The Art of Asking – an audio-book review of sorts

I was driving to work one morning this this week, fighting my way through rain, traffic, potholes, broken traffic lights and taxi drivers while listening to the ever more depressing Zupta-gate news and I could literally feel my mood getting blacker and blacker. I really like being relatively well informed and knowing what’s going on in the world so I tend to listen to quite a bit of talk radio, but sometimes it all just gets a bit too much. So I switched to my iPod and the first song on shuffle happened to be an Amanda Palmer song, which reminded me that I needed to write this post. 

Side note: I’m so very tired of the drama and the traffic. Thank goodness it’s very nearly time for my holiday! Maybe it’s time to bury my head in the sand for a bit. Maybe it’s even time to do a bit of a social media unplug (gasp!) while I’m on holiday next week?  

Anyways, back to my black mood. I’ve had this feeling before – where talk radio just gets too heavy. And the music radio is just inane crap. And Apple Music is eating my mobile data. I decided to download Audible and try out listening to Audiobooks while I drive. 

But what to choose to listen to with that generous free first month credit? I investigated my options as only I (the great overthinker) could do and eventually settled on The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. This book was a suggestion from my singing, songwriting, piano and ukelele playing friend Nicole. 

  
Nicole introduced me to Amanda Palmer a few years ago. Nic is a massive Amanda Palmer fan.  I’m hardly an audiophile but I did become a minor fan after doing some listening. I liked her quirky story songs but that was about as far as it went.

So a bit about Amanda, in case you’re not familiar with her. She’s also a singing, songwriting, piano and ukelele playing artist. She had made a living from standing on a crate as a living statue, as well as busking, amongst other insane and awesome things. A few years ago, after kicking her commercial music production company to the kerb, she funded an album entirely with a massive and recordbreakingly successful   kickstarter campaign.  She currently funds her art via a website called Patreon. Her music is a mix of indie, alternative, punk and caberet but she is so much more than a musician – she embodies art. 

The minute I started listening to Amanda telling her story, I was hooked. She narrates the book and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. She welcomed me in to her artsy world with arms wide open. I have always secretly wished to live some sort of eccentric, bohemian artist’s life so for the few days that she was my companion during my commute, I lived vicariously through her. 

When I initially downloaded the book, I wasn’t sure what I’d get out of her story. People were talking on Twitter about how the book had changed their lives. I’ve witnessed a massive change in Nicole which she attributes to the book. But for me? I mean,  I’m not practicing my art much. I am a salaried employee of a big corporate, there’s not much busking involved. 

But I really did get so much out of it.

The book was inspiring and delightful and has reminded me never to lose faith in the goodness of people and just… Love.  And to try to live fearlessly. 

I also had loads of insight about myself and my creativity. And living my life, whatever the circumstances, as a manifestation of my inner creative spirit. 

I feel like I need to listen to the book a few more times to gain everything there is to gain from the book. And to go back into my imaginary bohemian world. 

If you’re keen to find out a little more, I highly recommend watching her TED talk.

My only regret is that my obsession is so new.  She  visited South Africa last year and I missed her Ninja gig here in Jozi. 

If you’ve read or have listened to The Art of Asking, I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Hello 2016!

New-Year_Resolutions_list
Enter a caption

My first work week of 2016 is done. Another festive season done and it’s time to pack away the tree and it’s tinsel. Smokey the cat will miss the baubles to play with!

So I guess it’s time to think about what I want from 2016, right? As I said here, I am not big on serious resolutions, but I do think the beginning of a new year is a great time to sit down and think about what I want out of the coming months.

Mostly, these are things I strive for every day of every year. But I guess it’s good to remind myself of the goals every now and then.

Actually, having looked at the dictionary definition for “resolution”, particularly the synonyms, maybe I am big on resolutions, after all:

resolution
rɛzəˈluːʃ(ə)n/
noun
noun: resolution; plural noun: resolutions
1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.
“she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”

So without further ado:

My house:

  • Spend some time and (a little) money each month on prettifying my house – especially the outside areas. Even if it’s just a small purchase each month, I want the outside of my home to be an extension of the décor inside that we have been working on for the last few years.
  • Spend a little time each week doing small organising jobs to maintain some control on the clutter.

My work:

  • To be positive and upbeat wherever possible.
  • To look for opportunities to excel.

My family:

  • To be present and in touch.
  • To communicate well.

Me:

  • I am hoping to begin something that I have wanted to do for all my adult life. I want a degree and although I have started studies before, I have never seen them through. I labeled myself as a bit of a quitter. My experiences in the last two years of running have proved to me that maybe I am not so much of a quitter after all. Which means maybe it is time to start again and achieve the that one goal that has eluded me all these years. More on this to follow.
  • Run… just keep running, get my pace to under 8:00 min per km, finish Two Oceans (dare I hope for under 3 hours?)
  • Carry on with my LCHF/Banting lifestyle and hopefully say good bye to a few more kilograms.
  • Find time to be a little creative everyday. I’ve started a #drawsomethingevery day challenge – I am hoping that I manage to keep it up and produce something little each day. More on that later!
  • Read more
  • BE GRATEFUL and AWARE.

Over to you – what are your thoughts for the year ahead?

 

 

 

 

 

 

24/31 Is there anything new under the sun?

“Originality is the art of concealing your sources” ~Benjamin Franklin

Last night I introduced my husband, via the wonders of YouTube, to an singer he was unfamiliar with. His comment was that he liked her general sound but she was not particularly original. I got to thinking then… Is anything ever original? And should we dismiss artists if we consider them unoriginal?

I can’t comment much with regard to music – I am not the audiophile my husband is. I simply listen and either like or dislike. I rarely remember names of bands or musicians, never mind song titles or lyrics. But I can comment as a visual artist.

I paint from references. It was the way I was taught at school. Sometimes the references are mixed up. A face from here, a hand from there and a pattern from somewhere else. I have often had people ask me whether I paint from memory or where I get my ideas from. They seem almost disappointed when I tell them that I paint from other pictures – mostly photographs, but occasionally other artworks.

I have a Jack Vettriano painting hanging on the wall in my lounge. Except it is not Vettriano’s work, it is my my own. I copied one of his paintings, as an exercise in technique. I was pleased with the result and had it framed. The lady at the framing shop tutted in disapproval as did a visitor to my home. I wasn’t trying to pass the work off as someone else’s. I was simply trying to learn the technique of an artist who I thought to be talented and was proud of my attempt.

Sometimes, my ideas an art piece are more abstract or I want to try working with different media. I then scour the Internet, searching for artists who may have tried similar techniques. I like to see their methods and results. At the moment, I really want to attempt a stylised picture etched onto canvas. I have seen it done and loved the effect. The only way I can imagine doing it is to paint Polyfilla onto canvas and then carve or etch into it. I am searching the web to find examples of this technique before I attempt it myself.

Perhaps a fear of failure or criticism makes me hesitant to just experiment and play? As a (mostly) self taught artist, I know no other way to create.

I often doubt my artistic talent and I wonder whether my concerns about lack of originality has something to do with my self doubt?

I would love to hear what other creatives think about this?

I am not particularly inspired to blog anything tonight so I am posting a pic instead. This was one of the first paintings I ever did on my own after the required school projects. I painted it on an old bed sheet primed with PVA.

The sheet has an odd story attached to it… our first family pet, when I was a child was a Boxer named Jessie. She ripped a sheet off the washline, damaged it, and for some reason my mom never threw it away. When I was hunting around for something to paint on years and years later, the ruined bed sheet was just the thing.

I used cheap oils – one of those box sets with tiny tubes and loads of different colours. I hammered the frame together myself out of scraps of wood in my dad’s garage. This painting hangs above my parent’s fireplace now.

My mom tells me that the paint is starting to flake in places – no surprise considering the poor quality materials used. I may have painted loads of paintings since but this is the one that I love the most. 

I am not particularly inspired to blog anything tonight so I am posting a pic instead. This was one of the first paintings I ever did on my own after the required school projects. I painted it on an old bed sheet primed with PVA.

The sheet has an odd story attached to it… our first family pet, when I was a child was a Boxer named Jessie. She ripped a sheet off the washline, damaged it, and for some reason my mom never threw it away. When I was hunting around for something to paint on years and years later, the ruined bed sheet was just the thing.

I used cheap oils – one of those box sets with tiny tubes and loads of different colours. I hammered the frame together myself out of scraps of wood in my dad’s garage. This painting hangs above my parent’s fireplace now.

My mom tells me that the paint is starting to flake in places – no surprise considering the poor quality materials used. I may have painted loads of paintings since but this is the one that I love the most. 

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