Borderline Personality Disorder

I have spent most of this year thinking I won’t make it out alive. I’m sure I am not the only one who has felt this. In those early months of lockdown I tried to bury myself in books, but of course there’s homeschool and washing and dishes and the panic would rise and rise.

I’m not going to survive this, I’m not going to survive this, I am not going to survive this. 

My life has changed, irrevocably. Some days I can be functioning in the world, other days emotions are high and they hurt. Dramatic, no? But I am sure someone out there reading this knows exactly what I mean.

At this point I am facing more instability than I have in a long time – I don’t know what my future is going to look like. I’m back to full time study in 2021. It’s also summer break and I have no work, no school and no structure and I’m probably going to be alone a lot. I bloody love routine.

Xmas always feels like a kick in the teeth.

Anyway, I digress ..

With something like BPD, a thing that affects your moods, thoughts and feelings it is really hard to tell what is you and what is It (yes I got Faith No More stuck in my head writing that line). It’s nestled right into your whole identity, your being. It shapes the way you experience and interpret the world, it shapes your relationships, your relationship with yourself. You can obsess over suicide but also be paranoid that everyone is trying to kill you – that’s super tiring. You can often feel like you are not real and I can’t describe that one any further, words don’t work.

Writing isn’t coming easy. I must have started about ten different posts over these past couple of months and given up. I’ve rewritten this one over and over again even though it is brief.

Mostly I got this. Mostly. Work in progress and all that stuff.



Learning new things

I have done many different things with my time this year. It needed to happen. I am a curious person, I like challenges and I channeled that into a full time bridging course at University. It has been a ride, I found aspects of this course hard but I kept on at it despite a couple of set backs. You know, Lockdown 2.0, all the kidlets missing school and being stuck at home adults. We managed. Together all the time, we managed.

I’ve been learing algebra and am about to plunge headfirst into statistics. At the beginning of this course I dreaded maths and now it is my very favourite. I can’t do it so well but I love that there is always a solution. That is soothing.

I’ve not made much art, I just can’t. Though I have been busy with other things I still love to make it when I can. It looks different at the moment. But that has always been the case with my practice, it shifts and it is important to explore different aspects. To fit it in around whatever else is going on with life at the time.

This year has been heartbreaking. I can’t see my cousin, of whom I am very close, she had her first baby on the otherside of the world. Like I did with my baby. It crushes me that I can’t be there. We still can’t see our family on the otherside of Victoria, first it was the bushfires that ripped right through the area and now lockdown. I know there is a lot of people going through monumentally diffuclt times, I know how lucky I am and this year has really been a catalyst of change in me. I need to do something more helpful in this world.


Listen, things will never be the same again and I think that I have come to terms with that. It’s time to really engage with community but also understand myself and who I truly am. Whatever that looks like.

Please, wish me luck on my upcoming maths exam.

Stay kind



It has been sometime. So long that it took me a while to work out how to log back into here.

September next week. Most of this year has passed and it seems to be both the longest and shortest year. Many things have happened, so many things that words don’t seem to really work at the moment. Or pictures. Or anything really. Just sort of passing time with the new way of life, getting used to walking with masks on. People dying and being born and you can’t go see anyone.

Lockdown 2.0 is different this time around as I am still working and now I am studying full time. I can’t say it is the easiest time, but I also know how lucky I am. If I am successful with my studies I think I will write more about that, but no point right now. I will just say that I am using my brain in a very different way and I think it is a good thing.

Work is my haven. As I am sure it is for many people. It is the only place that I am actually creative at the moment. I had just started this job at the beginning of the year and it has been a wild ride for all.

I’ll write sooner next time.

Here’s me in my PPE for work – it gets super foggy in there.

COVID19 Diary entry #3 – school from home

Get up the usual time. Have breakfast. Get dressed and, ideally, I’d love us to go for a brief walk but I still haven’t managed to achieve this just yet.. Do your teeth and hair. Set up the computer for a meeting with the teacher and check the ipad for the days shedule. Wait out the the resistance and maybe I’ll do some boxing or take a deep breath in another room and then keep on waiting. I try and remain as calm as I can. Get some school work done, I get none of my own work done. Cook healthy meals, punctuate the day with snacks, meals, walks around the block. Reading time of books she wants to read and not the books she hates. More emotions and reassure and be calm. On the internet lots of people have very strong opinions on parenting, who are not in this situation, I want to punch them. But I don’t say that on twitter because, violence. She misses her teacher, she misses her friends, she doesn’t like video conferences. I miss my jobs. I miss Arthur Studios and nutting our ways to approach different art practices and the people. I miss the National Gallery of Victoria and teaching lessons like foreshortening where I wrapped black tape around my arms for an activity. We miss Jemima. I have got a very small amount of work done. We’ve somehow worked out how to navigate all the glitchy technology. I’ve realized some things about my kid that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. Doesn’t mean that this doesn’t suck. I do watercolours and sketches and have an idea for a new project. Log back into the school schedule and realize that we didn’t get all the work done. I turn off the ipad and tell no one.


COVID19 Diary entry #2 – more pictures and words in isolation

I thought I’d try and write weekly, just to keep up some kind of practice during this time. A lot of people have said to me that I would get heaps of art made in this time. I’m sorry people, but I’ve got an almost ten year old to home school, among other things.

Look, I am making things, just not the things I should be making. But I believe all creativity speaks to, informs and folds back into itself. I also believe that sometimes there are bigger things to attend to, and this is one of those sometimes with bigger things. The days that I don’t want to, or rather, cannot reach out to a pencil, pen or brush – I don’t. The days that I do and all that comes out is rubbish, I accept. The days when I have the energy and the drive to make pictures, I just bloody well do it. Unless there’s lesson to assist the kid through, lunch to prepare and dinner to work out.
What’s for dinner? 

I don’t mind, most days. I mean, if I love you I feed you. I feel really happy making food that my family and I enjoy together. I do resent it sometimes and yesterday I cracked, I ordered in. Noodles. It cost me almost 50 bucks though and do you know how many food supplies I could have got with that money? How many books I could buy? I won’t do it again but I had just sold an artwork and it is ok to celebrate, sometimes. 50 bucks, for one meal. I know that businesses are suffering, everyone is. I am cautious, for the most part.

Books are the one thing that I tend to indulge in. Daughter and I have a reading ritual and it is pretty much one of the best things in life. Gosh we have read so much already. I slip between non fiction, fiction, crime fiction, short books and longer ones. I don’t want to read the internet, it is depressing and screens do not great things to my mind. Plus it is too tempting to look at rubbish that just makes me spiral. I don’t need to spiral right now.

Anyway I am between watercolouring and sketching in my visual diary. I planned to write a lot more today but I am going to tuck back into my current read – The Yield by Tara June Winch. I’m half way but I already recommend that you should read it too.

Here are some recents, I’ll write soon.

Be safe and be kind. Read a book.


COVID19 Diary entry #1 – Art in Isolation

What a time we are in.

I started a new job this year, a job that I absolutely love, and it’s on hold – as is much of the rest of life at the moment. We three are at home and have been for a number of weeks now. We take it day by day – some days are really tricky. There’s emotions and uncertainty and boredom and grief. This time is so hard on kids. We older people ( who are really just bigger, saggier, hairier children ) are trying to act like we have control and try and keep things normal but at night I wake up and just think

I’m not cut out for this, I’m not cut out for this, I am not cut out for this. 

To fill out the hours of our days Kidlet and I have enjoyed many craft projects. We’ve put bears in our windows for kids who walk by. We’ve made an easter display of bunnies, bunny ears, chickens and eggs. We’ve made puppets of ourselves and furntiure to go with them. I am pretty pleased that I have a well stocked craft supply. Though, we have gone through a lot of it in this last week 😀


I also started a series of watercolours of Australian animals for my daughter. We talked about their diets and habitats. That was nice to do because there is no pressure and it was something that brought joy to us.

We all need a bit of joy right now.


I’m also keeping a sketchbook, but I’m not saying to myself to do a drawing a day or even every week because there’s already enough pressure and we have to look after ourselves so we can get through this, and try and be productive when and if we can.

There’s others but they are wither scanned in badly or drawn badly.

I’ll write more soon as there is more to add, however we are navigating online learning for the kid and it is, well, it is interesting!

I hope you are all keeping well in mind, body and spirit.


What do you say

in a time like this.

Not much. Just what needs to be said. I guess a time like this is more suited to doing – what you do and what you don’t do. Check in, grocery drop offs, make meals, check the endless empty shelves for toilet paper ..

It is incomprehensible.

It’s a take it as it comes sort of time. It is wow I thought in a time like this maybe I would panic more.

Perhaps the panic is yet to come.



Exhibition Openings

Guten Tag!

Thank you to all who could make it the the Overburden exhibition launch at the Eureka Centre a couple of weeks back. Thank you Cr Belinda Coates for speaking and officially launching the show. Thanks to Anthony Camm, manager of Eureka Centre.

Essay about the centre and the exhibition here: Overburden – Art and the Weight of History 

Full Essay here


Overburden is on view until the 2nd of August.


Last Saturday there was the launch of SHE 2020, an exhibition featuring eight artists from around Australia. Those artists are  Lily Mae Martin, Deanne Gilson, Nyaruot Ruth Ruach, Kumantjayi Nangala, Tai Snaith, Alana Hunt, Tiffany Parbs, Vonda Keji.

Here is more about the exhibition and about the artists: SHE

As part of the exhibition there will be a series of readings, here is a link to the program which begins tomorrow: SHE READS

Thank you to curator Esther Gyorki for inviting me to participate in this exhibition alongside some incredible artists. I feel super, super lucky.


Overburden – exhibition

Open Cut – Black Hill, By Lily Mae Martin, 1380 x 760 cm, ink on cotton paper, 2019

Hello! My exhibition is all coming together – I worked on this all last year and it is really exciting to be able to share this information with you all now. I will write more over the coming weeks and months about the process. Here is a little more about it –


Eureka Centre Ballarat presents ‘Overburden’, an exhibition of recent drawings by Lily Mae Martin, from 3 February to 2 August 2020. An exhibition opening will be held on Thursday 13 February 2020 at 6pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

‘Overburden’ addresses the legacy of Gold Rush mining and explore our relationship with, and perception of, the natural world. Through close observation of the landscape around Ballarat, Lily Mae has uncovered evidence of past catastrophic environmental exploitation and destruction caused by mining during the Victorian Gold Rush.

These recent drawings are the result of a year of focussed research and site visits throughout the Ballarat region. Through walking and drawing, Lily Mae began to understand how the landscape had become heavily impacted by mining and transformed by earthworks – abandoned mine shafts, mullock heaps, and the abundant evidence of sludge that once clogged water systems. She also discovered areas where mining had occurred that seemed almost entirely reclaimed by nature.

These drawings have their genesis in on-site sketches that were further developed in her studio resulting in exquisitely detailed pen and ink drawings. Her use of black and white brings to her drawing a strong metaphoric association with truth-telling. Through her close observation of nature and her dedicated act of drawing Lily Mae aims to strip away nature’s veneer of regeneration, bringing traces of environmental degradation to the fore and revealing the past trauma lurking under the surface of the land.

Lily Mae describes the inspiration and impetus for the project:

‘Overburden’ is a collection of work about how mining the earth for gold has permanently altered and reshaped the physical landscape. So much about history is about the human story – but we so rarely ask about the stories of the land. What about the environment in which we live; what do we value and what do we throw away? What do we put in museums and what is left on private farms, in state forests? Now more than ever, it seems all the more urgent to notice what we don’t notice.”

Lily Mae Martin is represented by Scott Livesey Galleries scottliveseygalleries

Eureka Centre Ballarat is a cultural facility of the City of Ballarat


Almost the new year

Hello. It’s nearly the end of December which means it’s going to be 2020 super soon.

Doesn’t that blow your mind?

I’m already tired of seeing all the round ups of 2019, especially the best ofs for the past decade which are all bias towards the last few years of this decade and see I am going to start ranting about it again 😛

No lists here, not really a round up either but I guess I can’t help but being reflective at this time of year. More things shifted this year and that’s part of growing up, which we’re always doing – we have no choice.

I did a project where I started with reading and research, followed by site visits and being gifted with time and knowledge from some local historians. Which is very different from my usual approach to artmaking. I’ve been focusing solely on production for many years now. ( A response to certain events, which I have more of a handle on ) and while I was helping offload many large, unsold artworks from the back of a truck last week I thought I don’t need to do this anymore. 

I take a lot of pride in being told that I am productive and prolific. You have no idea how much of a kick I get out of being acknowledged for those things. Part of me thinks phew! I’m not a loser. Well, phew – they can see me. I still plan on being those things, I can’t not not be making in someway. I just think it is time for me to do more reading, more research. And while I’ve been exploring black and white and tonal values for like 15 years now – it’s time to complicate things with colours. Maybe. I’m not sure yet as I am still exploring and doing less of the sharing for now.

Drawing, large scale drawing and foreshortening are things I enjoy but I think I’m needing an extra challenge. You know I feel with having an art practice there is so little room to experiment these days. I think social media influences that – there’s so much about marketing that comes into play with a social media presence and that experimentation becomes too risky. I’ve bought into that in a big way that now I feel there is something lacking in my practice. I’m addressing this.

So. That’s me, for now. There’s two exhibitions coming up for 2020, one solo in Ballarat, Victoria and another group in Melbourne. I’m still undecided if I’ll enter prizes and the like, I didn’t in 2019 and you know what it was pretty great. I see the value in them, but definitely not for every year. Don’t let what you see online fool you – those things cost a lot of money for artists to enter and participate in. It isn’t a sign of success as an artist but a sign of privilege. This is not a dig at fellow artists who do the prizes, not at all – you do what you think is best.

Here are a couple of photos that Gene Hammond-Lewis took in my studio last week, with the Kidlet as well.


Thank you for reading, thank you especially to everyone who has encouraged my art practice this year. Especially to Gene and my little – not so little – daughter child, A.

Stay hydrated and safe this new year – talk soon.

LMM xx