Stories of the Outback : Living Life in Own Sacred Ways 7
Every journey to the outback I had so far was a new discovery. I am not talking about the discovery of new (extraordinary!) places only. I am talking about discovering new lessons of life, the lessons you carry with you throughout life, think of them, use them, and, at meaningful times, share them with others.
This year’s outback discovery was meeting people who chose to live their lives on their own terms; people who chose to live as if other’s rules of living did not exist but their own. Out of all other ways people chose to live, their own was sacred.
It’s a wonderful lesson to learn: regardless of the rules of life others obey to, the one you choose for yourself is sacred and is worth standing for.
Memorable travels in outback Australia: road from Bourke to Wanaaring (right before the sunset)
TALKING ABOUT M.
Meeting M. was a moment long sought for. We had tried to call her a few times, unsuccessfully though. A couple of times we had had driven to her farm. She was not there. The gates were locked.
But every try was worth it as we discovered when we met M. the first time.
AT THE GOONERY
Entrance to the Goonery farm (under clear blue skies)
Reaching M’s house was quite an adventure, as recent rains made access to the barracks really tricky.
A hundred metres drive from the gate and we turn a sharp left. A large muddy pond spreads in front of us right from the middle of the road. At the other end of the pond a white car is bogged into the mud all the way up to the windows.
Rare occasions of flood in the area
We drive carefully on the edge of the muddy waters and continue on for a few hundred metres on bare dirt road. All around us there are old vehicles, rusty engines, metal scraps, and piles of useless wires.
I’m beginning to think of snakes hiding between all this strange gathering of disregarded stuff. Apart from snakes, rats also come to my mind. And that is terrifying.
As we get closer to the house, everything becomes even more cluttered. Old tanks, water pumps from old times, rusty trucks, 50 years old or more, make access to M.’s place even more trickier. In the distance I see animal paddocks, few horses running free, and a couple of dogs resting in the shade.
It is so quiet.
M.’s house is hidden behind a tall fence and wild vegetation.
As far as I can see, the house walls are scratched and torn; some of the windows are covered with plastic boards and rugs. It’s sad, painfully sad to watch all these.
We call M. out in lower after some careful thought. Who is this lady of the scraps and what she might look like?
She comes out quickly with a large smile on her face. She looks tall, taller than me at least, small built, with short grey hair.
Her clothes are old and torn. Grey patches cover the holes in her over sized jeans. The collar of a once yellow shirt is revealed and I can’t decide if it’s actually dirty or grey from too much use:
She had surgery. Then went to Dubbo to help a friend who was struggling with cancer.
I’m watching her talk quickly with large gestures and continuous smiles. Her happy demeanour is contagious and I begin to love her, despite previous concerns. I feel no pity for her, no sadness for this life she chose. I only love her because she is nothing but light and full-on positive energy. And she is humble and eager to help.
She is the master of what she chose to be.
THE PAINTING OF "QUEEN MAGG"
The memory of M. remained fresh in my mind for many weeks. I didn’t know what to do with what I had seen at the Goonery. I didn’t know if it was sadness, or bravery, or illness what I had seen. All these were with me, tearing me apart, until I decided to paint M., to give her a new life, a life on my own terms.
I cut through the bare scene of red empty sands and placed inside a merry garden of flowers, as M. deserves. Between such flowers I gave life to a new M., to “Queen Magg”.
I threw the torn grey clothes away and gave her a magical dress painted in joyful patterns and happy colours. As for the eyes, the tired empty eyes I met at the Goonery, I wanted to give them life too. I wanted them to shine, to share hope, and share love. I wanted her to be remembered as she deserves: as a queen.
"Queen Magg", painting by Christine Onward. Description and other details are Here
Disclaimer: none of the photos used in this article belong to the Goonery (except for the entrance at the farm). The name of the described character was hidden to protect her privacy. Apart from that, the story is real and presented through my own lenses. If you feel you need to know more, please send an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Short video about the painting is uploaded on: https://www.instagram.com/christine.onward/?hl=en
CREATING ART TO CALM THE SOUL - Interview with Rachel Mitchell, Exceptional Artist, Rock Painting Innovator, Teacher, and Beautiful Soul 29
GLIMPSE INTO AN EXCEPTIONALLY PRODUCTIVE AND INNOVATIVE CAREER:
Canadian artist Rachel Mitchell talking about new ways to create outstanding art on rocks
Dear Rachel, I need to say that I have been following your media accounts for quite a few years. I have since admired your ingenuity, your talent, and your energy to create the most astonishing works of art! How did it all start and where do you get your inspiration from?
Thank you so much to you and everyone for following my accounts! I can't believe I've been doing this for almost 7 years now, and for the last 4 years on a full time basis!
At first I just wanted to get all of my creativity out and share it with whoever was willing to see it.
Now my passion is to also show others what I have taught myself, tips and tricks; lessons I have learned and mistakes I have made, as well as to create unique rock jewels that everyone can love.
Colour is my eye candy. I'm inspired by so many wonderful artists and places I could only get the chance to see through the internet world. Pinterest has so many beautiful artists, ideas and creativity; It's one of my favourite places to get inspired.
Over the last years your innovative work had a major contribution to the world of rock art.Can you tell us more about your ideas and how they positively changed the way we do rock painting these days?
I am always looking for ways to make my artwork stand out.
As everyone might already know, I use a lot of metallic paints and glitters. At first I wasn't very happy with they way they shined, as I wanted my stones to be as bold, colourful, and sparkling as possible!
I saw what resin did to paintings on canvas and fell in love! I was a little scared to play with it at first. I made a few mistakes, but the result was exactly what I had been looking for. It was magical!!!
As for my DIY fine lining brush, it has helped so much!! I had spent so much money on brushes over the years! I would purchase every fine brush I could find and it never did what I needed. Lines were always too thick or too sloppy, and I felt that I would never learn the magical techniques of the big artists, their fine lines and details.
So I took scissors to my brushes!! As a child, I used to take scissors to my dolls' hair (and sometimes my own) and it had not turned out well! Now, however, my brushes have never been so awesome! I was no longer wasting my hard earned money on expensive brushes for my line work. This helped me so much - I had to share!
Here s a link to Rachel's tutorial on how to prepare your brushes for fine lining on rocks: https://youtu.be/URuCcQfG020 :
I use a variety of dotting tools, what I find work best are Nail dotting tools, with two different sizes on each one. They are perfect for most dots but you can find great things around your home for dotting as well. For instance knitting needles, toothpicks, sewing needles, the opposite end of your paint brushes have different sizes to play with as well!
The hits on your YouTube and Facebook tutorials are sky-rocketing these days. Tell us more about these tutorials. What are they about and who are they addressed to?
Just over a year ago I began sharing rock painting tutorials and it was terrifying!! I am still not very good at editing, still learning every single time I post something new. My favorite part of a tutorial is painting the stone. It could take a couple of hours to paint a stone and a full day (or longer!) to just to edit the video and have it ready to post on YouTube.
Sometimes I lose bits and pieces of my video that were really important so I end up having to redo the whole thing. Editing tends one of the most frustrating and time consuming parts of my career. However, when I think at the amount of people I'm helping, it makes it all worth it!
Each tutorial is edited with love and sometimes tears, but they are made for all those who want to create beautiful things.
Here are some of my favourite tutorials you might want to have a look at:
How to resin your stone: https://youtu.be/76K9Exf-v6Q
Sunflower on a Santorini stone: https://youtu.be/b2ES1l0-KtM
Zentangle paw painting on a stone: https://youtu.be/p8KjekWjAhI
Painting a dotted dragonfly: https://youtu.be/0iWQXZb6T9g
Some of the rocks you might want to learn to paint: Rachel's YouTube account Here
You are offering so much to the other fellow artists: beauty of art, inspiration, and enormously useful ideas. What do you expect in return?
We need to have more positivity and beauty in our lives. From kids to seniors, I want people to know that they have this creative vibe running through them!! You don't have to go to an art school to be an artist. Painting is extremely therapeutic, it calms our soul, and it gives us a healthy outlet.
To end here, I know it's a difficult one, I would like to ask you who are the artists you mostly admire and are thankful to?
This is so hard to answer because there are just so many people I admire and so many artists that deserve recognition. These are only a few of my favourites:
Bob Ross (of course),fellow Canadian artist Elspeth McLean,and Australian artist Ben Heine.
Celebrating One Year of Community and Love for Rocks - Interview with Parrish Jefferson, Collector and Ardent Supporter of Rock Art 12
Welcome to a new series of Rock Street publications presenting the life and achievements of our rock painters, their latest works of art, rock painting tutorials, and other news from the world of rocks!
Today I have the extraordinary occasion of interviewing the most significant collector of rock art of our days, amazingly supportive person, and activist of kindness in the world of art, Parrish Jefferson.
Exactly a year ago Parrish began her Instagram journey and started collecting painted rocks. Since then she has been encouraging hundreds of artists to continue their work, promoted rock art campaigns, and acquired art works from artists from all around the world! If you are one of those artists who had the chance to meet and talk with Parrish, you will agree that she never failed to show her endless passion for rock art.
Hope you enjoy the reading and her beautifully painted rocks.
Celebrating One Year of Community and Love for Rocks - Interview with Parrish Jefferson, Collector and Ardent Supporter of Rock Art
Who is Parrish Jefferson and how did this passion for art begin?
I'm just a gal from Texas, highly educated but have never been able to keep a stable career due to my husband's job which required frequent reassignments. It allowed me to see much of the world though. They also translated into helping me relate to artists from many places, in every corner of the globe!
A traveler's passion for art - glimpse into part of Parrish Jefferson's collection of rocks from all over the world!
At last estimation I have about 350 rocks! I collect all genres, colors, themes etc., from USA, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Latvia, Korea, Indonesia, every country in Europe. What's heartbreaking is that in some countries postal costs are so high, it isn't even feasible to do business with the artists who live there. It is frustrating for them and myself all the time, unfortunately.
Part of Parrish's rock collection in blue hues
Displaying so many rocks has become really challenging for me. I often display in vignettes featuring certain colors or by theme (such as my Southwestern Style collection or that with a Native American look). I've also collected special bowls from several artists to provide more beautiful displays for rocks. I even have some on wall sconces! It's almost time, however, to purchase some new wall shelves!
Parrish's stunning collection of rocks and the decorative plate in hues of turquoise
Has collecting painted rocks changed your life in any way?Collecting rocks and becoming part of the rock painting community on Instagram has changed my life in so many positive ways I'd never dreamed possible!
It began with a simple first purchase....from Valeria Campagna. Boy, did I set the bar high! I was so impressed, that I posted awful pictures (my fault!) and shared my excitement with the few followers I had. That began one of the most important relationships in my life. Valeria is a dear friend and actually, we will be working together soon on a new project involving Etsy, other artists, and it will include opportunities for new artists as well! That's all I can say at this point, but I'll be making announcements in May.
I also have in the works a world wide 'Rock Olympics' (rather an annual rock painting competition). N.A. More details about this event will be published in a few weeks on this website
With a touch of boho-chic and admirable colours
With the positive feedback received from posting such beautiful works, collecting rocks soon became a passionate hobby! I had to hone my staging and photography skills and learn what a hashtag was! I made an advice sheet for new artists who wanted to make a name and sell Art. Artists then began coming to me for advice, wanting to be featured on my page; this was an honor to me and a happy and productive use of my time. It's been a joy.
Over the last year you have shown tremendous support for rock artists from USA and from across the globe. You frequently tag new artists in your posts, share their achievements, encourage new releases and new campaigns. Why? Where is this desire and energy to help others coming from?
As I collect from established and well known artists as well as beginners, I tend to meet thousands of them, even tangentially! I fully believe that one's motives are what matters in this life of soul-growth. Therefore, helping artists, featuring their art to best highlight its beauty, to support and encourage, to introduce new talents...well, it's a way of paying it forward. Spreading beauty is always a treat! Further, promoting the business side of art is often distasteful to artists, so I help there as much as I can!
I also want people to know that artists have been VERY KIND to me! Not a week goes by without receiving gift rocks I didn't even realize had been sent! I'd estimate at least 30% of my rocks have been gifts. I consider that I'm overpaid in unexpected, generous gifts and say as much when people commend me for helping artists! And by the way, I never charge and never have, for any help. It just wouldn't feel comfortable for me.
Rock art mastered with magnificent skill and patience
I know this is going to be very difficult to respond to, but is there a specific rock in your collection that has a special significance for you or story attached to it that is worth talking about?
I do admit to having one favorite stone. Valeria painted the 'Parrish Rock' inspired by my energy (her words) and it is not only sentimentally the most meaningful rock, but also aesthetically one of the most beautiful rocks you'd ever hope to see! It has a sacred place in my home, with her framed words, and Christine, when I received it, it felt like I had won a Grammy or the Nobel Peace Prize!
Val Campagna, the "Parrish Rock" and framed are Val's words about inspiration and friendship across oceans
Over this last year since your Instagram launching, you have surrounded yourself with a huge number of rock artists of outstanding talent and success. Along the way, some of them have also become good friends. Could you mention some of your artist friends?
They will be so many! I will only mention SOME of my wonderful, talented, and amazing artist friends, I do hope you will jump to check on their accounts for their art works are absolutely divine: Valeria Campagna, Andrea Moebes, Yosy, Purvi Patel, Sandi O., Corrina Marie Canning, Oti's Art Studio, Summer Tan, Vallerie, and special regards to Viola, Karin Getaz and, the Empress, Liona Hotta
Last but not least, knowing so many artists and being involved so deeply in their creative world, what is the message you would like to send to them? Can art change things for the better?
The last words would be about the great therapeutic value of rock painting. Painting on rocks is something everyone should experience. It's calming, fun, creative whether one has innate skill or not.
Recently however consciousness has been raised regarding the ubiquitous problem of art theft. I've done several postings and had dozens of artists contact me in distraught over this issue. Artists, please tag those who inspire you, never take advantage from a peer's design, and finally, if it happens to you... TAKE ACTION! Let's keep this world of rock painting a beautiful thing!
Stunning art works and memorable colours from Parrish Jefferson's collection. Thank you for kindly enchanting us with such marvels and your kind words!
Parrish and I are welcoming your comments in the section below. Also you can make inquiries or add info on email@example.com.
If interested to buy, the rocks for SALE are here.
Glimpse into a life of art and self-challenge, artist Pamela Campbell talking about how yoga and rock painting became part of her life 0“I feel that I need both painting and yoga to become better “
- Christine Onward
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"We Are Here for One Another" - Artist Bethany Kirwen Talking about Her Lifelong Passion for Rocks and Spreading Kindness 6
“When the world’s divisive dialogue and tragic events would wound my heart and evaporate my half-full optimistic glass, rock painting was my only therapeutic joy”, Bethany Kirwen.
Dear rock painting enthusiasts and lovers of art,
Today I have the great pleasure of presenting to you the fascinating story of a lifelong journey of kindness and passion for art. I invite you to read the story of wonderful artist: Bethany Kirwen of Wisconsin, USA and her most recent plan of creating a 365 collection of “Daily Happy Rocks” with which to put together a calendar of painted rocks.
Bethany’s love for rocks started, as she beautifully writes to me, with “a simple gesture of kindness - a smile”. The passion followed her all through her life, as since that day she continued to paint smiley faces, lady bugs, or turtles just to elicit smiles from loved ones. Such joyous, simple pursuits even sparked the little girl’s and her sister’s imagination to start their own business right from their Lake Huron “little red wagon”.
Bethany's memorable "smiley rocks" which started it all
Twenty-five years later Bethany found herself gifting elementary school students and teachers with little smiley rocks she called "Happy Rocks", When introduced to classes, the Happy Rocks were accompanied with a poem Bethany wrote to encourage kindness and share smiles to the world.
The story of the Happy Rocks continued for nearly 25 years, when thousands of painted stone gifts, painted brightly, traveled the world to lift spirits, to encourage appreciation, or grow strength. How many stories must those rocks have written! As Bethany describes:
“Most of my rocks have found their own adventures. They traveled the world, were placed in the hands of the homeless, comforted hospital patients, reminded tired workers how important they were, and casually left for a surprise.”
For Bethany rocks are a “Nature’s gift”,“they symbolise strength, endurance, and resilience”. When in late 2016 Bethany found herself without her gallery representation of pastels and acrylics, she decided to return to her lifetime love for rocks. She picked the strength and endurance and resilience of the rocks she surrounds herself with and started again with a new plan: to give people an inspiring, thought-provoking message each day.
“I began to explore the power of words in a new, exciting way”, she explains.
And so the Daily Happy Rock calendar journey began.
“As a crusader for good, this was/is one small way I can promote hope, kindness, compassion, love, encouragement, inspiration, and it feels purposeful. I was Divinely moved toward the creation of a perpetual, daily, desktop calendar. I spent six months of sourcing, designing, and creatively photographing over 400 rocks with thoughtful inspirations.”
“Photographing the rocks became artful and memorable to me, especially when placing the rocks in the natural landscapes of our yard, our children’s school playgrounds, the church labyrinth, the beach, and other favorite places.”
Faith, happy to join in Bethany's rock hunting trips
“Soon however, what was once such a fun and relaxing activity began to fade into disappointment, and frustration, due to a significant health scare in the fall of 2017. My goal to have a published calendar in the hands of others became impossible and my dream had to be put on hold.
After a short period of internal pouting, I asked myself, “What is the gift? What is the lesson?” The thought of my 10 month project being unfinished left me deeply discouraged with a sense of grief.
But, isn’t life like that? We make plans and sometimes things just don’t turn out like we thought they would. What I did not expect was that the gift of grief brought a lesson of gratitude in countless ways.”
With these amazing teachings and short glimpse into the life of a person who has dedicated her entire life to sharing kindness and positivism into the world, I would like to end up by asking you to send Bethany your words of support and empowerment.
Bethany, you are such a beautiful, positive and extraordinary person. I look forward to having the calendar in my hands whenever its time may come.
Note: The calendar is being published by Daily Happy Rocks and is to be released soon.
Until then, I’ll keep on reciting your words:
“As rock artists, we share love and encouragements to inspire one another and create joyful smiles around the globe. Truly, we are making a difference. And isn’t THAT what life is all about? To walk each other through this journey of life in kindness, love, and encouragement.”