to Uni earlier this year to complete a Bachelor of Communications majoring in Media Studies. Working in the e-learning industry, and being surrounded by it every day (on top of what I’m learning at school), really got me thinking about just how much learning has become an integral part of who I am. Looking back on my journey so far, my learning habits have changed so much, coming a long way in just a few short years. Some of the habits I have picked up have seemed like a lot of work, while others less so. All continue to evolve as I look ahead with still so much to come.

I incorporate some form of learning into my day, every day. While there is the learning that I engage in every day, for both school and work, getting into the habit of learning something new each day just for the fun of it has been an eye-opening habit to get into. We’ve all heard of the one-hour rule of learning per day, but I really don’t believe it has to be so complex. Even a few minutes each day can make a difference if it’s sparking those ‘Aha!’ moments, challenging you, and perhaps even changing your perspective on something.

Nobody tells you this, but learning can be damn hard.

Seek diversity. Someone once told me learning is like food — if you eat the same food every day, you won’t reap the benefits of a well-balanced diet. To me learning is about expanding my mindset and seeking out the bigger picture. I read articles, watch online content, track down interesting books, and attend talks I find interesting. It may seem obvious, but so many of us are creatures of habit that solely rely on what’s in front of us and what’s within arm’s reach. While this can be great when time-poor, I also believe in looking at the bigger picture of my learning through making a concentrated effort to invest in it and track down different sources to feed my interests. I admit this can be a bit of a challenge, but being exposed to different viewpoints, perspectives, and information is only a good thing to build out well-rounded knowledge about something.

I cut myself some slack. Nobody tells you this, but learning can be damn hard. To really learn something can be one of the hardest things you do. But it’s also one of the most rewarding. The feeling when I’ve begun to really understand something, relate it to what I already know, and then almost ‘seeing’ those pieces fall and click into place makes it all worth it. But before the reward comes what I also call the ‘dark side’. The pressure, the overwhelm, the feeling that you can never have enough psychological bandwidth to cram all this information in. This is where I have to pull back, and tell myself I can’t learn everything the first time — it’s virtually impossible to learn everything there is to know about something the first time and retain it all. There will also be days of un-focus, mental exhaustion, overwhelm, and anxiety, and days where no matter my intentions life will get in the way. Cutting myself some slack and working with what I have is the best way to keep on track to make it more manageable.

Write it all down. Not just notes directly related to what I’m learning (though these are important!). Writing about the experience itself, the thoughts, feelings, and impressions on what I’m actually going through with my learning. It may sound like a lot of work but I was always that kid who kept some sort of journal, and it wasn’t until recently that it clicked that I could do the same thing with my learning. And its helped me. It has increased my self awareness, allows me to track where I’m up to, plan my next steps, smooth out any hiccups, and articulate what I can do to improve on an on-going basis. And most important of all, it helps the learning stick.

Have fun with it. This is where the creative side of my brain comes out, especially when I don’t understand an idea or a concept. So I do the only thing I know how to be — creative. I play with it, tinker with it, pick it up and put it back down again. Return to it. Analyse it, turn it over, pull it apart then put it back together. What other purpose does it serve? Where else does it fit? Question it, ask it why? Why not? This is the space where I’ve realised you learn. Really learn. Not what I’ve been told, or what I’ve read, but where I create my own experience. Be that person who asks questions — question everything. If it doesn’t come, I’ve had to learn not to force it — I’m learning to trust it will come when I least expect it. Especially if I’ve found myself in a conversation where I’ve had to explain it — more often than not I remember and know a lot more than I think. And the golden rule — I’ve had to be patient and cut myself some slack.

What learning habits work for you?

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This year 2016

After many months of absence I have returned back here to this space, as I’ve done many times without writing or contributing to what I have created. While I am still to work out the direction in which I want to take my offering,  I am ready to pick up where I have left off and let my words flow once more.

This year 2016 has been a big one in many ways. My intentions for the past 12 months were ones of investment and transformation, which I worked on in major ways to bring more of both into my life.

  1. I finished my Graphic Design diploma – 2 and a half years of hard work, commitment and pure perseverance enabled me to cross the line and say I am now a designer.
  2. Moving into an airy, sunny, and quiet new apartment. This is move number 6 in 6 years.
  3. Re-commiting to my yoga practice
  4. Committing to my new adult braces
  5. Being free of my Deep Vein Thrombosis!
  6. Writing my own portfolio website and learning to code enough to get the job done
  7. Visiting Vegas, experiencing the beautiful Grand Canyon, and partying at Omnia nightclub with over 4,500 colleagues at Caesar’s Palace for a work trip
  8. Enjoying and celebrating one more year of life with my beautiful senior dog
  9. Deciding I will not settle just for any man – I am willing to wait for someone special
  10. Reaching over 900 posts on Instagram – am on track for 1000!
  11. Continuing to work towards self-love. My journey has been a long one and it is a road I continue to walk down each and every day.
  12. Learning to accept that I will make mistakes – I forgive myself and move forwards with my head held high
  13. Allowing my inner gypsy princess to come out more often and play with beautiful skirts, long earrings, and bare feet
  14. On that same note, growing my hair to mermaid lengths and leaving it alone without heat styling and straightening
  15. Investing in more books than clothes
  16. Recognising my work-life balance is a little off-center. I am beginning to put together a plan in place for better balance and organisation in 2017.
  17. Ditto for my personal finances
  18. Friendship. I have beautiful, strong, successful friends who I celebrate spending time with and who I am grateful to have in my life
  19. Grateful for family – watching my nieces and nephews grow up is  beautiful experience – they grow up too fast!
  20. Articulating for the first time what my numerous dreams are, and allowing myself the luxury to really think about how I can make them happen. They are unique to me, and not letting others dissuade me with well-intentioned-but-not-for-me-opinions.

As the year comes to a close, I work to plan for 2017, a year of new beginnings, big changes, love and joy. And so it is.

 

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Direction

It’s been such a crazy long time since I wrote here – I feel like life often slips away as soon as my back is turned. It is now June 2016, and so much has happened in the last 6 months it is difficult for me to even comprehend the passing of time so quickly.

I am sitting at my vintage wooden table, watching the rain lash the window, and the season’s change through the deepening of the leaves on the maple trees outside. Winter is well and truly here. I wonder what the next 6 months will hold for me, where life will take me, what will I do with myself. As with most years at this time, I am presented with decisions to make, courses that will change my life, and I am feeling a little overwhelmed. How do I choose which is the right path to take? How do I set the wheels in motion for the things I am hoping to have happen?

As I sit here holding my cup of tea, I am hopeful of the future, but also nervous of where the roads may lead. I am reminded by the words of Robert Frost – ” Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled, and that has made all the difference“.

 

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Wanderess

I’ve been using the last few weeks of living in my new neighbourhood as a chance to wander and explore.

I love the freedom a new place affords me. The new view each morning. The landmarks that identify my street on my morning walk to the train station, the places that are starting to become familiar to me. New sounds. New faces. There are plenty of small lane ways and little nooks, where urban decay peeks its head out among the newer buildings and roads.

 

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Salvador Dali peeks at me in several different colours from the alleyway around the corner.

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I love texture. Old spray paint flaking off the walls provides the perfect contrast between old and new.

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 This lurking area was at the back of an alley-way. As I took the photo, I definitely heeded the sign and ‘lurked’.

 

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Candy-coloured street art- a gorgeous piece by sydney-based artist & designer Nico

 

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I love doors. The curiosity in me wants to know, what is behind this door? What would I find if I were to open it and take a look inside?

photoIf I stretch my imagination, this looks to me to be a wild cat – with a blue face, orange eyes, and a strange light purple nose. I try and seek beauty, even in the most unlikely places.

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city” 

 – Roman Payne, The Wanderess 

Life. Love.

Taking a hiatus from writing has been somewhat cathartic, but at the same time I have missed it, without any channel to express what I have experienced during these last few months.

Since my last post, changes have occurred in my life, both externally and internally, which has sparked a period of transition for me as I settle into a new job, juggle full-time work with study, adjusting to a new home environment, and take stock during a period of change in my friendships and social life.

Someone once told me that all change is good – even if it doesn’t feel good at the time.

Adjusting to my ever changing friendships has been a real test in terms of me learning to really stand on my own two feet, and learn to rely on my strength, my confidence that I can support myself through. I am now the only single woman amongst the people I have grown up with, and it seems that everyday I see more and more people pairing up, getting engaged and married, and starting families of their own.

I have had to dig deep to find the strength to believe there is nothing wrong with me as a person, and that when the time is right, the right man will come into my life and want to be a part of it. This is something that I am accepting, which takes work each and every day. I have good days, and then there are days where I slide into self-pity, and I remind myself that this is all part of my story, and that the story has not ended yet. I recently came across this great list of things to do when the blues come knocking, from the lovely Gala Darling .  I have decided to use this opportunity to better my life – to use the time to focus on work and doing the very best that I can, to concentrate on my studies and produce a volume of design and art work that I can be proud of that I can use to build my portfolio, to plan some travels for the end of the year, and an adventure next year, to focus on becoming healthy again by exercising and getting enough sleep and rest, to cut out the alcohol and the fast food which does nothing for the way I feel about myself, to discover new interests, read lots of books, keep an open mind to meeting new people and inviting new experiences into my life.

Walking tall and proud and alone is something to cherish – an independent woman living life on her terms.

 

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Mr Brainwash!

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the creatively wonderful Semi-Permanent art & design forum in Sydney, and got to both hear Mr Brainwash speak, and see his ‘Life is Beautiful’ exhibition. Best known for his work with Banksy on the film ‘Exit through the Gift Shop’, Mr Brainwash, aka Thierry Guetta, is a passionate, creative, eccentric, and amazingly driven man, helping to inspire, encourage, and spread his ‘Life is Beautiful’ message to the masses.

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