|after the rain|
December 8th 2012
Please forgive me for not sending something more personal. You know the story: life is so busy, time is so short etc. I’d always imagined that as I got older my life would become leisurely and peaceful and spacious - but it feels like the reverse.
This year has been especially intense - and also especially wonderful - because I have been a fulltime student doing ‘Visual Arts and Contemporary Crafts’. A one-year beginners’ course at the local Community College in Mullumbimby.
Monday mornings during school term I’ve been up at dawn with the kookaburras ( sometimes make it to gym for an hour, sometimes not). I make my school lunch, make Felix’s school lunch, hurry him out of bed and through the obstacle race of shower, saxophone practice, breakfast etc...to deposit him at the school bus stop in town at 8.30 - Then - what joy! - I’m off to the Laneway Art Studio, and a day of learning and art-making.
There were fifteen of us in the group this year, ranging from 18 year old Goth to mid-sixties retired advertising exec, a diverse but supportive group, united by gratitude and enthusiasm. It’s a foundation year, so has been a pretty wild ride through everything from fabrics and plant-dying to ceramics, printmaking, painting, life drawing etc.
It’s been humbling and at times frustrating being a beginner. ( Why did I let my art go for 40 years after leaving school?) Still, it’s incredibly satisfying to pick up that thread again. I hope painting drawing and printmaking will be part of life from now on.
Last night we had our big end-of-year student exhibition and party, with quite a bit of wine consumed and some of us dancing outside by the Laneway Studio at dusk to the gypsy/harp/kora music provided by a local musician...
|(framed painting and lino print are my work)|
|Denis was our bartender|
The night before that there was another completion: a huge celebration at Cape Byron Steiner school - Felix and all his year 8 classmates (14 year olds) presented their year-long individual projects. One of the girls made a film of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet - starring Felix as a rather reluctant Romeo - he did a pretty good job of it I thought.
Each of the kids had to get up and make a speech about their project/ process in front of a couple of hundred people in the school hall. Huge collective sigh of relief when the whole bloody thing was over!
It was definitely a sort of rites of passage, a marker of their growing up. ‘Developing the Will’, in Steiner-speak.
|school ensemble performance|
Denis and Felix did a different ‘rites of passage’ in September, when they went off on the
As it happens Den Felix and I, plus our fifteen-year old friend Thea are also off to New Zealand in a week for some walking, silence and clean mountain air. Happily we don’t know a single person in NZ. After that, Woodford Music Fest for...the opposite sort of experience.
Of course that’s if the world doesn’t end on December 21st as predicted supposedly by the Mayan calender. Mullumbimby is the sort of town where such ideas enjoy a lot of currency - though always with a positive spin - opportunity for spiritual growth, step up to the ‘next level’ etc. Gotta say I love this little town - we have finally found our community here.
Denis and I are both in choirs. His - ‘Spiritsong’ - is serious classical stuff; Mine is ‘Raise The Roof Gospel community choir’ - we performed a couple of weeks ago in the park at the Mullumbimby Music Festival ( great event). Whereas Spiritsong’s gigs are in cathedrals, accompanied by organ music.
|(Raise The Roof - I’m in red, obscured by Jess’s arm)|
Denis is as happy as can be with his rainforest regeneration work - loves being outside all day, swapping Latin plant names with his workmates.
Then there is the Kitchen Table Writers’ group - started and facilitated by me, and now with a life of its own - we’ve been meeting around my table for a couple of years, sharing our stories and getting bonded - last week on full moon night we put on our first ‘soiree’ - invited our friends to come and hear us read some of our stuff.
Am I sounding just too smug? Like, My God, our lives are so wonderful! And I haven’t even started on the gorgeous Friday morning farmers’ market, or the marimba group, or the fun with ukuleles...Weekends and school holidays at Sunshine Beach.
So...2012 for us has been a year of 'Making Hay While The Sun Shines'!
Much love to you - I hope your year has been a good one...blessings...happy new year...
And who knows, maybe next year I’ll get the hand-printed linocut christmas cards together.
and Denis and Felix
more art by me