Starting my lockdown journal

Art is how I process the world, and how I download what’s in my head. Now my staff are settled and safe, and we have a (sort of) routine I am sleeping a few more hours a night. With sleep comes bad dreams – anarchy on the streets, scary animals, and so on. My brain really can be a bitch. My dreams are usually a muddle of things I have seen, heard and read, all jumbled together, often with my long-dead parents in the mix. My art practice is vital to my mental wellbeing.

I’ve started a small 6×6” journal where I’m going to document a mix of facts and feelings during this COVID-19 journey. There are no feelings in it yet. I need to get the framework started before the feelings can pour out.

As with much of my art this about bringing lightness to, and shining light on, a difficult subject – hence the ‘pretty’ backgrounds and colours.

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Uniquely me

I’ve been a fan of the late Dr Wayne Dyer for decades and, through him, have learned to enjoy the Tao te Ching. I have a few quotes from the Tao on the wall above my desk that I read when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed. They help ground and settle me.

We’re currently in lockdown due to COVID-19 and it’s unsettling. I’m going to make an art journal about the whole experience because art is how I process the work but, in the meantime, I’m using my art journals to help me feel balanced and calm in the chaos.

This is one of my favourite lines from the Tao and one of the quotes I have at work. I think it’s important we value our own unique place in the world. As I sometimes say to my staff when customers are being a bit ‘special’ – there’s infinite variety in the human condition!

This page is a lot brighter than this scan shows – we have a new scanner and I’m struggling to get the settings right.

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Art, COVID-19, our household

New Zealand is now Alert level 2 with COVID-19. No community outbreaks yet but think it’s getting close if the overseas experience is anything to go by. People who are wilfully ignoring the protocols are endangering others. It’s not cute or funny or brave – it’s dangerous and should be criminal.

Tony is in the danger category – diabetic, over 70 etc so is choosing to self-isolate. Me going to work does put him at risk but we’re doing all we can to minimise it. Things like me washing my hands in the washhouse before coming inside.

I’m limiting the news I watch to the essentials for work and trying to make social media a safe place while sharing what I need to. It’s a fine line, because I don’t want to feel overwhelmed but do need to be well informed for my work.

So I have been doing plenty of art, partly because I’m not sleeping well. Penny and I are into our second month of Dr Vuong’s Leap Year Challenge and I’m learning so much. I’m recording some of it in my Dylusions journals because the mix of thinking and art helps embed it for me.

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Back on line & some art

I’ve had terrible internet problems for the last 10 days, just as we upgraded our printer and pc (we lease them for the newspaper so have to change every 3 years) and it’s been a *nightmare*. It seems to be fixed, thank goodness. It’s even used up a lot of my art time, which is never good for my temperament 😉

So now I am back to creating art, including journal pages to help me remember everything I am learning as part of Dr Duc Vuong’s Leap Year Challenge.

I’m teaching a Dylusions art class in Greymouth in early April and have been busy putting class packs together – I’m excited about it and hope others are too.  Bookings can be made through Left Bank Art Gallery.

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Where has the time gone?

I normally blog regularly but February was super busy. Work, LIANZA including time in Wellington, Dr V’s Leap Year WLS Challenge, and so on. I enjoy being busy, and me being bored is never good, but this was a bit hectic really. March is a quieter month, kind of, then April goes warp speed again. All good really.

What have I been doing? LIANZA work, which I love. I met up with Just H and Polly F at Waitohi, the stunning new library in Johnsonville. A visited the art at Te Papa and had some time at Zealandia where I saw Kaka, Tuatara and Takahe – both experiences were truly incredible.

The Dr V Challenge was hard work, habit changing, and incredibly well worth it. My AP (Accountability Partner) Penny K and I have signed up to do it all again in March, to cement the learnings and learn even more new skills.

And art, always art. It grounds me, heals me, keep me sane in the busy times.

Here’s some photos from the last few weeks. Enjoy.