Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Live a Little, Love a Lot- The Exhibition

Hello dear blog. I have not had this much fun for a long time!!  I have been wanting to sit for a minute and write to tell you all about my latest venture and it is not until now that I have managed to do so. I am back into living and loving my art and it feels wonderful. From Friday 13th February to Thursday 5th March, I am having a little exhibition of my paintings........and guess what I have called the exhibition?  'Live a Little, Love a Lot', of course! 

The exhibition is at a local cafe and will be made up of 8 paintings that I done over the years and kept in my home as part of my private collection. I am excited, to say the least!  But the best part about all of this, is that I am motivated again to follow one of my greatest passions and that is to get back into creating art for art's sake.  Whatever comes of this seems almost irrelevant at this point, for even getting back into this mind set is an achievement in the hectic world that I live in.

I could not possibly have this exhibition, with the same title as this, my first, beloved blog, without writing a post, now could I? So, here goes.  I have met a friend of a friend who has helped me put this together and without his help and support, none of this would be possible. I am truly grateful for his encouragement.  One of the things he has done for me is publish a Media Release.  Here it is..........

MEDIA RELEASE - Melbourne February  8th 2015

Media Contacts: John Lawrence , HEtA Ph:  0408 096 447 / lawrenjohns@gmail.com
For Immediate Release
‘Live a Little, Love a Lot’
An exhibition of contemporary 
‘naïve expressionist’ art
by Laura Allwood at Nosh@Newport
13th February –5th March 2015
                                Opening Event: Friday 13 February, 6.30pm. All welcome!

In this exhibition, ‘Live a Little, Love a Lot’, Laura has selected a variety of pieces that showcase the intensity and variety of her work that spans many years.  Laura has had a passion for art since a young age.  After studying art theory and design at secondary school, and visual arts in her Bachelor of Arts Degree (Monash University), she has pursued her interest in creating striking, vibrant and colourful works that capture and celebrate the beauty of the world around her.

The exhibition depicts Laura’s positive, outgoing and bright outlook in all that she undertakes.  With a bold use of colour and texture, Laura expresses her thoughts and feelings about living and loving.  She believes intensely that life and love are all around her and paints powerful images that reflect this.

Laura has been influenced by a wide range of twentieth century art movements – from German Expressionism and Surrealism to Primitivism and Naïve Art.  She has integrated these traditions however into a compelling personal style, reflecting her infectiously exuberant personality, positive outlook and outgoing nature.

The main mediums in this exhibition are oils on canvas, with a small use of acrylics and other materials, such as paper mache, to create a 3D effect.  All pieces on display catch the eye, with bold and diverse painting techniques that are a shear joy to view.  Her subject matters include dance, nature, intimacy, identity and of course, the power of love.

Laura is also active in the local community with volunteer work, a busy mother of 3, adores the great outdoors and is a keen writer.  This is Laura’s fourth exhibition. All works are for sale in original format or as quality A4 personally signed and framed prints.

Interviews with this dynamic local artist can be arranged for longer feature stories. 
Proudly Presented by:

There you go, exciting stuff, huh?  Here are the pieces I will have in the exhibition..........

‘Pregnant’ 2003

Oils on Canvas

I wanted here to portray the female body during pregnancy while also symbolising conception.

‘Pineapple’ 1995

Oils and Acrylics on Canvas with paper mache 

I created this work as an experiment with paper mache to create 3D effects. To me, the sharp points and textured forms that emerged suggested  a tropical pineapple.

‘Happy Hearts’ 2003

Oils on Canvas 

Here I wanted to communicate symbolically my 3 children and my love of motherhood.

‘Dancing Daisies’ 1994

Oils and Acrylics on Canvas 

In this painting I sought to represent unity, intimacy and happiness, expressing my love of nature  and the beauty of bonding between lovers.

‘Excitement’ 2004

Oils on Canvas 

This is my attempt to depict my experience of joy and pleasure, highlighting the positive feeling of being excited through an explosion of colour and form.

‘The Lightning Child’ 2003

Oils on Canvas 

Here is my self portrait, showing how I see key aspects of myself – a vivacious nature, an ‘electric’ personality and happy temperament.

‘Chit Chat’ 1999

Oils on Canvas 

In this image I have investigated the complex character of our social contacts, our friendships and the ‘many faces’ we experience in our daily lives.

 ‘Who am I?’ 2001

Oils on Canvas 

I continue to ask the  perennial question and in this image seek to convey my  identity and particularly my  artistic persona.

These photos don't really do my work justice and some of these photos are only a snap shot of the whole painting.  But you get the idea.  I have several other paintings that will not be on display and I am working on a new piece too.

So it's all go, go, go!  If you live in Melbourne, come and see me this Friday night from 6:30pm at 24 Hall Street, Newport 3015 and / or feel free to drop into Nosh over the next 4 weeks and see my art in person.

Until next time, may your garden grow green, your heart be happy and you remember to always walk on the sunny side of the street :) xxx

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Backyard Blitz!

I absolutely adore working in my garden.  Over the last 12 months, my back yard has been transformed into what I call 'my jungle'.  When my dogs passed away in May last year, firstly, I was sure that I would not have another dog for some time as I couldn't handle the grief I was feeling from losing them after 14 years with us. Secondly, I started a big project at the very back of my house, in an area of my yard that hadn't been touched since we built our home 15 years earlier.  By doing this, it helped ease my sorrow at the loss of our companions, our German Shepherds, Jack and Kimba and also eventually gave me enormous satisfaction and a huge sense of accomplishment at what I had achieved, for now I had another part of my garden to enjoy.  Looking back at these photos, I can see exactly how much work I did to get it to where it is today.  Yes, it certainly was my back yard blitz!

When I started, it was a mess.  The ground was completely uneven, the grass growing there was in bits and pieces, there was no garden and I had a large, overgrown bush on one side that was crooked and not the nicest to look at.  I removed this bush that you can see here in the middle right of the photo, roots and all.
Next to the crooked bush, I had a dog kennel that Jack and Kimba used to sleep in.  It was heavy and solid, with a metal roof and wooden sides and base.  Moving it was an effort but of course, it had to go, so I took it to pieces to dispose of it.  You can see here metal fence posts with concrete lumps at their bases.  This is how the fence was secured into the ground and these had to be dug up.
So this is what this area looked like without the kennel and the fence.  Messy, over grown and with an ugly metal shed in the corner that I have never liked.
Here is the shed.  You can see that it has been sitting here for a long time.  It has sunken into the ground and the door doesn't open properly.  My husband built it years ago with a friend and I'm sorry to say, did a rotten job.  It didn't survive well, for the walls were bent and the ground at its entrance was so uneven that it would flood after heavy rain.  I have never liked this thing.
Here is the fence in pieces that was at the top of this back section.  This fenced my dogs in so that I could grow a garden as they would dig everything up.  They were pretty old by the time they were put in this section, so all they really did was sleep and eat at this stage.  They would come and join us when we were outside but really didn't mind being fenced off.
Now back to that horrible shed.  My husband, in all his wisdom, thought that he would build the shed around a timber frame.  Well, this did nothing but cause me more headache when I was trying to demolish it. It was also lined in parts with cement sheets which was also another big nuisance.  So I started pulling it down, peeling off the metal sheets like a big tin can.
I am slowly making progress in my shed demolition.  2 of the walls and the door is off.
Now for the roof.  You can see what a mess this was and what a total pain in the back side it was to deconstruct this retched shed.
The roof is off and I am starting to get happy.  Now just 2 walls left to take down and to get rid of all of these waste materials.
Now you see it, now you don't!  Shed, fence and kennel are gone and I am left with a blank canvas.  Even to see it like this felt good at the time.  You can see the concrete block in the corner where the shed was.  I left this there and simple buried it, rather than paying a lot of money for someone to come and remove it.  You can see how the fence has moved down where the shed was and how uneven the ground is around this area.
The ground was quite low and I wanted to build it up.  Around the side of the house, I had some crushed rock.  The side of the house needs work too and eventually I will get to it.  But for now, I had a lot of rock there so I could bring some of it around the back, wheel barrow load by wheel barrow load.
It is slowly starting to take shape.  I dug up the ground next to the fence for a small veggie patch.  I also moved in several more cubic metres of soil so that I had something decent for the garden beds and also for some new lawn.
Now we can see things happening here.  My veggie patch is in, the ground is reasonably level, my new clothes line is in and I have bought a couple of pavers so that I had a path to walk on to hang my washing out.
At this point, I'm starting to get excited!  It is now starting to look so much better.
I decided to extend my veggie garden a bit more.  So now it would go right around the fence line.
I planted tomato, zucchini and eggplant in this little section and I'm afraid put way too many plants in here.  The area became completely over grown.  When I put them in, I had no idea how big these plants would get, so I blame this on lack of experience.........but now I know!
At the side of the house under the eaves, no rain hits here and it is not a good spot to grow things.  So I wanted to put a path here along the house and to the washing line.  The best way to do this as evenly as possible, was to lay down garden edging and 'box it up'.
Here you can see where I extended the veggie patch right along the fence line.  It was also easier to level off the ground with the edging in.
In came the paving sand......and a bit too much of it!  I have managed to store the excess paving sand in a spare rubbish bin so this will keep it dry and clean.  We will use the sand in other parts of the garden, eventually, for more paving.
Here you can see how the paving looks.  This is my husband's job and he does this really well.  I am hopeless at trying to put pavers down but he does a great job at it.
David has put down most of the pavers.  We need many more to finish it off and I hope to get this done soon.  Here I have some underlay soil to put down, ready for my new turf.
Our new lawn is in and at this point, I am completely thrilled with the results.  I have put more seedlings around my new veggie patch of water melon, rock melon, more tomatoes and corn.
Check it out!  Feeling very pleased with myself at this stage.  My hard work, over 5 months, through Winter and Spring, has paid off.  My aim was to have it in full swing by Summer.
Here you can see that the lawn is establishing itself and my tomato and zucchini plants are going nuts!
And this is what it looks like today, on this very day! In total, this project has taken 5 months, on and off, as I worked through Winter and Spring.  It is still not completely finished as we have to complete the paving on the path.......but at this point, who cares?!?  I am thrilled to see this end result and I achieved my goal of having it fully functional by Summer.  So far, I have had countless zucchinis, my tomatoes and corn won't be long and I get so excited watching my eggplant, rock melons and water melons grow.  The lawn has really taken off, is lush and thick.  My new clothes line is a must for my large family as I never stop doing laundry.

I have never been afraid of hard work.......but you know what?  This wasn't work at all, for I was out in the sun and fresh air, feeling and smelling the Earth, creating something, nurturing something, watching it evolve, enjoying its beauty and loving it all at the same time.  Yes, my dear readers, another classic example of sunnyday397's mantra........live a little and love a lot :) xxx

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Another one bites the dust!

Long time no blog, huh?  For many weeks I have said to myself that I really have to sit down and write, but life just gets in the way.  Lately, there always seems like there is too much to do and I have been finding excuses to deny myself my usual 'blogging pleasure'.  I blink and another year is nearly at its end and I am very disappointed that I haven't posted anywhere near the same amount of blogs as I have done in the past.  So now I am determined to try and make amends, write for writing's sake and reflect on 2014.  Yes, another one bites the dust!
Earlier in the year, we had one of my brothers-in-law here in Melbourne.  He lives overseas and tries to visit when he can.  I like to get the family together and here is a photo of some of us together.  There are a lot of us missing here but I like this photo and care very much about my family. We have had a few family get togethers this year, mainly at birthdays and I always enjoy taking the time to cook and having us all sit around my table.
My kids, my beautiful kids.  This year I have really noticed just how much work they are, each so demanding with their own needs and at different stages of development.  Their bedrooms are constant disaster zones and I have given up on trying to keep them tidy.  The older they get, the more opinionated they become and the more they fight with each other.  The constant battle of wills and fighting for attention gets way out of hand at times.  But I love them with all my heart and this will never change.  They are each special in their own way and I will always complain about how much they drive me up the wall, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
My oldest boy, Adam, has had a difficult year.  He has struggled with his own sensitivity and is growing up fast.  He hasn't enjoyed school much this year and I have my fingers crossed that his last year of Primary School, next year, is a good one for him.  He is growing so tall and is an intelligent and responsible boy that I trust.  Adam has developed a passion for cars, as all boys do eventually and really enjoys time out with his Dad. Here is a nice shot of him at a classic car show.  We talk a lot together and have a great relationship, but for him, he treasures time alone with his Dad to do 'boy stuff' and this makes me smile.
I have had dogs for close to all my life.  Sadly, this year, my dog Jack, lost his life at the ripe old age of 14.  A year earlier, his sister, Kimba, passed away. One way to ease my grief was to get stuck into the area of my garden at the very back of the house that was reserved for them.  In all the time we have lived here, this section has never really had much attention.  Once my dogs were gone, I set about turning this area into a useful part of my garden.
When I started, this area was a complete and total mess.  The ground was full of big pot holes, was completely uneven, had an old, tin shed in the corner and a metal fence along the font of it.  It was a dust bowl, full of weeds, with a big dog kennel in it also.  I started by removing the shed, the fence and the kennel, which was a job in itself as it all had to be demolished and disposed of.  The metal fence was secured in the ground with concrete.  This had to be pulled apart and dug up.  I was determined to get this job done so that I could use this space in the back yard and ease my mind about the loss of our family pets that had been a part of our family for so long.
Once the area was clear, I moved several extra cubic metres of soil in so that I could level out the ground and have good soil for the garden.  I set up another veggie patch, that I later extended, and we measured up the area and boxed it up, ready for pavers and turf.  In total, this was a massive job that took many hours.
Now I have veggies growing all the way around the fence line and I am growing tonnes of zucchinis here.  I have many tomato plants here that are starting to fruit well and am also growing corn, capsicums, eggplants, rock melons and water melons here too.  I stuck in a clothes line down the back to help me with the never ending piles of laundry, we have a beautiful, new lawn and are working on completing the garden paths with pavers. 
This is what it looks like today. I look back and feel like I have achieved something and am really happy with the results.
My mum is a big part of my life.  During the year, she wanted to have a Japanese night at her place.  Here she is all dressed up, looking the part and I love this photo of her.  She is very creative and a bit of a character at times.  So off we all went to her place one Saturday night and indulged in all things Japanese.
Mum made all of the Japanese food herself, from scratch. We had authentic bowls and plates and ate some delicious Japanese delights.  The meal was excellent and I had to smile because mum put so much effort into that night and I loved it.  Since I can remember, when mum and I go out together for dinner, we always choose a Japanese restaurant as it is one of our favourite foods.  Mum's place that night, was just like a Japanese restaurant too!  Yes, she is an amazing woman for may reasons.
We always enjoy sitting in the garden and cooking on the BBQ.  This year, we bought a new one and I was pleased that it was bigger than our old one and thought that I'd have plenty of room to cook on it.  But I always seem to fill this one up too and run out of room! Summer is here now in Australia and it is by far my favourite time of the year.  The outdoors, warmth of the sun and bright days make me very happy.
Another school year is over and my boys have done some great work.  Here is a painting that my 8 year old son, Marc, did at school.  I love seeing my kids' work and watching them achieve good results at school.  All 3 of my kids seem to have my creativity and I am glad that they enjoy bright colours too.  It is fascinating seeing them grow up.
Last Winter was a shocker for me.  After having 2 doses of the flu, I felt horrible.  I tried many things to pick myself up again, one of them was fresh juice with ruby grapefruit, lemons and oranges. I'm sure this helped a little bit, but eventually I had to wait for the antibiotics to work to fully recover.
Here is another one of my juice creations of kale, carrot and apple.  Looks a bit odd, I must admit, but really does give you a great energy boost and is full of vitamins and minerals.
This year I had a wonderful birthday.  Getting together with some good friends and spending time with my family was lots of fun.  My husband gave me some lovely gifts and my mum fussed over me too.  I didn't plan it, but it turned into a great time for me and I was glad to be another year older and wiser and celebrate.
Soon enough, it was Halloween again and my boys insisted on dressing up to go Trick or Treating.  Here we have 'Adam Scissor hands' and 'Commando Marc'.  They both get such a kick out of this and I encourage them to dress up and have a bit of fun.  Halloween is not something that I really care about, but I know that at this age, my boys get carried away with it all, so I let them go and get into it.
One very special thing I have done this year that gives me hours and hours of pleasure is join a local Community Garden.  I have developed a big passion for gardening this year, so joining this garden seemed a natural progression.  Here is my daughter making some mud pies and she enjoys the garden just as much as I do.  I have made some wonderful, new friendships and am learning so much.  Thoroughly enjoy this.
Here is a shot of my plot at the Community Garden.  Now everything is much bigger than this and it is all growing very well.  I am growing corn, lettuce, mint, egg plant, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, and silver beet.
Another highlight of this year for me is that I have started to paint again.  Here I am painting some boards for my garden bed at the Community Garden.  This is something I should make more time to do and keep doing it!  I also have another painting project to work on this Summer and that is to paint a sign for the Community Garden.  I am looking forward to doing this too.
Summer for me means being outside, lapping up the sunshine and the blue sky......and getting busy in the garden.  Here is a photo of what I affectionately call 'my work shop'.
This is an amazing and fascinating plant that a good friend gave to me.  It is an onion plant and is going great guns in this spot.  It is so nice to look at and very unusual.  Love my garden and caring for it.
My mum gave my daughter a beautiful, big rose from her garden and this is how Julia chose to display it LOL!  I took this somewhat 'surreal' photo of it because it gave me a great laugh.
And before I knew it, it was Christmas again.  So out came the decorations and the hype soon began.  We had a lovely day this year, full of much cheer and laughter and the traditional Christmas lunch.  I was tired, very tired by the end of the day but I enjoyed it very much.  I did take a big sigh of relief that it was over again for another year, but as always, it was a good time.

Well, that's my year in a nut shell.  It has been a busy year and just keeps getting more and more hectic as time goes on.  Working part time, raising a family, running a house hold and trying to find time to do the things that I love to do like work in the garden, write and paint, gets tricky.  I have badly neglected my blogs and this is something that I am very disappointed about, but I will make the effort to take the time to write more again, next year, because it helps me, it helps me a lot.  It helps me unwind and relax, I enjoy sharing some of my photos in my posts and I like to communicate with you, my dear reader, in this way.  Once a talker, always a talker I'm afraid.......now I just convert this to text in my blogs and have a laugh and some fun.

I hope that you have enjoyed your Christmas and I wish you well for 2015.  Thank you also for taking the time to read my blogs, for without you, I wouldn't be so motivated to keep on going.  From me to you, all the very best for the New Year and we will talk again soon :) xxx