What stood out in 2013?

I’ve been looking back at 2013 and here’s a wrap of the year I had:

  • January – my wrist was incredibly painful, Tony retired from the Ambulance Service and I was pretty obsessed with poppies.
  • February – most of my posts were about family; I was missing Mum and, 22 years after Dad died, I was really feeling it. I was also struggling with the artworks I was trying to get done for Legato in Italy.
  • March – spent a lot of time making gelli prints, and Tony & I celebrated our 18th anniversary.
  • April – the gelli prints and journal pages continued, and I spoke at the ANZAC Day service in Waverley.
  • May – Tony spent some Granddad time with Rory in Christchurch, and it was my first Mother’s Day without Mum.
  • June – more gelli prints and a lightening of my palette to match my lighter mode.
  • July – started feeling more myself, 6 months after Mum died, and began working on the artworks for my presentation at the LIANZA conference in October.
  • August – participated in the International Signature Swap, and decided it was time to get myself better organised.
  • September – got completely stuck on the artworks for my presentation, discovered I need two new knees, and started a new library course though San Jose University.
  • October – completed my 3 yearly professional registration, attended and presented at the annual LIANZA conference and was awarded Associateship.
  • November –  got into my artwork, and discovered that Mum’s birth father served in WWI so there’s a new artwork being planned for Italy.
  • December  – we discovered Tony needs more surgery because the femoral crossover surgery from November last year has failed, and then the surgery was postponed, I also spent a lot of time making Christmas cards.

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. I’d like to thank them – here it is in all its weird details. Happy 2014 everyone.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,200 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Starting a new painting

I’m starting a new WWI work, featuring two relatives I never knew – Mum’s birth father and his brother, her birth uncle. If this turns out well, it will travel to Italy for the 2014 Legato exhibition. I’ve aged laser copies of some documents relating to them, collaged them on, and added paint and ink. This is all just an under layer; once it is dry I’ll use a coat of clear gesso over the top and keep working on it. The colours are not as lively as the ones I used for the WWII works. I’ve gone murkier, grayer and duller because that’s how WWI feels for me. It’s probably also a reflection of my feelings about Mum never getting to know her birth parents and having a ‘dim dark’ past.

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Gelli prints on clear adhesive tape

I’ve been watching Patti Parrish on YouTube over the last few days, and following the Gelli Arts page on FaceBook; I decided I wanted to try printing on clear packing tape so I can use it in my art journals. I added thin layers of Golden Fluid acrylics to my 6×6 Gelli Plate then let it dry thoroughly. My office was about 24 degrees today, so it didn’t take long. I covered the Gelli Plate with overlapped strips of wide clear  packing tape and burnished it with my bone folder. It lifted off really cleanly, which surprised me a bit. I stuck one print to a newspaper page and the other to a much whiter page from a fairly new book that had a bit of pink paint smeared on it. I like both pages and can see me using them in my art journal.  Next time I might try Mica powder on the back, like Patti used – thanks to Patti, and others, for the inspiration.

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A different kind of Christmas

When life changes sometimes the impacts are obvious, and other times there’s what a friend would call collateral damage that keeps on appearing for ages afterwards. Last year I had my birthday on the 11th December, Mum died on the 15th December and, to be honest, I have no recollection of Christmas Day 2012 at all. By New Year’s Eve I was at A&E as a result of damage collateral damage to my wrist, caused by injury to my shoulder in a car accident 6 months earlier. This year my sister, brother-in-law and nephew came down for early Christmas on the 14th and we out Mum’s ashes in with Dad on the 15th.

So what does Christmas Day mean to us now? I’m not sure to be honest. A phone call to Tony’s daughter and grandson, to my sister and her family, and Tony’s brother. Connecting with a few people via email and Twitter. My best friend’s birthday. What does all that mean to me? Not a lot really. I could phone them any time, and do.

I’m not a Christian, I have no children of my own, and none of our extended family lives close. We choose to stay home because of our pets, as we don’t think it’s fair to ask others to housesit at this time of year. Really it doesn’t mean a lot to me, but I guess over time we’ll find ways of making it special for us as a couple; with Tony unwell our guess our focus is on other things.

What I do have is a greater understanding than ever before of how hard Christmas can be for some people. A Twitter friend, a librarian in Australia, said as someone who suffers from depression she started the day “bawling at 7am”. My heart goes out to her and all those who are feeling similarly lonely or sad. Whatever today means to you, stay safe and be kind to yourself.

Surgery isn’t all go after all

Tony’s surgery has been postponed to 13 January as there is someone else whose need is more urgent. To ensure Tony doesn’t wait any longer than is absolutely necessary, they are booking him under a different surgeon at Waikato because it saves a week’s delay. We’re disappointed and upset but, having had Mum in and out of hospital for the last 14 years of her life – mucking up waiting lists in all directions, we know how quickly someone else can take precedence. I hope the person who is getting urgent surgery recoveries quickly and starts 2014 feeling a whole lot better than they currently do.

I’m also sad that I’m now not spending Christmas and Sandra’s 50th birthday with her – I was so looking forward to it, and to helping her through a difficult bunch of firsts without her Mum. But, as she knows, I’ll be with her in spirit, as always.

Surgery confirmed – all systems are go

Tony’s surgery is confirmed for Monday afternoon; we need to be at Waikato Hospital early Sunday afternoon for scans, pre-op etc. Although it’s awful timing, in the sense that he’ll spend Christmas and probably New Year in hospital, and I have to come home and do the newspaper and look after the animals, we’re so grateful it is being done urgently.

Last year, when they did the first bypass, he was only in hospital 2 or 3 nights but this time they expect it to be between 7 and 10 days. I suspect this is more major surgery because of what’s gone wrong – whatever that might be. We won’t know for sure till they do the scan Sunday afternoon.

I’m also grateful that I can stay with Sandra, my best mate of more than 45 years (not that I’m actually that old). It’s her first Christmas and 25 Dec birthday without her Mum so it’ll be great to share it, and the stress, with her. Plus she has wine…

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New stencils – oh my!

I was fortunate to be able to purchase some new Michelle Ward stencils recently. I had been thinking about the Frond Collection ever since Michele released them, and I was finally able to get them. And boy, they were worth the wait … I love them. I’ve just been playing round with them using gesso, inks,  fluid acrylics, and working in three different journals to see what happens on the various surfaces. Here’s some of what I’ve done so far.

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