I have been working Down Under these days, but it is not all hard times! My hosts Ron and Janice Ailwood have been showing me some of the local sights… which tend to be of the natural sort (my favorite kind). They have wallabies in their backyard; birds, too, and lots and lots of stars! We have also been traveling around a bit through this sugarcane farming country. And the image of the three of us was taken shortly before we spotted the resident platypus in the creek/stream behind us.
This past Tuesday, Janice and I created a small street painting on the sidewalk of an outdoor shopping mall to promote the upcoming arts festival this weekend. (The weather here is wonderful!) Here are the results of our “joyous adventure on our knees and bums” – er… ! People loved it and stopped in the middle of their busy shopping to chat us up and take photos.
Yesterday I judged hundreds of entries in an arts competition that is open to all Australians. Up until yesterday, I was a virgin judge. I rarely do well in competitions myself [I see myself as only competitive with myself and loathe these sorts of situations] and I find myself disappointed by how unfair I think most competitions are. My biggest pet peeve is artists who enter professional competitions with student work ... in my book that means anything done while under supervision of a paid or consistent instructor.
I REALLY looked at each of hundreds of artworks and tried to choose pieces that showed honesty, thought, skill, and creativity. I was happy that I am in a community in which I know so few people and would not be swayed by any emotional or self-promoting motives, such as voting for my own students. Tonight (soon, in fact), the awards will be presented and then Saturday morning, the artists will ask me for feedback on specific pieces and why I made such-and-such decisions. In the end, the choices are simply one girl's opinion on a certain day, but I hope that most will see the kindness and love I put into the effort (and the written feedback I gave) and that I took their work into serious consideration.
I have already done some teaching and consulting in local high schools and the workshops (adult and children) start on aturday, different ones on different days. I hope to share something of what I have learned over the years and have some more fun with these kind people!