Why Variety adds Spice

I like plain food. I like to know what things will taste like in advance. Though I also like spicy food sometimes, or when other people cook the same things differently. It adds to my appreciation of what is “normal” for me.

As an artist it’s evolved that I mainly paint shearing sheds. Being a career artist is about being reliably predictable, and it suits me. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but every now and then I like to try new things.

In January I went to Norfolk Island with an art group. I was a student, learning from a well-known teacher. I wanted to learn how he painted, but I also wanted to learn how I could paint, in a different world.

I had fun.

I had fun with new papers, subjects, techniques, colours.
Each new element sort of jolted me from the “normal” of my art practice.
I learnt lots, and came away having seen other people painting the same things differently.

The landscape on Norfolk is similar to the North Coast, but the sea is a bright transparent blue. Cobalt Turquoise to be precise. Not a colour I find amongst the reds and browns of western Queensland shearing sheds.

I cannot un-see that blue.
It’s sharpened my senses, giving me a greater appreciation of what I do. It’s as if I’m seeing the shearing sheds, and my artwork, with new eyes. New sparkly eyes. I feel lighter.

We don’t need to travel all the way to a Pacific Island to add the sort of variety that will give us a lighter, sparklier view of our world. Even small adjustments to routine will add a certain spice.

Try one new thing.
That’s all it takes.

Try this at Home

Try a new activity or craft Take a course with a friend at Adult Ed Research: Red Balloon, Airbnb Experiences, Eventbrite
Buy some brightly coloured paint and paint something: a small piece of furniture from the op shop, a canvas from the crazy shop, your toenails
Sometimes we only think we aren't active enough. Sporting clubs always have beginners' options.
Turn the radio to a different station. Just for an hour. Go to the theatre or a movie, or watch a foreign film on SBS On Demand . Discuss it with a friend.
Borrow a recipe book from the library. Try one new recipe.
Make it fun. If you don't enjoy it, try something else.

Shout out to the fabulous Anna Sutherland

…who inspired me to mention painting furniture these bright colours after seeing posts like these. Her amazing shop in Uralla is a testament to the art of colour. Visit her there or on her facebook page to see her fantastic screen prints and giftware. Love your work Anna. 

First Published

St Carthages Home Care quarterly magazine “Life!” Autumn 2020 


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