Witchy Poo

Goodness I have been away for some time... This was a completely unplanned break, and I feel better for it, but man have I missed this blog. I find the routine of constructing a blog post, then doing all the social media stuff that goes with it to be quite relaxing in a constructive sort of way. Anyway, I'm back! 

You're probably (not) wondering what lead to this month and a half long hiatus. The TLDR version is I had a bunch of little life stuff build up to create a conglomerate of no posting.

The life stuff started with the impending conclusion of Term 1 flute teaching. I had a bunch of makeup lessons to organise because either schools had stuff on, or I had to take time off for performances. This left me too exhausted and busy to do much of anything. During this, I got sucked into Pretty Little Liars (which is a huge time commitment). I did manage to shoot one outfit during this time (but I lost the SD card on tour/before I could back up the images) 

The next bit of life stuff involved my laptop dying suddenly. My laptop had been having a hard time for over 6 months (The fan was making the most awful racket, and not creating proper airflow, so my laptop was noisy and hot), but needing it for honours (and the wait period at my local computer shop being 2 weeks) prevented me from booking it in when stuff first started going wrong.  I discovered my laptop dying at the worst possible time. I use it to mark my rolls for the school band I take, and when I went to mark said rolls, it wouldn't switch on (The fan made this pathetic noise, and then stop). The fix was quite simple (and cheap, thank goodness). I needed a new fan, and the ram had come loose, but from the time it died to the time I got it back I'd been without a laptop for 2 weeks. 

The final instalment of "reasons my blog has a ghost town" involves Vanishing Shapes (The experiment folk band I'm in). We just released an EP and went on tour to release it all over the place. (We're technically still touring as we have two ep launch shows left to play, but they're local shows, so we get to sleep in our own beds/be at home with a stable internet connection.) 

The tour has been great (even though we were down a shape). We've played so many brilliant shows at so many brilliant places, and with a bunch of brilliant people (I'll be sure to do a full rundown of the other artists we played with at a later date. They were all SO GOOD YO!) Pretty much every venue fed us as well (which, if you've ever been on tour, is a godsend)  

On of the stops we made on tour was Lismore. Now, as well as having a great community, and an awesome rooftop come venue, Lismore is also home to the Treasure Trade . The last time I was in Lismore I bought two fabulous pieces from here. I made some time to go in and have a sneaky peek, and walked out with the dress that you've been staring at in this blog post. It's a tie dye crushed velvet maxi dress. It's super comfy, and makes me feel like some kind of mystic witch. I also made a flower belt to go with it because thats what I do. 

I managed to do a shoot with Niki (the owner of the treasure trade) while I was in Lismore and will be posting that in the next few days. See you soon <3 

Daisy Chains

If you're friends with me on facebook, you would have seen me sharing quite a bit of stuff about why the Sydney Lockout Laws are pretty darn terrible for the city. On the outside the laws say "We're making a safe space for the community" but the reality of the situation is much more complex. 

 If you don't already know, the laws stop bars/clubs/venues from letting people in after 1:30am, and stop bars/clubs/venues serving spirits after 12am and alcohol after 3am in the Sydney CBD area in an aim to curb "alcohol fueled violence". The laws were hastily thrown together after the 2012 murder of Thomas Kelly and the 2013 murder of Daniel Christie. These deaths were avoidable and tragic, but happened well before "Lockout" in their prospective years. 

Now, I would be lying if I said that the Lockout Laws haven't achieved their goal. Violence is down by about 40 percent in the CBD. But at what cost? Foot traffic is down 80 percent  (Now, I'm pretty terrible at math and can't do the equation, but that means proportionally violence has increased) Countless Bars, Pubs and Clubs are shutting down (Not even Kabab shops are safe), taking with it hundreds of jobs for both bar staff and musicians. More than this, the violence that was in the CBD has now spread to other areas in Sydney. As well as "getting rid of the violence" the lockout laws are killing the city. 

I personally am not really sure about the argument that Australians have a uniquely violent relationship with alcohol. I've read some very compelling well sourced articles either way, but lets say we do have a problem. There are other ways to fix rather than saying "no you've been bad, now nobody can have it". For instance, increased public transport with more police and more/better education at a high school level (I remember my classes about alcohol were "it's bad for you, so don't drink. Think the alcoholic equivalent of abstinence only education). The installation of a night mayor (like Amsterdam and Paris) to be responsible for making the nightlife vibrant AND safe. 

"Why are people complaining about not being able to get drunk at 4 in the morning when there are more important issues" you may ask. The answer to this very valid question is that it's not actually about getting drunk and partying. The lockout laws signalled the last straw between Gen x/y and the Baby Boomer generation. 

This article says it best, but here's a summary: the Baby Boomers who are in power have locked younger generations out of great educations, home ownership, pensions, fair welfare, and stability, but now on top of this, they have made it abundantly clear that we are not "mature" "responsible" and "moral" enough for recreation. The protests about lockout are more a reaction to our rights to being adults and using public space being chipped away until we're left with a conservative totalitarian government that rule every aspect of our lives in the name of "morality" and "safety". When we were growing up, they talked about us being "cotton wool kids". Now that we're adults, the generation is insisting of keeping this same "cotton wool attitude" for "our own good".  

As well as keeping us safe "for our own good" these laws are laced with political agenda. Did you know that in the whole "lockout area" there's a rather large space exempt from the laws. This space is in the location, and shape of the Star City Casino  as shown in that handy dandy map to your right. Other venues that have exemptions from lockout are only allowed to stay open as long as they stop selling alcohol and the only form of entertainment are poker machines. (I don't know about you, but this seems more than a little fishy, especially considering the Star City Casino has a reputation as one of the mostly violent venues

I'll finish by saying this: The politics behind lockout are extraordinarily complicated, and there's a lot of information and miss information to be had. Make sure you question your views and do your research, because the reality, and what the government wants you to think is reality are two very different kettles of fish. 

 

EDIT: If you want to join in the action to keep sydney from becoming the suburbs you can do so Here (Reclaim The Streets) and Here (Keep Sydney Open)

Second Chance Sunflowers

Panic! at the Disco are one of the few bands that I still love from my teenage years. A Fever You Can't Sweat Out introduced me to "heavy" music. (I know Panic's not heavy, but for a tiny classically trained Jen, it was super heavy) 

I remember when their second album came out. I was super excited for more of their baroque influenced rock/ whatever blend, but was quite disappointed when instead I was presented with the beetles-esque  orchestrated rock. I tried so very hard to like that album, but ultimately I gave up on it after a few months of it not quenching my thirst for their previous vibe. 

I've not listened to Pretty. Odd. since I was 16. It was in my thoughts after the release of the new Panic! at the disco album (which is a little hit and miss in my opinion) My music tastes have matured quite a bit since I was 16, so I decided to give Pretty. Odd another shot. 

I am so very glad I did. It's such a beautiful album. I particularly love the orchestration (although I wish they'd used real flutes/piccolo's/clarinets/oboes instead of synthesised ones).  My favourite track (which was one of my least favourite back in the day) is From a Mountain in the Middle of The Cabins. The details in the orchestration are superb, and are pretty similar to a lot of the music I've been getting into lately (Artists like Punch Brothers, My Brightest Diamond and Joanna Newsom that sit on the line between contemporary music, art music and folk) . 

Pretty. Odd. isn't the only album I revisited recently, and ended up loving all over again. About 4 months ago I started listening to Life in Cartoon Motion by Mika again. I originally liked this album well enough, but got sick of it. Again, I completely understand why. It wasn't the sound I was in love with at the time (and when you've only got 4 gigs of iPod space to work with, stuff gets culled regularly and mercilessly.) 

Something I've been thinking about putting together is a list of what's on my ipod with descriptions of the artists/links so you can hear what they sound like. I've got a rather eclectic collection of music, ranging from super well know peeps to those with less that 300 likes on facebook. So yeah, let me know if you'd be interested in this! 

Shirt: Revival, Pinafore: Home Made, Skirt: Home made, Socks: don't remember, Shoes: Store in Sydney near Max Brennar Wynyard. &nbsp;

Shirt: Revival, Pinafore: Home Made, Skirt: Home made, Socks: don't remember, Shoes: Store in Sydney near Max Brennar Wynyard.  

Deviating from the music I've been listening to - This is the outfit I wore tuesday. Originally when I put it together, I wasn't intending to have the second skirt underneath the pinafore. When I added the socks to the outfit, it looked unbalanced, so I popped the skirt underneath. It made everything super flouncy, as well as adding much needed colour balance. 

Comfort Greens

(As per usual) life has been a tad hectic lately. I had gigs with the Button Collective in Sydney/Canberra Thursday and Friday, then spent 6 hours on a bus to/from my rehearsal with Shapes. Sunday was a bit quieter as I went landscape painting with Dad (But, for anyone that's not done landscape painting, it requires a lot of concentration/brain power) Here's an ok photo of what I ended up painting

I've actually been doing a boat load of painting recently (particularly over the last few days - I may have been bombarding my instagram with my work :s) 

It's really odd (in a good way) to be able to fully realise the images I can see in my head. I can remember being 5 and having the ideas, but not the fine motor skills to be able to fully realise my ideas. Even throughout highschool my work was pretty hit and miss. Looking back on it, it was a combination of not using the right medium for me, not understanding the medium I was using, and not practicing enough because of the crazy amount of flute I was doing. 

I took an elective in my last year at uni which was called "introduction to 2D studies". It was a pretty non course, but provided me with a valuable epiphany. We were doing a still life on canvas using acrylics, and I kept watering mine down until they were basically behaving like watercolours. Unless it's a 3D project, I pretty much exclusively work in watercolour. 

I love the way watercolour is predictably unpredictable. You don't just put down pigment and have that be the end. You can alter block colours by adding water/pigment to make the colours run. You can revive colours that have already been applied/dried and change their drying pattern. When creating a wash, applying the pigment or the water first creates a ginormous difference. 

I've got two pallets and a couple of tubes that I use for doing the thing. The first good quality watercolours I purchased were the Windsor and Newton Cotman watercolours. Eckersleys was having a sale, and the set was dramatically reduced and came with a whole bunch of "basic" colours. The other pallet I have is full of half pans I've purchased individually (mostly Windsor and Newton, just because that's what my local art supply store stocks). I've also got 2 tubes of wet watercolour and 1 tube of Gouache. I've got a tube of Prussian blue (because it's the colour I use most) and a tube of Daniel Smith Extra fine Interference green (Because it's a sparkly semi transparent duochrome and makes highlight pop). The tube of Gouache I have is white. I use this for details, as it's opaque (white watercolour doesn't yield the same results as Gouache).

Seeing as I've been really happy with the quality of my work, I've made a society 6. I've got a few pieces there already, and have a bunch more I need to digitise/upload. If you want to see my paintings as they're produced, my instagram is where the magic happens! 

Jumper: Thrifted, Shirt: Cotton On Belt: Alannah Hill, Skort: Home Made, Socks: Gifted, Shoes: Dr Martens.&nbsp;

Jumper: Thrifted, Shirt: Cotton On Belt: Alannah Hill, Skort: Home Made, Socks: Gifted, Shoes: Dr Martens. 

Little green monsters.

Success is a very messy concept. 

There are so many different types, and different levels. There's your own idea of your success, and other peoples idea of what your success should be. 

Then there's the comparisons. How is your success the same/different compared to those other people? Why are they more/less successful than you? Should you be doing things differently to reach their success. Do you even want to? 

As someone who works in a creative field, I tend to think about success a lot (because creative success usually entails getting paid a living wage of some description). I really want to be a performer, so I spend a lot of time doing things to perfect my craft. I also have a lot of creative hobbies. While I love being creative, and thinking about how I can get my art seen/ music heard, I have to be really careful to not fall down the "I'm just as good, so why is (Insert whoever here) getting more attention/getting paid properly to do what they love" rabbit hole. 

Social media makes not comparing creative success really hard. You can literally measure someone's success in numbers. What's more, you can keep rigorous track of your own numbers. Take my instagram feed for example. I'm ashamed to say, at one point I knew exactly how many followers I'd gained/lost at any particular time, and depending on which had happened, I'd either feel content or a bit sad.

I've been working recently on not comparing myself to other people, particularly creatively. It's a recipe for disaster, and usually ends up destroying my own creative output. Instead, I've been focusing on the small successes - Like having a billion gigs, and getting that new technique down.   

I've also been thinking about what I expect of myself vs what others expect of me. I know what I love to do, and it's started to defer a little from the original plan, but will (in theory) end up in the same place. 

TLDR - Comparing your level of success can be bad. TLDR 2 - Rambly blog post is rambly and disjointed.