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It seemed the right thing to do – to take some time to drift through the dreaming darkness, working on refilling the well of creativity.
'If you want to have a creative output, you need a creative input.' I remember spouting this little gem of wisdom one January while at college to a fellow art student. Truth be told, it was my reasoning behind reaching out for another piece of cake.
Here we are, at that mid-winter tipping point, all of us wrapped in a blanket of stars. I write about looking for magic, and finding it hidden away in the nooks and crannies of the every day. Or even, realising that it's so massive and all engulfing, we just don't always see it right away.
The darkness was that mid-winter kind of blackness. There was no moon to gild the night and the stars were hiding. The heavens above me were a huge, aphotic void.
‘Gone are the days when I didn’t need glasses, I’m afraid.’ The elderly gentleman leans over in his seat, rummaging around in a sturdy, battle-scarred briefcase. ‘Would you like a newspaper, George?’
Back in the summer, when the train I was travelling on pulled into the next station, a young woman blew in through the doors and hurled herself into the seat across from me.
I'd had an idea for a new painting. I'd seen flashes of how I might want it to look. Striking, sparkling and brilliant, of course. And so I consulted the Creative Muse.
'I'm not getting out of bed today,' it said.
'Do you feel sad when you sell a painting?' a friend of mine asked me over a cup of tea. It's a question I've been asked a few times over the years.
The temperature had suddenly plummeted. An Indian summer that shimmered with golden sunlight blazing on drifts of golden leaves had somehow slid, overnight, into a dark slush of cold, mud, and clouds of breath hanging in the air.
Earlier this week I shared a story to my Facebook page about the Onna-Bugeisha, Feudal Japan's women Samurai.
I wrote about how these women may turn out to be a source of inspiration for a painting or two at some point down the line.
I learned today that in some cultures, people believe that 'reality' is what happens in your dreams, and that waking consciousness is the non-important part that happens in between dream episodes.
It was a sweltering hot night in Tokyo. The humidity was ferocious, and his wet shirt clung to his back. The evening sky was the colour of burnt orange – dust from distant lands, whipped up into the atmosphere.
She came stealing in over the hill early one morning, just before dawn, bringing with her fire and frost.
She's holding a mirror. I have no idea what's in the mirror but my suspicion is, she's seeing some kind of truth for the first time.
Sitting there in the soft gloom of the grand, crumbling auditorium, I was filled with a magical hum of excitement. It felt like we were all part of a little rebel army, intent on shining light into darkness….
If I don't practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it.'
The famous violinist Jascha Heifetz apparently once said this to a reporter, and it's something that I keep in mind.
In our happiest moments, what sustains us more than pleasure is the mystery itself.
Just a week and a half remains of my summer night job at the theatre. Watching from the wings the other night, I was just thrilled by the fantasy effect of faces painted in white powder and glitter, illuminated by the lighting.
In the canteen queue at the opera house where I work, the renowned Australian theatre director Barrie Kosky was standing in front of me.
'How are you, Barrie?' asked a passing colleague.
'I'm very tired,' he replied unapologetically.
There seems to be a mischievous mid-summer energy in the air.
Hot, still, star-filled nights filled with the echoing yelps of foxes. A neighbourhood cat slinking through pools of streetlamp light on soundless paws.
It was several years into my painting career before I began to add buildings and cityscapes onto my canvases.
Prior to that, I'd always created characters against an abstract or plain background. I preferred not to give too much away about a character, because I wanted people to be free to project their own ideas about who she or he might be.
People say you are what you eat, but I would also propose that you are what you speak.
Paintings don't make much noise, but often I do hear a voice (should I be worried?) while creating a character on the canvas or page.
‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.’
Oscar Wilde’s famous quote is one of the greatest of all time. To me it offers such solace and conjures up an image of magical hope and wonder.
It was the first time I had shared a piece of writing with my bi-weekly writing group.
Even though the other members always offer fair and constructive criticism, I had to work to keep my voice strong from behind my laptop screen.
While sitting with a book beneath June's huge, blue sky, a droning sound began to intrude on my thoughts. It wasn't a bumble bee, so I craned my head back and looked up.
As the film credits rolled, I surreptitiously tried to smear away my tears with my sleeve in the darkness of the cinema.
To keep my mind occupied while bending and stretching, I listened to a TED talk that someone had posted on social media. It's by Anil Seth and is called, 'Your Brain Hallucinates Your Conscious Reality'.
'I feel like sometimes you have to block out real life,' I said to a friend recently over coffee. 'It's like, there are all of these forces telling you to be sensible…
'The job of the artist is to find treasure in the trash,' says mentor Jamie Catto - or words to that effect.
This really struck a chord with me. I am always interested in the discarded, the lost and the overlooked.