I’ve commented a couple of times on this Blog about my love for Cacti and Succulents. It was an interest that started when I was 14 years of age when my Aunt Beryl gave me a Succulent on one of the family visits to our place. It was (as I later found out) from the Euphorbia family.
Over the years my liking for Cacti and Succulents increased to the point where I had a small, shallow pot with about 5-6 small Cacti plants in it. I used to dream of the day when I would have a big garden. That came when I got married and moved onto an acre and a quarter of land. I built a 35square metre garden. All up, I had 120 plants in it and in pots around the yard.
Sadly, we don’t live there any more, we moved after 16 years there and are currently on a residential block. What happened to the plants? I brought them all with me didn’t I! They are currently all in pots of various sizes which is not quite the same but it will have to do until we make our next move.
This week, I was accepted as a member into the Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia which is the oldest Cacti Society in Australia. My first meeting (this week) was on Zoom. They usually meet face-to-face in another State (Victoria) but even then have a ‘Zoom-room’ for people that are too far away. There are lots of benefits for being a member of the Society, including a 32 page quarterly magazine which I’m quite looking forward to receiving. They have a Facebook group, library etc so I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge of this wondrous species of flora that captured my imagination at the age of 14, some 44 years ago.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Society, I’ve included some links below to their website and Facebook page and also some other links if you feel you are in any way curious about this species of plant.
Since starting my latest walking programme (I’ve tried a number of times over the years to just have one and keep it going…), I’ve been enjoying discovering different podcasts so that, out on my walks in suburbia (due to a lockdown radius of 5km, currently) I receive some education and inspiration.
The latest one I have come across is ‘ The Savvy Painter’ which is compered by Antrese Wood. It’s in a similar vein to the podcast, ‘Talking With Painters’ that I wrote about recently. ‘The Savvy Painter’ podcast has quickly become a favourite and over the past couple of weeks I have listened to approx. 10 of the shows.
As I’m not a full-time Artist, my day is not surrounded by Art so I appreciate the chance to ‘tap into’ this kind of resource on my walks.
If you would like to check out ‘The Savvy Painter’ podcast here are some links:
One of the ways I’ve been ‘escaping’ in this current lockdown environment is my walks which are allowed, currently within 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) from home. We are blessed to have access to the Nepean River at Camden which is a beautiful spot to walk through (and picnic in normal times).
During lockdown and due to time constraints of the working day, I only get to go down to the Nepean River, Camden on a Wednesday and on the weekend. On other days, I just walk around the suburb. This may sound quite boring, and it could be if not for my nearly 40 years training my eye, firstly via photography and now via sketching and painting as well.
By ‘training me eye’ I mean looking within the scene and the way light interacts with a subject. There is just so much beauty around in seemingly mundane surroundings.
The following images are taken within the suburbs of the 5 kilometre radius we are are restricted to at present.
There are many benefits to be obtained from walking, with exercise being just one of them. I get ideas whilst I walk, for paintings, photos, poetry, articles and business. I either listen to Mother Nature, podcasts or music.
It is quite an immersive experience and a perfect way to ‘escape lockdown.’ I get to walk more days than not during the month. I’m not a good ‘cold-weather’ walker normally so to know that I commenced my latest walking programme in July, which is the middle of Winter in Sydney, was quite pleasing for me.
In programmed walks I have walked 51 kilometres (31.6 miles) in July, 72 kilometres (44.7 miles) in August and am around the 40 kilometre (24.8 miles) mark in September so far. In Winter I walked more towards the middle of the day and as it heats up during Spring/Summer I will walk earlier or later in the day.
Once lockdown is over I shall continue my walks and continue to view the beauty that surrounds!
No doubt many of you have heard of the phrase, ‘When the student is ready the teacher will appear.’ I thought of this statement this week when I listened to an episode of the ‘Savvy Painter’ podcast where Julia Cameron was being interviewed.
Julia Cameron is the author of 40 books including, ‘The Artist’s Way’, ‘Walking In This World’ and ‘Finding Water.’ Several years ago a Graphic Designer I met at a networking function told me about the book, ‘The Artist’s Way’ and spoke about the book and the author. I was quite intrigued and set about researching the book.
For one or another reason, I didn’t buy the book then, however, some time down the track, I came across the volume you see below which comprises all three books and purchased it.
One of the techniques spoken about in the first book is ‘Morning Pages’ which are ‘three exercise book pages of stream of consciousness handwriting’ that are completed upon rising each day. I remember doing the Morning Pages exercise for some 55 days in a row before I tailed off on the exercise because I guess, Life got in the way/I wasn’t ready. I have had a couple of goes at them over time but never really kept it up. Back to this in a moment.
The books are full of practical exercises (so they are not a quick read) and initially, when I purchased the set I must admit that it all looked quite daunting! I have tried a few times over the years to get started though these attempts have not lasted very long. This past week I was drawn back to the book and have started reading it as I believe I now have a better understanding of what is on offer in the book and how it will have a positive influence on my Art and Life in general.
This week I started doing the Morning Pages exercise again and today is Day 5 and I can honestly say that I am feeling the benefit of doing them each day. They help clear away some of the clutter that occupies the mind upon rising.
The 3 books together comprise 714 pages and are packed when exercises, inspirational quotes, mindset tips and practises and much more. I have already started reading the book and am enjoying the journey which I must admit I was just not ready for when I purchased this volume several years ago…
Julia Cameron, I’m more than ready for your first lesson!
Poetry and Prose by #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow, Co-Author of #1 Amazon Bestseller, Wounds I Healed: The Poetry of Strong Women, and Jan/Feb 2022 Spillwords Press Author of the Month