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My first exhibition

Only a week to go till my first ever exhibition!  I have dreamed of this moment every day since I started painting.  I love painting and now I can share my passion with others and I can’t wait!

Mom is so proud!

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My whole family is super excited for me, especially my mom.  She said to me the other day, “Vicky, I am so proud of you.  Your art is helping to show that people with disabilities can achieve whatever they put their minds to.”  She is right you know. I have never let my disability hold me back!  Every day I am determined to do what I have set my mind on and with the help of my family, friends and my own willpower I can achieve anything!

Let me tell you a little more about my exhibition.  It is called “Beautiful Down Under – Landscape Art of Australia” and it is taking place in the Café Nouveau, a lovely little place in town.  It really is a unique idea, an eatery by day (they make the best toasted sandwiches) and an art gallery by night.  They focus on displaying the work of local artists and approached me about a month ago to have an exhibition.

Mom and I had had a few meetings with the owner, Claudia.  These were basically to discuss the logistics and finer details for the evening.  We popped in last night to see another exhibition and just to get a feel for everything.  I like to plan ahead and know exactly what to expect!

What a beautiful venue

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floor lampI was amazed how beautiful the venue looks by night!  They use lighting to such a great effect and it helps to turn the artwork into the real stars of the evening.

Each painting is lit by a pendant light which hangs down from the ceiling and illuminates the area where the painting is found.  The lights themselves are thoroughly modern and silver in colour and they provide just enough light for each painting.  It really creates a unique atmosphere, quite cozy in fact.

To maintain the cozy feeling, floor lamps have been placed strategically throughout the middle of the venue where the fabulous glass pendant lights do not provide any lighting.  This is also where the food and drinks tables are situated.  The floor lamps are beautiful as well; we just need to be careful with them, I don’t want any broken!

In a week’s time, my art will be up on the walls with people inspecting it!  I am excited and nervous at the same time!  When it all finally happens, I hope I don’t get too overwhelmed.

First things first though! On Wednesday I have an art workshop for kids with disabilities.   This will be the second one I am running and if the first is anything to go by our sides will be sore from all the laughter!

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Flexibility is key!

I have really struggled with a lot of stiffness lately and Mom suggested that a trip to my physiotherapist would probably help.

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I have been in and out of doctor’s offices my whole life, so I don’t really like going if I don’t have to.  I decided that it was probably better that I go as the stiffness seemed to set in after I had painted for an extended session, which is pretty much every day.  As I have said before, I don’t like letting my disability hold my art back, and I find that I get more inspiration as I paint for longer periods of time.   Mom says I don’t want to go because I am stubborn, like my Dad!  She might have a point!

Anyway, the visit to the physiotherapist didn’t last long.  She said that it’s nothing to be concerned about and she gave me a number of exercises to do. They will help to ease the stiffness now and more importantly, work those muscles so that I should not suffer with that degree of stiffness in the future when I work for long periods.

Exercise is fun?

How do I feel about this?  Hmmm, well I am not a great fan of exercise, but they seem easy enough to do.  Here are a few of the things they want me to do each day if possible.

  • Swimming. I really don’t mind this one!   I am a little bit of a water baby actually.  The physiotherapist says that swimming is a great way to use all the muscles in your body, so to start off in the morning they suggest that I swim for around 10 – 15 minutes.    If it’s a little cold outside, I will just go down to the local gym and swim in their heated pool.

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  • Stretching. Ideally the physiotherapist says I should stretch in the mornings when I wake up and in the evenings when I go to bed.  This will help to keep my muscles loose and flexible.  She gave me stretches especially for my shoulders and neck where I tend to tense up and get stiffness quite easily.
  • Resistance/Strength training. This one I was not too sure about to begin with.  In my mind I was seeing visits to the gym, dumbbells, weights and all those strange machines.   The physiotherapist said that this is one way to do it, but she wants me to be able to do exercises at home.  She suggested that I get resistance bands similar to these ones.  They are perfect to do low intensity resistance and strength training.  We got a set on the way home and I tried the exercises straight away.  They are very easy, but you can feel the muscles working.  Dad was pretty impressed, he said he would go get a resistance band as well and join me every day!  Let’s see how long that lasts!

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Actually these exercises are not that bad!  I think they will definitely help me and that’s all I need!  I just want to be able to carry on painting!

Arty Party!

I can’t stop smiling!   My exhibition was a massive success!  I was even interviewed by the local radio news and my picture appeared in the local paper the next day.  Dad says I am the family’s first celebrity!

The thing I was most happy about is that I received orders for five of my landscape works, how amazing is that?  I really could not be happier!

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Mom’s gift

I have wanted a record player for some time now, but never got around to buying one for myself.  Mom decided to get one for me and gave it to me as a gift halfway through our party.  Dad brought out all his old records and soon everybody was dancing and singing along to Grease!  You should see my Dad’s dance moves!  Who knew he could do that? So many people were asking Mum where she got it so she had to let slip that she bought it online at this store: https://www.rockitrecordplayers.com.au/shop/

Everyone really had a great time including the kids from the workshop who all were smiling from ear to ear!

Celebrations!

I had a great idea to celebrate!  I asked Mom and Dad if we could hold a party in their back garden for friends, family and kids from my workshop.  I think a party will be a great way to just finish off what has been the most amazing couple of weeks of my life.  Once again, I have not let my disability hold me back!  Art is my way of showing what people with disabilities are capable of and I am so thankful for that.

We decided that Dad would barbeque for all the guests.   He is a great chef actually!  Mom suggested that we setup a “Smoothie Bar” as a refreshment station.  Carly is a fitness freak and she drinks smoothies every morning, so she volunteered to man the bar.  The kids from the workshop will love the smoothies for sure!

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Mom and I drew up some invitations and sent them out.   The party was scheduled for the next Saturday.

The morning of the party arrived and many things had to be setup.  We hired a fancy metal bar and some stunning modern bar stools and set them out by the old oak tree.  Carly and her friends started cutting fruit for the smoothies.  Wow, they had a lot to cut up, I am glad I missed out on that!

At 2pm everybody started arriving and the party began. The bar stools were fun!  Not only did they look great, but they could be adjusted up and down.  Everybody took turns sitting on them at their highest level and then pulling the lever which made the seat slowly float down to the bottom.  It felt like you were travelling on air.  Of course the “Smoothie Bar” was a great hit!  Carly sure knows how to make some mean smoothies!

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