Life is precious- listen to your wife

Phone rings on Thursday morning while I am work.  Thanks to modern technology, my fit bit tells me it is my mum calling and I call her back straight away.  She rarely calls my mobile and I felt a flutter of panic as I waited for her to pick up.

“Your dad is in hospital” she said.  I could hear the fear in her voice, mixed with stress and tiredness and a good dose of annoyance.

Dad had been unwell for probably weeks.  Perhaps longer.  He was tired, irritable, falling asleep constantly and unable to walk even a few metres.  He was looking haggard and every one was noticing.

He had a fall a couple of weeks ago and refused to let my mum call an ambulance.  He refused every attempt she made to get him to go to the doctor or hospital.  “Helpful” people were suggesting that she get him medical help, but when a man like my father refuses, there isn’t a lot you can do short of hog tying him and dragging him to the hospital steps and leaving him roped up with a note attached.

And my mum isn’t that good at knots.

But finally, the most stubborn of 78 year olds, admitting that he might be a bit crook and agreed to go to the hospital.

12 hours later, after being assessed and then transferred by special ambulance to another larger hospital, he was hooked up to an oxygen machine, having antibiotics intravenously and was being re-hydrated by drip.

Severe chest infection, pneumonia, under-breathing causing  an excess of CO2 and a lack of oxygen.  The man was quite possibly drowning in CO2.  And left much longer, who knows.  Maybe one of his “just resting my eyes” would have resulted in a much different post here.

Amazing what a whole lot of oxygen can do for a body.  It’s Monday here now and he is much improved.  Still grumpy but that is his style and it looks like he will be home sometime in the next couple of days.

He might need a machine to use at night to help with sleep apnea but that is something he will have to get used to.

There has been a lot of discussion about what should happen, should either my mum or dad fall or become ill again.

There will be no arguments about seeking medical treatment.  An ambulance will be called in case of a fall.  Doctors will be sought if the spouse feels concerned.

And if they can’t look after each other, well my younger brother has declared he will step in.  He can be a bloody pain, but if anyone can nag, he is the man.

And he is way better at knots than me.

Twelve months ago, I was in New York.  In one week I will be in Port Lincoln.  Worlds apart in holiday options but I can’t wait to get away from work and “stuff” and just chill by the beach for a few days.

It is about a 7 hour drive from home, and is situated on some of the prettiest and most rugged coastline in my state.  I am taking wine, paints, books and chocolate.  Hubby too.

Fingers crossed for decent weather, but if it rains, well, I have all of the above the enjoy.

I will miss a week of art class but that is ok.  I really don’t have much in the way of projects to dabble with at the moment.  No room in my house for unsold large canvas so I am restricting my painting to loose canvas of a smaller size.  They can be stacked, given away or even tossed with little guilt should the art turn out to be crap.  I have had a few people ask me to paint stuff.  Portraits, poodles, but conversations have stalled due to various factors including the canine models requiring clipping first.

Last week at class I took on a class project and played with a different technique.  What resulted was pretty cool I think.  Certainly different, colourful and quite textural.


I think it might be a style I will attempt again another time in the future.

Family, art, that pretty much covers my week.  Despite all the low moments recently, I acknowledge that I am incredibly blessed.

Yes, my boys are struggling to find full time jobs, MJ has come so close a couple of times that it is heart breaking to see his disappointment, but they are healthy, happy, educated and working part time so semi financially independent.

Hubby and I are able to put a roof over our heads and food on the table.

We still have our parents, despite some health concerns and so many wonderful friends.

And today the sun is out.  For now anyway.

So yes, we are blessed.  Life is good.

And with that said, it is time for coffee.

Sending love and smiles to you all

(PS hope you are all using the new url “” – lizard happy is about to disappear)



Rainy Sunday

It’s been a pretty crazy week and just when I get time to stop home and get a few things done, I wake up once again to rain on the roof.

Hard to believe that yesterday was 29 deg C and sunny, but such is what Spring is like in this part of the world.

Finally seem to be over the sinus infection that was plaguing me and despite the usual dose of hay-fever, I am feeling good and more motivated than I think I have in a long time.

Motivated to the point of picking up a paintbrush before work a couple of times and starting a new puppy portrait.

This one is of a little fluff-ball called Trixie and so far we are still at “zombie point” as I am trying to do the “darks before the lights”.


At art class yesterday, I finished and signed the portrait of my friend that has been keeping me busy for a few weeks.  Oils are so much less cooperative than acrylics, with their longer drying time and tendency to spread and blend, but I will persevere and eventually, hopefully master them.


In other news, not necessarily art related, my little red car is now happily parked in the drive way and I am in love with it.

The new domain name is in place and seems to be working fine but if you are still using, now would be a good time to bookmark “” before the other becomes inactive and you wont be able to find these posts.

I think this afternoon will be the perfect day to work on the long overdue photobook from last year’s trip.  Yes, I am still plodding away on it, yes, I know it was almost a whole year ago…

And talking holidays, only two weeks until we head to the beach for a little down time.

Fingers crossed the weather will finally be sunny enough to get out on the water. (I have books and paints in case we get rain though)

Time to top up the coffee cup and try and work out how to get the washing dry.

Smiles and hugs


As part of the reinvention and re-energising of this blog, when I came back from my hiatus, I redecorated and also renamed this journal of mine.

The reasons are varied, but although I find that I am mainly talking simply to a wonderful small group of friends now, I still enjoy writing and sharing parts of my life that may or may not be shared elsewhere.

The domain you all know “” is coming up for renewal and after much pondering,  I have decided not to renew it.  Instead, as I still want a domain of my own, today I claimed “”.

Now if it all works to plan, hopefully fingers crossed, you wont notice a real difference but perhaps to be on the safe side, I would love you to bookmark the new address or even choose to get my posts by email.

Apparently the WordPress machine is telling me that it can take 72 hours to kick in properly so hopefully by the time you read this, you can give the new domain a try, if you want to of course.

I have been pretty busy with work recently, lots of extra hours which resulted in me getting a little run down and ending up with a sinus infection (my dreaded nemesis).

Hence there has been very little art created in the past two weeks since I was last here so nothing new to really show you.

I have a pile of stuff to finish and post off (soon Pickelope, really I promise) and I am excited to have some holidays coming up  where hopefully I will get time to get myself a little organised before the whole Christmas crazy happens.

Talking crazy, I bought another car the other day, a sexy little red Suzuki Swift.  Brand new and I get to bring it home next week.  Very excited and thankful that although I can bitch about doing 6 weeks of full-time work, it at least paid off with a new car for me.


So hard to believe it is already a week into October.

This time last year, I was in serious countdown to the Great USA Dream holiday and now I am only just getting the photo book organised.

So much has happened since.

So many changes and mostly for the good.

I have grown, in my art and self confidence.  Learned some painful lessons about myself and other people and although I have had friends leave my life, I have other new and more wonderful people enter.

Work is work, enough about that, but my art is still my passion and I am so grateful for the continued support of all my friends as I learn, experiment and develop my style.

I am hoping that this weekend, in between a whole lot of family stuff I might get the opportunity to get out the paints and work on the portrait of my friend.  It is sitting on my easel, taunting me with a wonky line that needs fixing and hands that need to be completed.

Sometimes there just isn’t enough hours in the day..

And with that said, it is time I started thinking about work.  Hooray for Friday and no rain at least for today.

Keeping all my friends who might be affected by the Hurricane Matthew in my thoughts.

Be safe and I hope you all come through it OK.

With smiles and love






Third time the charm


Once again I have written and re written this post and after deleting hundreds of words I am left with this…

Still working on the portrait of my friend.


Happier with the skin tones and it is really gaining depth now.  I got called a “clever clogs” by my teacher for working in the decking so well and very quickly.

Still need to do the hands, phone and coffee cup but that will be next week.

I think this is going to be a good one.


Life is busy.  Working those extra hours still.  Benefit could be a new car though.

Mine needs updating and the extra money means a newer car than perhaps I thought I would get so that could be rather exciting.

Sometimes I miss the old anonymity of my earlier blogging.  The ability to say without censorship.

To simply write without fear of offending or causing drama.  At least not in my real life.

The blog domain is coming up for renewal and I am faced with the decision of whether to keep or lose the “”

And if I drop it, what happens next?  Do I invest in another or simply continue to blog to my tiny audience under the default WordPress domain?

I am not going away though.  Not yet.  I still have things to say, even if I am talking to myself.

Even if I have to be careful with what I say.

I am babbling.

Time to post.



Fuck off Winter..

Seriously, its middle of September, officially Spring and I have just put the heater on as I try to warm up.

For those of you on the other side of the world dreaming of a respite from the heat, may I propose a house swap?

Ugh, my fingers are purple and I haven’t even been painting today.  Well no real painting.  Bit of touch up stuff but other than that it has been the usual Sunday chores and now some quiet time in my now tidy studio while I bitch about the weather.


So much for not grumbling on my blog eh?

So whats happening in your life?  I’m still working extra hours which might have the positive of helping me get a new car.  Maybe even an actual, never been owned by anyone but me new car.

After two and a half years of driving into the city mostly during peak hour in my little sexy Getz, I am over the manual transmission and the whole riding the clutch while we crawl along at 15kph.

We went looking yesterday at the cute little Suzuki Swift and apart from fitting my budget, its a really nice little car.  So far it ticks most of the boxes and I might be a little in love already.  Although that can all change when I actually take one for a test drive.

Couple of weeks until I will get that opportunity so plenty of time to look around still…

24 or so hours later..

So Sunday finished with a trip to the Archery club despite the bitterly cold wind to watch the final rounds of a charity tournament.

Then suddenly it was Monday again and with another full day of work over, I have my feet up watching the Aussie version of “Survivor” as I type this.

The heater is on again, its still cold in the evenings although at least today the rain has stopped for now.

But enough about the cold.

My latest painting is progressing.

I had struggled last week as the photo I was working from was slightly skewed and it messed with my brain a little as I tried to work from a lopsided horizon line.

So a new week and a reprinted edited photo meant that a lot of my original painting was reworked.

The whole image was made larger in composition and I started work on skin tones and fabric.

What attracted me to the original photo was the play of light.  And that is the challenge I have set myself in trying to capture that light and keep the whole feel “loose”

It’s still got a fair way to go before I will be happy, and working it in oils, it is still a real learning process but this is the process this week.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lots of fiddling before stopping at this point.




I’m liking it, to be honest. And enjoying the paint.  Very different from my last couple of portraits but a style I want to explore more.

It’s on a canvas sheet, like a lot of my “quickies” but that is more because of convenience than anything else.  It’s portable and even possibly disposable if it all goes wrong.

And if it goes well, easily framed.

So there you go, just a bit of what is happening for me at the moment.

Life is good if busy.

I’m happy

And that’s what’s important.

Keep smiling





Never forget

I will confess that it was probably the one place that I was really unsure if I wanted to visit.

Only a few days before we had visited the FDNY museum and it had very nearly brought me to tears as I read the stories and saw the faces of the 343 brave fire fighters who lost their lives trying to save those innocents as the Twin Towers collapsed around them.

But Hubby wanted to go, and my heart told me that I couldn’t leave NYC without visiting the 911 memorial site.

The sun was shining brightly and the park although crowded, was lovely. Green grass and young trees shading paths leading to the stunning memorial pools.

To one side, people queued to enter the museum but I knew that I couldn’t face that.  Instead I stood at the black marble wall, watching the water fall and read the names engraved into the zone as I remembered exactly where I was when it all happened.

Again, tears filled my eyes as I read those names in front of me, people I never knew and would never meet,  and my heart ached for their families who would forever grieve the loss of their loved ones.

It’s so hard to believe that it has now been 15 years.

I’m glad I went and paid my respects, despite my trepidation. Happy that I paused and prayed that one day love will defeat hate and there will be peace.


It has been a couple of weeks or so since I was last here.  Working full time has left me a little weary but I am coping and so far despite some bitch moments, all is good.

Tomorrow I am collecting some art work that has been on display at our Royal Show for the past couple of weeks.  No prizes or sales, but still good to have it out in public.

After finishing my portrait of John, I needed to splash some colour and so I painted butterflies in a completely different style.

Big bold bright and quick.

Three paintings in one art class session.

Two have homes already which brings me great joy.

And just to keep challenging myself, last Saturday I started another new painting.


Yes, another portrait but more than just the face.  In oils too.

Just a little bit terrified of doing those hands, but that is why I keep trying to push myself out of my comfort zone.

I am completely fascinated with the process of creating a recognisable portrait but still keeping my own style and interpretation.

Each one is better than the last as I become more comfortable and instinctive with the tones, colour, light and shade.

And I keep on amazing myself with my results.

Considering that not that long ago, portraiture was something that felt completely beyond my capabilities, I have come a long way.

Of course I couldn’t have got where I am without the amazing teacher I currently have and the support of my family and friends.

Not quite at “Archibald” standard yet (Google Archibald Art prize if you want) but not too bad if I say so myself.

So as you can see, I am still around.  Life is good, if busy and I am looking forward to the end of next month when Hubby and I will get away for a few days at the beach.

Weather has been erratic as Spring often can, and it’s hard to believe that it has almost been a year since my big USA adventure.

Hope you all have a good week

Keep smiling










This post started as a rant but perhaps some things are better off left unsaid.

I really need to keep this as a positive place as sometimes I seem to fall into a hole and end up almost  drowning  in the darkness of  drama and negativity.

And while this place should be my safe place to say things, I don’t want the spoil the good energy of the day with my bitching and moaning about things I can’t change.

And so now that I have deleted half a post, I need to find other things to fill the page…


It’s been a couple of weeks since I last sat down here.  Life has been busy, and  I have been sick for some of it.

A dose of “Man Flu” caught from a dear friend when I hugged him at a Quiz night a couple of weeks ago.  So typical, I give him baked goods, he gives me a fortnight of snot and coughing.

I even had to miss a class, not that I was terribly ill, but to protect a young woman in class who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

But while I missed class, I kept on working, as we have several people away for various reasons and I am the only bunny silly enough to take on extra hours.

At least the pay packet will be fuller.

There has been some art though, despite crazy long work hours and some awesome socialising.

This was the result of a weekend spent with Miss S.  She has found a job, boyfriend and home out north of the city – almost 2 hours now from where I live.  So when visiting her, it made sense to stay overnight and enjoy her hospitality and the opportunity to explore some more of the beautiful Barossa Valley.

She took me out to dinner on the Saturday night and as is typical of us, we doodled on the paper table cover at a posh restaurant and then later turned out ideas into a big bright piece of art while enjoying home made cocktails.

After a two week break from class, yesterday I got back to working on this and fixed the area around his mouth before adjusting the jacket.

A few extra hairs in that beautiful beard and it is done.


“John” is finished, signed and SOLD.

My first true portrait commission.  And I am so very happy with how it turned out.

Talking portraits,

I have another possible dilemma.  A painting I did for someone who no longer is a friend.

It’s not a big one, a simple sheet of canvas.

At first I thought I would send it, but that was when I thought perhaps the relationship could be salvaged. (Now I wouldn’t waste my money on postage)

So now the options are:

Burn it

Bin it

Paint over it

or as one friend suggested – Use it as a dart board.

And to clarify, it is a portrait and as such would unlikely interest anyone except the subject (or a besotted follower perhaps)

What should I do?  Do you have another idea?

All suggestions considered and the more creative the better.

Writing done, art work shared, probably time to get off my butt and hang the washing.

Hope you are all having a good weekend.

With smiles and hugs



PS nearly forgot

This was in the tree outside of class yesterday