From my sketchbook


Lately I have been spending alot of time with my sketchbook and thought I would share some WIP with you.





Art journaling is definitely my “go to therapy” for when my head goes into more somber mode.


I want to hold your hand….


OK, this is really hard post for me. I hope I get through it though I know I will be shedding a few tears in this one.
So, things have been up and down emotionally for a while for way too many reasons but tonight I was sitting here watching a re-run of Glee with my teenage daughter. It is the episode when Kurt’s Dad suddenly has a heart attack. I was sitting here being a tad sarcastic as they showed a very healthy looking actor with lovely pallor hooked up to ICU beepers and commented that he should be bluer like those curtains around the bed.
Then it hit me. I looked over at my fifteen year old girl and realised I was her age when my Dad had his first heart attack. What the??? Was I that young? Seriously, I can hardly remember a time before that ICU trip to Sydney with my big brother and his mate Ballsy driving us both there as Mum and my big sis had flown up already. It was a torturous trip with my bro and I handling it as best we could with really bad jokes, nervous laughter and more bad jokes. The following trips for visits and heart operations were no less stressful but became more routine.
That first time was horrid.
After having a series of heart related issues late last year, the reality of it still never really sunk into my thick skull.
But sitting here watching this episode, my own situation suddenly fell into place. My girl is now the SAME AGE as I was when my world was rocked so suddenly and completely. My boy is even younger. I don’t want them to go through it like I did. Me sticking my head in the sand and not really tackling my health concerns is so damn selfish. I watched my Dad pull through, make drastic changes (except the smokes… But I have that one beat hands down as I never started).
Memories flooding in galore but the one that struck me most was sitting there in the ward just wanting my Dad to wake up and smile and tell me it is going to be all OK. But I just sat there holding his hand, his cold, clammy hand stuck left right and centre with tubes, machines beeping everywhere.
But I didn’t want to let go, just in case it made a difference, even the tiniest difference. All these years later I can still feel my Dad’s hand in mine. Though Dad recovered from that initial attack and lived many more years to have a few more operations and attacks, I can still recall that moment. And now, 10 years since his passing, looking at my girl and having all these memories flooding in, my biggest wish would be just to be able to hold his hand again. I just want to hold his hand.
Love you Dad.

A view of self


Self esteem is a funny old thing. Most people who know me seem shocked when I express doubts about my art or my abilities as a parent or carer or employee or any role. People must see me so differently to how I feel inside. I assume this is the reality for many of us. Being our own worst critic maybe the one thing we seem to constantly excel in without too much effort.
Quietening that undermining self critic and trying to see the qualities in yourself that others see in you is probably one of the most difficult things to do. But yet, it must be done and not just once. It is a process that needs constant attention. I am not saying we all need to walk around shoving how wonderful we are down everyone’s throats or be arrogant about celebrating our own gifts. Allowing ourselves to think good about ourselves and that whatever gifts we have to offer in our time upon this earth is of real value, should be celebrated and shared. Unfortunately, not many of us do this in reality. Life is too busy, work all consuming, responsibilities to our family and friends leave very little time for self. To be selfish in a way that enables you to be important in your own life and to regard yourself with respect is not something commonly thought of as positive in our society.
I am lucky, in the last few months I have had to give up “paid” work for my health. Yes, I said lucky. For the past few months I have been concentrating on getting healthy, actually making decisions about what is important to me and start to value my role in life. Best of all, I have given myself permission to create guilt free (ok, sometimes I feel guilty that I may have something more financially productive or housecleaning to do but it passes).
I am important. I am worth the effort to get healthy. I am full creativity and I am pretty damn good at my art. I am driven to learn more about different art mediums and techniques, to grow as an artist. And that is ok to say, to put out there into the universe and onto Etsy! Twistyrob Designs on Etsy
As someone who loves creating things, putting my work up for sale is a huge leap forward in believing in myself and that my art is worth sharing. It also means creating some space in my art room as creating then keeping definitely leads to a fire hazard or a front row ticket to a recording of the show “Hoarders”.
Art has always been part of me but I can honestly say that I have suppressed it, put myself down over wanting to do it rather than something more career orientated in my chosen profession of Accountancy. I have devalued my gifts and ignored what my heart desired to do. In effect, I have placed no value on being true to me. All this to try fit into what I thought I was expected to do in our modern society. I had the brains, the schooling and ample opportunities to succeed in my profession. I have the opportunities before me that so many women have and still struggle for. But that didn’t fill my soul with contentment or joy. I enjoyed so many aspects of my work for such a long time, not the least being paid on a regular basis. But I was still not allowing myself to follow a path that would make me feel more complete. I was doing what I thought everyone expected me to do. Pity I never stopped long enough to really find out whether that is what “people” expected of me, or if that was what I expected of me or if that was what I respected about me.
But having to not work has forced me to slow down, look back, look forward and realise it is time to be me in the here and now.
Time to discover myself and who knows where that will lead. All I know for sure is that at the moment, creating art is truly fulfilling and I finally feel like I am starting to get to know my self. And I think I like this self that is being uncovered.

Twistyrob Designs now on ETSY!


Wow, it has been a busy few weeks getting the kids settled back into school, having my first market stall at the Hall Markets and finally opening up my shop on ETSY!
Here is the link to my shop so please pop by and have a look!

I am able to ship internationally but just haven’t got my prices for that up yet. Just email me as I am happy to do so!!

What does success look like to me?


OK, how come this is such a complex and challenging question for me?
The flippant me automatically responds “a bigger house in the country, overseas travel and money without stress. Seriously, what is so hard to answer that one?”
But even as these thoughts race across my mind I know that is not it. This is the ideal that has been sold to me by TV, movies and the media for years. It feels off the mark and not enough. Definitely not enough.
So, what does success look like to me?
It is a question that involves alot of introspection of what is my purpose, my goals and the image I hold of myself. So my flippant side gives up and goes off to have a coffee and indulge in Pinterest. Classic avoidance tactic.
But the question just keeps coming back and niggling at me. What if I am successful? What if I fail? Well, how will I know if I have succeeded or failed if I do not even have a real idea of what I am aiming for. So again I ask myself, what does success look like to me? Sorry flippant self, if you are not willing to add something productive to this think fest then you can just check yourself out for a while. And off she goes to timeout in the corner. OK, now seriously, I can work this out. I have a BA in Commerce, for years I worked with clients doing this, I have worked in public and private sector, as an employee and a contractor. So why is this so difficult to turn those years of experience back on myself? Simple, accountancy has been a great career but being an artist is a vocation. Art is my essence. My art is an opening into the real me. This time, it’s personal.
Time to go really tackle this question. I will be back to let you in on this unexpected journey….

Confession of being overwhelmed with ideas


Confession Time: It is time for me to breathe and slow it down.
For the past few years I have used Leonie Dawson’s Amazing Life Workbook. It has been a great way to step back from daily life and refresh myself and refocus. I have always done it at my own pace and in an art journalling form. It has has been a very soulful and private journey for me.
This year doing her Amazing Biz Workbook one as well has sent me into a spin. Partly as I am doing the process twice but also the overlapping between personal goals and business goals has become confusing. When working as an accountant, I had a solid separation of private and business life. But now starting to fulfil my creative side through my new business those boundaries have become blurred.
I am also bouncing off everyone’s enthusiasm and ideas on the Amazing Biz Workbook group I am on, sending my head into a whirlwind at times. It is an amazing group with such an array women running their own business across the world. Truly a wealth of knowledge and ideas.
I woke up this morning realising I need to approach the Biz one in a creative way. Build it from my soul outwards. My professional training and experience as an accountant was kicking in and taking over. I have been trying to subconsciously squeeze my Biz into a shape it is not meant to be. Yes I need to use my business experience but not yet, not in a way that is sets up a confirming and constricting framework for my creative needs. I need to find a better balance for this to work and fulfil my dreams and not stifle the creative essence of my being.
So today I literally went back to the drawing board… And painted it! Now it is time to start my vision and planning!


G is for Goal… Adding onto my friend’s post about this.


G is for Goal….

Goal setting is always a struggle for me….. Big, airy ideas, a sudden dive in the deep end… sink, swim, gasp for air, flounder… That is the easy stuff. Taking a serious look at what I want to do, what my real goals, actually put it done and commit to them, now THAT is scary stuff!

But I am learning!

Give me tasks, projects, holidays, social skill groups for ASD kids, timetables of therapists, other people’s businesses, no problemo. I can plan, multi task, flowchart, schedule, review and reassess new directions with clarity and decisive objectives to within an inch of its life.

Trying to nail my own personal goals down, truly reflect on what makes my heart sing and set myself on a path to realise dreams I have avoided out of fear of utter failure, rejection or realising that I really don’t have a dream. Well that is a whole different ball park. I have spent decades drifting along, going with the flow, jumping into something without really planning on it, jumping right back out, never truly feeling satisfied in my career. I am not saying that I have hated all my jobs, I have had some great jobs, learnt so much, met wonderful people but never really felt that this is really me. Some fit for a while but still I feel the need to move on. A new challenge.

But life takes its own turns without asking permission. For the past 13 years I have had some really unexpected twists and turns as I bring up my two gorgeous kids who are both such amazing souls and both are on the Autism Spectrum. So I have had new challenges galore, new things to learn, therapies to implement, ever changing goals. My need to get things done for others was well and truly fulfilled, filled to over flowing in fact.

But now I am feeling the need reassess and maybe finally it is time for me. Time to commit to me. I am at a weird point in my life and I am finding myself in unfamiliar territory. I think it is time to chase my dreams. But first I need to realise what my dreams really look like, not someone else’s suggestions or idea of me. For the past few year’s I have worked through an amazing workbook/journal to help me with my personal life. Leonie Dawson’s Amazing Life Workbook (see link below) has really helped me through some tough bits in life but personal reflection and setting meaningful goals were just as challenging as what life was throwing in my path. Each year I learn alot about myself and I get what I need at the time but rarely push myself out of my comfort zone. That changed last year when I decided to do my Amazing Life Workbook as an art journal. Wow, things started to change. Art kept popping up as a key element. The idea of actually selling my art started to emerge and I actually felt comfortable about it. It started when a friend ‘encouraged me repeatedly’ to enter a painting into a charity art show she was co-ordinating. I totally baulked at this initially, I couldn’t see myself as a real artist, that my art was really something that may be liked by people outside my family… Hung somewhere other than on my Mum’s fridge door! But something stirred and I went with it. I ended up putting 4 pieces into the art show. When I went to the opening night, I was totally blown away that one of them had already sold. Seriously, I think I walked around the artshow grinning like the Cheshire Cat. When I went back at the end of the show to pick up the remaining ones I found another had been sold. A third one sold a few weeks later. I was totally gobsmacked. I started to think about this and how good it felt that other people actually valued my art enough to part with their hard earned cash for it. Thats about as far as it took it for a while. Then a rather sudden turn in health and I found myself thinking it was time for a career change. I started to think about my art.
So I started to think about how to approach this, what would I need to do…. I started to really think about this and got excited.

So this time, when I got my 2014 Amazing Life Workbook it also came with the Amazing Biz Workbook.
So to finally get to the point of this particularly long ramble, I am finally going to “commit to myself”, I have started to set myself some goals, REAL goals and start digging to see what my dreams really do look like. I know art is the foundation of these dreams and it is time for me to take a personal risk and create more art.

Seriously, the worse thing that can happen is that I end up with alot canvases and drawings around our home, right?

Cheers, I have got some goals to contemplate and my 2014 Amazing Life and Biz Workbooks to work on!

Leonie Dawson 2014 Amazing Life and Biz Workbooks and Calanders


Beginning my biggest “inkie” artwork.



Finally I have made time to start this new art project. It is going to be a challenge as it will be my biggest hand drawn “inkie” design (actually 3 interlinked designs) combined  with mixed media and vibrant colour on canvas.

I have to admit, though this is daunting, I am so damn excited to get started.  I have had ideas and images for this piece circulating in my head for a while and lately, it has ramped up so much it is like a hurricane.  I just hope that I can get those ideas out onto paper and it looks like what I want it to look like.  It is the feeling I really want to translate onto paper, the images will change I know and hopefully morph into something that projects the essence of what I want.

So here are a couple of pics of the prep design sketch.