Why am I doing this right now, when the world is a different place? Because I’m doing what I know how to do. << Thanks for putting that into words, Austin Kleon and Fiona Apple.
Want to add to the loveliness? Click one of the heart pics to go check out the details… there’s a short (the kids are swarming) version, and a longer version :D
I’ll share some more this week on my Facebook and Instagram. In a week I’ll collate into a something – maybe a slide-show style video? Like when we made this.
While we’re in lockdown thinking about stuff …
… let’s think about not returning to what we were doing before. Let’s not go back to (the same) “normal” because, as wise people are saying, “Normal was the problem”.
I listened to this fascinating podcast interview – Osher Günsberg with Margaret Klein Salamon from The Climate Mobilisation – recorded before the pandemic was at the forefront. She asserts that the eco folk have been lying to us too: in fact we can’t fix the climate emergency gently or moderately, because we’re already so far along the path. I’m shocked but I see what she means.
Ultimately, though, it’s an optimistic outlook: we can transform. (We just proved it.)
Wash your hands dear heart, we need you strong and true.
Love and light,
Meg x o
Here’s a 27-second time lapse video of me illustrating a lyric line, after hearing the song Turn! Turn! Turn! on the radio recently. These lyrics were written well before they were put to music in 1962 (click this to learn more) by the late Pete Seeger. Pretty sure I had a much-loved version on vinyl in the 70s, that had beautiful harmonies …
Are you familiar with the song?
What a time we are living in…
Take care of your self and your people!
In an interruption to our irregularly scheduled programming, here’s a listicle for when we’re locked down at home … and “going viral” is no longer a desirable state! [Instead of more introductions to the #100PicturesProject today…]
Though apart, we’re all in it together, co-operating by staying home to curb the rampant spread of COVID-19. In this situation, the ideas, projects and resources in these links have been helping me make sense of things, be interactive in a positive way & uplifted, hopeful and active. Hope some may be of interest to you :)
Bollywood dance classes – I like Fusion Beats… I’d been to in-real-life classes before the physical distancing came into play, and Francesca’s lovely teaching translates well to the screen. They offer both real-time classes and follow along sequences. I’m enjoying this physical fun at home, though have discovered I’ve another weakness: remembering & following a series of physical movements! Haha. Oh well :)
I like this article by Tara Schultz, who asserts “Having higher welfare means people can afford to pay rent, stay healthy and get back on their feet, and into the workforce.” This pandemic and subsequent job losses means as a society we’re seeing on a bigger scale than ever that we need to take care of all of us. It was true before. It’s true still. Perhaps moving forwards we can even think about the option of an all-the-time Universal Basic Income! This site answers common questions about the UBI.
While you’re at home, want to join my new art project, launched from lockdown? It’s pretty simple… Click this link >> Collective Heart Project 2020 << to check it out, and reach out a creative virtual hand to others :) I hope you join in!
EcoLateral keeping going amidst the changes… Go, Jamie! [I hope she has time soon for us to interview her :) ] On socials, she brought a new concept re toilet paper alternatives: these could be used for toilet paper for number ones so you could save your loo paper for twos! Great concept-splosion, there … for me, anyway!
Other ways democracy could be done! Osher Günsberg talks to Iain Walker, executive director of the newDemocracy foundation. Fascinating. Full disclosure: As of this writing, I’m about half way through.
A few people are thinking ahead and reminding us that who we support now, is who we’re gonna have at the other end (undefinable as that end currently is). I dearly hope we learn enough and are too smart go back to Business As Usual!
Hope you got something out of my listicle, even a smile :)
I finished these pictures – numbers 54 and 55 – in the middle of 2019 [an eternity ago!] and am currently painting a commissioned Custom Cat kitty which is picture number 75.
Let’s use this in-betweeny, where-are-we-headed, and do-we-want-to-go-back-even time to catch up on some picture introducing… Catching up is needed!
This picture (close up shown at right of photo above, number 54 from my #100PicturesProject) contains very local ‘artefacts’…
In a part of the land that doesn’t do snow, large noisy swarms of white parrots – properly known as Small Corellas – drop a snow-like blanket of white feathers during the hot summers here in the Fleurieu Peninsula. That’s one of them in the pic.
What about “Sue’s Shawl” of the picture title? Sue previously had a shop nearby and has now moved it and herself to Queensland. I adore the cosy pinks and lively repetition of flames/leaves. [Side note: I’ve been favouring pink in paints, clothes, etc, since my father passed early in 2019 … Pink is soothing, isn’t it?]
This vase (just visible in the peek) is a favourite of mine given to me long ago. A gift from a friend with the same birthday, who was a neighbour at the time, and we’d gleefully wave and clearly mouth “Happy Birthday” when driving past each other. Haha, much as our non-contact-sport-greetings are in this time of history!
Here’s picture 55, the ‘viney’ cat of Appreciation, which started with a measured, patient black and white drawing. The fully coloured version is the May picture if you have one of my 2020 Cat calendars or the birthday one. [In fact, I’m close to ready to put together 2021 Calendars! Stay tuned…]
By the way, I’ve been trialling Zoom (internet video connection) sessions and once we iron out initial wrinkles, I’m considering opening the limited-sized, in person, drawing and painting classes up to be larger sized (maybe simpler) classes [goodness willing and the creek don’t rise] … If you’re keen to do drawing lessons with me, message via either my Facebook page, or the Contact page of this very website, and I’ll let you know if and when…
I wish you so much well…
Love and hugs,
Meg in the time of Corona. Bye, Corona.
I read someone opine that something wonderful was as good as ” … the last bite of pear”. I can relate. I like pears. Even before my current low food chemical [amines and salicylates for those playing along at home] dietary plan, I notice I often included them in my still life paintings.
I don’t know why but I never get sick of creating still lifes, and still lives with pears. I think I almost have enough (ie. 12) to make an entire calendar of Still Lifes with Pears! Wouldn’t that be fun?! :D
Drawing and Painting Lessons
We had a brilliant block of lessons beginning in February. Here is some lovely in-person bold souls’ feedback:
M said I had a “… Relaxed approach. (With) No demand or expectation of perfection. Definitely these are great classes for overcoming fear of drawing and painting…”
S said “M(eg) is a natural teacher. She is clear and playful; accomplished and welcoming; and paces the classes perfectly!”
S2 said “… informative, relaxing, challenging, creative …”
Thank you, bold souls! Now, let’s talk about how…
… some things are different!
The corona virus COVID-19 changes things for all of us. All. All of us on earth. We are all in this together.
Good news and bad news – some links…
I started collecting these links a few weeks ago. And again: everything has changed. And nothing has: we always were in this together, we just forgot for a while. We still need art and each other and our planet. And kindness. We still need kindness.
Here’s a 45 minute comprehensive read: Why you should quit the news, from Mark Manson… Couldn’t agree more about keeping clear of info-tainment, the story cycle that ignites fear and division and a need to watch more and more breaking, updating, but never resolving tales. [Later: Times have shifted and we need to be in the basic loop right now. Maybe just check in once a day to be up to date. Please get your news and guidance from a reputable source.]
Here’s an interesting [familiar?] allegory/story for those of us who tend to take on everybody else’s stuff and not have any jolly boundaries or let anyone figure things out or do things for themselves: Girl in the Velcro Dress. And this follow on post fills out the story: The Girl in the Painted Dress. I’m so glad Heather Plett shares her insight!
If above here ^^^ is an instagram logo or a big blank box, click on it and it should take you to my instagram, where there’s a 24 second video of me painting petals :)
Stay Home and Make Art
If there’s something I try to prioritise generally, it’s Stay Home and Make Art! To do so feels productive and positive, and keeps me physically away from others. Turns out that Stay Home and Make Art is a perfect idea for these times!
The risk and challenge of holding Drawing and Painting lessons in-person is too high right now. So we’re postponing until things resolve. Which is nudging me to consider offering lessons online, sooner rather than later. Would you be interested in that?
By the way, when keeping your distance from others, instead of thinking of it as Social Isolation, you can think of it as Social Solidarity + Physical Isolation. Feels much better!
My neighbour gifted me this short-lived flower, a type of hibiscus(?) called a Rose of Sharon. It grows on a small-to-medium nicely shaped tree and the blossoms last for 24 sweet hours!
To capture one of the flowers, I needed to allow enough time to continuously create – rather than with pauses as I often do – drawing and painting while the blossom lasted, for the sakes of both shape and colour. As you can see in the first of the photo group above, the petal colour starts a white with very delicate pink. Then it slowly gains more and more and more pink… It deeepened and changed as I worked. Meanwhile, the shape goes from gracious, to cautious, to collapsed … Mother Nature, you racer!
Once the flower and leaf were drawn and painted, I could of course finalise the vase, table and background at my own pace.
Looking forward to doing an exhibition of purely still lifes later this year… details soon!
How’s merry life in your neck of the woods? Have you got some persistent something flowering? Here are a few quick snaps of marigolds. Loving.The.Yellows.today!
The yellow is so kind and happy, and the generosity of nature is again apparent. There must be dozens of seeds in every flower, hundreds of seeds from every plant…
It’s not nature that is mean or greedy. It’s us. In fact a very, very few of us. I think we need to be inspired by Greta [Have you read this? I’ve ordered the book from my local library] to speak up about our beliefs. A very, very few are fouling this beautiful ship/planet for all of us, and if we go much further on this trajectory there’ll be no way back. [Too much? Too much for me too, today. I need to stay inside and paint yellow things for the sake of my mental health.]
Happily there are yellow marigolds with seeds.
Love and peace.
Meg x o
PS Want to join Winter Drawing and Painting classes? We all need a break from the distractions and chaos sometimes, don’t we? And doesn’t it feel great to make things in good company? :)
When are nature and art time machines? Oh, always…
Here’s a pic of a little of the magnificent blossomage of nature, this past Spring…
After the flowering season passed, I converted the then dry stems and leaves into mulch, and dropped the poppy seed pods into a spare jar.
Unlikely sounding (for me) though it is, I loved the look of the poppy pods in the jar – the softy colours and textures, the shadows and 3-dimensionality, and the great shapes! Stars, ridged roundness … and then all the tiny tiny seeds like punctuation full-stops (‘periods’, US bold friends). These dots >> …… <<
My (almost print-like) ikea studio curtains bring bold lines to balance/play off the black poppy seed mass mostly at the bottom of the jar.
Mother Nature is so abundantly generous. Her past poppies make future poppies – thousands of seeds (future plants) from maybe dozens of flowers.
What’s going on for you?
How’s your start-of-the-year been? Mine transitioned smoothly from a two week tune up with Stasia into teaching art to a wonderful bunch of adults. Have you been following their achievements on social media? Here’s a catch up of the 2 weeks so far …
In the world, yes, there is shite happening. And, beauty is here too. To care for our nervous systems, practise noticing the beauty, dear bold babes. Talk soon.
Sending love, light and virtual hugs,
Meg x o
PS Bookings are no longer open for the Summer block of art classes, and the Autumn block is just about full. There are spots in the Winter, late Winter and Spring blocks. Want to join us? Click the art lesson picture or type in the link, or, click the Art Lessons link above in my website menu :)
Dear bold soul,
Much is amiss in the world and parts of Australia are on fire. I’m fortunate enough not to have been yet in a fire-affected area. There are however, neighbouring areas that need assistance, as a neighbour does from time to time.
After scrolling and scrolling on Facebook, thinking I was getting Informed-with-a-capital-I, I had to step away from the feed. Me feeling angry, horrified or hopeless doesn’t help me or anybody else. And thankfully, I’ve come through my initial disbelief and overwhelm at the situation, and pockets of where I can sustainably contribute are coming to light.
People are wonderful
I’m seeing after the first flurry of what’s-going-on-and-how-did-this-even-happen that a lot of capable caring people are providing resources and kindness for animals both human and otherwise. Many generous and resourced people are throwing money at the problem. And other practical and forward-looking people are talking and planning how we can do better, if when other big changes happen and action is needed. Folk are being blazing and quiet kinds of heroes.
Amongst all this – and right on the heels of the holiday season! – I open up my blogging window to create some goodness in a way that I’m able, by simply posting my next blog post. It’s this one, the next picture in my 100 Pictures Project. So, I was cross checking on my blog and back with my computer records to see where I’m up to and the next picture to introduce is number 49…
Lo and behold: I’d lettered/decorated Thich Nact Hahn’s words:
“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness”.
Our separation/differentness really is surface-level, isn’t it? Whatever you think of what someone says or how they behave and why don’t they do things more like me, there’s a power in a big life-threatening event to quickly have us prioritise life, humanity, the environment and kindness. We are essentially the same. Seems like. [And can we try to be at this point without a big life-threatening event?]
Hand lettered quote
In the pic above: I re-drew the cutie pie lower case ‘a’ (shown bigger) because I made a spelling error initially when doing the lettering / drawing! Oops, ‘seperateness’ I first thought. You can see the first ‘a’ in separateness is where I photoshopped in the new ‘a’ with the little fan shells and flowers!
Did you know, you can purchase selected pieces of my art as colouring pages? See below – click the View Product button then use the drop down menu to choose your favourites. For the rest of January I’ll match my own ongoing 10% donation to humanitarian aid via TPRF by sending another 10% of art sales to either Red Cross Australia (bushfire relief and recovery) or Container of Dreams (building tiny homes for bushfire victims).
Can’t wait to show you my next Custom Cat… I’m working on a sweetie at the moment :)
Sending sparkles and kindness.
PS2 The world is sometimes chaotic, and we need down time to soothe and nourish our souls … If you want to do Drawing and Painting with me, sign up soon. The Summer sessions are half full – and the price goes up on the 31st – and the Autumn sessions are gently getting booked up too!
This musing has been triggered by strong sad-yet-appreciative feelings swelling up recently when I randomly hear David Bowie songs playing. Or “Faith” by George Michael… that transports me back to a very specific time and a new dress. So grateful Bowie made music. Does particular music take you back, too?
I’m so grateful she lived and thought about stuff and wrote … I found Ms Le Guin’s books by way of some quotes floating around when she died early in 2018. I’ve started to read her Earthsea books and have just finished and loved the first one. I ‘specially enjoyed the behind the scenes notes from the author (in the form of the books forward and afterward), including the deliberate choosing not to write about military style solutions and ‘goodies’ versus ‘baddies’. Most intriguing. I’ll work through the books one by one … can’t wait to see what she writes after the 20-year gap! Have you read Ursula Le Guin?
[Warning: if you click her name above you might get a few tears from the 1 minute and 18 seconds of clips! I did.] I watched episode 8 of Star Wars last week, the last one Carrie Fisher was in, though who knows what will happen next with such great computer generated work being done now. And that sad-yet-happiness welled up in me again! So sad she died quite young (60). So so grateful she made all the things she did, said what she said. She had a bunch of sexism in her industry to deal with, and had (thankfully) addressed and commented upon it. Here’s a written ‘remembering’ article. [Damn, I’ve made myself cry.]
Legendary Australian still life painter, Margaret Olley, made and made and made. She modelled “art before housework”, which you can see in the recreations of her studio at the Tweed River Gallery. She was painting right up until she died. So much appreciation for someone who “… held over 90 solo exhibitions during her life time”! That’s a lot! Here’s a briefer life summary.
Do you think the happy + grief thing is heightened partly because they were alive and making in our times?
Read this article by artist Jessica Swift to hear how painting transformed her grief after her husband’s sudden passing … from bleak grief into an experience that had rich positive aspects too … so fascinating to read how art transformed. [Perhaps I’ve said the word ‘transform’ enough now.]
Whenever I feel like things are pointless I do a bit of drawing and readily feel more centred and purposeful.
Remember I wrote this post about The Old People Lesson on Kind Over Matter? [If you click through, something’s happened to the pictures – don’t worry it’s not you!]
I feel lucky that ageing-as-it’s-portrayed-now has had the sting taken out of it’s tail by the observations and comments that were gifted me as a child.
Why do we even say “ageing”? It’s just living. Do you think marketers decided to popularise that term to sell us stuff? It wouldn’t surprise me!
“Going grey was, for me, the conduit to a more spirited enjoyment of life after 50. I have grown bolder in word and deed, less afraid to stray outside my comfort zone. I’ve taken on new projects that challenge the notion that older women become invisible or matter less…”
~ Louise Pendry
Where are you at?
Who are you glad created things? Has their life and legacy helped you? What do you create? Experiments? Outfits? Poems? A kind culture in your home? Do you have thoughts about creativity and missing people? Getting older? I’d love to hear below in the comments or on my Facebook page.
Meet Yaisa Nio from Yoga Here and There. Yaisa Nio has crafted a life embodying both centred calm and worldly adventure. Scroll down to read the why, what and who!
Is there someone bold you’d like to learn more about via a Bold Interview? Message me and I’ll see what I can do…
Love Meg x o
Hi Yaisa! I’ve 5 (+ a few) questions for you…
1 What do you love most that yoga gives you in life?
The beauty of yoga is that it can give me everything I need. It gives me focus when my brain is scattered. It gives me distraction and takes my mind of things when I’m too uptight about a job or a project. It opens my body when have tension, gives me energy when I’m feeling low. It takes my hunger away on the days that I’m fasting but can also awaken my appetite by doing a stronger physical practice. Yoga inspires discipline as well as kindness to myself. It helps me to think twice before I speak my mind and encourages me to speak my truth when appropriate. The best of all, is that I can choose all of the above and more. Yoga is a way of life that I can choose, nobody imposes it on me and I am free to grow on its foundations as I see fit. Yoga gives freedom.
2 What is your unique offering as a yoga teacher?
Students tell me that I am down-to-earth and authentic. I believe it’s important to stay true to oneself and I do not believe in a one-size-fits all kind of yoga practice. Every person is different and needs something different, depending on their intention in life and their physical, mental and emotional condition of that very moment. I teach a variety of yoga classes and my teacher training courses are multistyle, showing our students that yoga has something to offer for everybody. And all the while, I stay myself, acknowledging my shortcomings, my skills, my qualities and my weaknesses. As a yoga teacher, that’s the best gift I can give to the people practicing with me: the belief that everybody is just perfect the way they are, including their best efforts to become an even better version of themselves.
3 Why do you write what you do, whether on your own blog or when guest blogging?
Writing blogs is a great tool to share the knowledge that has been passed on to me and personal experience that I believe can be of benefit to others. I like the idea of inspiring people as I have been inspired by others, with my own spin. This in turn, hopefully motivates people to inspire others too. Sometimes, writing is also a way to put my own thoughts in perspective. When I write, I attempt to express precisely what I feel or think, giving words to my emotions and opinions, forcing me to reconsider or nuance.
4 Can you tell us how living in alignment with your values and priorities relates to the lifestyle you’ve designed?
It’s always work in progress, a subtle balance between what I wish as an individual and what is possible in the society that I choose to live in and with the people I share my life with. Mundane things, like time, money and other finite resources are restrictive. My personal dreams and wishes are infinite and so are those of the ones I love. In the middle of all this, I try to walk the fine line that makes me and the people around me the happiest. Some of my priorities in life are the friends I have made over the years, living the healthiest life I possibly can for myself, being as kind as I can for nature and sharing my passion for yoga with as many as are willing to listen to me. The problem is of course that some of these priorities require conflicting actions. Teaching yoga is not a huge money making machine, whilst money is necessary to buy the healthiest food and fly around the world to see my friends. Flying around the world is not very kind for the earth. I could try to grow all my own food, but then I wouldn’t have time to teach as much as I would like to. And so on and so forth. I endeavor to find a balance between all these things and more, knowing that compromise and sacrifice are often necessary but never regretting any choices that I make.
5 Your business name is Yoga Here and There … How do you keep your life cohesive when you live in so many places in one year? What do you find special about the Fleurieu Peninsula, that you’ve chosen to base yourself here for the longest period of the year?
Despite my nomadic lifestyle, there are many elements in my existence that keep me anchored and sane. Stefano, my husband, is probably the most important one at this stage in my life. He is earth element itself. Grounded, balanced, with his feet always firmly planted (preferably in the sand while fishing and often also with his hands in the soil as he gardens or forages), extremely caring and supportive. Even though we are not together several months a year, he is one of the most stabilising factors in my life.
Another big influence of stability in my life is Darja, my oldest friend, soul sister, business partner, the yin to my yang when it comes to running Yoga Here & There teacher training courses. I’ve known her forever and though we are not totally not the BFF-joined-at-the-hip kind of friends, my life would be quite different without her in it. In Bali, she is my buoy.
Next of course, is the practice of yoga. Even when not on my yoga mat, the yogic lifestyle values are something I carry with me everywhere I go. I’m not pretending to be an enlightened being, far from that. Rather than an imposed, dogmatic set of rules, yoga is like a compass to me. I can choose to ignore the direction it points me towards or I can go forth and explore. Whether I am in Bali, in Europe or in the Fleurieu, the values of yoga are the same and they give me a strong foundation in life.
In between all that travelling, the Fleurieu is my home. The vibe in the Fleurieu is very special to me, both Stefano and I felt it the very first moment we drove into the region without any expectations. The balance in nature of sea, vines, hills, space, the climate, the eclectic collection of people that live in the area and the magical property we are privileged to live on are the main reasons for us to want to stay here for the better part of the year.
5a Bonus Lightning Round (short answers are fine here): What are your recent most memorable in the following categories?
1 yoga venue: I have so many favourite yoga spots that it’s difficult to choose. I’d have to say the shala at Kelapa Cottage where we conduct the teacher trainings. The reason why it’s the most memorable one is because of all the intense and beautiful memories we have created there, together with the trainees and the teachers.
2 food: Good food is a big thing in my life and I have countless memorable moments involving food. But one recent experience that I won’t lightly forget, is the sushi at Kaiko, a small Japanese restaurant in Amsterdam last July. It is so memorable because it was a treat by a very good friend, and aside from the fact that quality sushi is a bit beyond my yoga teacher’s income (not the sushi train quality we get a shopping malls), good company makes a meal even more unforgettable. Downside however, is that eating sushi is not a very sustainable activity… But boy, was it ever so tasty!
3 environment: The most recent impressive moment in nature was a trip in the Sahara desert in Egypt in September. The vastness, rawness and power of the landscape was beyond words. [see pic below ~ M]
4 event: A most amazing recent event was a family reunion in August with my dad, his two brothers and all their children and grand-children. Including partners, we were 21 people and we came together for a week in Italy at the Garda Lake. This was the first time we had a reunion of this kind ever and the purpose was to share stories about the past so that we, my cousins and I, can pass on the stories to the next generations.
Amazing tales of the childhood years of the three brothers, who were born in Indonesia where my grand-dad set up regional hospitals and research centres. They then roamed around Europe as illegal refugees before emigrating to China, living there during the apex of the Cultural Revolution before fleeing China again and finally settling down in the Netherlands.
The whole reunion, the re-newed connections we forged among family members and our partners and these extraordinary stories blew my mind away. And of course there was lots of good food and wine to enhance the experience.
5 unexpected awesome sight. Seeing my little brother as the airport in Amsterdam in September. I had said good bye to him a month earlier not expecting to see him before next year May again. I was due to fly in from Egypt the next morning but my flight was rescheduled to the evening prior. He was due to fly in from a business trip to Monaco earlier that evening but his flight was delayed.
So my mom ended up picking us up both at the same time and we had an hour to catch up as we drove to his house. A very precious one.
When Yaisa is passionate about something, she usually finds a way to turn the hobby into a vocation. After discovering yoga in 2007, she trained to become a teacher in 2013, definitively leaving behind a banking job and a scuba diving career. In 2015, she emigrated to South Australia and founded Yoga Here & There.
The name of her business reflects her nomadic life style but mainly the holistic nature of yoga. It can be practiced anywhere, anytime and at many different levels, in different ways.
She settled in Sellicks Beach, teaching yoga here and there. Now also a registered yoga teacher training school, Yaisa runs yoga classes, workshops, courses and trainings in Australia in Spring and Summer.
The rest of the year, she runs teacher training programs in Bali and travels around the world to catch up with family, friends and former yoga students.
Her two single best choices in life were to marry Stefano and not to have any children.