A New Window Opens

Lately I've been feeling a bit flat about sketching -
I'll start something and hate it,
ideas just don't seem to unfold

But something has changed in me today.

Every Tuesday morning I venture out to teach English as a volunteer to two beautiful Sudanese women at their homes. One of my students Tayser is a young mother of two, and the other, Amal, who is a little older and doesn't have any children - is one of the most intelligent, brilliant, lovable people I know. Her English is fantastic, and she helps me with my Arabic a bit too. From the first time we met about four months ago we have become firm friends, and spend a few hours every week drinking shay (tea), eating homemade Sudanese cuisine and having passionate discussions about our religions, women, sexuality and politics - we also do a wee bit of English reading and grammar here and there!

Today Amal and I decided to go on an excursion to an outer-suburb of Sydney to visit her artist friend (also Sudanese) and her family. I was really excited about meeting Nafeesa and seeing her artwork, and also getting being able to catch a train and chat to Amal! They asked me to bring out some of my sketches and my book illustrations. Sitting in Nafeesa's lounge room with her two children Ali and Fatma and Amal sitting around me I read them my book and showed them my sketches... I don't know if it was the joyful response I got from them, being around such beautiful people, or feeling inspired by Nafeesa's art - but that little spark came back.

And I wanted to leap for joy.

On the train ride home I started furiously sketching out some ideas, and even the rough outline for another book... I want to get started on them right away but as I've got my first uni assessment tomorrow (to start and finish!) I'm going to have to push them aside - for a day.

I love being able to express myself creatively on this blog,
I love being able to see others express themselves, so differently and so beautifully...
I love taking photographs and writing poetic rants,
but I really wish I was sharing MORE sketches,
not just thoughts... because this blog isn't really living up to its name.

Sharing my thoughts and dreams and sketches on this blog isn't something I ever wanted to push in myself to the point of it being repetitive and lifeless - but I've really wanted to find more ways of incorporating the biro element of myself into blogging; I think mostly, I've been held back by my own fear and self-criticism.

I value all of you who stop by and read this blog; those who comment and those who don't - let me just take a moment to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Your feedback means the world... and inspires me to keep making art the way I feel its meant to be; not something all bound up in the self only, but something cultivated from the heart to share and enliven. That is the kind of art that touches me the most profoundly - and I'm sure thats why I love children's picture books so much.

Today I feel a new window opening in myself -
I'm got some new ideas I'm going to work on,
and (hopefully) this place will retain its soul
but look a bit more blue and sketchy.

Love to you all,