Live

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I had a rough start to my day. After my second knee replacement surgery I was reminded of the intense pain management that is needed.

Once I pushed through it and finally found a way to rest my pain ravaged body, I awoke from a peaceful sleep feeling very glad that I was given this time to slow down.

Just like my art, time connects you to who you are, who you are meant to be and allows you to breathe.   Medicine for your soul.

Most of the time I can push through my pain by listening to music and or painting. This helps while away the time and gives my heart and soul a cuddle to strengthen my journey. I know I have an ending to all this and it is an ending I know will change my life. I live daily with pain and physical limitations due to the disease which has required my knee replacement surgery. I feel oh so lucky to have been given a new start.  I look forward to walking to the park with my granddaughter, going back to England, scenic walks and getting through my day physically exhausted yet not pain ravaged. So much to look forward to.

I have been making a piece of art through all this and today I calleFile_000 (9)d it done. This butterfly represents a life worth living even if it is short. Living is beautiful and a gift. Give yourself the gift of living even when it is tough. This time that I need to heal, is also giving me time to make my art and that is a gift.

Here is my beautiful butterfly titled simply ‘Live’.

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Melanie M

 

The Year, I Made it my Own

2016 is nearly over and I made it. Happy, joyful, changed, purposeful and holding onto my integrity with great care.

As I wrote in my last post, moments do not define me, what defines me is my integrity.

‘This thing that I am doing that is bringing me into my own.

Living in a way that is being true to me.’

Integrity

Man I have had a few moments this year and each one has helped me get closer to my integrity more than ever. I feel pretty darn lucky actually and I am oh so grateful for my year. I have had a few challenges and most of these have been with my work. I am a teacher, this does not challenge me, it makes me feel great, it is like going home. What challenges me is difficult, confusing and bloody frustrating. I understand it a bit more this year and maybe next year the challenges will be less. It all falls around my role as management.

My word of the year ‘Integrity’ has definitely helped me get through those moments that rose to challenge me. Being true to myself has helped me burrow through those moments that challenge my essence.

Thank you Integrity.

Thank you 2016.

Thank you truth.

Next year my word will be Allow, I am going to Allow myself to do those thing that bring me closer to my truth. Creativity is my thing, it makes my heart sing and colours my world with much joy. This is why I love my work as a teacher, I love the creativity. I discovered this treasure, when after 3 years of not having my own classroom, I am finally starting the year with my own class of Year 2’s and I feel so excited by it. That change has helped me better understand my role as a leader in education. I started my current job three years ago and the thing that got me the job, a leading teacher, I haven’t been doing in my own classroom. I missed it so much and I didn’t realise how much until I decided to return to my own classroom again.

This year I will:

Allow myself to make art

Allow myself to develop my creativity in my teaching work

Allow myself to plan daily

Allow myself to doodle in my art books

Allow myself to print my art and give it to the people I love.

Allow myself to print my art and sell it in my shop.

Allow myself to develop my lettering

Hello Allow

Hello Creativity

Hello Teacher

Hello New Classroom

Hello Art Shop

Goodbye 2016 and Welcome to you 2017

Top Tip 4: Allow yourself to discover a word to live your year by. A word that is close to what you need the most. Plan, reflect and set goals by it throughout the year.

Artisit Interview – Katherine Parrott – Part 2

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You Can Have It All
Private Commission
Mixed media on canvas

Your website is beautiful can you explain the meaning of the name ‘anchors and wings’?

Anchors and wings comes from the first mixed media portrait I did of my son Conor. It
includes a picture of him, standing at the sea’s edge on our family farm where we live. I
wrote a mantra on that painting that said: “I will give you an anchor, even as I strive to give you wings.”

Being grounded and connected in a place, in my Self, and to the Universe is hugely
important to me. This grounded connection is the anchor; I believe that we need anchors in our lives in order to be able to truly fly towards our dreams. Our wings give us the ability to achieve anything we set our minds and hearts on.

I grew up on the land in rural New Zealand, and I have a huge connection to the land we live on – it is one of my greatest anchors. Years ago, I chose to move home to our family farm so that I could raise my son with the same connection to the land – it was the best place I could think of to bring him up.

Coming home and working through my own reinvention process, was the birth of anchors and wings. I chose to create my life, exactly as I wanted it to be. I gave wings to long-held dreams – including my dream to be a full-time artist and coach who helps other people birth their own creativity.

I noticed on your website that you are also a quilter, what sort of quilts do you make?
I came to painting through quilting (and now that I’m painting full-time I’m not quilting as much, though I still love it). As a quilter I followed a progression: I started out making quilts from other people’s patterns and fabrics. Eventually I developed the skills to design my own art quilts. I began dyeing my own fabric, and then started adding my love of photography and writing into my quilts by using image transfers and printed text. Before long, I discovered acrylic paint, so began making textural, layered art quilts. My most recent art quilts have been similar to my mixed media artworks – but they are created from fabric and fulfil the technical definition of a quilt as they are multi-layered.

One of the things I love about quilts is that they are pieces of art, but they’re also functional. I still enjoy making bed quilts – there is something so nurturing and comforting about being wrapped in a quilt you have spent many hours making. And they are gifts of absolute love for family and friends.

At what point were you comfortable with calling yourself an artist?

I’ve been comfortable calling myself an artist for some years now – and I started before I became a full-time artist. I had done a lot of reading about the fear of calling myself an artist. Eventually I just decided to get past it, and called myself an artist – sometimes hesitantly, but my confidence grew the more I said it! Creating my website and printing my business cards was a big step – because I put artist, writer and photographer on them! ThenI had to own all three labels all at once! Just do it!

What is your favourite piece of art created by yourself and what is its story?

My favourite piece of art is often the one I’ve just finished! When I’m close to finishing a piece they occupy so much of my head space – sometimes it’s hard to think of anything else. Other favourite pieces are the commissions I work on for clients – these are very special. Typically people come to me who have something to celebrate or bring into their lives. This has included celebrating a new relationship, the desire for a long-awaited baby, marking a major life transition or recovering from illness and starting life anew.

I work closely with my commission clients to uncover what they want their piece of art to mean. Often it is about celebrating what is most precious to them, while looking forward to something in the future. Once I have their brief, I begin extensive research to spark my creative process, and to find the deeply personal symbols I include in their artwork. My paintings are multi-layered and often include 6-10 layers. Many of the symbols I use end up unseen in the final layer, but traces of them remain and their meaning and intention is infused throughout the piece. They become a very special part of a home and I always find it a privilege to share in my client’s dreams, lives and celebrations.

In my own art collection, the painting that started it all is called Te Whanau o nga Awe Kaka (The Red Feathered Parrot Family). This was the first significant mixed media artwork I made. It comprises four panels telling the story of my family, and it was made for an exhibition called Made In New Zealand which travelled to France and around New Zealand. I used vintage photographs of myself and my three brothers, and the Maori name of the work, and a name for each panel was given to me by a local Maori elder. This artwork speaks about our ties to the land, who we are at our core, and what binds us together. It is a deep expression of my heritage, and I love it for that.

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Be Your Own Sunshine
Katherine Parrott
Mixed media on wood panel

Would you like to also tells us a little bit about your Creativity coaching and VIP one day retreat?

I’d love to! I work with women to help bring their creativity to light. Whether you’re a
creative mum thinking you’ll go INSANE if you don’t get some time to yourself, or a budding creative entrepreneur wanting to make your creativity your business – I can help.
My Creativity Coaching works in one-month blocks to help you put in place the skills, habits and mindset to achieve your creative goals. You are supported to achieve and develop, and we have a huge amount of fun along the way! If you’re struggling to achieve what you’d like to, if you know you would like to grow the place of creativity in your life, or would like to get more enjoyment out of what you do, then creativity coaching is for you. I share all that I’ve learned over the years to help me make it happen and get it done, and I’ve learned a lot! This covers physical, spiritual, emotional and practical sides of creativity – I have a very holistic approach.

For people who want to kick-start their creativity, my VIP Virtual One Day Retreat is a rich and soulful day where we create a beautiful environment and dive deep into your creative dreams and projects. We decide beforehand what we want to work on during the day, and then spend a luscious virtual day together, creating, uncovering blocks, empowering you, creating action plans and more! The VIP Virtual One Day Retreat is like a day at the spa for your body, mind and soul – I love them!

I offer FREE 30 minute Explore Coaching Calls to everyone interested in my creativity
coaching so that we can discuss what you want to achieve and which the right option is for you. Don’t hesitate to book one with me.

Do you teach others art techniques?

Right now, I’m in the process of developing my own creative courses. I have always
imagined a community of like-minded souls who share their creative life experiences, swap ideas and collectively help each other live wonderful, free lives.
There are definitely creative courses coming to http://www.katherineparrott.com. Please feel free to sign up to my mailing list to stay in touch and keep up to date with what I am offering.

When you sign up you will receive my FREE 6 Steps To An Easier Life guide – these are my tried and true methods for living an easy-breezy life with less stress and more creativity. And I love giving away free tips, gifts and projects to my subscribers!

Katherine Parrott Profile Picture (1024x682) (1)www.katherineparrott.com

A big thank you to Katherine for taking part in the interview. It has been a wonderful experience and I feel very honoured that you took part.

Melanie M

Artist Interview – Katherine Parrott – Part 1

Live the Magic
Katherine Parrott
Mixed media on canvas
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Tell us about the time when you first knew that you wanted to make art and what had brought you to this dream?

I’ve been creative for as long as I can remember: and yet, one of my vivid childhood memories was standing in front of an easel when I was about 8 years old, being so frustrated because I couldn’t draw the picture that was in my head. At that moment, I decided that I couldn’t draw, and therefore I wasn’t good at art.
Consequently, I never chose art as a subject at school, but my creativity manifested
throughout my life in many different ways. First as a pianist and singer, as a cook, a
gardener, a photographer, a writer, a quilt maker and finally today, I comfortably call myself an artist.
When I hit my late twenties I realised creativity was so important in my life that I named it as one of my core values. A few years later, I was heavily pregnant with my son Conor and was writing a business plan designed to capture what I wanted to do when I returned to work after his birth. I was burnt out of the corporate world, knew that motherhood would change everything for me, and wanted to write my business plan with a clear head before I gave birth so I had it to come back to when I was ready. Part of the plan was a commitment to honouring my creativity: to finding work that allowed me to grow my creativity and that put it first.

When I wrote it, I had no idea how much my life would change in the next few years and how much I would need that plan. My painting and my work coaching and teaching others is me living out my plan.

What artists do you admire?

Recently I travelled to New York for the first time, and got to visit several wonderful galleries and museums there. It was such a privilege to stand in the presence of great works by Monet, Chagall, Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Rousseau, Renoir, Rodin and Klimt… but equally, it was amazing to stand in the presence of artists I had never heard of – incredible sculptors,furniture makers, silversmiths, painters and textile artists.

There are SO many talented creatives – past and present, and I appreciate art and creativity in many disciplines. The artists I admire the most are the ones who have committed to their craft: who have created, despite the inevitable challenges. The ones who decided – damn it, I’m going to do this, and followed the calling of their art. Letting nothing stand in their way.

Often, I think this is the greatest difference between those who ‘make it’ and those who
don’t. It’s not talent, it’s not genetics. It’s focus, and determination. It’s making a choice thatyou’re going to create.

Could you tell us about a time where you had lost your groove as an artist? What brought you back?

The end of my first marriage was a difficult time for me creatively, and working through the grief process dulled my creative mojo for a long time. I was frustrated at myself because I wanted to be creating, but at the same time, I often felt too exhausted and as if I couldn’t create. Creativity and self-esteem are inextricably linked, which makes creating when you’re feeling bad a challenge. On the flip side, if you can express your creativity, it will help you to feel better about yourself, restoring your self esteem.

As I worked through rebuilding my life, I was aware of how important creativity was for me, and as much as I could, I used my creativity to help myself heal. One of the things I did was to complete my first photography 365 project – where I consciously looked for something beautiful and joyful to photograph every day for a year. This practice changed my life, and I have completed several other 365 projects since. Among many other benefits, it totally cemented my belief in doing something creative every day, and taking one small step towards your dreams every day, no matter how small.

Tell us about the time when you sold your first piece, how did you feel?

When I sold my first piece, my overwhelming feeling was one of gratitude. Thankfulness that something I had made was going to a beautiful home, and that someone had seen the value in what I created.

What gives you the drive to continue your journey as an artist?

I know that creativity is central to who I am. And I know that when I am creating, I’m a much happier, more grounded, at peace person. Creativity does all sorts of wonderful things for me – it gives me energy and helps me appreciate the beauty that is around me every day. I’m also committed to putting beauty into the world: I want my work to leave the world a little better than I found it, and I make art because I have something to say. I put my art into the public domain because I want to spark a conversation, a thought, an action. I want to help people give voice to their own creative gifts, I want to help them have the courage and confidence to do this.

I have a very deep sense that what I’m doing now is my life purpose. After years of being too afraid to live it, I now feel it would be impossible to turn away from. I get so much joy and satisfaction from what I do. I still have many aspects of my plan that are yet to come to life, and I still don’t know HOW they will unfold. But I trust that they will, and in the meantime, it’s up to me to keep doing the work.

Have you had any formal training to study art making or design?

Despite having 3 degrees, and a lifetime commitment to learning, I have never formally
studied art, though I would love to! I’ve done lots of short workshops and courses with
teachers throughout the years – though very few in my current mixed media techniques. I love learning, and invest regularly in expanding my knowledge – whether that is as an artist or in the business aspect of being an artist with an online business. Life experience is also a huge teacher – my ideas and inspiration come largely from within, so my observations and life experiences inform everything I create.

www.katherineparrott.com

Join us for Part 2 where you will find out more about Katherine –

  • Katherine Parrott Profile Picture (1024x682) (1)the time she felt comfortable to call herself an artist
  • the meaning behind her website ‘anchor and wings’
  • her favourite piece of art and the story behind this.
  • her creative coaching
  • new developments in her journey.

Please visit Katherine’s website, I asked Katherine if I could interview her because she inspires me to continue my journey playing with paint, her artwork is so beautiful and the stories behind them are also beautiful. She also inspires me to challenge myself.

Melanie M

What really!

2015-08-30 20.13.51I got hit with a ‘curve ball’ today. It was tough, it rocked me, left me feeling sad, deflated and hurt. My first thought was why did I start pursuing this dream to tell my story and at the same time making mixed media artworks, I am not worthy, it will never become anything and I am totally worthless. These are all the words I was beating myself up with, I would never speak to a friend like this. All because I made a mistake!

In my drive home from work I was trying to bring myself back to reality, I searched my brain for something that I had read in my book ‘Simple Abundance’, to help me to recover from this hurt and my need to feel worthless. (I have written about this book here in another time of need). This book is what it says it is, ‘A Day Book of Comfort and Joy’. I pick it up most days and always read a chapter that I am absolutely ready for. It is much like a soulful kiss on the cheek, that hits you right when you need it, with the exact kiss you need. This time my lesson was to find my blessing in everything – your dirty kitchen floor, your bank balance etc. I thought whatever, there is no blessing in this mess. As I read on, I discovered a little treasure that helped me believe,

‘if you find your blessing in everything then the universe will bless you’.

Wow, that was just what I needed.

I also realised that everything that is happening in this moment, is part of a much bigger picture. Don’t try and understand it, lean into it and find your blessings.

Keep dreaming, find your blessing even on your dark days and dance like you always have.

Make someone happy today, the world needs more happy.

Melanie M

What I do, When I don’t…..

Write

I like having the time to do housework, garden, bake, walk, read, play with Fern, watch movies, spend time with my family and dream. I should say yoga and meditation except that would be a big fat story. Yoga and meditation is a dream goal for me.

Most of all I love to create, at the moment I am working on a special birthday gift for someone. It is a mixed media art piece I have put together usingIMG_4827 beautiful paper I have bought from Flonz. I painted the canvas during my mixed media mantras art course with Kellie Rae Roberts. I tried to use colours I thought he would like and it turned out with a christmassy look. I like it. Then I lightened the entire canvas by rolling Titan Buff, Golden Fluid Acrylic over the top. That was a good decision, I loved the piece after that. It lightened it and gave it a more peaceful feel.

‘The Moon and Back ‘Lettering is a special saying we have when we say we love each other. It is something I use with most of my family. I like the lettering, I am at a point of wondering how I can make the lettering a more natural part of the canvas.  Stamping is fun except the ink I am using, at the moment, smudges easily, very annoying.

I am so excited about my second challenge. This is something I have been thinking about doing for awhile. I would like to interview an artist and the very artist I wish to interview is someone I admire immensely. Watch this space! Can’t wait! Can’t wait! I hope they say yes. Actually I have a list of people I would like to interview for my blog.

Hello artist friend! Hello time! Hello yoga! Hello meditation!

Melanie M

Take me to the moon

 How far would you go for someone you love? How far would you want someone else to go for you?

I chose this prompt because of my latest piece of art that I have been creating for someone special. Since my children were small  when we said ‘I love you’ we would respond ‘to the moon and back’. I also gave my daughter a beautiful book where the mum would respond to her daughters ‘I love you’, with ‘Always’.To the Moon altered

I would give up my life for my children and granddaughter, if I had to, without question, unconditional love, always and forever. They are my moon and my earth.

It’s funny really because I wouldn’t want anyone to give up their life for me. Would I expect my mum too, no.

Profound post but the prompt attracted me.

Melanie M

Coffee Chat

If we were having a coffee right now I would tell you that I am learning a lot from Blogging University. The biggest learning has been P1020142that blogging is connecting with others. and their stuff as well as sharing my stuff. I would tell you that my tribe is growing and that is truly heart warming. I would tell you that you inspire me to make more art and I will have more time when I have completed Blogging University.

If we were having a coffee right now I would tell you that I care about what you have to share and love hearing from you. I would tell you that your story matters and helps someone else make sense of their story.

If we were having a coffee right now I would tell you that I have a sore throat and when I cough my head hurts.

If we were having a coffee right now I would say thank you for being there and listening to my story.

Good Night, Sweet Dreams

Melanie M

Dear Knees

Dear Knees

You have suffered a life so that I could gain a longer one. I didn’t know when they wereknees trying to heal me that you would suffer so terribly. I don’t think I would have changed that, if I had known, saying goodbye forever wasn’t an option.

I am sorry that you are broken. It would have been a better time if I had lost that 20 kilos a few years earlier. That time was hard for me and I wasn’t thinking about how I would hurt you.

I am sorry that I didn’t wear more supportive shoes, that would keep you out of harms way. I love walking and would run when I was younger. If I had known I would have made it different for you.

I am sorry that I didn’t tell anyone about you, when I had that car accident and you smashed into the glove box so hard, you cracked it. I didn’t want anyone to find anything wrong with me because I didn’t think I was worth it.

Thank you for being there for me and now as it has become really hard for you to get me around, you just do it. I feel your reluctance to move in the morning and I thank you for keeping me going. Thank you for allowing this year to be so much easier and allowing me to walk more. Thank you for helping me keep up with Fern. Our goal is to get us both through our trip to the UK before we say goodbye.

You have served me well even when I have let you down.  I promise I will continue to massage you each day, so we can spend this time together with some blessings to get us through the day.

Love you Always and Forever

Melanie M

Burnout

2015-09-06 17.45.34Burnout, when everything feels like a chore and you drag yourself around wandering what is the point of this.

While I was reading Brey’s post on Ordinary Adventures on how she is coping with bogging burnout she asked the question “how do you cope?”. I felt the urge to respond to her :

Hi Brey
I have never experienced bloggers burnout, yet, I have had burnout with my work. When this happens I spend less time working and more time on something that makes my heart sing – my art. Actually it is my art that had me start blogging. For you I recommend taking some time out, find a guest blogger to fill in your timeout. Interview a blogger about this or something else and put that up as a post. All these things could give you some time away to rebuild, refuel and help you find your groove again. At times like these – the pit – I know that great things are around the corner. Hold tight and you will find on the other side a blessing you never thought possible.

I thought mine and Brey’s suggestions were worth keeping on my blog, as a reminder of some of the things we all could do to help us get through times when we feel the need to keep up with our blogs or life yet it doesn’t feel right to do so.

I make art or sew to calm my mind and centre me in a place of kindness and caring.

What do you do?

Melanie M