Once upon a time there was a policeman….

posted in: Community, Family | 4

 

Policeman Russ Sheehan

Once upon a time, there was a brave, kind and handsome policeman named Russ. His job with the force brought him and his family of princesses to a small country town, where they met other little families and before very long, the loyalest and most wonderful of friendships were forged. Grown ups, kids, (so many little princes and princesses) – even family animals – all became cherished, each by the others. One day, the time came for the policeman and his now bigger family of little princesses to move to another town. The friends by now had become friends for life, so even though they moved far away, there were still many celebrations and holidays and special times when all the princes, princesses and grown ups spent happy hours in one another’s company.

In time, the princesses and princes became grown ups as well, as is the way of princes and princesses. They found new princes and princesses to draw into the circle, and of course, began to bring new tiny princes and princesses into the world, who all became cherished – each by the others.

The job of a policeman can be a hard one, and while the brave and handsome policeman was keeping us safe, he was seeing things that troubled his kind heart. Maybe he thought he always had to be brave and strong. Maybe he was afraid what the grown ups and princes and princesses would think about him if he told them how he was really feeling. What he was really thinking.

Then one day, the brave, kind and handsome policeman named Russ left the gown ups and the princesses and the princes forever, and all of them who had become cherished, each by the other, had broken hearts and lots of questions that had no answer.

Then, Blue HOPE appeared on the horizon, and the grown ups and the princesses and the princes wished so hard that they had known about Blue HOPE before the brave, kind and handsome policeman named Russ had taken his own life, because maybe, the brave and kind policemen at Blue HOPE may have been able to help Russ to stay.

You see, Blue HOPE need some money to spread the word about the help they have available to brave, kind policemen. So, the grown ups and the princes and the princesses and all of them who became cherished, each by the other, decided to have a special day, in honour of their brave, kind and handsome policeman named Russ, and to raise money to give Blue HOPE so that other grown ups and princesses and princes who cherish kind, brave policeman may never have to know the sorrow of saying goodbye far too soon. 

 

 

As fairy tales go – this one is crap. Sadly, there is no happy ending ending to Russ’s story, but as the grown ups and the princesses and the princes who cherished him, we are choosing to honour his memory with a family fun day  – A Fuss About Russ – to raise money for Blue HOPE, as they aim to raise awareness & share information about Police Suicide globally, introduce an anonymous, external referral system and 24hr helpline.

 

artist Tracey Hewitt with her work "Turquoise Tranquility", which is being auctioned for the charity Blue HOPE

I’ve donated this piece “Turquoise Tranquility” as an item for the charity auction. It will go under the auctioneers hammer along with an astonishing assortment of goodies: from pearl jewelry to a tonne of mung bean seed! I’ll also be packing up my artwork and books to set up a market stall alongside my clever Mum and her handmade glass beads and jewelry. There’ll be plenty of market stalls, live music, games, helicopter joy rides, BBQ, yabbie races, clowns, and of course the auction action, plus lots more besides.

 

Family Fun Day flier for Fuss About Russ

Here are the details if you live close enough to come join us:

When: 17th September 10am to 4pm

Where: “Harcourt”, Baralaba – Moura Road, Baralaba, Qld. (We’d love you to you pre-purchase your tickets!)

For more information on the family fun day have a look at the Fuss About Russ facebook page, or contact me.  Further information about Blue HOPE can be found on their facebook page.

 

 

 

But, a policemans job is Save

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Breeding

posted in: Family, Grandbabies, Photography | 0

Until fairly recently, our family’s focus has been solely on breeding cattle. These days, the human breeding programme is escalating beyond any ones expectations.

I was touched when the youngest of our princes – Keelan, and his wife Madi, asked me to take a few pictures of them in the last days of her pregnancy, to commemorate the bump. This picture was one of the last shots, taken while furiously whirling knobs and dials on the camera – adjusting aperture, and shutter speed, and all kind of things to try and catch them in silhouette, with that amazing sky. Thankfully, they took care of conveying the tenderness part that this shot really needed – I could hardly see them through the viewfinder, and was, at that point, laying flat out on the grass in a most bizarre and undignified position. I’m probably not going to tell you how many shots it took to get this one lovely one. Suffice to say there were more than one on the camera that were immediately deleted because they were completely black.

This precious bump will be Grand baby number three for us, and another one, due in a couple of months, will make four, in just over a year. People around us seem to think this is some kind of amazing turn of events – I guess going from no grand kids to four so quickly doesn’t happen to everyone!

It’s a tremendous joy and privilege to watch our sons make their families… and this grandparent thing is the sweetest gig ever! I have to confess though, that while I adore these little babies, there is a part of me that’s itching to paint and draw and create up a storm with these tiny humans… right now though, Payton, who is 14 months is only interested in eating the sidewalk chalk, and Levi, at 4 months is a long way from even being interested in it at all… so I guess I’m going to have to be patient, and make the most of the wonderful photo opportunities in the meantime. Looking at this photo is occurs to me that this would make a fantastic stencil/mask for a journal page. I’ll work on that just as soon as I’ve sung Incy Wincy Spider with Payton (complete with actions)  and snuggled with Levi until he wriggles to a spot with his nose in my armpit… it’s his favourite position – go figure!

Try Something New

What does it say about your personality when you have an idea to try something you know bugger all about, and think “I can’t do this, but I’m doing it anyway?” I don’t know, either, but here are the results! For a long time, I have thought that adding a few videos of works unfolding and techniques in action might be fun for me, and interesting for you. I have a lot to learn, and will possibly need to relocate to an area where I can access a much bigger Internet data quota (apologies to the Aussie Government, but this NBN thing isn’t working out so well for us out here), which isn’t such a realistic idea. I think there is a lot of research and education in my immediate future if I’m to follow this notion any further. 
However… this was fun for me, and I hope you find the video a little bit interesting. It’s a time lapse look at creating a background with tissue paper on canvas for a mixed media work. The background was done without any firm idea of what the focal point might be. That realisation came a little later.

Small Wonders 

©2015 Tracey Hewitt  Watercolour and mixed media on canvas

After the addition of some acrylic paints to introduce a little colour, it occurred to me that this would be the perfect background for another challenge I’d been hankering to take on. A photo of our Granddaughter, Payton, in a rare moment of stillness, had been whispering it’s longing to be drawn or painted for a couple of months. For someone who, a few years ago, wouldn’t even attempt to draw a face or human form, because “that’s not my thing, I just can’t do them”; I’m pretty excited to have captured a resemblance to a human being, much less enough of a resemblance to a particular human for her parents to know she was the model!
 Her features were sketched in, with Derwent Graphitint pencils. These babies might be my favourite art supply. (Even as I type that, a hundred other little special art supplies are clamouring in my mind to be named favourites, as well!) These pencils – as the name suggests – are much like a graphite pencil, with the added appeal of a range of beautiful, subtle colours, as well as being water soluble. They’re not as intense as some of the other water soluble pencils out there, so the results are soft and delicious. A little watercolour for the pink in her dress and lips, a few touches of inky black for details, and she was done.
That little butterfly she’s so intently looking at? That is a perfect example of the glorious serendipity of layering materials and media. It wasn’t until after I’d drawn Payton in, that I noticed that little butterfly on an underlying layer of tissue paper, perfectly placed to seem to be sitting on her hand, and the focus of her rapt attention. Sometimes, there are forces at work when we create that simply cannot be explained. Happens to me all the time. And, it’s the best feeling. 

New Inspiration – for Pencil Sketching, and all kinds of things!

posted in: drawing, Family, Grandbabies | 0
Payton #1 © 2014 Tracey Hewitt
Pencil 12cm x 12cm
We’ve had some big news around here…. A granddaughter! This post has been written, rewritten, scrapped and started over a number of times now. Then, I remembered that I wrote a letter to this baby girl the night she was born. Not quite your run of the mill, regular post, but then again, a family’s first grand baby is not quite your run of the mill, regular experience is it?
Dear Payton,
Today we met you for the first time. New to this world- just hours old – I was captivated at once. Maybe one day, many years from now, I’ll remember this letter and give it to you – a memory of one of the most favourite days of my life.
It rained! All day. And we had been hoping so hard and needing it for so long, which made it even more wonderful. Much like we hoped so hard for you. I feel as though I have loved you forever already – certainly since I saw you swimming around in your Mums belly at her first scan. And even before that, when you were just a possibility and we hoped so hard you would decide to stay and grow. And today, on the day of  my first baby – your Dads – birthday, you joined us in this mad, happy, crazy, wild, fun, fantastic circus called life, and our hearts are so happy.
It’s difficult to describe how I feel tonight – excited, happy, content, nervous, pleased, thrilled- a whole lot of emotion all rolled up together, and full, my heart feels full. Thankful, grateful, full. I’m sitting quietly, listening to the rain on the roof – one of my favourite sounds, and thinking of you, of your tiny, perfect face, little bit of soft hair and wee fingers and toes. You had so many visitors today, and you slept and ate and were not the slightest bit amazed by the excitement your entrance into the world had caused.
We had a cuddle, you and I, and the world felt perfectly right. 
I know that as you grow and the years pass there’ll be times you are sad and unsure, times you doubt yourself – you’re human and we all do that. But I hope that through all those times, I can help you remember you are a miracle. You are perfect exactly as you are in any moment and magical in your ability to bring joy just by being in a room (that will never change for me, nor, I expect, anyone else in that room with you today).
So, on this ordinary, rainy day, while the newspapers ran headlines about a Malaysian Aeroplane that disappeared without a trace, and our Govenors General, Quentin Bryce (the retiring one) and Peter Cosgrove (the new one) have been announced a Dame and a Sir, and the republicans are getting all worked up about it, and most of the world was going about its business as if it were any other day; we know better. Today was a special day. The day Payton came to live on planet Earth as part of our family. And we are so very happy you are here.
Welcome to the world precious girl. I can’t wait to get to know you, and the wonderful person you will become. 

Tea Bags, Doiley’s and Linen Napkins

Lillian’s Legacy 101cm x 76cm 

Acrylic, tissue, damask, tea bags, silk, oil pastel and paper collage.

© 2012  Tracey Hewitt

For the longest time, I have had these panels tucked away safely – waiting for the wonderful day when I might finally know exactly what to do with them. (It’s embarrassing to even mention how long…)
I am very lucky to have had a Nana who kept special things – like boxes and boxes of hand embroidered doiley’s and damask napkins, which she enjoyed giving to me to ‘do something with’. One of the napkins made their way into a natural dye bath. 
And waited. 
One of the doiley’s was used to take rubbing’s on used tea bags. 
They waited.
Until one day, some silk strips from the natural dyeing episode came to join them, and they were fused and seed stitched together.
As a pair of ‘panels’ they waited….for many years.

Lillian’s Legacy – detail

Every so often, they’d get pulled out, caressed, admired, promised something special would be done with them, and carefully put away.
To wait some more.
Finally, their wait is over. I’ve been wrestling a bit with work for the next exhibition. I’m not sure where my muse had been on holidays…but when she came back, this was what she brought with her. Quite a bit more subtle and restrained than my usual works – yet it feels good. There’s much more to explore here – I’ll keep you posted!

A Special Celebration for a Very Special Lady

This lovely lady is my Mum, Carmel. She turned 70 a couple of weeks ago. Because she’s awesome, and we wanted to do something she’d love, my sister and I took her and Dad off to Byron Bay for a little holiday (and she did love it!)
The totally delicious Chocolate Hazelnut cake was made by Charlotte from Let Them Eat Cake in Brunswick heads (I have to give Charlotte a plug here, as I don’t know a soul in that part of the world to recommend her to – and my word – she does deserve recommending. That cake was ah-maze-ing!)

Deb and I also put together a little book for Mum, in honour of this most auspicious occasion….

If the “ooh’s”, “aaah’s” and eye leakage were anything to go on, I think she kind of liked it…
Especially this page, where each of her Grandchildren and Grandchildren-in-law wrote her a message on a luggage tag – each one as unique as their authors – all precious in their own way.

The journalling part was left to work on while we holidayed…and a lot of happy time was spent reminiscing and cooking up the very best stories to commit to the pages.

We created some special memories while recalling special memories – how cool is that?
The pages were created on watercolour paper, with water colour paint over old letters and handwriting from her Dad; Starburst Stains sprayed over stencils, some stamping, photos transferred using Transfer Artists Paper, and a few bits and bobs of paper and ephemera collaged on.

Happy 70th Carmel…we are so lucky to have been blessed with you as our very own, very special Mum.

Road Trip to Brisbane – Matisse, GOMA, Southbank & Chocolate!

I am a very lucky woman. My Daughter-In-Law gave me a ticket to the stage performance of  Mary Poppins, along with a planned 5 nights away in Brisbane, with her Mum and Aunty, and a few of her friends (who are all great fun, by the way).
Mary Poppins was fabulous! Sadly, no photography is allowed during the performance, so no pretty pics for you – just take my word for it that the sets are incredible, singing and dancing faultless, and all in all, it is an awesome show.
I also was excited to be in Brisbane at the same time as the Matisse – Drawing Life exhibition. I whiled away a few very happy hours in front of the drawings and sketches of this skillful artist.
So long in fact, that I had to make my way back to GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) a couple of days later  to check out the rest of the exhibits…Including this remarkable piece – a pair of taxidermed deer, covered in glass bubbles… I’m still trying to decide how I feel about it, but there’s no doubt it is a compelling and intriguing piece. 

I’m disappointed I didn’t take my good camera out with me on the river cruise (all you can eat seafood buffet…yum….), but it was raining so much (and we’d been completely drenched the evening before – on our way to Mary Poppins – drying off under the hand dryers in the ladies room was something we’ll laugh about for many years to come!) that I wasn’t prepared to risk drowning it. So, iPhone pics are all I have to share with you. But this shot of the Storey Bridge all lit up is a happy reminder of a great time.
I’d never visited Southbank before, and was most impressed with the space and vibe. This shot was taken from where we enjoyed a leisurely Sunday lunch.

After lunch we found the Chocolate Shop – Chocolate by the Bald Man Max Brenner. Leah and Cassie may have taste tested something that didn’t quite tickle their taste buds the way they expected…Lets just say their advice would be, before taste testing, make sure the label doesn’t read Bubble Bath
We laughed, talked into the nights, ate, shopped and possibly had a glass of wine occasionally. With the theatre and two trips to the Art Gallery in 5 days, I can’t remember when I’ve had such an injection of culture all at once!
Thanks Leah; and your family and friends – that was a blast!

Honouring The Ordinary

I recently stumbled across Brene Brown (the Internet holds endless wonders and discoveries, doesn’t it?) whose research into the human condition is fascinating. A couple of videos of her TEDx talks are the worth the investment of your time (at least I felt they were worth the investment of mine!) The Power of Vulnerability and The Price of Invulnerability are thought provoking, heartwarming, and funny. She knows the ‘stuff’ we all do (and admits freely to doing it herself…makes her totally charming!) What I’m getting to here, is that she talks about the ways we can choose to live wholeheartedly, vulnerably… by, among other things, Practising Gratitude and Honouring the Ordinary. Which brings me to my point…Lately, I’ve been feeling a little less than enamoured with the ordinary (if I was totally honest with you – bored. Not bored as in nothing to do, bored as in uninspired, untouched and unimpressed). So, I set myself the task of looking at the ordinary with fresh eyes. A sunrise…very ordinary, in that there’s one every day. But magical, and beautiful…I know I forget to notice that sometimes. Every day a new, fresh opportunity to appreciate things we take for granted.

My ordinary days include my family. With all the convivial chaos that that includes. And that makes me a lucky, lucky woman.
My ordinary environment looks like this…peaceful, quiet, yet solid and strong.
These guys visit my eucalyptus trees regularly. Some days, their chattering and partying can make it hard to think straight…but their enthusiasm is infectious.
One of my most favourite ‘ordinary’ things to do is write in my journal…a great place to practice gratitude. And one of the things I am grateful for is You. You honour me so greatly by giving up your time to stop by here and read my ruminations – Thank you!
Looking at your ‘ordinary’, and honouring it – recognising how special it really is – is something I thoroughly recommend….try it today.

With this ring…

posted in: Family | 9
Things have been a little quiet here on the blog lately…there are a number of reasons for that, but the best one is because ‘Pa’ and I have been preparing for something big.
Something important.
Something wonderful.
And last weekend, it was time for us to dress up and enjoy that something…(pity I didn’t take the sunglasses off from around my neck before the beautiful Cassie snapped our picture as we left the hotel!)…
Our firstborn married his princess…the beautiful Leah. I could say how beautiful she looked, but you can see that for yourself.
So could Fraser! His expression as she made her way to him made my heart happy. ‘Cos his heart looked happy – know what I mean?
Wow…it’s a pretty big deal to watch your child become a husband – a wonderful, heart warming, happy, beautiful, big deal.
We all loved every minute of it… My ‘boys’ and I…
And our middle princes princess… (I couldn’t leave Caitlyn out – she’s more or less family by now…)
But none more, I don’t believe, than the Bride and Groom…
Thank you so much for letting me share our happy day with you here – You all feel like a special part of my family, and it seemed the right thing to do to share this special day with each of you.