As my light becomes dark

I intertwine my words and vision into woven light

Monday, August 25, 2014


If you paint, write, do mosaics, knit - if it's solving that part of your brain
 saying,  'I need to do this,' you've won.
Albert Brooks

"What do you do?" I was asked.   This woman had the warmest of smiles.

"What do I do?" I repeated aloud, I knew this was not a question about the Energy & Water industry which had given me a career for the past seven years.  I could feel myself begin to shake.  

"I don’t know" I felt out of my depth. The writer in me was silenced; the visionary who captured photos lost her vision.
I wanted to say :

“Ask me what I WANT to do.” 

But before I knew it my words were no longer trapped and I half-halfheartedly answered.

“Oh I write poetry, and I have a blog” very uncommitted to my deep rumbling voice that had been breathing in lines of poetry for quite some time.  But realising in this moment I didn’t really believe I was a poet.

Then my mother chimed in, “she takes photographs.”  I looked at my mother.  Or should I say, glared at her.

I take photographs like a real amateur, I felt like saying.  On my Samsung phone, uploading onto Instagram.  The social media force captured me and I began sharing photos, 3007 images  later I was a true Instagrammer, it was a social pass time, sharing photos with my friends.  Capturing moments in my life.

That was until my friend Marie practically grabbed me by the hand and took me to print my photographs for the first time ever.  She said “Sarah, you take photos of things most people just walk past.”

I realised that this had become my way of seeing, a way of knowing, and a new way of being.

So there I stood in the middle of the art gallery, humbled to be in the presence of an artist who believed in story telling through art, who described to me the freedom that comes from saying the words “I am an artist” something I had never done, but something I know my heart so wanted to speak.  And then she spoke of how she would love to teach art classes to people who want to be creative.

I almost jumped up and down.  That’s me, that’s what I want to do.  Learn about art, and create art in a non-threatening way, in a rewarding way.   I know, more than anything that there are few things that bring a level of calm over me (music, showers and theater shows) but mostly above anything else I know about my life, when I am creating something I am in another world.  It’s a feeling I crave and am obsessed by.

Before I knew about it, not more than a month later, I was sitting at my first EVER painting class. In a warm kitchen, and above me a glass roof, it was a winter afternoon and even though the day was gloomy and cold, inside this room, it was warm and comfortable.  I felt really calm, really happy and blessed to be surrounded by women (who I now know and see as talented creative women that inspire me to be better, create better and experience creativeness in a new found way) and here I was sitting beside my best friend Marie, and watching her experience this as I was filled me with so much happiness. 

And then, for the first time ever I began to mix colours.  I couldn’t believe that you can take one colour and by adding the smallest amount of another colour you then create another colour….to me that is amazing.

I am an observer, I love watching other people work, concentrate, get lost in their thoughts and their doings.  I loved watching these women and I found I loved that equally as much as being a part of creating.  I loved watching our teacher teach, and show and guide us on this path, and mostly I loved the joy in her face when we got something, created something and enjoyed our little creative moments.  To me, me feeling all this was a credit to her teaching.  Week one was all joy for me.

Week two we began the class with a 90 second exercise to draw/paint an object in front of us.  I had NEVER drawn like this before, looking and seeing objects in their true form.  90 seconds seemed to go on forever, and I couldn't believe that I could draw by seeing, rather than thinking what I should be drawing.  

This followed with an exercise of drawing by looking at the object but not looking at the page.  I was dictated by my thought “Sarah, you are already visually impaired, draw how you SEE” this came really naturally, sound and feeling took over, I could hear the edge of the pencil scrapping along the white paper.  I could feel the pull on my eyelids, trying to close and do this in darkness.  This time 90 seconds was not long enough.  The final exercise was possibly, one of the hardest things I had done. 

No looking at the page and using our non-dominant hand.  I felt paralysed.  I couldn't put the pencil on the paper.  It felt really unnatural “I can’t do it” looking up pencil hovering over the page.  But I closed my eyes and sat in the darkness, before I knew it I was drawing.  It freed me, it freed me from the pull of not doing it.  After 90 seconds I opened my eyes and looked down, I was astounded how much of form can be drawn with thought alone.

Then we moved on to learn about shadowing and tone, when I say “to learn” we are talking very informally, looking at pictures, the teacher talking about technique and having a go.  This is where I learnt my self taught lesson, of, less is more, and was able to translate the voice in my being into an image of a bowl.

Week three by far was the one of great experiment, texture and background and discovering how important a background is to any good foreground.  I loved the idea of creating the less important bit to create the important bit, loved that.  Being with others who were as excited as me and watching how we each see and navigate the creative world differently was a great experience. Yet again feeling terribly inspired.

As week four approached, I felt an overwhelming amount of dread, Saturdays and painting had become my favourite thing in my week, and painting had become my new way of seeing.  Between classes I was thinking about the ideas in my mind and the need to get them out.  I was thinking about colour and paint brushes and wanting everyone to feel my joy.

The thought of that ending created a sense of sadness in me I never felt before.

But I realise creating art never ends, it creates more opportunity. The classes were not ending, they were only beginning.

I am an extreme believer of serendipitous experiences and the earth creates 
experiences to guide us, protect us and give us what we need.

Here I was where my best friend believed in me and my photography.  Where she was the first to understand it as a way of me seeing. This set me in a new direction.  

Going to see an art show by an extremely talented woman, who has always inspired 
greatness in me (thank you Sarah!).  

Being with my mother and my aunt at this art show (and both of them being two of  my greatest believers).

And finally meeting, Anna, who in her own right too is a talented artist.
These people and those circumstances landed me in a position where I was asked a question I consciously had never answered before from my heart.  That question presented and opportunity and THAT opportunity allows me to be a student of Anna's.

And already, even after four weeks, she has been able to 
teach and share and provide me with a new and exciting way of SEEING



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