Friday, 14 October 2011


What does it take to inspire you?  I have been thinking about that a lot this week for some reason.  All the ladies that have come to my studio over the years have definiteley inspired me to paint bigger and better than I ever thought I could.  Having the privilege to help them dig deep within to find the hidden talent they never knew they had is always inspirational especially when I see the beautiful works they are painting.

Two such ladies are Fay ~ from my studio in the country and Wendy from my new studio here on the Central Coast.  Both these ladies struggle with two different forms of arthritis.  Fay is well into her 70's now and Wendy much younger, but to see them willing to learn and struggle through their pain to create something beautiful just shows the depth of their characters and will, to not let what life has dishes out to them...beat them.  This in itself is so inspirational to me and all those that know them.  

I remember an autograph my grandmother wrote in my autograph book when I was a little said 
"I grumbled because I had no shoes,
then I met a man,
who had no feet."

When I first read this  little quote I thought, what a strange thing to write, but as I grew older and remembered these words it all became clear.  Just be grateful for what you have!  I guess that is what the Fay's and Wendy's of the world are doing.  Making the most of the lives they have.  Being willing to face each day with a smile, being willing to learn and achieve things they never thought possible.  I'm sure you have noticed too that it is often these people who are the most understanding, compassionate and beautiful people you will find.  Somehow their 'short straws' of life have given them the ability to have the 'biggest hearts.'  Now that is inspiring.

The trusted Oxford puts it this way :  inspire ~ breath in; infuse thought or feeling; divine influence; sudden happy idea.

When we first moved to the coast I missed my country home, family and friends sooo much:(  I knew it was a 'God' move, but it did take my thoughts and feelings a little while to catch up.  One of the lovely things about our new home are the birds that come each day.  Two turtle doves have been coming here from day one.  I just love them.  Their little spotted necks and 'co-cooing' are so cute and calming.  When I was unpacking my art magazines I came across a small print I hadn't seen before.  It was a piece by Decorative Artist ~ Christine Whipper.  The art work was beautiful and I couldn't believe the subject.  It was two turtle doves sitting amongst the most colourful garden.  There were roses, grannies~bonnets, tulips, forget-me-nots, all favourites from my English country garden I had left behind and tiger-lillies, morning glory and ferns from the coast....all living together in perfect harmony in this one picture.  This was all the inspiration I needed to get brushes and paints out again and start painting.  Each week I would travel up the coast to paint with ladies from the Decorative Art Association and with the help from a very talented artist Karen Dimmock who knew the Christine Whipper technique, the piece was finally finished (only 2 years later!)  After it's completion I phoned Christine and thanked her for the blessing her piece was to me in helping me settle into my new home and also in inspiring me to 'keep painting!' 

So I hope you are all having an inspiring week ~ things of beauty that are taking your breath away as you explore God's garden; special people that are warming your heart with gratefulness and love and most of all the inspiration to create something amazing!  If you want to see the latest works of art that have been painted from the talented ladies that come to my studio, just go to click on 'classes' then scroll down to 'studio peek.'  Now that will definiteley inspire you and would you believe some of them have never painted before!

See you soon,
Cathy XXX

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

'Remember me'

Memories ~ we all have them don't we?  Some tinged with sadness, some that bring a smile, others we wish we could forget, then those that warm our hearts and put a spring in our step.

This week my dear man and I were remembering the beautiful sunsets we would sit and watch from our verandah at our home in the country where we lived for 17 years.  A work move to the coast 3 years ago bought many changes and challenges, but one thing we did miss was sitting watching the sunsets from the verandah after a hard days work...all because of a wall at the end of the new porch that was blocking the view.  On our new verandah we could look north out over a peaceful park, over the roof tops to the coastal bushland, then to the blue hills in the distance, but not west to the glorious red, orange, pink and mauve sunsets ~ all because of a floor to roof colourbond wall.

One day while contemplating our dilema I asked Graeme if it would be too hard to 'move the wall!'  Well if you know my hubby, nothing is too hard, so the task began.  Banging, hammering, pulling, pushing, unscrewing, then re-building and adding a blind for the days when the sun is too hot, saw the job complete.  I'm sure the cheering on from me with nice hot cuppa's helped:) 

We did have to wait a couple of days for the clouds to move and the sun to start it's evening grand performance, but ohhhhh was it worth the wait!  Cheese, bickies and a glass of bubbly all helped to make another fond memory as we sat and watched our first sunset flood our back verandah with colours that brightened not only our evening but our hearts as well.

This little excercise has made me think just how many other lovely things in life I may be shutting out because of a 'wall'.  It is sooooo good for ones soul to have such times of reflection don't you think?  Hurts, offenses, unforgiveness and the like so easily sneak up on us and before we know it, our joy is stolen, the clouds come in and we are missing the beautiful colours of a gorgeous sunset because of our 'walls.'  So for me, all is well again as I hand these things toward heaven and thank God for the beautiful life He has given me.

Well I'm off to the studio now ~ I wonder what strokes of genius the ladies will perform today with their art work.  They never cease to amaze me with their imaginative thoughts, creative styles and willingness to learn.  If I get a chance I will dabble some
more with a rose I am painting called "Remember me."  This stunning rose was a gift to me from the ladies that used to come to my previous studio.  They presented me with two charming roses, "Remember me" and "Appreciation."  To my surprise they are growing so well here on the coast despite the heat and humidity.  Every time I walk past the blooms and breath in the fragrance the memories of these gorgeous girls from way out west bring happiness to my day.   I'm up to painting on the highlights and glazing, so it won't be long now before I can show you the finished piece.  In the mean time I will leave you with a photo of this radiant rose which resembles all the colours of the brilliant sunset we have just experienced.

Until next time may happy memories be filling your days,
Cathy XXX