Do you have good memories

of a poetry book from childhood?
I am lucky enough to say YES.

The Golden Treasury of Poetry
by Louis Untermeyer

illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund

formed a substantial,  sumptuous part of my young self.


I confess I remember pictures and rhythms more than words. Images found their way into the innermost part of my make-up. I can’t recall specific details, but I know in my core the colour essence, the flavour, the sensory delight that fed me from age dot.

I wish to introduce to you…

A Boat of Stars.

childrens poetry book

A Boat of Stars cover

I got to experience the Sydney launch of this delicious anthology of poems. True to form, my visual artist self has mostly imbibed the illustrations, but hey – the poems are pretty damn fine too.

Margaret Connolly and Natalie Jane Prior are the esteemed editors.

kids poems

A Boat of Stars
back cover

A heap of writers and illustrators contributed.

They range from extremely experienced children’s book creators

Julie Vivas

Illustration by Julie Vivas

Kerry Argent

Illustration by Kerry Argent

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Second Hand Rose

They call me Second-hand Rose….

Swain painting

Using up the Leftover Paint
acrylic on calico
Sally Swain

I never get a single thing that’s new.

Even Jake the plumber, he’s the man I adore

He had the nerve to tell me he’s been married before

Everyone knows that I’m just

Second-hand Rose

From Second Avenue.

{Lalala deedoodeedoo}

Where did that song-burst come from? 

Some quirky corner of my brain stores lyrics from 1920s and 30s songs and pops them out at appropriate or inappropriate moments. Gosh. Maybe I’m more like my clients with dementia than I realised.

There is a reason.

There is a reason the Second-hand Rose fragment emerged holus-bolus.

It’s because

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Get Your Art Eyes On

I catch myself thinking drab thoughts.

turn ugly to beautiful

A cigarette butt converses with a dried leaf
Sally Swain
Get Your Art Eyes On

I am in a drab place. I must trudge across an underground carpark and it is eternal.

Trudge This Way
Sally Swain
Get Your Art Eyes On

It is the Sahara desert and I am weary. Where’s the camel when you need it? Oh. That’d be the fully functioning car I just parked. I forget to be grateful for the privileged first world life I lead. Facebook friends post photos of exotic meals in exotic spas in exotic forests near exotic mountains. I am in a carpark.

There’s a feather if you look
Sally Swain
Get Your Art Eyes On

I snap

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Do you love driftwood?

Do you love Fiona Hall’s work?

fiona hall art

Manuhiri (Travellers)
Fiona Hall

If you answered yes and yes, you might like to drop by Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

If you answered half of one yes, and you’ve not heard of Fiona, you might still want to check out the starkly beautiful Manuhiri (Travellers).

fiona hall art sculpture

Manuhiri (Travellers)
Fiona Hall

I find this installation

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The Joy of Making Art Together

My sister and niece visit from interstate about four times a year.

We try to squeeze an art play session in there in amongst the family events schedule.

butterfly art glitter

Ruby’s Butterfly

We let loose.

We love our shared art-making.

We are all together, yet each working on our own piece.

We coast between silent absorption and chit-chatting or singing. Sometimes there’s a drama

when the picture ‘goes wrong’. We usually get through that, out the other side and sail to the land of art-making happiness.

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Scraps, Glorious Scraps

My friend entices me into a fabric shop. I am on a different trajectory of busy-focus and lunch-hunger, but I allow myself to be diverted.

red gold fabric flower art


My friend asks if they have remnants. They do. I proceed to spend half an hour – or is it a week? – rummaging through remnant bags. The bags are organised according to colour.

fabric cloth scraps

textures and edges

I am a kid in a lolly shop. I am an artist in an art shop.

I am caught in a fabric fragment web

of divine daydreaming.

All else fades away.

It is a surprise Artist Date.

I think of the art-making potential. I love incorporating threads and tissues into paintages.

I think of my elderly art therapy client who

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Create a gentle resting, holding place for yourself

to digest your experience of the year and sustain yourself through Solstice, Christmas, Chanukah and New Year.
For some, this is a blessed time of year. For others it is tough.

fabric collage Art and Soul

An Art and Soulie plays with sumptuous aqua satin and rich crimson fabric fragments

I encourage you to make some space –

even twenty minutes –

to reflect on your experience of 2017.

See if a shape, colour, theme or motif


and allow yourself to write or art it.


Perhaps you will discover a guiding image to help you flow

into your strong, beautiful soul’s dance

for 2018.

Nestle was our final Art and Soul playshop of the year.

I asked the question:

Would you like a nourishing, spacious pause
in the midst of the seasonal HurlyBurly?

Art and Soul collage writing

An Art and Soulie immerses herself in eloquent collage and writing

I invited participants to

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