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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

And Christmas has been and gone ...

So. What’s happened in my life since December 18?

December 22: Thursday: Recovering from Stocktake. Had a colleague over from Australia for 3 days. I really really dislike stocktake. DH and I got taken to dinner at a fantastic steak restaurant on Monday night by said colleague. Not coping at all well with Stocktake, Dad, and Christmas looming. DH commented yesterday that I was looking very close to a panic attack - too much coming down on me all at once - he knows the signs.

As far as I’m concerned, Christmas is pretty much cancelled. The kids had put the tree up, but it wasn’t decorated, and no decorations inside; no presents; will shop Saturday evening and get a couple of chickens to roast, some good ham, a pavlova and strawberries. Sunday we'll get mum from the rest home, and have a nice lunch. That's about it. It's all just too hard. I feel like I need a haircut - my fringe is going in my eyes.

Today (so far) DH left for work 0530; repeatedly woken by wooing dog (Dads) from then on (no, you can’t have any more blasted painkillers); gave up and got up 0900; fed dogs n cats; drove son to work; made breakfast for 3; catch up with emails, fb and pf. Next: Shower, bath dogs n father; DO SOME PAINTING! take father to orthopaedic surgeon n get him xrayed. Come home and collapse.

Last night I cut out a stamp using foam coreboard – crash and burn.

The pink sculpy stuff works so much better.

Dec 23: Friday: Very busy day at work - didn't finish till 4.30. Got to spend 10 minutes lying on the floor at work while the big colour copier was printing - nice! Had to get DH to go home and tend Dad - son's off to work, and Dad has a physio appt, and I'm not leaving DD to look after him by herself.

Very low 'give a shit' factor today.

Got some painting done last night, and we (well, kids and I) actually decorated tree and lounge - pretty pretty shiny shiny.




Great evening at a friend's birthday - they had a chocolate fountain - creamy blue cheese, banana and chocolate - nom nom nom. And the lads had a whisky tasting session!

Dec 24: Saturday: Got up at 0530 this morning to go to the flea market - picked up a couple of WASGIG puzzles for DD, and some bits and pieces for me. Home to bed for a couple of hours. Then a visit to my favourite toy store - Mitre 10 Mega Hardware - aarrrroooo!

D got some paintbrushes, a pottle of test paint and some vinyl tiles, while I got brushes n cheap paint. Also got a couple of glo-stick torches for the kids. Then shopping - argh, only moderately bad. I've since had a nap, and now there's a big roast pork on for dinner - yummy!

I'm doing a acrylic painting class on-line, that uses a lot of Paynes Gray Golden Fluid Acrylic - at $12 for a 1fl oz bottle - I got some Sullivans All Purpose Acrylic "Grey Blue" which isn't nearly as dark, but is only $4 for 2 fl oz.

This is the start of my first exercise, blending colours:



Dec 25: Aargh - I can't eat another thing! Roast chicken with salad, potato salad, ham, pavlova, cream, strawberries and orange cake for lunch. Sprung my mum from the rest home for the day, and my son's friend turned up, so 6 for lunch.

Darn - ham had 'ingredient list'. Serious stomach cramps!

2040 now, ready to settle down and watch some telly - maybe Lie to Me or Criminal Minds - my brain is too tired to care.

It's been a lovely day, which we've taken slowly. Kids have money, and want to go to the Boxing Day sales tomorrow. Me, I'd rather stay at home and paint.

Dec 26: Spent most of Monday tidying my studio - before and after:















Dec 27: Lovely Wednesday morning here. Wind's a bit gusty, but ok.

Had a 'bitsy' day. Read a bit of both my textbooks; went to the mall and did a bit of shopping knickers n socks - boring!); calligraphy pen to practice writing Hebrew; pies for lunch; played with my new DBK stencil plastic, and cut out some letter/number stencils - great stuff; did a bit of stamping with my newly made stamps - pics to follow.

###

Washed dogs, showered Dad, made lunch. Now waiting for Dad to say he’s ready to go to the Library – only 1 book left! Caught up on FB and Painting Friends. Oh – look, we’re going!

Got heaps of books (one even looks interesting), supermarket (got the RIGHT disposable razors, I hope), chemist for makeup sponges. Home again.

Back out to vets: 2 dogs, 1 x cat vaccinated, back in 3 weeks for a top-up. There’s been problems with this product. Sigh. $400 – but at least it wasn’t OUR money.

And suddenly it's 1700.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Becca's Short Story: Trust

[2011: Highly Commended]

Trust

John slept.

He slept a long, deep sleep from which no-one could waken him.

And in this sleep, he dreamed.

He stood on black stone, a high cliff in a mountain range of the dark rock. In front of him yawned a chasm, over which stretched a dark wooden bridge, just wide enough for one of his feet, without rails or ropes, that disappeared into thick, clinging fog. The cliff he was standing on was a platform, millions of miles off the ground. There was no sound, no wind, no animal calls, only the click, click, click, of John’s claws as he moved around the platform.

CLAWS?!

John examined himself frantically. He was wearing loose white trousers and a long-sleeved shirt. He was covered in smooth, dark green scales and each finger and toe was tipped with a sharp, black claw. When he touched his head, he found he had short horns protruding from his ordinary short, black hair and a long, arrow-tipped tail. Even his ears were different, looking like those of a dragon. What had he become? Not human, he knew that for sure. Fear flooded through him. Where was he? What was going on?

Greetings. I am Sigoshia.

I am Makidos.

You are Dreaming. To awaken you must cross the Chasm of Souls.


I will take you across the bridge.

Makidos, I shall take him.

“What on earth are you things?”

Fear not, John. We will not hurt you.


The two spirits circled John. Sigoshia was a glowing white-scaled beast with a long crocodile-like snout full of sharp teeth, four taloned fingers on each hand and a body that ended in a long serpentine tail with spines running down her back. She had pitch-dark, long, silky hair that ran down her back, and glowing white horns protruding from her hair. The short horns curved backwards into points. Her coal-black eyes with white slit-pupils promised safety and peace. Makidos was a copy of her, but in reversed colours. His black scales seemed to radiate darkness and his hair was short and glowing white, the horns black. His forbidding eyes glowed white with black slit-pupils. Still, there was something about him that seemed... protective? Something made John think that Makidos was more trustworthy than the white spirit.

Walk to the bridge, John. I shall guide you across.

John headed to the bridge, his claws clicking on the dark stone. He knew he had to cross it, and Makidos was offering to keep him safe on it, but there was something about the black-scaled spirit seemed not quite right.

No, John. Makidos is not to be trusted. He will make you fall! Let me guide you?

Will you listen to this witch? Who do you trust, John? Me? Or He spat the word, her?

John spun around, his gaze meeting each of their eyes in turn.

“Which of you is truly trustworthy? You both deny the other’s worth, so whom can I trust?”

Me. they said at once as they circled John, who stood on the edge of the precipice. John sighed. “Then the only way to find out,” he said, turning to the bridge, “Is to cross.” Makidos bared his teeth in a grin and floated out over the chasm.

Come, John. Cross with me.

He extended a taloned hand to John as Sigoshia glided to the other side of the bridge. John stepped on to the bridge, placing one clawed foot in front of the other, making slow, careful steps on the wood, arms out to counterbalance himself as the spirits floated to either side of him. He focused on his feet, careful not to misplace them, as this would cause him to fall. Wind whipped his clothes against his body. Distracted by a twinkle in the abyss, his eyes focused on the depths and he realised how high up he really was. This made him dizzy and swung him off balance, making him lean drastically to one side. Makidos seized his chance, swooping in to grab John’s wrist and hefting him off the bridge to dangle over the chasm. John screamed and squirmed in Makidos’s iron grip, but the spirit was too strong.

Now I shall finally be free! All I needed was a dreamer’s soul, and now I have one! You can do nothing to stop me now, Sigoshia!

The female spirit screeched in anger as Makidos hoisted John up to his face and reached for his chest, right where his heart was. Sigoshia swooped down to Makidos and wrapped her tail around his neck. She jerked back and he let out a strangled gasp, letting go of John’s wrist. He plunged into the depths of the Chasm of Souls, and around him he could see the faces of other Dreamers lost to the abyss. Sigoshia plummeted towards him and grabbed his tail, throwing him up and catching him under his arms.

I told you that Makidos was not to be trusted. Too many Dreamers have been lost to the abyss because of his kind.


She carried him back to the bridge and set him down carefully.
“Thank you, Sigoshia. I did not know whom to trust earlier, as you both denied the other. If ever I go through this again, I will know to trust you.”

John continued along the bridge, step by step, until Sigoshia started hissing at something. He looked up to see Makidos with his serpentine coils wrapped around the bridge.

You have not won yet, Sigoshia.

She glared at Makidos and replied.

Why do you not just give up, Makidos? You have not taken a soul from me yet, and you never will.

I will take a soul! This soul! I am not staying in this place any longer!

So you would destroy this soul and hurt many others for yourself?
Makidos growled and unwrapped his coils from the bridge. I will not listen to you!

He dove for John and knocked him off the bridge with his tail. John screamed as Makidos grabbed him again and reached for his heart. Time seemed to slow down, and in panic John scratched at Makidos’s arm, somehow managing to slide one of his claws under the scales to pierce the soft flesh beneath. Makidos screeched and let go, and John fell, down, down, down, into the mists of faces near the bottom. “Sigoshia! Help me!”He cried, and then the spirit was beside him, chasing him down. Reach for me, John. John stretched out his arm and Sigoshia grabbed it. She swished her tail and shot out of the abyss, up, up, up. She reached the bridge and placed John gently down on it. I will protect you from Makidos, John. I will not let you fall.

“Thank you, Sigoshia.”

Keep walking. You must get across the bridge as quickly as possible.

John continued, one foot in front of the other.

Suddenly, he was blind.

He looked up and around him. He had reached the fog. It was so thick that he couldn’t even see his hands out to either side of him, or most of his lower legs. “Sigoshia! I can’t see!” Her glowing eyes and scales were just visible through the fog, but her soft, flowing voice was dulled. It will be hard to see for some time. Until then, place your feet so that the claws of one foot touch the heel of the other. You will not be able to see it, but you will feel it. John followed her advice and kept walking, making slow progress while Sigoshia followed beside him. A deep growl sounded from the fog and Makidos shot past. The strong wind from his passing knocked John off balance. He cried out, dug his claws into the bridge, thrust out his arms, flicked his tail and eventually righted himself with help from Sigoshia, who held on to his hand. As soon as she saw he was all right, Sigoshia told him to continue walking. She then dived into the fog with a hiss. Probably going to fight Makidos, John thought. He resumed his walk across the bridge and continued, uninterrupted, until he was out of the fog. But where was Sigoshia? John turned around and peered into the clinging greyness, but it was so thick that he could not see anything. Could something have happened to the friendly, white spirit? Perhaps Makidos had... No! John shook his head to clear it of unwanted thoughts. “Sigoshia! Sigoshia?” He called, apprehensive. There was no answer. John didn’t want to continue walking until he was sure that Sigoshia was safe. Just then, a pair of glowing eyes was visible through the fog and Sigoshia drifted out to float next to John.

Hello again. That flowing voice seemed strained, as though she was finding it hard to get her words out. “I’m so glad you’re okay,” John said, relieved. “But... is there something wrong with your voice? It sounds... strange.”

Oh, it’s nothing. You should keep walking- Makidos might attack at any moment.

John nodded his agreement and proceeded. He made much quicker progress now that he had left the fog behind. Sigoshia glided beside him and, though his eyes were not focused on her, he realised something about the way she moved was... different. John dismissed it as nothing, and they continued.

John walked. Sigoshia drifted. There was silence.

Walking, walking, walking. John wondered if it was ever going to end.

Then John put his foot down on... air?

He jumped back with a shout of surprise. The bridge had suddenly broken off! There was nothing there! A deep, maniacal laugh sounded from behind John. It was Makidos’ laugh! John spun around to see the so-called “Sigoshia” shedding white scales to reveal black ones underneath. Long, black hair shortened and turned white, and suddenly Makidos floated in Sigoshia’s place.

I can’t believe you fell for it! I thought you would see through my disguise instantly, but it seems I overestimated you. Now, you’re mine!

Makidos lunged for John, teeth bared and claws outstretched. Time slowed down... all seemed hopeless...

Then John saw a flash of white over his attacker’s shoulder...

And he was sent flying as the white spirit barrelled into him. John turned somersaults in the air as the broken bridge and the two spirits faded into the distance.

Then, Sigoshia’s call...

Turn around!

And Makidos’ cry of anger as John spun around, outstretched hands ready to grab the ledge just behind him...

Smack.

John sat up in bed, startled.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

A cardiograph beeped loudly.

John held out his hands. For a moment, they were covered in green scales, each finger tipped with a sharp, black claw... then John blinked, and they were normal, soft, nailed human hands.

John touched his head, and found he had short horns protruding from it... then he touched it again. There were no horns, only hair. He felt his ears- but no, they were not pointed. They were very ordinary, very round, and very, very human. John did not flick his tail in surprise. He had no tail. He was perfectly normal! In his own, human shape! What had happened?

Beep. Beep. Beep.

John gazed around the hospital room. It was mainly unadorned, but there was a table beside the bed. On it was a vase of wilting flowers and a few cards. He picked up a card at random. On the front was a drawing of what may have been a man in a hospital bed. There was a lot of heavily applied glitter. Above the drawing of the man, written in the scrawl of a six-year-old, was “Git wel soone, /unkil/ uncle John!”

The writing inside was nearly indecipherable, but John eventually made out...

“I now yoo ar very sik, but Mummy says yool git beta soone. I now Mummy is telling da truth, becas she always dus. I now yool be beta. Trust me. From Susie.

John looked up from the card, and thought he could see a pair of eyes with glowing white pupils watching him through the window in the top of the door...

Becca's Short Story: Rain

[Winner of Intermediate Section, Western Districts Short Story Competition, 2010 - open to all New Zealand Writers]


Rain plays with my mind.

It makes me see things that aren’t there, and twists around things that are there. It whispers to me, making me hear things that aren’t making any noise, and drowning out any noise already there. Where I live, which of course you know, there’s the rainy season and the less-rainy season. There’s no such thing as light drizzles, only torrential downpours. Naturally, I don’t have a raincoat or an umbrella.

I’m sure this doesn’t happen to other people. No-one ever walks home with me from school any more. They probably think I’m crazy. I don’t care. The teacher makes them be nice to me at school, but after school all pretence of kindness is gone and they avoid me. I’m completely alone walking home; I take a path that no-one else takes. But I’m better off alone. Friends and companions have a tendency to leave you behind. I’m done with friends. I’m fine without anybody. Just me... And the rain...
~~~~~~~
I was walking home. It was raining hard-out, as usual. As soon as I was out of sight of anyone, the visions started. The concrete path and buildings to either side of me faded away, to be replaced by grassland stretching as far as the eye could see in any direction. The grass was up to my knees. There was a rustling in the grass and I could see long stalks parting. Oh great, what is it this time? I continued walking as the rustling thing got closer and closer. After a while I turned around, curious, and a dark shape, sort of like a dog, leapt out at me from the grass with a rruff. I let out an involuntary scream as it pounced on me, driving me to the ground. It stood on me and growled, baring its shiny white teeth. I screamed again and grabbed the dog’s leg, hurling it off me. It was light as a feather and its fur was smooth and silky. I heard a snap as my fingers closed around its leg, and another as it hit the ground. It lay there moaning as I got up, panting. I heard more rustling in the grass and a number of barks. There were more of the dogs! I bolted, dashing through the long grass as the dogs chased me. This was a first, as none of the things I had imagined in the rain had actually touched me before, and none of them had ever chased me. I heard the dogs panting, getting closer, and I sped up, thanking my P.E. teacher for making me run all those laps around the field. It did me good after all. Finally, the grassland started to fade and the concrete alleyway came back, the howls and barks of the dogs trailing off to nothing. I was safe - for now, at least.
~~~~~~~
“Well? Can you answer that question?”

I jerked out of my daydream and yelled, “Paris!” The teacher seemed puzzled.

“Uh, correct,” she said uncertainly as the bell rang for the end of school. She brightened up and said, “Have a safe, fun weekend, class! I’ll see you on Monday!” She rubbed various diagrams and instructions off the whiteboard as the students cleared things off their desks and stacked their chairs, the buzz of conversation filling the previously silent classroom. It was the next day, Friday. As I headed out of the classroom, I realised it was no ordinary weekend. It was the weekend of the fair! I loved the fair; the hustle and bustle of the crowds, the games, the strange and wonderful acts, the attractions like the typical Hall of Mirrors, and the rides. The fair was on all weekend, and I was going to go on both days. I couldn’t help wondering if it would rain or not, and if it did, what would happen? I pushed that thought from my mind and focused on being excited. It wouldn’t rain. No way.

Just then, it started to rain.

I had to put up with being soaked for a couple of minutes until I was back in the alley, out of sight, before the visions started.

The rain fell harder and harder until I couldn’t see anything, and when it calmed down I was in a small room, open to the sky, but when I tried to walk towards the walls they seemed to get further and further away. I heard a hissing noise behind me and spun around. There was another one of the solid shadows, this one like a giant python with glistening white fangs and tiny red glowing dots for eyes. It hissed and reared up, towering high above me. I screamed, spun around, and bolted. Though I was running at full speed, the snake effortlessly caught up and slithered around me, forcing me to stop before I ran into its jet-black coils. It raised its head until its scarlet, twinkling eyes were level with mine and hissed, BEWARE!
The snake and the room faded back into deserted concrete buildings and grey rain, and I collapsed, panting. When I had caught my breath I stood up, trying not to think of those red eyes which bore into your soul and your mind and consumed you from the inside out, revealing every lie you had ever told, every petty crime you had committed, and making you feel so guilty you could cry. I shivered and kept walking, trying to think of the fair and how much fun it would be.

It wasn’t working.
~~~~~~~
I woke up early the next morning and left for the fair around eight. Instead of the usual downpour, there was just thick grey stratus stretching across the sky. Not many people I knew had seen a sunny day before. But still, rainclouds without rain is better than rainclouds with rain, and I was willing to put up with it. When I arrived at the area on the outskirts of town where the fair was, there was already a crowd and everything was there. Once in through the gates I fell into the crowd, knowing my pockets were full of money and I had the entire day to enjoy the fair. As I walked through the streets between stalls and attractions, a single, colourful sign caught my eye. It read:

Madam Ovarei
Fortune Teller
Fortunes for low prices!

I really hate Fortune Tellers. The whole talking-with-the-spirits thing creeps me out. But something made me pull open the curtain of the purple-and-brown tent and step inside into the incense-laden air.

“Hello, little girl. Would you like Madam Ovarei to tell your fortune?”

I jumped at the voice in the shadows, but I realised it was coming from the little old woman sitting at the table in front of me.

“Uh... no... yes... sort of?” I said cautiously.

The woman smiled and gestured for me to sit down. I did so, but I was still unsure of why I wanted my fortune told. I found that the chair made my eyes level with hers. She examined me closely for a few minutes before asking, “What colour are your eyes, child?”

“Blue,” I answered, “Light blue.”

“No. They are grey.”

“Grey?”

She held up a small hand mirror, and I gasped. My eyes were grey.

“How...?” I began, but she interrupted, “The rain, child. You have seen the rain. Not the rain itself, but what hides inside it. And you are afraid of the rain. You should not be. Tell Madam Ovarei what you have seen.” She leaned forward to listen.

I wanted to say no. I wanted to walk away. But something about this nice old lady, who knew what my problem was and wanted to help me, made me forget my doubts and trust her.

So I spent two whole hours telling her about everything I had seen, how I walked alone, how nothing turned out right. When I had finished she said, “Don’t be afraid of the rain creatures. They represent your feelings, so when you are angry and frustrated, they are too. Make friends with them and your life will be easier. And one more thing: never, ever-”

And then it started to rain.

Madam Ovarei yelled something and grabbed for me, but faded away into the impenetrable, grey wall of driving rain. I was forced to my knees, gulping for air. It was raining so hard I breathed water. As my vision blurred I thought I could make out tiny red dots in the wall of rain. I felt like I weighed a ton and my lungs were being crushed under my own weight.

Anger. Frustration. Loneliness.

Not my own weight - the weight of my feelings. I had gone too long with nobody. Too long with my feelings bottled up inside me.
Friends.

I needed a friend. Someone to talk to. I suddenly realised the rain had calmed. I could breathe again. As soon as my chest had stopped hurting, I stood up. Somehow, I was in that old concrete alleyway again, the one I walk home through. I leaned against one of the old buildings and thought.
~~~~~~~
It was Monday again. When I had gone back to the fair on Sunday, Madam Ovarei hadn’t been there. The teacher was saying something, so I listened. “Everyone, this is Annabel. She used to live all the way on the other side of the world, and she just moved here. She’s going to be going to school here now,” She gave me a meaningful glance, “So you all need to make her feel welcome. Everyone say, ‘Hi, Annabel’.”

“Hi, Annabel,” The class droned.

Drrrrring, Drrrrring,

“Have a good Morning Tea, class.”

Everyone packed up their stuff and took out their snacks, chatting to each other. I headed over to Annabel. She looked shy and worried, like someone who needed a friend.

“Hi, Annabel,” I said, sticking out my hand, “Nice to meet ya. You look like someone who could use a good friend,” I added as she shook it timidly.

“Yeah,” She replied in the soft voice of one who doesn’t usually talk, “I think I do need a friend.”

I grinned at her. That grin meant everything.

“Sure,” she said with a smile. We walked out of class together. I looked at her when we were outside and noticed something.

“Hey, Annabel, you got an umbrella or a raincoat?”

“No.”

“What colour are your eyes?”

“Light blue. Isn’t it obvious?”

“Mine were too.”

“Were...?”

“I’m Storm, Annabel, and welcome to the Rain Country.”

Just then, it started to rain.

“Storm, why are we in a meadow now?”

The grass rustled and long stalks parted. “Don’t worry, they’re friendly,” I said as she grabbed my arm. I still took a step back.

“What are they?” asked Annabel.

“Depends, actually. AAAH!” I screamed as a dog-thing jumped out of the grass and landed on me. This time, it licked my face with a rose-pink tongue. “Hey! Stop that!” I yelled. Annabel giggled. “Oh, so you think it’s funny?” I pushed the dog off me and it ran straight for Annabel, jumping on her and licking her. “Ew! Get off me! Yuck!” I giggled and pulled it off her. She got up and spat.

“Uck! What is that thing?” I grinned at her.

“I think it’s a dog, but I’m not too sure exactly what it is.” As I said this, it squirmed in my arms and licked my face again. Annabel stared at it. It stared back and smiled, flashing its white teeth. “You have a lot of explaining to do.” Annabel said.

“Where should I start?”

“First, what the heck happened to the school?”

Monday, 12 December 2011

Where have the days gone?

The days have flown past. On November 23rd I was diagnosed with Pernicious Anaemia - Vitamin B12 deficiency. Symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, and other interesting things. This explained so much. Falling asleep in the car park for an hour, always being totally exhausted, hurting all over all the time, eating pain killers like lollies.

Three B12 shots, a week apart, have worked a miracle. I've also been seeing a fantastic Neuromuscular Therapist, Doreen Seager, recommended by my friend Drew in Texas (LOL - 4 degrees of separation!) She's managing to reduce the pain when no-one else has. I'm less sore, less tired, I have more energy, more enthusiasm. It's fantastic.

Yahweh is amazing in his timing. College is over, essay is done. Alex is here, working part time at Crystal Mountain. On 29 November I had my final B12 shot (till March); 30 November my Diabetic Eye check - perfect; 1 December I had my first session with Doreen. That night I got a call to say dad had fallen and broken his right patella. I spent the night at his place, and brought him home on the Friday. There was no way he was going to be able to look after himself.

This past week and a half has been very challenging for the whole family. But God is good. I couldn't have coped with any of this 3 weeks ago. While I'm still very tired (sleep deprivation not helping), the timing is actually really good. It's only a couple of weeks to Christmas, when David and I will be on holiday. Alex can look after Bill most days, and I can take leave on the 2 days he can't. It's hard to cope with Dad giving orders, and repeating them over and over; with him swearing at me in his frustration; with him acting like a 12 year old, not the 82 year old he actually is.

Tyler is part of the package. I spent $600 of dad's money at the vet - full blood screen, urine test, Joint Diet food, 4 Pentosan injections, painkillers and consultation. A couple of days later another $100 to get him clipped. He's a much happier dog now.






I did manage to get one piece done for a christmas card exchange:





I have no energy for art - my creativity is being squashed by the constant pressure of dealing with dad - I want to paint, to make art, but can't drum up the energy - and the days just aren't long enough. I want to work on the lessons from the Hot Wax workshop I've just done.

Tomorrow, Becca gets an award at the Academic Prizegiving. I will find out how I did on my OT Intro paper - an A- or an A? I'm having another go at starting to learn Hebrew over the holiday period. I can get the books thru the second-hand book sales at Laidlaw.

In January, the Plaster workshop starts with some of the Hot Wax group - I'm looking forward to that.

By the end of January, Dad should be back in his own home, and my life may return to normal.

College starts back up in March - Intro to the New Testament, then Theology.

Lots of things to look forward to.

Lord, I know your eyes are watching over me, I am not invisible. Let me fulfill your will, not my own.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Harvest Church Camp


We spent the weekend at the Peter Snell Youth Camp, up in Whangaparaoa - 27 acres, with 20 of those covered in bush. The weather couldn't make up its mind - it would go from brilliant sunshine to freezing cold and back again - a low of at least 12C thanks to the sou-westerly wind.

Picked up dinner on Friday night at a Roast Dinner place in Whangaparaoa village - very very yummy, with extra crackling. Once everyone had arrived, we made our way to the hall, where we had a bit of a worship session, then went outside to watch the fireworks. Once it was dark, and the littlies were in bed, they put on a movie - "Holy Roller" - truly dire Aussie production, with lots of kiwi actors. We decided it would be more fun to go to bed early and read.

Saturday started far too early - the ladies showers were right beside my bunk, on the other side of a paper-thin wall. We were also on breakfast-setup and serving. I looked at the food laid out and had a little cry - there was NOTHING I could safely eat - and then they brought out something that was alleged to be porridge. Ok. That would do. Not a happy pixie. Got a text from our neighbor – the dogs had done a runner. David went home to find them, and make sure the house was secure.

After breakfast I met up with Lindsay and we planned out what we were doing for the womens' devotional session. We'd both run out of time during the previous weeks, so I'd photocopied the workshop on Pressure from our Weekend to Remember/Family Life booklets. Everyone seemed to enjoy the devo, and it sounds like I did ok - sort of semi-nervous – worrying about my doggies didn’t help.

Lunch was good - wraps, so more choice. The staff at camp are a miserable bunch - I think they have an allergy to smiling. In the afternoon there were activities - climbing wall/abseiling, shooting with air rifles (yeah, I can still shoot! lots of fun) and they had their huge waterslide going. Some of the people going down actually got airborne.

Dinner … how do you make baked chicken legs soggy? Don’t know, but the spuds were nice – had 2 helpings. Best thing about dinner were the boiled spuds - the chicken legs looked like they'd been boiled. After dinner was "Camp Idol" - only 5 families had a skit - we were among the many who hadn't. They were all very good, very clever. The Brown's won, with a song written by Alistair. Played cards with Deb, Azariah and Julia – Deb and Azariah were far too good. I didn’t have a clue. Collapsed into my bunk exhausted.

Sunday we were up early. Managed to organize lyrics for Worship. It was a really awesome church meeting, hearing Marcia’s testimony. Felt a bit strange to be worshiping God in a building with a cross on the wall. So ready to go home – my back was hurting, and I was over people.

Doggies were pleased to see us, and cats were lining up to be fed.
I love going away, but I love coming home even more. Thank you Lord for all my blessings.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Numbering Our Days


This has been what I would call a ‘Spirit Inspired’ piece. I’ve been working on an essay for college on the function of prophecy from the Old Testament monarchial period (ie Saul and David), through to the New Testament, and its applications for today’s church.

The numbers 7 and 14 kept coming up as sacred and powerful. Then they started coming up in lessons at college, in sermons, on the radio. Then the phrase ‘numbering our days’ started popping up. When I googled that phrase, Psalm 139 was listed. Verses 7 and 14 of this psalm are:

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Wow – OK. That works for me. My text didn’t go down well, then I nuked it with the torch, and forgot to put white silk paper underneath. I also put a fish on it. The fish was not an ‘inspired’ addition, and it looked out of place.

I scraped away the fish and the text, put down the silk paper and text again, and stopped. Prayed for inspiration.

Heard an interview with a songwriter/musician Debbie Shepherd for her new album 139 – from Psalm 139. Picked up a booklet by Derek Prince, “The Holy Spirit in You”. Opened it up to read:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

Flipped back to the previous page, where it was talking about God’s spirit as being likened to a dove or an eagle … doves have always seemed to me more like dinner than something that can see into the depths … so, an EAGLE! Thank you Lord.

So tonight, with a bit of luck, I can get the harrier hawk laid down before we take off to Bible Study (doing Toxic Religion tonight!), and perhaps even upload a photo.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Happy happy retail therapy

Just finished lunch - honey-soy chicken nibbles, Moroccan carrot and Greek salads - yum. Topped off with fresh grapes and a wee nibble of Turkish delight. A truly Mediteranean lunch. YUM YUM YUM.

Went to the mall to buy some boysenberry cheesecakes - the containers are just the right size as dog-bikkie scoops, and our local supermarket doesn't stock them! Found an 'oven thermometer' that will sit flat on the griddle - hooray. Also got some masking tape and (baby) mineral oil. I really shouldn't use IPA to remove paperfluff from my transfers, lol, coz it takes the toner with it!

I also popped into the art shop, and scored two tubes of paint - Alizarine Permanent Crimson, and an awesome violet (they're in the car, so I can't check the name). They didn't have any large loop tools - maybe next week I can get to another shop and find one, coz the one I have is far too small!

Yesterday was a long day. Lecture in the morning, and I kept nodding off during the second period. Was better once I got coffee. Recently my car has started stalling at intersections, so I thought maybe the new battery was dying. I left Laidlaw ok, left the sushi shop ok, but when I came to leave David's work, the car wouldn't start. Nice AA man came eventually - no, not the battery - the starter motor is dead. Fortunately I was only about 10 feet away from a garage, so he gave me a jumpstart and I drove around 2 parked cars and into the service-bay.

By the time the car was sorted out, there was no way I was going to get to work - it was already after 1400. So I spent the afternoon sitting on the couch at David's work, studying - argh, yes, really!

We got home by around 1630, so I went straight in and turned on the heat. I had a Spirit inspired piece that needed to be done - and boy it went well. Pictures and more info either tonight or tomorrow.

Oh, and David is bringing my car home, so hopefully it's not too expensive!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Waxing Lyrical

The top priority for the past couple of weeks has been my essay for college. I realised at 1500 on Saturday afternoon that the word count had footnotes switched on - so I suddenly had to write an extra 800 words, that I'd carefully edited out earlier. But now, it's done, posted on the college website - hooray.

And here's a link to the essay.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm about a week behind on Judy Wise's 'Hot Wax' class - I've watched all the video's, but haven't had a chance to play with it, due to the essay deadline. I have got involved in some very interesting discussions, and looked various encaustic artists work, and other students (some of them artists in their own right), work.

Cooking up refined beeswax and damar resin on the kitchen cooktop at night was fun but stinky - it went all bubbly! Cooking up natural beeswax and damar during the daytime resulted in the house filling with bees again - all very dopey, but still dangerous for me. Every bee that was out the back on the flowers came looking for the wax - nom nom nom. David had the priviledge of herding them back out.

Mixing Pigments
I'd squeezed out 7 different colours of oilpaints (12 ml tubes) onto paper towels on the Friday night, thinking I would have a bit of time on Saturday morning - yeah, right. I think the extra sitting time actually did them good, because the towel was soaked with oil, while the paint formed long dry strings that were relatively easy to pick up and put in the tins.

It wasn't until Sunday afternoon that I got the time to pour the hot liquid medium into the cans - it took a couple of spills to realise that it would be a good idea to put the little cans into a bigger metal tray so cleanup would be easier. Oh, and I picked up at least one can and burned myself - darned if I could find the oven mitts.

Oven Mitts (and missing brushes) found Monday afternoon - in the coloured plastic bins on the scotch chest - labelled them now!

I was originally going to transfer the coloured medium into little silicon pattypans, but found this left a puddle of pigment in the bottom of the cans - grr. Sounds like this is a common problem, as the 'proper' pigments are milled very fine when they make the encaustic blocks. Anyway, I poured all the colours back into their cans, with the rest of their pigment.

One of the group members (Don, I think) commented that if he wants a more translucent colour, he doesn't stir the wax, and just dips his brush in the top layer, and for a more opaque colour, goes right to the bottom.

I realised this evening that I've squeezed out all my coloured pigments, so now can't do 'rubbings' which is one of the later classes. I've rescued most of the tubes from the rubbish - maybe I can squeeze a little more out.

Making Raised Spots/Dots
After looking at the work of Eileen Greenberg, I thought it would be fun to try her technique, which involves lots and lots of white lumps/dots/spots in a grid pattern, with colour washed over them. Sigh. I made a template - the holes were too small, and I didn't push all the centres out, the white medium wouldn't stick to the board, blah blah blah.

Anyway, this is what it looks like:
Before


After


There are about 7 layers of wax in this. The worst thing is scraping it all back off, and putting it in the 'mud' can for recycling. Not sure if 'excavation' does it for me.

Next thing to try is accretion, which I'll do round the edges as a border.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We finally shifted the big wooden bookshelf that we got from a friend out of the entry hall and into the Studio. This meant untidying, then tidying. There are still a few remaining piles around the edges that need sorting, but it's less worse.

Here's David cleaning the wall where my 'display wall' used to be:



Kama and Tara *Helping*


The untidied version


The tidied version

FRESH VEG
I now have a 'vege garden'. The waka is overgrown, and needs a massive digging over - metre high dock, and lots of california poppy - and BEES!

I bought some bags of vegemix and strawberry mix, and a few punnets of seedlings:





Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Encaustic Crackle Class

Is all set to begin. I just watched the first lesson on using blow torches!

Arrroooo! love those flame throwers! I've been using a tiny little 'penlite' soldering iron. While it's been great for little pieces, it's very frustrating on bigger stuff. However, hiding in the garage is a mid-sized gas torch, similar to the brand recommended by Linda, that I bought a number of years ago, but had forgotten about, until hubby mentioned it.

I've got my pearl-ex pigments ($nz40 for set of 12), an electric grill ($50 second hand) (you can't get pancake griddles in NZ - they just look at you blankly in the stores.) I have a couple of white pine pallets from the US, with 7"/18cm wide planks, which I'll dismember, saw up and sand for boards. (And no, so far, no supplier of 'proper' encaustic boards in EnZed.)

So, all ready to go (ish). But no time to do it:
Tuesday - it's already 2030
Wednesday - High School Enrollment Interview, Small group bible study
Thursday - Lecture in the morning, Youth Group/organise posters and stuff for the church gala on Saturday in the evening
Friday - oooh, there's a possibility ...
Saturday - church Gala from 0700 ... sleep in the afternoon, housework
Sunday - church, visit mother, sleep, walk dogs
Work during the daytime, study for Lecture and Essay.

Then, suddenly, it'll be Monday again.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Under a Blue Moon



Encaustic on MDF with controlled shellac burn and image transfer.

Not sure if this is done or not. I want to add a bit more glitz to the moon, but that will have to wait till my Pearl-ex pigments arrive.

Friday, 9 September 2011

A River Runs Thru


Encaustic piece inspired by Linda Womack's Encaustic workshop.

Cork-backed placemat, with tannin dyed fabric, text on tissue and 80gsm paper, dried leaf, 'gold' flake, and, of course, wax.

My original thought was to have a text-based image, but then it just went off on a strange tangent. Some of the colours I have are working out well, and others are just 'blah'. These colours were from the beeswax crayons I bought. The yellow is good, the red is good. But the blue is too anaemic (too much extra wax in the mix?).

Anyway, home early today, so maybe I can have another go.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Be Still ...

And know that I am GOD.



Encaustic on MDF: scripture printed on plastic vellum, fabric backing, found medallion, shell & semi-precious stones, pressed red clover. The clover was fused using refined beeswax, while yellow beeswax is used on the rest of the piece.

Encaustic Collage Workshop

My friend Debbi and her daughter Emily came round to learn how to do encaustic work. We decided that doing a collage would be fun, so they raided my collage collection, and using a couple of placemats, did their design work before waving hot wax around. They mostly used the yellow beeswax, (from Bees R Us) and you can see the lovely golden colour it produces.

The refined beeswax I'd ordered earlier in the week from Lotus Oils arrived on Friday. It was actually cheaper to get 'cosmetic' grade than 'refined' grade, which I thought a bit weird.



Because they used so many small pieces for their collage, I thought we'd try the dipping technique, using a pair of clamps from a surgical kit. This made it reasonably safe for Emily to use. A baking tray of wax is sitting in the electric fry pan in hot water. Because it was relatively cold, we had to keep turning the heat up. The two cans hold wax that's rapidly hardening.









Debbie's finished piece. She's even managed to preserve a piece of tree from the placemat image.



ADDENDUM: The delicious smell of hot beeswax attracted the makers of said product. A swarm of bees arrived in the house, filling the lounge, with some making it into the studio. As both Emily and I are allergic to bees, this was FAR TOO EXCITING. Mr B dealt with the bees in the lounge (although it took several attempts to get rid of everyone), and Deb evicted most of those in the studio. Fortunately they were very dopey and slow moving.

It's a bit worrying for summer tho - there are a number of beehives in the orchard over the road (about a kilometre away), but David thinks they came from closer than that. All the same - me and bees do NOT mix.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Holding on tight ...

far too early in the morning. Buzzy brain this morning, so got up just after Mr B left for work. Turned on all my encaustic gear, the radio, and the heater in the studio.

Printed off some text, and a woman's hands; grabbed some collage pieces, and set to work:


This is on a 12x12cm piece of MDF, undercoated with white acrylic. I coloured the woman's hands and dress with oil pastel and chalk, then started the layering/fusing process.

Spent a bit of quality time chasing little bits of paper around the desk from using the heat gun. Back in bed by 0700, and slept for 1 1/2 hours.

My thoughts behind this piece were that we all have dreams, which we hold onto tightly, but this can be best done with our hands open, as if we were holding onto something delicate, like a butterfly. In the end, it is up to Yahweh whether we accomplish these dreams or not.

Other Stuff
Got my grade from Laidlaw last night - A-minus for the first semester: both essays were A-, and the exam result was 31/40. Wow! Thank you Yahweh, Yeshua for your blessings - I do all things for your glory - thanks for sending some back down on me.

Went into Farmers and picked up a couple of nice knitted tops - one of them Merino, and spent the last of the vouchers.

Then popped into Gordon Harris Art Shop on the way back to work - sounds like no-one in Enzed stocks wax pigments for encaustic work! They offered me powdered pigment, which I declined - that stuff is far too dangerous, and you need special breathing gear to use it. Ended up getting a pack of 12 Honey Sticks - beeswax crayons made in NZ. Only $16.00. They're about 3/4" in diameter, and 2" long. They look like they have a good amount of pigment in them.

Boy oh boy they smell good enough to eat, lol.

Wet Shellac Burn - Fun with flames!

What does one do with one's daughter on a cold winter night, except set fire to 'stuff'!

I bought a small can of liquid shellac (mixed with turpentine), and painted it on a canvas I'd bought at a garage sale. Just the addition of amber shellac changed the 'moon over the sea' image quite dramatically:


Then we used the flamethrower to set the wet shellac alight. Arooooo!


Note: Do not repeat too many times, or you will burn thru the canvas - this is probably best done on a solid surface, as opposed to fabric, lol. Great fun, and an interesting result:


I've also painted some on a glass sheet, and let it dry, to see if I can create some flakes - so far, it's still tacky in the centre, despite the cold weather.

Next experiment will be a dry shellac burn.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Look - I did manage to do something ...

But first ... we watched 3 episodes of 'The Good Wife' back to back last night - what really despicable people feature in this programme - each time we watch one, there's something else that takes our breath away with disbelief. The third episode was the most disturbing for me, I think. A scheduled execution at a prison in Chicago. The warden was a stickler for the rules. The brutality wasn't callous as such, but so very, very calculated. Not justice, but revenge.

Sunday - had a bad nightmare; riding in the back of a truck, which was crossing a mountain road that had 'falling debris' problems. Sitting beside me was a fat old woman who was telling me what a bad person I was for letting my daughter play with the child of Muslim parents - "They're all terrorists, you know! And as for those Jews, well, you know what they're like!" I woke up from this at 0700, and got up and went to do some art for an hour before leaving for church.

I made a monoprint by laying a piece of gladwrap on top of a freshly painted canvas, (greens & yellow) then laying it on a 12x12" piece of scrapbooking paper. Later I repeated this with browns and reds:

It has a quite organic feel to it. And no, I don't know what I'm going to do with it. Yet.

Mr B & I did the worship audio this morning. I took my laptop to church with me, as the church laptop has reached the end of its life, and keeps crashing. It was very satisfying being able to do the powerpoint presentation - both worship and lesson - and record the audio. After church we went out to lunch with friends, to a place called Carriages - old train carriages that are placed between a garden centre and a pond - very pretty, and a good meal too. We then did a little retail therapy in the garden centre - only $4! After that, we were going to go wine-tasting - FAIL! the place was closed. Oh well, another day.

Came home, took the dogs for a walk thru Henderson Park - Tara went splashing thru the mud, so had to bath both of them when we got home. UGH.

Then - play time. I wanted to print some images onto tissue paper. I've never printed onto paper this fine before, and previously, just taping the leading edge of the lighter paper to a heavier carrier page has worked ok. Not tissue paper - printer ate it. Ok. Attempt 2. Put adhesive tape down the sides too. The result:

Tissue Print Fail
So, Google being my friend ... First one I find, of course, says stick down the edges. Tried that.

Then found a site that talked about using glue stick - yuck. Way too messy. Spray adhesive - now you're talking!

To summarise: * using a spray adhesive - I have some stuff from Arbee, colourless and fast drying - spray your carrier sheet.
* Use a larger piece of paper or light card or cardboard to lift off excess adhesive - pat down and lift off about 4 times, until the carrier sheet is barely tacky.

* carefully lay a piece of acid-free (lignin free) tissue paper on the carrier sheet. I had already cut the tissue to size.
* put sellotape along the leading edge, so you have a single layer. Previous experience has taught me that otherwise the feedrollers will try to separate out the two sheets anyway (there has to be something good about having been a printer tech!)
* run through your INK JET PRINTER - not a laser printer, because it will wrap itself around the heat/fuser rollers - watching its progress all the way.
* remove carrier sheet immediately - otherwise you risk a permanant adhesive!
* the youtube lesson was for decoupage use, so they used a spray sealer on the finished image. I'm using mine for mixed media collage, so want it to disintegrate a bit, so I won't be sealing it.

Except for the fact that my printer decided NOT to print blue/yellow (it's been ages since I used the machine, and I think the Melco inkpots haven't fed thru the tubes properly), I'm actually rather pleased with the magenta hue of the images:


A very satisfactory day.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Hooray, it's the weekend

And long overdue it is too.

A long and reasonably unpleasant week.

Good things - had my hair cut and coloured - looks good.
Had a great massage - felt good.

Had a lovely sleep in this morning, followed by scrambled eggs and bacon for brunch. Fenced the grassy bog off, so the floor can stay unmuddier and maybe even get cleaner - need to get some more pallets from work, which look really good as fencing.

Went to the mall to pay off a loan, have lunch, and spend some vouchers at Farmers. Becca now has her own pair of jeans and a pair of trackpants. She's the same size as me! Friday was mufti day for her - she wore my jeans, spare black sneakers, and navy blue polarfleece jacket. Scary. Got David two pairs of trackpants, which means we can throw the worst old pair in the rubbish.

Popped into Craft Out West - arrived at 1515, did a quick zigzag-check-the-stalls-in-each row. Went and got some cash, brought the items I wanted, did a slower mooch, and was ready to leave by 1600 - which was closing time!

Loot from the craft show:



Two "Australian Woman's Mirror" magazines, 1932 and 1934. Contains such scintillating articles as: 'Was Women's Freedom Brought too Dear?', 'Should you Wed Your Junior?', and 'Building Good Teeth by Edith Butler.' Oh, and then there's the ads - 'Now a thrilling lipstick for 9d', 'Backward Children - world famous treatment at the Bio-Chemic Institute', and 'Rhyvol - the great papaw (sic) indigestion remedy'.

The third is a prospectus: "The Happy Highway to Success", from La Paula Art Academy, around 1930ish as well - "... we can assure you that the La Paula Training can bring the happiness attained from a contented mind, free from the petty annoyances of everyday life."
These are for collage work, but I'll scan the pages - I couldn't bear to rip them up - there's great stuff on both sides of the page.


3 fat quarters, a packet of coloured metal leaf, and a cross on a rock (David did roll his eyes at that one!) I also got some pre-war flower-style trim, but that didn't make it into the photos.

As to getting any actual art done ... well, Becca's gone for a sleepover, it's a light dinner tonite (hash browns, bacon and fried eggs), and then maybe I'll actually do something!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Postcard from God

Found out that if you try and place 'lightweight' bits and pieces on your warm wax, and then try and fuse it with a heatgun, they blow away. Darn, I thought. I need an iron to fuse things like this. But not my good iron.


Back to the second-hand shops I'd visited yesterday, where I'd got an aluminium pot, knife, fork, cake slicers/pallette knives for the playing with of encaustic.


Listening to Christian Radio, and a guy called Tak Bhana talking about Postcards from God. "Please God, can you help me find a nice wee iron for my art?"

Sallie's shop - nada. SPCA shop - tucked up in a little baggie - "Hi, my name's Russell Hobbs, and I'm a travel iron. I want to be your special friend!" Thank you thank you thank you. That made me feel loved - it's the little things.

Tomorrow Blue goes to Animal Management for them to find him a new home. He's a lovely little dog, sweet, cuddly, affectionate ... when he's not being psychotic, and trying to bite either the dogs faces, or ours. He has a 'hard' mouth, and when he 'goes off' he throws himself against walls and furniture trying to bite.

Tonight's prayer: Thank you Lord for letting me have Blue for a week. Can you please find him a good home with people who will love him and take good care of him. Amen.




Sunday, 3 July 2011

'Encaustic' Pieces

Well, I finally got my studio to the point where I could shove what was left scattered on the floor into a couple of piles, clear the centre of the floor space, move my computer table back into the lounge, and find the small desk.


Got out 'Encaustic Workshop' by Patricia Seggebruch, set up everything I thought I'd need, and set to. Working on paper, newspaper or cardboard is not a good idea - but probably better than just working on top of a plastic sheet (hot wax, hot heat gun + plastic = ...). I need to put a big sheet of cardboard over the desk, under the plastic sheet, otherwise I'm going to ruin the surface. Changed to a glass plate for a working surface - the glass from a photocopier. I can scrape off waste wax, and clean up any mess relatively easily.

I'm using 10mm MDF cut into 12x12cm squares. I initially gave them a white acrylic paint undercoat, but now I know wax and acrylic don't mix well. Sandpaper is my friend.


I haven't added any damar resin to the beeswax - that will have to wait, and I understand you can get very good results without it.


This piece, a woman sitting at a cafe table, was a paper serviette, which I fused on; in addition, there's some sheer fabric, lace doily, paper tag with 'forget me not', and a dab of red acrylic paint, which I had tried to stencil on thru the lace, but when I tried to fuse it, it slid away across the wax - come back, come back ...




"God is the painter", has a blue/green fossil-batik print glued onto the MDF with PVA glue, a few layers of wax, piece of mussel shell, bits of semi-precious stone, and a found pendant. The quote is on 'vellum', which is actually a plasticised cotton, not paper, so just floats on the top. It's now been removed, and will be replaced with text printed on either rice, mulberry or tissue paper, so it melds more with the background. I think I'm going to put more wax in the centre, just to smooth it out.


This third piece is abstract. I think I'll call it "This Way Up". I wanted to try incising lines and shapes, then filling with colour. The rectangle was a right angle hex key, the circle part of a sewing spool, and the curve is from a French curve. I scratched the inside of the curves surface with a wire brush. I tried both Markal paint stiks and Reeves oil pastels. I don't know whether it's because the room is cold, the oils are old, or what, but it was very hard to make the colour malleable enough to go into the incised shapes. Really really messy. I used a blade to scrape off all excess colour, then fused with another coat of wax. I'm pleased with how this is going. There are a few more steps in this incising workshop, adding more layers. Updated photos to follow.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Another A- Thank you YHWH!

The results for my essay tracing the development of the Tabernacle and Temple throughout Scripture were posted tonight - another A-. I am so very very pleased.
Insightfulness, Critical thought and application were all "outstanding"; and structure, communication and presentation were "good".

The Marker's (Rachel) comments: Sue, overall this is a good paper. I can tell you worked hard to research and reference it. You cover the story well and speak at length about the connections in the bible surrounding your theme. You don’t speak as much about Jer. 31 as I would have thought--- our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit, and the presence of the temple/Jesus now resides in us. Also, you don’t speak about man as image-bearers--- which means that WE/HUMANS have been placed at the centre of the Garden of Eden/temple as God’s divine presence. This certainly has implications later as all of creation is redeemed. However, your paper is still very strong. Good work.

I've emailed her asking if she can explain a little more what she means - this is obviously very important, but I've failed to grasp it during lectures and in my reading/research. Hopefully she will respond to my request.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

My first attempt at painting with wax. This was the backing board from an upholstry fabric sampler, and you can see the chequered pattern and brand name in the centre of the image. I placed a paper towel with images of flax plants over the board, then used recycled paraffin candle wax, just sort of blobbing it on, then fusing it. The wax is very brittle, and the paper is already lifting.



As an experiment, and considering I hadn't really done any research, I regard it as satisfactory. Since then, I've read 4 or 5 books, looked at countless Encaustic artists' sites, and know a lot more than I did.

I'd prepared 10 12x12cm 10mm MDF blocks for encaustic, and coated them with a white acrylic housepaint. I now have to sand this off, as the wax will not adhere properly to the acrylic (coz it's plastic!) I'm not ready to go out and buy special encaustic 'gesso' yet.

In the pile of unburied treasure are some oil paints (Reeves, but they'll do) and Markel Oil Paint stiks, so I have at least some coloured pigment. I've decided to stay well away from powered pigment because of the dangers of breathing it in.

top on the experiment list is wet shellac burns. Dry shellac flakes in a carrying medium (such as pigment), and wet shellac 'paint' will both burn when you set fire to them!!! Pretty pretty shiny shiny. Hardware store here I come. Also in the buried loot is a piece of mica, which I will flake and crush up some of it.

Studio reorganising - the huge pile of stuff has been removed from the centre of the room, and is slowly being spread around the edges, as it finds new homes. My big table has gone into the corner, with the bookshelf on top, the little 'computer desk' has moved in beside it. Stacker in the corner where the scotch chest and tv used to be - I don't need a TV! I'll be too busy to watch it. And if I need entertainment, I have a radio, and will bring in my laptop, which has both music and inspirational pictures.

The view of the opposite wall shows the new table/shelf David made me last night. My harp has a safer place to hide, till I can tidy it up and put it on Trademe. One day I will finish the mermaid and her dolphin - it's only been up there about 3 years. There are various other fabric pieces on the wall in varying stages of completion.

It's so fantastic to have light in here again - I've got a lot done on Sunday, and over the last two evenings. Taking a break tomorrow evening for JaM, back to it Thursday evening.