Ink times, painting times

I’m feeling super rubbish today. I think it’s because late last night, I checked my facebook and saw this article by ( the wonderful ) Richard Watts: Shock funding cancellations due to AusCo Budget cuts.
How grim is this outcome? You know, I don’t even know what it all means. I do know that the application that I have been working on, and got someone else to help me with it, that I was going to submit next week, has nowhere to go.
So I guess I am a little shell shocked. And it’s not that it is because I can’t just submit my grant, it’s bigger than that… It’s I literally have no idea what this all means for my future self and for anyone – for everyone.

There is a mass action being taken today in all of Australia’s capitals, of which I am near none. So I thought that today would best be spent painting with my daughter. ( Ideally, almost every day would be best spent doing something like, or much like, this. )

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ink_one

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So I don’t know what will happen. In my corner of the world, I will still do what I do – I just don’t know where it can or will go.

I’m a little stuck with my drawing project, but that’s ok I think. Because all big projects lull. So I have been painting quite a lot, trying to find my painting voice. I’m really quite happy with it so far, it’s a beautiful process.

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I believe in myself and I believe in my work.
I know others do too, how lucky am I! I just don’t know what anything means.

Hair removal

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Yesterday, I cut off all of my hair. Well, I got a hairdresser to do it and they wouldn’t go as short as I asked so I went home and my husband cut it all off with clippers.

It is something I have been meaning to do for a long time. The last time my hair was this short was five years ago. I was braver then, because I lived in Wales and no one really knew me.

I feel awesome, and lighter, if not a little freaked out. No hair to hide behind!

So this morning I drew the above self portrait. Now, I shall rearrange my studio, clean my house and get back to painting and drawing.

New painting. ARGH.

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New painting
Untitled
By Lily Mae Martin.
2015
85 x 56cm
Oil on canvas

It was very difficult to paint this. Not for the subject, nor the technique – but for my lack of space. I share half a room with my better half ( Confused? Welcome to my world! ) And I have upscaled my drawings and then trying to squeeze in a large ( and beautiful ) easel between my two desks, a plant, a set of draws which stores my paints and bushes and rages and little treats.. Oh dear, it wasn’t easy at all and I felt in fact rather agitated working on this.

Now I really, really do want to work on larger scale and more gestural works. But I am so thankful my next series of paintings are small and I will be able to place a couple on my desk as I work on them.

One day big beautiful professional studio you will be mine, but today is not that day!

Sketches, painting lessons

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I often loose the balance between art making, mothering, cooking and trying to get healthier and I just think ARRRGGGHHHH, then head to bed with a cup of tea and a book.

Maybe, I will have a little cry.

Today was one of those days, I tried and tried but nothing was working as I wanted it so I stopped. It’s good to admit defeat sometimes, I think.

I panicked a little but then I looked over things and calm myself. It is ok to do other things that are not the things I think I am always meant to be doing sometimes. In fact, I am starting to think it is important that I do other things.

Maybe a bit more teaching?
Kidlet asked for a ‘painting lesson’ today. As I begun to set up her little table in my studio, and gather her paints she requested watercolours.. Which made me all warm, I was setting up a canvas board with acrylics, I love she notes the difference between the two.
Anyway, I set her up with watercolour paper, brushes, a few colours, water in a jar and a rag and watched her get to work.

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Get this, she mixed those purples and pinks herself! So beautiful, I remarked on this and then guided her with not overworking the paper, as she could ruin it. Which she argued with me about and then reluctantly took my guidence. ( YOU asked for the lesson :P !! )

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Then she put down her brush and announced NOW I AM FINISHED and went off to play. Something which I may take on within my practice.

Mistakes

Today was a day that was full of mistakes.
Which I guess is normal, since I have just finished two large drawings the day before last. I think what next and then I start scribbling and sketching and then I am so freaking burned out but I think I can push through it but I know, you know. I know. I know I should stop and rest and ride out the tired and then I can start again.
But I am dramatic and often swing into panic mode. If I can’t paint/ draw/ make a master piece today – then I never will!

So I keep on going and then I stuffed up two drawings. TWO. Just test drawings but still, it’s nice paper and I feel bad. Also one was of my daughter, I ruined it by going a little too crazy shading in her back and that just made it all the more WORSE. It actually looks quite ugly and I’m like HOW CAN YOU DO THAT TO A DRAWING OF YOUR DAUGHTER WHO IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING ON THIS EARTH! YOU ARE SO EVIL.

Mother guilt seeps into the art.

So I went out for lunch and angrily drank tea and then did the groceries and the laundry and I have salvaged the part of the drawing I didn’t ruin and have now expressed myself in words here and tomorrow is a new day.

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The Divided Heart – Motherhood and Creativity

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It’s summer 2010 and I’m sitting on my bed trying to read a book, it’s the first book I have attempted to read since having my baby. The book is The Divided Heart by Rachel Power, recommended to me by an old work mate from Melbourne. I read interviews from women whose work is familiar to me, less familiar and unknown. I read how women with more than one child balance their creative lives and parenting. I think how the hell do people have more than one? Am I ever going to do life things again?

A week prior to this I had been in hospital – where we had to stay for much longer than most due to many, many complications – and I recall a midwife asking me “So, what kind of artist are you?” It was one of the first times someone had addressed me and not my body parts. I remember out of the blur I focused on her expectant face.. I literally had no idea what she had just said, I had no idea what artist meant. “Artist? What?” And she said “Your notes say that you’re an artist. What kind of art do you make?”
I think I just shrugged and went back to sobbing.

That moment always sticks out to me. Artist had been a definitive part of my identity for as long as I could remember and I had had this experience which pretty much stripped me bare. I am forever thankful for my old work mate reaching out to me, her child a little older than a baby by then and she would have known or at least had an inkling, of where I was at. She gave me something that I would continue to go back to on this journey, it’s a bit like a reference guide. But you know, people’s stories and experience rather than statistics..

So, it is now 2015 and Rachel Power has rereleased this book with new interviews, including one with yours truly. I feel so incredibly lucky, I am so incredibly lucky, to be part of this.

Next week the book will be launched at Readings in Carlton, Melbourne by Clare Bowditch. Details of the event are here: linky

Rachel Power will also be appearing at a number of literary events which you can read about over at her blog The Rachel Papers.
I will be at the Williamstown Literary Festival with Rachel Power, Sally Rippin and Lisa Gorton in June, details here: WILLY LIT FEST

And the last handy link I will leave you with – you can buy a copy of the book here. Even if you have read it, maybe there is someone you could purchase it for, like my old workmate did all those years ago!

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Road trip adventure!

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I love to explore. This weekend had both the Newstead short story and Clunes book fair on so we made our way to those parts. In-between book buying, reading, listening to stories and eating cake with friends we went driving and walking and photo taking. The weather was spectacular, the autumn sun was very generous. Kidlet and I did drawing in my new sketch book ( Which I will post later ) – she drew a naughty woman who cut the hill in half and had a fanny on her head.

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^ babe ^

walking

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We decided to stay the night in a motel, all sleeping in the same room. We haven’t done that in long time so it was really fun. It also meant we could go to the fire stories and stay for the whole event. I didn’t know how long we would last, but we managed to stay AND I managed to toast some marshmallows for us to enjoy.

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The stories and music were great, kidlet danced and danced. I especially enjoyed the reading by Kirsten Krauth and Joe Dolce’s music and stories.

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^ Photos by Gene! ^

The next morning we were greeted by a cup of tea in the warm sun, bird prints all over our car and chats with Lin while the horse next door trotted proudly about. We didn’t stick around, opting to take back roads from Newstead through Moolort to Clunes, so I could take some pictures.

bridge

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^ Kidlet took this! ^

We came across and old bridge and pulled over so I could take some snaps. I took the wrong lens but found it to be so beautiful I had to get the other two to join me.

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This is the McLennan Bridge – you can read about it here.

birchcreek

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trees

It is so beautiful.

Eventually we made to to Clunes and ate bagels in the sun. It was quite busy by the time we had arrived. I’ve never seen Clunes like that! We looked at some books and popped into see a few things. We got to see Tai Snaith and Nicholas Jones in action. Which was pretty special as I was just reading Tai’s latest book to kidlet just recently.

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After that we though that maybe we should go home as we were running out of steam.
How awesome is Victoria!