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After my melt down yesterday I stepped away from it and had a cry. I cried about a lot of things, but the painting started it.

I recognize that sometimes with work, you have to push through even when it gets hard, and that will pay off. But sometimes, you push through and it just gets worse.

This is one of those times.

So I have accepted that I cannot enter all the competitions and prizes that I intended on – this year. That I will just have to wait for next year. Which is something I have been telling myself for a number of years now, just this time – I believe it.

I recognize also that I often compare my achievements to those who do not have young children. Or if they do, they have a lot more support than I have had. I felt that these circumstance have been greatly minimized because people do not understand what any of that means – but I do.

So while people loose their cool because I don’t go to parties, don’t understand why I don’t take my child to protests, don’t understand that kids are not flexible with time and in turn, nor are their parents. Why I don’t want my child exposed to certain things and why, when I do get time, I allocate it to work rather than social duties, get upset over things I write on facebook I think PFFT – and I practice self care rather than giving into pressure.
Which isn’t always easy because that stuff hurts but when I get kid into bed on time and we all get a good nights sleep and we all function blissfully. Or I get paid for an artwork I made or an illustration job and that allows me to take my kidlet out to get her her first my little ponies – I know I am doing the right thing.

So, I need to apply it to all things – including my painting. If it is not working and it’s ruining me, it’s time to stop. It’s OK I didn’t make it into everything. It’s not OK if I hate life and I hate myself and I’m crying so hard and curled up so tight into my own self pity that I can’t play a game of connect four with my bright eyed four year old.

So I breathe in and breathe out and feel good about this. When you stop doing something that is all consuming, that gives room to let something different in.

Also – I think when I have calmed down and we have moved – I am going to read more about the art of painting – and conquer that fucker slowly but masterfully.

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Missing all the goals

I tried to paint today, and I knew it wasn’t going to go good as soon as I walked in there. I felt it. I looked at the painting and saw the struggle I’ve been having with it. It’s muddy, the back ground is flat – parts of it are overworked.
I had high hopes for this one, it started out brilliantly. But no matter how much I try to improve – I am still shit at painting.
And so I pull out the turps and I wipe it back – to see if I can get it back somewhere near that brilliant beginning. But I’ve made it worse and I just start crying.
Really angry crying, the kind that hurts.
I hear the neighbours come to say hi so I go into my bedroom and hide and cry more.

When it is like this, when it is shit and hard and I hate everything – I hate myself – I know it is time to stop.

By knowing I have to stop it, doesn’t make it any easier.

I’m so upset that no matter how much I work, my painting is simply shit. I mean, I can watercolour OK – but it doesn’t hold like oils do. Most of the competitions and art prizes are for oil paintings. What to do if you suck at it?!

It is not the first time this year that I have had this, I feel so bad and angry and like a big fat failure. It is not the first time I’ve had to suck it up and just go – stop. Stop now.

But it still hurts. It still makes me cry.

Four

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I was going to open this entry with “By the time my child turned four, I thought that..” But that would have been a bad start, a false start, as I didn’t think about when my daughter would turn four.

When we were talking of a baby, we talked about a baby. The thought of a small child was distant and hazy idea, like a dream. And when baby was actually here I didn’t have time to reflect. Nothing has forced me more to be ‘living in the moment’ than a baby. The needs are constant, they are basic but of the utmost importance. I was too tired to think of the future, to plan. I was too tired to think much about the past, other than lamenting all that time I had wasted. And then I also had three gruelling years of post natal depression – I couldn’t imagine that things would ever get better. Which of course, isn’t much to do with the baby ( small, beautiful being ) but is as well ( birth and motherhood).

But the child is four, today. She is no longer a baby, or a toddler. She is no longer wordless. She has a personality and habits and a wicked sense of humour. She’s social, but discerning. She’s brave.

I thought that I would never forget the baby years but when I do see babies, and when I hold them, I am surprised to realise that I have indeed forgotten. I have forgotten a lot. Sometimes I think I long for the baby again. But when I draw or paint or go on adventures with my child – I realise it is just her company that I miss. I get confused that comfort can only come from cuddling and nurturing. Where comfort and nurture can be found in laughing together, eating together, trying and not liking new things together. Discovering ( and rediscovering ) Alice in Wonderland. And sometimes, I sneak a whiff of her hair – because parents can be creeps like that. There’s nothing better than the smell of your own child and nothing worse than their cries. And their tantrums.

I’m one of those parents who has arrived unannounced to get my child out of daycare early. I am one of those parents who shook with anger when one of the daycare centres we visited for possible enrolment was so horrible – I felt like I had been bad by even considering the place. I have cried when she is hurt.. Of course, this is after I have stopping the bleeding or cleaned up the vomit. I feel guilty whenever I am not with her. But it’s so overwhelming, all these strong feelings, that I often drown in them and wear myself out. I just have to get away. Float around the CBD like an husk. It’s too hard to be social.

The love that I feel is wordless and crushing. The despair I feel is just as significant. As someone who has always been relatively physically healthy, I now understand – and am onto my way to accepting – my own mortality. I value my time. Sometimes when I think I have got the hang of it, everything changes again.

Having a child has changed everything. It’s only very recently that I have sometimes let myself think of what my life would have been like if I had just waited a few more years. Would I still be in Berlin or somewhere in the UK? Would I even have gone to L.A? I thought that I could be one of those traveling parents. But after a few years of doing it – I realised I couldn’t. I didn’t care about the things I once cared about – different things matter with a child. Sure sometimes, when I compare myself to my peers, I feel very behind. But then sometimes, I just feel very over there someplace else.

Because I am – we are.

Happy Birthday monkey – thank you for you.
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More weekend drawing

Yesterday was a bit of a rough day – everyone is very up and down. I did get to sit in the sun for a good forty minutes at the park and that was bliss. I did take my sketch book with me though, thinking I could do some sketching. I have a lovely new sketch book – the paper is beautiful – so I really look forward to filling its pages. But knowing I would draw in the evening, I thought it good just to sit and soak up the light.

I enjoyed my drawing so much on Saturday night.

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After I finished the above portrait I thought it would be fun to do some simple drawing exercises – my fav being the blind contour line:

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The whole idea is to get your hand and eye coordination going – you draw a continuous line, at the speed in which your eye follows the contours without looking at your page. When you read about this exercise a lot of texts stress that it is not about the finished product, it is not about making a good drawing. But I think it is. Sure, some of them are pretty silly, but there is also something of beauty and of value in them. So I like to share them.

I got really into it and made a number of them last night – I was then too excited to sleep because I couldn’t wait to draw kidlet when she got up in the morning. But now I am tired! She wants to make “artwork” later in the day, so I may get my chance.

Saturday

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Saturday was lovely – I spent the day drinking tea and seeing my mum and seeing friends – I bought a very large bottle of beautiful black ink and a new sketch book with my friend Ben Hutchings and talked mummahood, art and sleep deprivation with another friend.

Our little house in Melbourne is almost empty now. So it is strange to be in here, sometimes I am not too sure what to do with myself. I mean, I can’t pack and clean all of the time. So I drew last night. In front of the heater and the television. Half paying attention to Star Trek and half feeling the heat.

After I finished the above portrait I wanted to keep drawing. I always want to draw.

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Drawing carrot

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I love my house. Those who know me, know this. Those who probably don’t know me, probably know this. It’s something I dug my heels in for. It’s that little bit more expensive, little bit further away from things – it was my first choice.
I couldn’t believe it when we got it, I wanted it so bad I stopped thinking about it. I nearly cried when we inspected it; I remember touching the window sill in the front room, I whispered a wow when I looked out to the view of the city. It has a good view, as it’s on a hill.
The house has shiny floorboards, they are beautiful and rich in colour. The walls are clean, the bathroom is modest – well it’s really tiny – but it is clean and new. No rust, no mould.
As an absolute bonus it has the best air con and heating systems – a luxury I really pushed for as having a small being in over forty degree heat waves is simply the worse.

It took us a very long time to add furniture. I am picky – we are picky – I don’t like chip board, I refuse to pay with my first born for stuff that is simply stuff. I hunted for things on gumtree, in the salvos. I don’t know when this place became home but now that we are leaving it – I recognise that it has become that. Home.

The light in here is incredible. Everything feels exciting and enriched and gosh I’ve just made some pretty fantastic work within these walls.

But – we gotta go. I’ve been packing and packing and sorting and cleaning and juggling and I feel like I can’t go on! There is so much more to do and I want to get this place all shiny again – because I love it.

I finished my mammoth drawing last week and as a sort of therapy I packed up my drawing stuff and it’s already been moved to the new place. ‘Dangling a drawing carrot’ – as Kim Buck said.

I am sure we are more than halfway there. Sure but not so sure but I’ll keep going anyway.

Thanks for reading/ listening.

Short Film by Marianne Latham

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Marianne Latham contacted me as she is putting together a documentary about the nude in art. She was interviewing people in regard to the Benalla Nude but others as well. I really look forward to seeing the full doco! But she put together this short of me – I feel really humbled that Marianne wanted to come into my space and ask me about my work and my thoughts. It’s also rather timely as well – because I really need to write a new artist statement soon and this ( plus another interview I did, which is not yet online ) have really got me thinking about what is important to me in my work.

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Thank you Marianne!

Atlas of Erotic Anatomy & Arousal – project with Cyndi Darnell

Hello everyone!

Cyndi Darnell has just launched a new project on Pozible – Atlas of Erotic Anatomy & Arousal – of which I will be illustrating. This is a really exciting project that needs your help to come to life, there is nothing quite like it and I think that this is very important to understand how our bodies work and be able to talk learn about the anatomy of sex – not just in terms of STI’s, puberty and pregnancy.

Cyndi says it all better than I on this video:

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“Artist. Lily Mae Martin is one of Australia’s finest anatomical illustrators. Her work is brilliant- have a look for yourself if you don’t believe me. http://lilymaemartin.com. It is my belief that artists should be paid for their work and not compromised by being asked to work for less than they are worth. Lily Mae is hand drawing over 50 detailed anatomical illustrations to bring you the best information possible to help you better understand your body and how it works from a sex and pleasure perspective.”

Thank you and please share
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