Monthly Archives: April 2013

Wow! It’s Been Two L o n g Years!

Geewillingkinwinkings!

Two years ago yesterday my feet became entangled in the handles of a shopping bag as I jumped out of our car.  I hit the tarmac of the car park at just the right angle to snap my left femur, pushing the top part into my hip joint and wrecking it too!  I had no idea – I brazenly told the Doctor as I lay on the trolley in the Emergency Department that I was pretty tough and was thinking it was just soft tissue damage.  The Dr said gently “I don’t think so.”

My recovery

My recovery after a full hip replacement was long and painful.  There were long, dark days full of pain and tears.  Days when I wondered if I could go on – whether I wanted to go on.

Why am I telling you this on a Monday when a main aim of my blog is to brighten your day?!  Because, while I wish it hadn’t happened and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, there were, in hindsight, many ‘silver linings’ and knowing about them may just help you in adversity.

Obviously I did go on – maybe due to a glimmer of survival instinct but I think it was the unconscious (at the time) thought that I might ‘miss out’ – and I would have missed out.  I’ll list what I would have missed out on later but first I want to share what I learned that is treasure.

Silver Linings / Learnings

The most valuable things I learned are:

  • My DO and I will be able to maintain our home on our steep, gravelly bush block well into our 80’s or beyond!  How do I know?  Because although I could hardly walk on crutches, I was able to manoeuvre steps and an incline to hang out washing – with the aid of a ‘nosebag’ hung around my neck for wet clothes and pegs.  Where there’s a will….!
  • My DO is a patient and gentle carer which bodes well for the decades in front of us.  It was nine weeks before I was able to dress without his help before he went off to work.
  • I don’t have osteoporosis.
  • Get out of a car like a princess!  Swivel, knees together and put both feet on the ground / or in that direction first.

Silver Linings / What I Didn’t Miss – So Far!

Just what comes to mind right now:

  • Walking the trails around and over Wave Rock 16 weeks after surgery.  Not without some pain and difficulty but I did it!

    Wave Rock, Hyden, Australia

    Wave Rock, Hyden, Australia

  • A marriage proposal from my DO – and eloping for a most memorable wedding day, which was followed up with an engagement party with family and friends 🙂
  • Seeing son Leo healthier and happier than in years – and with a beautiful and intelligent lady.
  • Son Leo coming in second at the Kulin Cup after only a few months horse riding tuition from his lady.
  • Son Alex becoming a fully fledged lawyer.
  • Being at son Alex’s wedding to the lovely, also intelligent woman who is now bearing their first child – a son!

    Alex and Shazzy Posing On Their Wedding Day at Matildas on the Swan River, Perth, WA

    Alex and Shazzy Posing On Their Wedding Day at Matildas on the Swan River, Perth, WA

  • Enjoying times with and news of all 6 of our ‘children’ and 8 grandchildren.
  • Visiting the world heritage Ningaloo Reef on a glass bottomed boat.

    Ningaloo Reef From A Glass Bottomed Boat

    Ningaloo Reef From A Glass Bottomed Boat

  • Having more time to spend on art related activities as I decided to quit my IT career as a result of the accident.

I’ll stop there 🙂

May you find silver linings too,
🙂
Helen

A Gold Mine?! Eucalyptus Macrocarpa?!

Apparently Eucalyptus Macrocarpa, a small tree native to the south west of Western Australia, is a gold mine for nanotechnology applications as it possesses self cleaning and water repellent properties!  It was the unusual and most attractive design and colours of its leaves and flowers that attracted me, as I was blissfully unaware of its future scientific potential until today.

Eucalyptus Macrocarpa (Mottlecah)
Photo credit: foliosus / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

In our last home one beautiful specimen inspired me to paint a bloom – in coloured pencils on Strathmore Bristol Smooth 260 gsm paper.  This was before it dropped all its blooms over a period of a few weeks, clogging the pool filter on a daily basis and changing my viewpoint somewhat!  Temporarily 🙂

E Macrocarpa may indeed provide me with a bit of gold as I’ve created cards and postcards from prints on lovely textured fine art print paper.  I’m delighted that our local visitor information centre is interested in selling them!  I may just be able to continue to support my paper addiction!!

Eucalyptus Macrocarpa Postcard by Helen Lock

Postcard by Helen Lock

Red seemed a suitable colour for today’s post as tomorrow is ANZAC Day in Australia – an occasion of national remembrance for those Australians and New Zealanders that served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. Their contribution and suffering is recognised through dawn services, marches and commemorative events – lest we forget!

Until next time,
🙂
Helen

Geewillinkinwinkings – So Much Bad News!

Bombings, earthquakes, abductions, shootings, climate change, financial disasters, unemployment and more – day after day we become aware of bad news from around the world.

It’s hard to keep perspective, let go of those things over which we have no control and remember good things happen too!  I must admit I had to force my mind to focus but I found a few examples that I hope will brighten your day.

A quote from Mark Twain

‘When we remember we are all mad, mysteries disappear and life stands explained.’

Earth Day

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Google’s animated and interactive doodles often brighten my day and today’s reminds us it is Earth Day and that each of us can make a difference.  See how here.

Love In Action

Mastiff dog adopts orphan Orangutan.

Facebook

Yes, Facebook!  Admittedly some people use Facebook to let us know too regularly of their digestive problems in too much detail and some use it to sell, sell, sell – but in my world the majority focus on sharing all the good things we’ve come across or that have happened to us lately.  Hope it works for you too.

Art Websites

So many inspiring sites and blogs out there.  Just a few I visit regularly are Lines and Colors, Doodlers Anonymous, and Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast – why stop at 6?!

A post with no paintings!!  I’ll do better next time.  Until then,

Hooroo,
🙂
Helen

Geewillikinwinkings! What A Wipeout!

A wipeout – that’s how I was thinking about my week before I saw footage of the nominees for the 2013 Billabong XXL Wipeout of the Year Award on the news last night.  The sight of the surfers taking on humongous waves and losing was enough to get my ‘Wows’ rolling again 🙂

You can see the wipeouts here on the Billabong site.  I think the nominees deserve a bravery award for even thinking of taking those waves on!

I’m not really into painting waves.  I know some artists are – and are very good at it.  My favourite wave art is by my son Leo, which goes to show how important emotional attachment is when ‘consuming’ art.  🙂  Leo surprised me (as he does not usually draw or paint anything) by presenting me with this wave as a present one time.  I love the style – and think it’s wonderful that no-one ever told him you don’t normally do a drawing on canvas!

Leo's Wave

Leo’s Wave

I wonder if it’s age or gender difference that leads my art in a more peaceful direction…

I did this pastel painting in memory of quiet time at Denham in Western Australia – a place conveniently located to visit Monkey Mia Reserve at Shark Bay – and its dolphins and pelicans – that doesn’t incur such high accommodation costs as Monkey Mia.

Denham At Sunset

Denham At Sunset

I hope this image conveys some of the relaxation imbued by the soft light and gently lapping waves for you too.

Hooroo!
🙂
Helen

South African! Stay or Go?

A number of plants growing on our Western Australian bush block are native to South Africa.    Many believe they should be eradicated entirely.  I’m not so sure.

It’s true that they tend to be too successful for the good of some natives but if we remove them all are we also removing some of the history and evolution of Australian flora?  How far back do we go to determine what is truly native?  What would we have left on our block in a changing climate?

I think I’ll just aim to keep the ‘garden escapees’, that were here when we arrived, well under control and continue to enjoy their beauty too.

Bird Of Paradise (Strelitzia)

Bird Of Paradise (Strelitzia)

We enjoy our colourful Birds of Paradise.  The Strelitzias inspired me to paint a series of gouache paintings to reflect their eye-catching colours and attitudes.  To me, the flower heads seem to yearn to fly like their feathered friends.  The paintings also reflect challenges of my life at the time and the difference the support of others can make.

An OK Day

An OK Day

A Troubled Day

A Troubled Day

A Trouble Shared

A Trouble Shared

If you’d like to see some Birds of Paradise of the feathered kind there’s an excellent article here that includes an amazing 2 minute video of a mating dance narrated by David Attenborough.

Enjoy!
🙂
Helen

Gee – What On Earth?!

G’Day – Geewillinkinwinkings Day.  The biggest ‘Wow’ moment of my week was one of amazement rather than pleasure.

Elephant or Rat?

What on earth got into our secure home, did this and left only teeth marks?!

Nocturnal Visitor - With A Preference for Nectarines

Nocturnal Visitor – With A Preference for Nectarines

The best suggestion from a friend: ‘An elephant – they like fruit and are good at hiding’, but another ‘smelled a rat’!
(I’m using a lot of self restraint here in refraining from telling elephant jokes 🙂 )

The most likely explanation is a rat, despite baits always in place because of being on a bush block and no point of entry or exit of any size that we can find.  A skink is a possibility.  A possum – mmm, too big?!

Bounty

Here’s an unblemished fruit bowl:

?????????

Bounty!

One of a few pastel pieces I’ve done.  I think maybe I should try copying the works of some pastellists I like in order to ‘loosen up!’.

Brighten Your Day

A favourite pastellist of mine is Mark Leach who has sadly moved on but his family is keeping his web presence alive here.  Scroll down on his site to read his manifesto and find the link to his online gallery.  A visit will brighten and enrich your Monday / any day!

🙂
Helen

Wild One!

To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.  William Blake

Wild One

Wild One

I called this watercolour and ink painting ‘Wild One’ because all of my attempts to identify the wild flower have failed.  I drew and painted it from a lone bloom that appeared in our Perth Hills garden in Spring.  It was small (about 2cm in diameter), delicate in appearance, on a thin, relatively long, upright stem that swayed in the breeze.  I’ve learned that it helps to identify flowers to include other plant parts!  I’ll be on the look out for it next spring.

It is one of the ‘Wildflowers At Balligar’ series and a fine art card is available here.  There’s more shameful (shameless?) self promotion on my new ‘Shop’ page here.

If you recognize the flower please tell me what it’s called.

BFN
🙂
Helen