Mayday! Mayday!

Or, how did we get to the middle of May already?

Well, April was a write off to Life #2 for me, hence the cobwebs and tumbleweeds that have started to take up residence here at Strey Creative.

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Well they had…

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Anyway, now I find myself in the best part of autumn with some free time and the itch for exploring. First stop: the local national park.

I’d forgotten how much I love this place. It’s a few minutes drive from where I live and there are many entrances and trails to choose from. I dragged a friend along the first time so we could walk and talk and get to know each other better. We’ve known each other for a few years but y’know how things start to develop sometimes. 🙂

And I think what he learned about me on this particular excursion – apart from my love for scrambling over rocks and scrubby slopes and things – was the strange fey-ness that comes over me when I’m in nature. Especially when I come across things like this:

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How cool are they, right?

Yeah, I can crouch there fascinated for ages, mesmerised by what’s essentially random fungus in the dirt. I don’t know what it is about them. Or anything else that captures my attention in a way that makes time stop. It’s like when I’m in the creative zone: nothing else exists, time stops, food may or may not happen, daylight rolls over to night but all I know is that suddenly I can’t see what I’m painting anymore. Love that space.

However, on this particular day I did manage to tone it down a bit so as not to completely freak the guy out (coz knowing about someone’s ‘crazy’ and experiencing it are two different things!)

Instead, I took pictures and vowed to return with more time and less company so as to better appreciate the fungal beauty of the Aussie bush.

And subsequent wanderings have delivered an incredible bounty, I’m pleased to report. I didn’t know half of these existed (probably coz I’ve never looked before, but still). Some teeny-tiny, some rather plump and proud of themselves. All amazing.

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And my personal favourites – as I could not believe such a colour was possible:

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Yes, they’re purple! Yes, they’re real!

Actually, the guy gets credit for this find on trip #2 as he spotted them while I was distracted. (He was the distraction at the time, I believe.)

Oh. So. Much. Awesomeness.

I keep expecting to see little faery creatures dancing around them or peeking out from behind the stalks. And – hey, what’s that look for? Oh c’mon. You can’t say you’ve never thought of that kinda thing before. No, I didn’t eat any of the toadies, trust me! I can understand your concern there. I’m just a creative girl with a creative (& hopeful!) mind!
And it’s fun to see the magic in life. Real or imagined.

But yes, since then there has been more scribbling, more gallivanting with iPhone camera, and more strey creativity in general. Where will it take me next?

We shall find out next time!

Till then, have fun 🙂

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2014, eh? Crack on!

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I think my New Year is still in its wrapping.
You know how you get something new and you just want to admire it for a while in all its shiny newness? Crisp, clean, free of any sticky mitts…

I’m not kidding anyone with the fact I’m dawdling, am I?

Ok, time to break open the packaging and get into 2014!

I’m not really one for New Year’s ‘resolutions’ (who wants those judgmental undertones to start the year?) but there’s a bunch of stuff I intend to do this year (I figure ‘intentions’ give me a bit of leeway – I can approach them whenever I damn well feel like it!) So here they are in pictures:

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And in words: do another market, set up an online market stall, develop my sketches and characters, practice Quenya & calligraphy…

I’ll be honest, some of it’s kind of scary for me. I still feel like a bit of a tech n00b with online things and that I’m gonna stuff things up big time! Dunno why. I grew up with computers, then shied away a bit when the internet really got booming. Now I’m playing catch up with just a teeny weeny streak of self consciousness…

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It’s funny, I’ll take artistic risks all the time. I’ll work on something important, or something where I only get one shot. I get the idea, ponder it, then – rather than do test runs and perfect it elsewhere first – I’ll pretty much launch in and see what happens. Maybe not the best way to do it. I’ve screwed up, I’ve problem-solved, I’ve rescued. But it works for me. And I’m cool with that.
Yet something like setting up a thing online, that your average 3 year old has probably mastered these days… nup.
I get intimidated.
I procrastinate.
I hide.
Weird, huh?

So yeah, time to push past all that and embrace 2014 by expanding further on the interwebs. I’ll keep you updated on my progress. Who knows, maybe it’ll help someone who’s in the same boat (even if it’s just a rather loose sense of moral support where they can think, Yay, I’m not the only one!) For others of you it might prove anywhere from entertaining to cringeworthy (I still don’t know wtf this hash tag thing is all about. No, really. #WTF?)
Suggestions and support are always welcome, however! 😉

Right, well, one of my first destinations along this year’s path is an inn called ‘Learning to Photograph One’s Stock’. (Goodness, I think I’ve just fallen into describing my life as a big fantasy adventure where there are inns and forests and magic coins and things… haha. Awesome.) But yeah, learning to photograph the stuff I make and want to sell. This is an art in itself if you want to present things in an appealing and inspiring way. Think magazine presentation vs DIY classifieds you see here and there. = Magical vision of the thing in context vs lazy snap of the thing tossed on a kitchen bench. Hmmm.
Because I’m an earthy kind of person (who is prone to medieval and fantasy references, as you now know) and some of the themes of what I create are earthy, I wanted to incorporate that in my photos. This means choosing a certain background, ‘setting’, colours, textures, and props like leaves and bark. Having access to heaps of magazines has been great for picking up ideas and inspirations that I can start to experiment with.

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Already I’ve learnt that flat = boring (box 1), the protective cello bag needs to be ditched (box 4), but the bark and branch elements are quite good (boxes 2&3). These kind of complete the vision I had when making the charms themselves.
It’s a start.
So now I’ve flitted over to the stage of defining what my online stall will be (title, themes, maybe even logo) and also making the things specifically for it. Along with that then, when ready, I’ll look at creating a good set up for photographing them. (All the while telling myself, ‘You can dooo it’ in my best Rob Schneider impression, to keep the doubt & discouragement demons at bay) Hey, whatever works, right?

Something I have got rolling already is a second blog dedicated to Nut & Arbie.

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Yeah, I know, I’ve only just started this one! But they threatened to invade it if I didn’t give them their own space! And I do rather like the excitement of starting something new (see last post).
So if the adventures of a well-endowed bully dog and a cheeky, overgrown spider appeal to you, please check out their blog: Nut & Arbie
They’ll be overjoyed.

Now to find a slab of meat and a mug of ale! (…Or a sushi and hot chocolate.)
Till next time!

What the Water Gave Me

I’m not one to fling myself into the ocean much when I go to the beach. Sure, our beaches are beautiful, and I’ll wade in every now and again. But what I love most is walking along the sand searching for the odd, the interesting, and the magical. Yeah, I’m one of those ones you see crouched beside rock pools or hovering over dumpings of shells and rocks on the sea-licked expanse.

It’s easy to lose track of time and place when there’s so much to explore, with the afternoon wind and waves crashing in the background.

Sometimes I’ll collect things I find and like (though who knows what I’m gonna do with that pile of weird sea rocks & shells, or the funky driftwood stick…).

Other things, however, can’t be taken except in picture form. Either because they can’t be picked up, or you get the feeling they’re where they belong. Here are a few of my favourites from recent wanderings along Sydney’s Northern Beaches armed with my iPhone 4s.

A favourite escape

Narrabeen – a favourite escape

 

Sand stars?

Sand stars?

 

Arrangement as found

Sometimes Nature does its own arrangements

 

This made me think of a faery ring...  Sea-fae?

This made me think of a faery ring. Sea-faery-style.

 

I did say the odd and the interesting...

I did say the odd and the interesting…

 

I feel there's kind of sad beauty to this find.

There’s kind of a sad beauty to this find, I feel.

 

I wonder what its story was.

I wonder what its story was.

 

It still fascinates me now. Life, death, and what is left behind.

It still fascinates me now.

 

Life, death, and what’s left behind. The sea produces so many treasures for those who recognise them, and who take the time to visit.

Thank you for visiting!

 

(And thanks to Florence and the Machine for the title inspiration) 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have Phone, Will Create

On that bloody phone again, are we? Addicted much? Should we book in for surgical removal yet?

Huh? Did somebody say something? Oh, hey, howz goin?

 

That happens a bit now, I’ve found. Such conversations instigated by any number of family members, or my own inner voice, at any given creative time. Coz creative time can now happen anytime and anywhere (yay!), thanks to the marvel that is smart phone + camera + (I’m now discovering) photo editing apps.

Uhh… they’ve been around for years, Kel, I hear you say, bit slow on the uptake there.

Sure it’s not a new concept, but it’s new to me. (Hell, I’ve still got Flappy the carrier pigeon roosting in retirement out back, since I finally caved in to peer pressure and got an iPhone last year.) But what can I say? I’m certainly not interested in racing anybody to high-tech land. I’m a different kind of geek, thank you very much. I’m happy with my leisurely pace and my stumbling upon things in my own sweet time.

So, stumbling upon photo editing, as I have recently, I’ve discovered a whole new world of fun. I was already pleased with the easy, portable nature of a built-in phone camera for capturing those whims and inspirations that strike at odd times.

Bush walking one afternoon...

Bush walking one afternoon…

Now I can take that moment in time, spend hours experimenting, and end up with that same moment in time, just slightly modified. Faaantastic.

After some tinkering

After some tinkering

Also what I love about this is the simplicity. When the muse comes to visit I don’t always have the hours and space to get out drop sheets and paints and brushes. Or knives, embellishments and card stock. To be able to just point, shoot & then tinker is perfect. And I figure I can tie it in with my other projects as well.

Faery Charm, anyone?

Faery Charm, anyone?

Beats pictures of food.

What I’m probably liking most is that there are all these accessible, user-friendly apps that mean streys like me can add an artsy edge to our photos without getting all fancy-pants with expensive equipment and a whole new vocabulary. (I’ve flipped through a bunch of photography mags; I have no idea what they’re talking about.) They can start to sound a bit elitist as well which my photos… are not.

Nut

Nut

This is Nut. He’s a stray too. Picked him up at the toy-animal pound (aka the local op shop) a little while back. He’s a bit of a character and likes having his picture taken, so he might feature in some more. When I catch him causing some photo-worthy trouble… (often enough).

So this week’s creative spurt has been made possible by the Camera Awesome app, which has its own set of crazy terms for things you can do to photos, plus references to unicorns and other random things. RateCameraAwesome

Haha.

What other apps have people found good/useful/fun/worthwhile? If you can peel yourself away from them long enough to reply…