You Can’t Choose Your Family

‘You can’t choose your family,’ said the eighty-nine-year-old man to his five-year-old great-grandson. These are the very words that set me on the well-travelled family history trail; ducking and diving through swathes of digitised records, crawling in and out of rabbit holes lined with red herrings and eventually uncovering a family that you would definitely…

Validation is good for you

Don’t worry about what others think, carry on regardless, be true to yourself – cliche basket empty (for now).  An artist is hit with these relentlessly, and sometimes it’s all you’ve got to cling to as you watch another screwed up ball of paper fly through the air towards the bin – a bittersweet score. …

Happy Accidents – painting becomes drawing

Don’t you just love them? Not all accidents are bad, this one was almost comical as I carefully selected my watercolour paints that would create the stripes you see. My guardian angel and mentor, Anne, saved me with only seconds to spare – you see, I’d drawn the picture in what I thought was a…

Mentally Difficult

She was described as ‘mentally difficult’, a description that could apply to parts of my own life and maybe yours too? But, was she already mentally difficult or did she become that way because they wouldn’t return her children? I first read the phrase ‘mentally difficult’ on my grandfather’s 1924 Victorian State Ward Card only…

Abandoned original artwork

This gave me much more freedom than expected, having so many copies of my own art to work on I found myself taking risks because I wasn’t worried about losing the original drawing. Artwork exercise: The study of a face – I drew the original picture of my grandfather in pencil and charcoal from an…

Forgotten Australians – a biography

We left him to rest, or so we thought. In the hospital lobby I realized my youngest was missing and upon retracing our steps to my grandfather’s room we spied a memorable picture; an 89 year old man chatting to his 5 year old great-grandson. Noticing me at the door, Charlie quickly whispered in his…