Welcome to my mad life!
mad busy funster professional artist painter teacher author technologist mathematician CAD consultant entrepreneur investor gluten-free animal-loving nature-loving joy&serenity-seeking Ironman triathlete
Monday, November 8, 2010
We decided that we didn't want to look at asphalt from all the front windows of the house, that an arty paving design would be nicer to look at. So Phil (hubby landscaper) and I came up with this circular design and drew it all up in AutoCAD with dimensions.
It took several months, 7 full pallets of pavers, mountains of concrete, several sets of kneepads, and Phil wore all the fingerprints off his hands in the process. We have photos of all the stages along the way in the Flickr page :
- if you click on the set at the RHS called The Mad Paving Marathon, you can see all the photos.
Monday, November 1, 2010
I have always wanted to write a book, but have not known where on earth to start. I remember as a child dreaming up plots of science fiction stories. Once I wrote an 8 page story as part of an English class exercise in early high school, I remember not meaning to write so many pages, but I got carried away with the story and couldn't stop. The teacher was shocked at how good the story was and gave me a big red A++ for the mark. It was a complete surprise to me!
As an adult the urge has never left, but I have never known what on earth to write about (in fiction anyway). I thought it would be nice to write children's books and then illustrate them.
In 2008 I scribbled some charcoal on a blank canvas, thanks to the great art teacher Donald James Waters, and ended up dreaming up a story as I was drawing. I finished up creating a mad Storybook painting called "The Spooking of the Blarts". The Storybook paintings, which have a whole story written and illustrated onto the one canvas, have now become a series (you can see these in my gallery) and will end up in a book. They always start with "Once upon a time in a place light years away..." and they are a lot of mad, silly fun that adults and children both enjoy.
So I found a way to have the creative ideas for my books, by starting with some art!!! Quite the opposite of what I thought (writing and then illustrating!), but it works beautifully.
The novel I have been inspired to write this month is along similar lines, but with a madcap heroine riding an organic self-healing mindreading spaceship containing a moody creative Auto-Chef automatic food-manifestation system that is prone to tears. Kat is on a search and rescue mission to find her mysteriously kidnapped best friend Zask.
I need to write 1667 words per day to reach 50,000 words by the end of November. Luckily I just taught myself touch typing in August so it's getting easier and faster to write almost at the rate my mind churns stuff out than it was before!!! I am sort-of-touch-typing currently up to about 30-40wpm, so not too bad.
This month coincides with my annual Christmas art exhibition (see http://www.artatheart.com.au/) so my daily routine starts with writing for a couple of hours followed by a full day in the gallery.
I can't believe my luck in finding such an ideal life, really, sometimes I have to pinch myself.
Postscript Dec 2010:
Not a bad start for my first year... I have definitely got into the daily writing habit, and have a good feel of what it's like to write in bulk!
At the end of November I managed to make it to about 42,500 words (the NaNo website was clagged up on the last day so I couldn't update the number). I didn't make it to the 50,000 but I did pretty well for the first go at it. The book is really fun, I've renamed it 'Kat and the SpaceBlaster'. I plan to finish the 50,000 words in December and then start editing.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
We are opening up our new little studio gallery on our property at Bellbowrie for the first time this November, for a month-long Christmas exhibition called "Tiny Treasures". The exhibition will feature lots of LITTLE paintings for TINY prices in a SMALL friendly gallery.
It will be open every day of November. You can get a copy of the invitation to print and share if you click here.
Here is what the front of the invitation looks like:
Postscript Dec 2010:
Well, an amazing outcome from the Christmas exhibition 'Tiny Treasures' - I sold 43 paintings, (wow) ranging from $40 to $6000. That was the best exhibition result yet, in my third year of solo exhibitions! Met lots of new clients, and have lots of new fans, especially in the local area, who are now aware to the lovely little gallery right in their own suburb. The gallery will be open all year round by appointment (call us on 07 3202 9991 first before visiting).
Monday, October 11, 2010
I used to work in the mining industry training people in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and mine sites in remote locations all around Australia. I taught drafters, surveyors and engineers how to use AutoCAD, a computer aided design (CAD) software package that allows people to draw engineering drawings on a computer instead of on a drawing board.
I speak a little Bahasa Indonesia (the Indonesian language) and gave classes speaking in Indonesian every day at the Irian Jaya Freeport Gold Mine at 13,000 feet above sea level. The mine employed 15,000 men, and perhaps a dozen women, none of them in the mine itself. Needless to say everywhere I went I had a security escort and the men's toilet had to be cleared of miners before the guest female (me) could use it. Of course there was no wearing perfume, makeup, or any clothing that showed too much skin or the shape of any female lumpy bits. My outfit was khaki baggy clothes, steel-capped boots, and hardhat.
Irian Jaya is on the Eastern-most island of the Indonesian archipelago, along with PNG. Going into the remote jungle there is honestly like stepping back in time hundreds of years…
Here is a photo of me in the highlands with the chief of the local tribe. He had to wipe his nose and pick it vigorously before fitting his bone for the photo. His "koteka" gourd for his, shall we say, modesty? is a common appearance in tribes there.
I trained with the most splitting headache imaginable every day, because we had to get up at 4am every morning at 7,000 ft above sea level and drive up to the base of the cable car that took us up to 13,000 ft where the mine engineering offices were. Travelling these extreme altitude differences causes the headache, and can be quite dangerous. I used to count the steps on the 3 flights of stairs up into the office because it was absolutely exhausting to go up them when the oxygen was so low.
Here's a photo of me wearing my NON-catwalk outfit, and my gracious trainees.
I trained workers in Porgera Gold Mine in the highlands of PNG a week before a massive riot ended up in people being hurt, raped and buildings and vehicles trashed. The next job the drafters had with their new AutoCAD skills was to design and build a machine gun tower to protect the compound from the rioters.
In Porgera many of the natives chew the narcotic betel nut, you can tell because their teeth and lips are all bright red. The most important corporate rule in PNG is that if you have an accident with your car and you hit a piccaninny or a pig, then the company flies you straight out of the country the very same day (truly!). Those are the two most valuable things to the tribes. ("Piccaninny" means child)
I am always thankful to the senior engineer who demanded all the workers remove their pin-up posters from around the walls before the honoured trainer guest came. This was not always the case at many Australian mine sites I went to… and there is no amount of swearing you can shock me with after the blue language that I have heard every day at these places!